Colombian worship movement, Soulfire Revolution, released their 2013 album Revival on August 13th. With their signing to Sparrow Records being the first time an international artist signed to the label, the album is a special one, being recorded in both English and Spanish for both the English and Spanish speaking population in both America and the world. With guest artists on the album, from Kim Walker-Smith, to Martin Smith and TobyMac, I had the opportunity to have an email interview with Lorena Castellanos, discussing about the album and what the band hope for listeners to take away after listening to the album. Check out the questions and answers below.
Question 1: Signing to Sparrow Records, home to many artists like Matthew West, Sanctus Real, Britt Nicole and Mandisa, you are possibly the first international worship band to be signed on a major label. How is it being a worship band with a Colombian heritage, yet also serving in the U.S. Christian worship music market?
This is such a great opportunity for us, we’re really thankful to God that He’s allowed us to be a part of what he’s doing through these great artist. It’s a great privilege to cross the boundary between South America and the US and be able to serve both worship scenes.
Question 2: For listeners who may not know who Soulfire Revolution are, what do you hope the listener can gain after listening to your debut album, in both a lyrical and musical sense? If there’s any artist in the Christian or mainstream industry that you think you can be compared to, who would they be?
When we set out to make this record our heart was always for it to be a worship album but to bring something fresh and interesting that people would love listening too. At the same time we wanted the lyrics to connect with people in a way that they could feel able to sing these songs on a Sunday at church.
Question 3: With so many worship movements and bands sprouting into existence, from Hillsong, Passion, Worship Central, Soul Survivor and Elevation Worship, to Vertical Church Band, Bethel and Jesus Culture; what are some attributes of Soulfire Revolution that you think are just unique to this group? Has any of these worship groups mentioned in this question influenced yourselves (both individually and as a worship group) in how your album Revival was made (stylistically, lyrically, musically etc.)?
I think the unique thing with us is that we’re not just musicians or worship leaders. Each one of us work within our church in the ministry as leaders and Pastors. This really helps us to be in constant contact with a wide range of people and really see the need in people’s lives. In terms of other worship music out there, we love a lot of the songs from Hillsong United, and actually used a Worship Central song, Spirit Break Out, on our album, so they’ve obviously been an influence on our worship.
Question 4: Your first radio single is ‘Revival’, also the title of the album. From my understanding, both the song and the album as a whole describes a moment where we’re asking the Lord to come down and unveil our eyes to see Him in His glory as we worship Him with all our hearts. What does the album (and song) mean to you (personally and individually)?
I think for us personally as a band, this album really sums up what God has been doing in our lives and our church. For us revival is what we’ve been seeing in our church in Bogotá, Colombia, where we have seen the church grow from 8 people in a living room to over 100,000 receiving from God every weekend. Revival for us is really about bringing people to know Jesus as their saviour and seeing their lives totally transformed.
Question 5: It must have been great working with your producer Jeremy Edwardson – The Myriad frontman and longtime Jesus Culture producer. How was it working with him? Where there any insights that you received from him during the production process that has showed you something unique and different about the production process, as well as your relationship with Christ yourself?
Jeremy is a great guy, and he’s so talented. Working with him was such a privilege and a great learning curve. He was great at helping us shape the album into what we really wanted, and was also really open to our ideas and thoughts for the album.
Question 6: You have quite a number of guest vocalists on your album, from TobyMac and Martin Smith, to Kim Walker-Smith on the title track? Who was your favourite artist to sing with? May I suggest ‘Count the Stars’ (with guest vocalist Martin Smith) as the second radio single from the album?
We love Martin and have had the opportunity to play with him on various occasions. He’s got such a unique voice that the anointing seems to ring through with every note he sing. It definitely added something great to the song, Count the Stars and to the album as a whole having him sing.
Question 7: It must be great to share a record label with fellow artists Sanctus Real, Matthew West, Mandisa, Britt Nicole, Colton Dixon and Josh Wilson. Are there any bands or solo artists from Sparrow Records (or outside your label) that you admire currently, or that you’d like to tour/write and record with someday if given the chance?
I love what Mandisa has been able to do recently. She has an awesome voice and it would be cool to sing with her one day.
Question 8: What has been the overall general highlight of creating ‘Revival’? Where there any difficult songs to write, record or perform from it? Any song that speaks to you from God about your walk with Him, and is there anything that you would want listeners to know when they hear the album that has been released in August 2013?
The highlight of the album has been hearing the final product. When you start writing an album your not 100 percent sure where it’s going to end up, but you have an idea of what you like and what you want in your head. This album I think surpassed all of our expectations and sounded even better than we had hoped.
Question 9: Worship music is possibly one of my favourite musical styles. What are your favourite worship artists currently? Is there anything that you have learnt from their own craft that you have incorporated into ‘Revival’? What has God been teaching you (through either writing your own music or by covering worship melodies- like ‘Spirit Break Out’) about His presence throughout the album recording process?
I’ve been leading worship for a long time and have sung a lot of Soul Survivor, Worship Central and Hillsong United stuff, but one thing I love about Hillsong United is that they’re always trying to create something new, which isn’t all that easy these days with so many different artists. I think that was our desire to create something new that still fits the worship genre in that people can still sing these songs in worship at their church.
Question 10: What has God showed in each of your personal lives (or on the road as you travel and perform your songs of encouragement) that you have feel needs to be shared (either through song or encouragement) so that other people can hear your story? Is there any song that you have sung during your travels that God still ministers to you with?
As a band we’ve definitely learned to commit everything to God first in prayer and allow Him to take control of the rest. For me I love the song Place of Surrender, because of its simplicity, we’re here to surrender everything we have to God and let go of ourselves so that he can shine through.
Question 11: You have been a band in Colombia for quite some time (even though this is your first English album released under a prominent label). What keeps you grounded and places things in perspective as you create music? Is there any song, or Bible verse, or even famous quote from someone inspirational that reminds you about why you do what you do?
I think that for us, working in church and in ministry definitely keeps things in perspective. When you see people’s lives being transformed and people turning to Jesus every week there’s definitely a motivation to keep going.
Question 12: Is there anything you’d like to impart and share to encourage and motivate us in our walk with God, maybe a Bible verse or something you’ve learned from your life, or maybe social media/TV/books? For any of us who may not know what’s next in our lives (teenagers, young adults), what would you say?
Definitely that God has everything under control and not to be worried or anxious about the future, but to commit to praying and asking God for everything that you might be facing (Matt 6:25-27, Phil 4:6).
Question 13: What’s next for Soulfire Revolution for the rest of 2013/14? Another music video in the works? Here’s hoping that Soulfire Revolution continues for quite some time (on various occasions, new bands release an album or two, then travel off into the world of oblivion for a time)!
We’re planning out our year, and have some great shows lined up in different parts of the world. We’re also looking at a US tour this spring so definitely watch this space in the future.
Question 14: For those who are reading the interview right now who may find themselves nervous, worried, uncertain and possibly unwanted, what advice can you give them? Which Bible verse has encouraged yourself if ever you need encouragement if you have a bad day?
John 1:12 says that we have been given the right to be children of God. This means that in whatever situation we’re facing we have a father in heaven who loves us enough to give us the life of His son, what else won’t he do for us.
Question 15: Is there anything else that you would like to add that hasn’t been covered in this interview yet? Any last minute encouraging statements that you are desperate to part with to encourage the readers of IndieVisionMusic in their walk with Christ?
Be someone who gives their whole lives to God. Don’t hold anything back and he won’t hold anything back from you. If you want to be blessed, if you want your needs to be met by Him, surrender your whole life to Him, nothing more, nothing less. That’s the road to Revival.
Be sure to check out the debut album from Soulfire Revolution, which is out now at your local Christian bookstore and through various digital outlets. Check out the music video for the current radio single ‘Revival’ below: