|Meet the Artist: Don Moen|
|Written by Christine D. Johnson|
|Friday, 03 February 2012 03:36 PM America/New_York|
Part of the music business for three decades, Don Moen, singer-songwriter and former Integrity Music executive, releases his next album, Uncharted Territory (EMI CMG Distribution), March 27, 2012, under a different label, in:ciite Media.
Why did you title this album Uncharted Territory?
In December 2007 I felt compelled to pursue a new direction in my ministry, which led to my resignation as an executive from Integrity Music after serving there for over 20 years. Essentially, I left everything that was secure and familiar to me—job, friends, church, doctors, schools, and moved to a new city where nothing was familiar. I struggled with fearful thoughts and loneliness, wondering if I had made a mistake putting my family at risk to pursue this new direction. Uncharted Territory was birthed as a result of my honest searching to find God in all the chaos. I realized that many people find themselves in uncharted territory every day due to circumstances that are beyond their control, like the loss of a job, divorce, sickness or the death of a loved one, and I was determined to find a way to “sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land” (Ps. 137), offering sincere and honest worship, even through the toughest times. This album is probably the most vulnerable project I’ve recorded, and yet each song reinforces the truth that “God is faithful.”
How did the partnership with in:ciite Media come about?
I have known and worked with Chris Thomason [president and CEO] for almost 15 years. He has a passion for excellence in ministry that has always resonated with me. I was looking for a ministry partner, not just a record label, and in:ciite Media is committed to build the kingdom of God around the world. Most importantly though, my decision was based on relationship. Chris has always been a close and trusted friend, and I’m excited to be working directly with him again.
You cover topics such as prayer, God's holiness and His glory. Where do you get your inspiration?
Most of my songs come from my personal journey. Yes, many songs are prayers put to music. This seems very natural for me to sing something that I pray every day. At age 12, I accepted Christ as my Savior. The first scripture underlined in my Bible was Ps. 27:4: “One thing have I desired of the Lord and that will I seek after. That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” God put a desire in my heart to be in His presence even as a young boy, and I love writing songs that are focused on His holiness and His glory.
Which are your songs on this album?
I wrote or co-wrote all the songs except four on Uncharted Territory. That’s more than I usually write on any project, but maybe that’s because I had something specific to say as a result of my journey over the past few years. Also, for the first time in many years, I actually had time to write and could be intentional about making the time for something I love so much.
Which are your favorites and why?
That’s a tough question. Off the top of my head, I would probably say “Uncharted Territory,” which probably sums up my journey more than any other song. It’s a co-write with Tom Lane, my musical director. It also ended up being the title cut. Another favorite would be “Somebody’s Praying for Me.” It’s very personal and hard for me to sing without getting emotional, because I really don’t know where I would be today without the prayers of my friends. Where would any of us be? Think about it—somebody, somewhere, is praying for you right now. Wow. During one of my darkest days when I was feeling so discouraged, I suddenly felt uplifted in my spirit and knew it was because people were praying. I told my wife, “I can’t explain it, but I can literally feel my spirit being lifted up.” ... “Divine Exchange” would have to be another one of my favorites, also a co-write with Tom Lane and Mia Fieldes. For a long time, I’ve wanted to write a modern hymn that addressed the subject of the divine exchange that happened on the cross. Jesus took everything bad intended for us and gave us everything good that was given to Him as the Son of God. That’s over-simplified, but it’s an awesome concept that we need to fully grasp.
How do you keep your music fresh after being in music ministry for many years?
I have been around a while.... Recently, in Africa I was introduced as the “Grandfather of worship!” That’s a little over the top, but it made me realize that I have been at this for quite a while, and yet in some ways, I feel like a newcomer. God wants to say new things to us, and He wants us to express our heart to Him in new ways. These are challenging times, and our songs of worship need to be meaty enough to give us something to hold onto during the most intense storms. I am committed to writing songs that encourage us to worship with sincerity and honesty.
What do you hope your listeners will take away from listening to this recording?
A: I hope people will realize that in spite of everything, God is faithful. When I started writing for this project, I didn’t know what would come out because I was going through things that I had never experienced before. I found that each song confirmed God’s faithfulness to me, and I pray that others will have the same experience.
You have sold more than 5 million units total. To what do you attribute your success?
The simple answer is, “I don’t know.” However, if I analyze this, I know that I was blessed to be a part of a praise & worship movement that swept the world in the mid '80s and '90s, not only as an artist, but also as a writer. More importantly though, I think it is my calling. Thirty years ago, God called me very specifically through Ps. 40:3: “I have put a new song in your mouth; a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see it and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” I’ve tried to be faithful to walk out that calling every day, and as God continues to open doors of ministry throughout the world, I will continue to walk through them by faith.