Christian Retailing

Meet the Artist: Third Day Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Monday, 01 October 2012 01:37 PM America/New_York

Third Day has sold 7 million albums and is sure to sell a few more with the GRAMMY- and Dove Award-winning band's new Essential Records project, Miracle (0-83061-09462-1, Provident Distribution), releasing Nov. 6, 2012. Tai Anderson (bass, background vocals) answered the majority of the following questions about the band and new project. 

Miracle is 12th studio record for Third Day. To what do you owe your longevity as a band?

We get asked all the time how we've stayed together so long, and I believe there is more than one reason. Over the past 20 years as a band, we have seen the impact of our music on countless individuals and we've heard numerous testimonies from fans whose lives seemed to be turned around for the better after hearing a song or attending a concert.  As a matter of fact, "I Need a Miracle" was inspired by one such story.  It certainly has not been difficult to find our purpose as a band with so many encouraging words from fans.

How did your partnership come about with GRAMMY-winning producer Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, The Fray, Train)?

We were in a tough place a year ago. We kind of needed a miracle of our own, as we had grown tired and were feeling burned out and uninspired to be creative.  In November, we got a call from Brendan himself saying that he would like to talk to us about possibly working together on an album.  Consider us inspired!  We had talked for years about how cool it would be to get the chance to work with him, so this felt like more than coincidence. After hearing just a few ideas from Mac [Powell], Brendan was ready to move forward and we commenced recording in January.  

You also recorded in your new studio. What can fans expect sonically from this album?

Well, we recorded "Move" in our studio—The Quarry—as well, and we couldn't have been more pleased with the sonic results. So, going back in for the [new] album, we knew what to expect as we were already accustomed to the space.  We have to give props to our engineer, Nick Didia, who helped us realize the full capabilities of the studio.  Nick has worked with Brendan for years and he is such a huge part of the sound of their records.   I think fans are going to hear Third Day at the next level! 

What are the themes on this release? 

An interesting thing always seems to happen when we make a record. We don't sit down before we go into the studio and say, "What does this record need to be about?" or "What's the theme going to be?" We just write songs that reflect what we're going through at the time. When we're done with the album and trying to decide on a title, we'll go back and look at the lyrics and look for a prevailing theme. On Miracle, there is a common thread between many of the songs of rising above the struggles of daily life. Songs like "The Victory" attest that life is hard, but there is fulfillment to be found when we live out our calling. “I Need A Miracle” really sums up the idea that we all share in the struggle and that we all need God to work in our lives.

The opening track is “Hit Me Like a Bomb.” Intriguing title—what's that one about?

That's a fun one. The lyric really plays off the emotion of the music. It is a wake-up call, and a reminder that sometimes we need something out of the ordinary to get us to look outside ourselves. It's the perfect first song on the record: it's like we're yelling into a megaphone to get everyone to listen up and pay attention to what we're about to say.  

The title track and first single, “I Need a Miracle,” was inspired by a conversation you had with a New Jersey couple after a concert. Tell us about it.

(Frontman Mac Powell) “Their son was in a really depressed place in life. He drove way into the woods and was going to commit suicide, but he turned on the radio and he heard ‘Cry Out to Jesus.’ It literally changed his heart and gave him encouragement to keep going.”

What touring do you have planned in support of the release?

We're hoping to get out and really introduce this music and the heart of this music to our core audience, the church. We want to do about 15 markets where we go to large churches and do "An Evening With Third Day" kind of night where we share about the songs and what they mean to us. Then, in the spring, we want to take this music all around this country on a really epic scale. We're happy to announce that American Idol alum Colton Dixon will be joining us on our tour, so our fans can look forward to a really great night of music.

Tai, I saw on the group's website that you were reassuring fans that even though Mac did a solo country project, Third Day is not breaking up. Has Mac changed at all since his country foray?

Not that I've seen. He's still the same guy. Mac is a great man of faith, an adoptive dad and a hardworking, talented dude. We all know what Third Day is, and we protect it. Mac has had songs through the years that really don't fit the vision of Third Day. Instead of diluting our collective vision, he's recorded the songs in a unique way. Now he's sharing that music with the world. I see only positives in that. Mac is doing the opposite of selling out. He's going to work in a van and trailer instead of the tour bus. He's playing sets without the luxury of a catalog of hits to fall back on. It's going to make him a better singer, songwriter and frontman for our band.

Any suggestions for Christian retailers as they promote Miracle?

Play the music in the store, and people will respond. It's a very fresh, current, joyful project that will really encourage your customers.