(Feature photo courtesy of hillsong.com and Hillsong Worship photo courtesy of Rogers & Cowan)
Q&A: Ben Fielding (Hillsong Worship)
By Sarah Komisky
Straight off a new tour, Grammy and Billboard award winning songwriter, Ben Fielding stopped at Marked Ministry to talk about the latest Hillsong Worship album. Here is what he had to share on music, why we need an awakening, and the importance of renewal this holiday season.
You are a part of such a world-famous band who have influenced many, but I wanted to know, who are your musical influences and what are you listening to right now?
Ben: I listen to a lot of music. I’m regularly trying to find new music that I love. Right now, I’m listening to Julia Michaels, Mokita, Loote, Kanye, Jeremy Zucker, Boy in Space, Coldplay, and Lennon Stella. I also listen to a lot of music by our peers, including Bethel, Elevation, Passion, Housefires, etc.
Many artists in the past and present use art to bring change. As an artist today, why do you think we as people, as a culture, need an awakening?
Ben: I think people are more curious and open to God than we sometimes perceive. I’m also not convinced that there is a firm delineation between sacred and secular culture. I’ve heard it said that the only thing that is secular is sin itself. I think God is in the business of trying to reach people through people, through the church, but also through any means necessary. Songs of worship hopefully point people straight to God. God is compelling. I also think people are attracted to genuine and authentic music. Worship is the most natural response of someone who has encountered God.
Hillsong Worship has just released your follow-up to two critically acclaimed albums, Let There Be Light and There Is More. The newest album is Awake. Musically, how does it differ from prior releases?
Ben: I love the songs. This is our first studio-based record for decades. Yet, I love that our team has managed to capture so many of the God moments and elements that we have captured in our live recordings.
One of things I appreciate about Hillsong is your ability to release praise and worship anthems that are of the highest caliber. How did you want to challenge yourself in the creative process of this album?
Ben: Thank you. That’s kind. I think the ongoing creative challenge is to always try to be more honest, write better songs that are profound, true and clear. If poetry is the best words in the best order, then perhaps our songs should be the best poetry in the best musical context.
This album is centered around exalting and glorifying the Name of Jesus with a focus on eternity. Today we live in a time in history that is so fast paced, stressed, and fractured that we get locked in the here and now. Why do you think taking time to intentionally redirect focus on Jesus instead of our day to day earthly rhythms is so needed right now?
Ben: From the first day we started listening to songs our team had written, it became clear this theme was running through so many of the songs: “Awake My Soul, See The Light” (“I woke up to see the light”), etc. There is an awakening that takes place when we first believe…when we come awake to who Jesus is, where we die with Christ that we might rise with Him also.
There is also a huge emphasis on renewal in these songs. Did you discover a personal renewal through the process of creating this album and how do you hope these songs impact both individual devotion and congregational worship for the glory of God?
Ben: I also believe worship brings with it an ongoing revelation. Our hope is that when people hear the songs of this album, it would be as if lights were switching on to more of who God is, His infallible character and goodness.
This month, the world at large will be celebrating the holidays. It is noted to be the busiest time of the year. How do you want to encourage our readers to slow down and find renewal in this time?
Ben: Love God and love people. Take time to love the people God has placed in your world. Sometimes lingering in a conversation takes intentionality, but it often brings deeper relationship and more meaningful moments. I think this is true of our prayer and devotional life too. Take time to linger as you read the scriptures and as you pray.
For more on Ben and Hillsong Worship visit hillsong.com