Five-time GRAMMY® winner Steven Curtis Chapman enlisted his friends Brad Paisley, Lauren Alaina and Tasha Cobbs Leonard to release “Together (We’ll Get Through This)” on May 1. Proceeds from the inspiring and uplifting collaboration will benefit the Opry Trust Fund and Gospel Music Association to assist those who’ve been gravely affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Steven Curtis Chapman has been a staple of Christian music since 1987. He has won five Grammy’s and 59 GMA Dove Awards, making him Gospel music’s most awarded Christian artist. His hit songs include “Dive,”, “Cinderella”, “The Great Adventure”, “I Will Be Here”, just to name a few. He has 49 number one singles including “Dive”, “Love Take Me Over”, “All Things New”, “Live Out Loud”, and “Fingerprints of God”, “Speechless”, and “Magnificent Obsession”. He has made many TV appearances including Good Morning America, Larry King Live, CBS Sunday Morning, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CNN, Fox and Friends, MSNBC, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee and many others.
Faith Filled Family Magazine is thrilled to conduct and present this interview with Steven Curtis Chapman.
Faith Filled Family: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you personally and as an artist? How have you been relying on God’s strength during this pandemic?
Steven Curtis Chapman: It has affected us in many ways. All of us are truly in the same boat. This has kind of been that great leveler of sorts where we all feel this sense of uncertainty.
I think part of what’s so unique about this that unlike anything is we’ve ever experienced, while there have been economic things that have happened or things that have happened that affect certain industries or people in different ways, this has affected all of us. Certainly, for what I do as an artist, this pandemic has had a profound effect on shutting everything down as far as concerts. My sons are touring musicians, so it’s brought them home off the road and brought this big cloud of uncertainty over all of that.
But that’s been true for all of us, and I think that’s part of even why I felt compelled to write this song “Together,” because we really are all in this together in more ways than we can really even imagine. We’re all affected by the uncertainty: when is this going to be over, is this going to be over, what’s it going to be like in the future?
Again, as an artist, there’s the really hard reality of not knowing when we’ll be able to gather together in a concert again. The other side of it as an artist is that, it has inspired me to find other ways to connect with people. That’s the other side about technology that’s been pretty amazing during this time. I’ve almost found myself more grateful than ever for some of the very technologies that we, especially in the music business, have been really frustrated and unhappy about, because they’ve changed the music business so much with people not buying albums or CDs anymore, all the streaming and music being devalued by being so available and the impact that’s had.
But I think with this, we’ve been able to say, ‘Hey there’s a whole lot of good for us to be able to connect as an artist and literally get into the living rooms and homes of the people that we love and care about, who love us and love our music and be able to connect.’ That’s been a pretty amazing thing.
For my family and me, this pandemic has been a challenge, as it has for all of us because we’ve more than ever found that we are not in control. It’s the first time I’ve ever walked into a grocery store and seen bare shelves and had a tinge of the feeling that more people in the world live with on a daily basis than don’t: ‘where is my next meal coming from, is there going to be a next meal,’ and so, I’ve tried to feel those feelings and let it connect me even more with people in the world that feel that as part of their reality, and learn from it.
I think there’s incredible opportunities for us to learn through this time and in my faith and family certainly there are challenges: being at home, being off the road, being together so much in the same home, you can’t go anywhere.
It’s an opportunity to practice 1 Corinthians 13 stuff in a big way: love is patient and kind and keeps no record of wrongs. Those kinds of things and really finding what does it mean to trust that God is in control and that God really does know when a sparrow falls from the sky. If He is that intimately aware, then He knows what’s going on even though it may not look that way right now and we may not see it. I’ve written plenty of songs about that.
This has been a chance for me to really learn to live out in a deeper way the songs that I’ve written about trusting God, about being faithful and true and trying to do that with others and encouraging others through the little posts that I’ve done, reading some scriptures and singing some songs. So, in that way, it’s been an important good season for my heart even though it’s been a challenge for all of us.
Faith Filled Family: How did you come up with the idea to collaborate on this song with Brad Paisley, Lauren Alaina, and Tasha Cobbs Leonard? How did you collaborate with the other artists for the song? Was it over Voice memos or over the phone, or over video chat?
Steven Curtis Chapman: This song really began as me just being inspired by hearing people talking a language that I had not necessarily heard: a language of unity and a language of togetherness that we need each other, and we will get through this together. This relational language has not been the language of most of the people on television talking to us in recent months and years.
It seems like there’s been a lot of division and disunity and suddenly something like a global pandemic could do what I believe it’s done in many ways and while there’s still much broken and much that needs to change, I’ve been so refreshed by hearing that language of ‘We need each other, We’ll get through this together.’ It’s like a little ray of light shining through a crack in the door. I just thought ‘man if I can kick the door open a little bit wider with this song, maybe that will encourage us to think a little bit more about how much we do need each other, how we are actually made for relationships.
Maybe in this, for all the hard and devastating things about it, that are very real and true for so many people that, it’s teaching us that we need each other, and God is showing us something about how we need him and relationships with him and that we’re made for relationships.
I wanted to write a song that would say that and once I wrote it I thought, “I need some other people that would help me say it and I would love it if I could say it with artists from other genres of music. Where this could be a literal coming together from different genres and different places in music to say we’re united, we believe in this message.”
The artists that joined me are artists that have the same faith as I do and depend on God for their source of strength and hope. I reached out to Brad Paisley first just because I thought, “Man, Brad is such an amazing guitar player and singer, and I’m a huge fan.”
I thought it would be so cool if he could join me on this song. We had shared a dressing room together at a Glen Campbell tribute concert a few years ago, and that’s where we sort of first got to hang out a little bit and talk about our love for the great talent of Glen Campbell. We bonded over that and said as you often do with other musicians, “Hey let’s get together and do something sometime, let’s play some music.”
I thought of that and thought Brad’s so busy, and it’s not like we had seen each other since then, or had ever really done anything together other than that, but I reached out just kind of on a whim hoping that maybe he would want to be a part of this, and sure enough, he responded, “I love it. I’m thrilled. Thanks for asking. Let’s do it. I believe in this message, and it needs to be said.”
It was so cool, and such as honor that he joined me. He and I got on the phone and just started talking about should there be other artists. It seemed like it would make sense to bring some other artists, maybe a female vocal or two would be awesome with two guys.
The name Lauren Alaina came up through my manager who knew someone that was in her camp and reached out to her. I had seen her on American Idol, didn’t know her, and had not met her, but just loved her on the show.
My family and I watched her, her spirit, and her faith. She was really open then and has continued to be vocal about her faith as a Christian. I thought, “I love that and that she’s taken that into the country music genre with her and the music she does.”
She’s an amazing singer and she said, “Yes, I’m honored. I’d love to be on this.” Same with Tasha. I kept thinking, ‘Is there a way I can get a gospel choir on this song? It just feels like it needs that power, that passion that only a real gospel singer can bring.”
I’d done a few things with Tasha, the Dove Awards, and things like that, but never worked with her specifically. So again, I just reached out and said, “Would this be something of interest to you and she immediately responded, ‘I would love to be a part of this.”
I was very honored to have all of these artists join me and I think what is amazing is that none of us ever were in the same room together. I just sent them the song, talked to them about it and said do what you think. Each of them was able to go find a recording studio in their home or have someone come and record it, so it was definitely done very, “Hey, we have to make this work. How do we make it work? We can’t go do our normal process of getting together in the studio to figure this out.”
So, when it all came together, I really did feel like God’s fingerprints were on it. This really was something that was supposed to happen because it all fit together in a pretty unique way.
Faith Filled Family: What do you hope your new song provides for people who listen to it?
Steven Curtis Chapman: I really hope that this song, as I mentioned earlier, is a way that kind of kicks the door open a little bit more to this little bit of light that I’ve seen shining in the darkness of us talking about needing each other, that we’re not alone. Music is a powerful thing in that it does help us remember that we’re not alone.
Songs can come alongside and just help us know that somebody else feels this way, somebody else feels this lonely, this sad, and suddenly you don’t feel so alone. All of us artists have heard people say that over the years, ‘Your music has helped me so much. You’re like a friend.’ I think that’s a powerful thing that God gave us the gift of music. He wove that into it that this is something that will connect people’s hearts and will help people know that they’re not alone, so I hope that this song will do that.
It will connect us and help us remember, maybe even as we listen to it, “If I’m feeling this, there’s somebody else feeling it and I might be feeling really lonely and alone, but this song has reminded me we need each other, so who can I reach out to today, who can I encourage, who can I pray for?”
I had a chance this morning in doing an interview to just visit with a whole office of a radio station and all of their staff, and it was such an encouragement and blessing to me to just get to listen to their prayer requests for each other and be a part of that.
That wouldn’t have happened without this song and without this global pandemic that has brought us together in a unique way. For all the hard, devastating things in this, I think there are also some really beautiful things that can come from it as we remember that we are together in it.
Faith Filled Family Magazine would like to thank Steven Curtis Chapman for allowing us an inside look at his new song, “Together We’ll Get Through This.” Faith Filled Family Magazine would also like to thank Mackenzie Clayburg for facilitating this interview.