Christian Retailing

Meet the Artist: MICHAEL CARD Print Email
Written by Production   
Thursday, 20 January 2011 04:58 PM America/New_York

Card_Michael_2010Singer-songwriter Michael Card visits the Gospels in his new “Biblical Imagination Series,” with books, DVDs and CDs dedicated to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Christian Retailing talked with him about the series and its first installment on the Gospel of Luke.


What do retailers need to know about the “Biblical Imagination Series”?

It’s going to cover the four Gospels initially. We’re thinking it’s going to take five to six years to finish it. There will be a book, a record and a teaching video on each one of the Gospels. … The video has already come out, it’s with Day of Discovery. The book and the record are coming out with InterVarsity. 


You started with Luke. What drew you to his Gospel?

I had just written a book on slavery, and because of that research, I became convinced that Luke was a slave, so (with) this whole idea of engaging with your imagination, you ask, who is it that wrote the Gospel? What is it about their personality, what about them as an individual would shape the Gospel in certain ways? So I started out just trying to read the book as having been written by a slave. Certainly he was a doctor—we know that for sure because Paul said so. So that’s how I got into it. The book really came to life.

Meet the Artist: RED Print Email
Written by Production   
Thursday, 20 January 2011 04:47 PM America/New_York

RedFour-piece Dove Award-winning hard rock band Red’s third album, Until We Have Faces, is released Feb. 1 on Essential Records.


 What’s the inspiration behind the new record?

Anthony Armstrong (guitar): We are all fans of C.S. Lewis and his book Till We Have Faces. The record is not really about the book, but there was a phrase (there) that we all kind of gravitated towards, and it talks about that no human being could ever receive messages from the divine until they find their true identity. That’s the most relevant thing that stuck out to us in the last record cycle ... meeting a lot of kids and a lot of people who are kind of searching (for) who they really are. ... This record—that’s the anthem for those people.


How has Red’s music changed since the last album?

Michael Barnes (vocals): We combined some of the elements that we loved about the first record, End of Silence, and the inspiration that had, and Innocence and Instinct, some of the heaviness and the drive that record had. Until We Have Faces is those two records on steroids.


As an unapologetically Christian band, how has it been playing on the road with leading secular bands (Papa Roach, Godsmack)?

Randy Armstrong (bass): There’s obvious differences in the content, but at the end of the day, we are all musicians just trying to do the same thing, make a living doing music.  ... We really try to find people where they are at and inspire them and really brand sort of a lifestyle change through our music.


How has the digital revolution impacted Red?

Randy Armstrong: The digital age has leveled the playing field for a lot of music because bands don’t sell records anymore. It all comes down to, are you going to earn it on the road by playing live shows?

Anthony Armstrong: It’s also a place for our fans to find out, to gather and talk about the music.


What does 2011 hold for Red?

Anthony Armstrong: We are going out on Winter Jam (through) March.

Meet the Artist: Mike Nawrocki Print Email
Written by Aaron Crisler   
Thursday, 06 January 2011 11:24 AM America/New_York

Co-creator of VeggieTales and now vice president of creative development for Big Idea, Mike Nawrocki oversaw the production of this month’s release, Sweetpea Beauty—A Girl After God’s Own Heart, the first-ever VeggieTales episode just for girls.

How did the idea of a girls-only episode come about? When General Manager Leslie Ferrell, offered a woman’s perspective and said, “Let’s make a show about inner beauty.” To be honest, it’s not the first thing a development team of three guys would think of. But we embraced the challenge and, being fathers of daughters ourselves, created a couple of stories that we would love for our own daughters to watch.

What did you do differently to reach this niche audience? We didn’t really change much of what we usually do in that, with any story, you want to try to write from a place of experience and truth. You need to speak to your audience with the story you are telling—whatever the niche. As male writers, we needed to rely on the input and feedback of our wives, daughters and female co-workers.

Isn’t the message of Sweetpea one that boys need to hear, too? Absolutely. Boys are also under a tremendous amount of pressure in our culture to “look good.” The message that God looks at the heart and not on our outward appearance is also important for boys. As Petunia says (in closing), “Anyone can learn a thing or two from a princess story, Larry.”

Will there be other targeted episodes, and if so, on what kind of topics? We’re currently working on an episode where we are partnering with World Vision on a lesson in serving others.

How did Nichole Nordeman come to write a song for Sweetpea? She has some huge fans at Big Idea. Because of how she has addressed the topic of true beauty in the past, both personally and professionally, we felt that her unique perspective as a singer-songwriter—in addition to her role as a mother of two small children and her love of VeggieTales—would be a great fit. We were so thrilled when she agreed to write a song for the show and were absolutely floored when we heard it. ″Beautiful For Me″ is a wonderful and moving song that captures the lesson of Sweetpea Beauty perfectly.

How is today’s VeggieTales audience different from the one in your beginning in the early 1990s? People are much more visually sophisticated than they were at the birth of 3-D computer animation. Twenty years ago if it was computer animated, it was cool. VeggieTales benefited from that early wave of enthusiasm. As I go back and watch the shows, I notice the stories and lessons hold up well, but they look very rudimentary. Visually, we’ve had to improve as the art form has improved, and our audience’s expectations have grown.

Will there be another full-length VeggieTales movie? We have a script for The Bob and Larry Movie, which tells the story of how Bob and Larry met, that we would love to make into a movie when the time is right.

For an extended audio version of this interview, visit the specialty blogs at

Meet the Artist: Brandon Heath Print Email
Written by Production   
Thursday, 30 December 2010 09:12 AM America/New_York

heath_brandonA multiple Dove Award winner, including for Male Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year, Brandon Heath releases his third album, Leaving Eden, Jan. 18 on Reunion Records.


Was having written the Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year for 2009 (“Give Me Your Eyes”) added pressure when it came to the next recording?

A little bit. I remember the first day going in to write for the new record, I wrote with Jason Ingram, the guy that I wrote “Give Me Your Eyes” with. There was pressure for both of us, I think, because we have a big song (and) it kind of feels like everyone is just expecting you to write another one. And for me, I hate writing under pressure. So we sat down in a studio and prayed and thought, well, whatever the message is on this next song should be simple. We don’t need to embellish anything, let’s just tell the truth.

Meet the Artist: Chris Tomlin Print Email
Written by Production   
Monday, 22 November 2010 03:54 PM America/New_York

Tomlin_ChrisGRAMMY-nominated artist Chris Tomlin has won multiple Dove Awards, and has gold and platinum records to his credit. Time magazine has called him "the most often sung artist anywhere."

He talked with Christian Retailing about new release And If Our God Is for Us..., from sixstepsrecords/Sparrow Records (EMI CMG Distribution). 


You recorded in your new cabin studio for the first time. What was that like?

Every record I've done has been in Nashville, so this has been really nice to be just down the road from my house, and it just created an atmosphere that all of us were like, this is the best experience we have ever had recording, I think just because we were at home and there was no clock that was ticking, it was just like, let's see what happens and record. It's just been so awesome. 

Meet the Artist: Third Day Print Email
Written by Felicia Abraham   
Tuesday, 28 September 2010 11:41 AM America/New_York
GRAMMY- and GMA Dove Award-winning band Third Day sees the release of Move (Essential Records/Provident Label Group/Provident-Integrity Distribution) on Oct. 19. Frontman Mac Powell, bass player Tai Anderson, drummer David Carr and guitarist Mark Lee talked with Christian Retailing about the music and ministry of the band's latest recording.

Your new album is simply titled—Move. How did you come up with the name?
(Tai Anderson) We were answering the question from "Revelation" (the title track from our last album), which says, "Tell me, should I stay here or do I need to move?" and we really liked the idea of go, move-put your faith into action.