On Tuesday, April 22nd, Dove Award winning artist Francesca Battistelli releases her third studio album If We’re Honest. In preparation for the upcoming project, Whole Notes is exclusively premiering a video interview as the Grammy-nominated artist talks about her new music.
Battistelli is fresh off the heels of a hugely successful Son of God tour where she appeared alongside Natalie Grant, Meredith Andrews, Jason Gray, Chris August and Sidewalk Prophets. She also performed the lead single “Write Your Story” on ABC’s “Good Morning America” back in February.
Check out what she has to say about the new music in this video that can only be seen on Whole Notes through Sunday, April 20th:
Fans can pre-order the new album by visiting her official website HERE.
Fans can also check out If We’re Honest this week via iTunes “First Play” program by clicking HERE.
Music video director and veteran celebrity photographer Devin Pense is embarking on a unique journey as he attempts to tell the story of his good friend Regie Hamm in the documentary One More Song. For the average music fan, Hamm’s name may not be terribly familiar. But to those within the industry, he has been a consistent hit songwriter and at one time was an up-and-coming pop star.
By 2003, Hamm had written over 400 recorded songs including cuts by Christian artists such as Bob Carlisle, Jaci Velasquez and Clay Crosse. He also found his way into the general market with songs recorded by the likes of Kenny Loggins and Maxi Priest. That year, however, turned out to be a trying time for Hamm and his family. Hamm’s solo career stalled out and his wife Yolanda lost her job as a record label executive. To make matters worse, their daughter Isabella (aka Bella), adopted from China, was diagnosed with a rare disorder known as Angelman Syndrome and challenged the family as they never imagined.
During the spring of 2008, Hamm was on the verge of walking away from the music business. But when his wife saw a songwriting contest advertised on American Idol, she encouraged him to write one more song. His decision to take her up on the challenge turned out to be a life-changing one. “Time Of My Life” won the contest and became a huge hit for that year’s American Idol winner David Cook.
Ironically, the song was featured during the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in Bejiing. Before Bella was diagnosed with Angleman Disorder, Hamm and his wife had planned to take her back to China for the Games. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, but more importantly, the song Bella inspired reached over a billion people in one night.
According to Pense the documentary “is a story of deep redemption in the midst of great heartbreak and hardship…Our hope is to connect with people all over the world on a heart level and be an inspiration to anyone who may be in the midst of a life crisis, encouraging them to write one more song.”
Pense is currently raising funds for the documentary via Kickstarter. You can check it out by clicking the link below:
For Shane Barnard, writing songs isn’t just about producing material for a new Shane & Shane album. In fact, that’s usually the last on his mind and in his heart. Instead, the creative process is birthed out of a desire to draw closer to God and remind himself of the gripping nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In this Whole Notes interview, Barnard talks about the latest news from the Shane & Shane camp, the theme behind the band’s latest album Bring Your Nothing, and the inspiration for the album’s opening track:
Chad Bonham: Tell me about how things are going these days with the songwriting class, local ministry and family life in general.
Shane Barnard: Every Monday night during the college semester, I still do the songwriting class at Oaks School of Leadership. This new record is a collection of songs I wrote out of this class. We do that through a church called Oaks but we are on staff at a church called Watermark Community Church in Dallas. This year, we started to lead worship every week, which is a new thing for us. We’ve involved in leading worship at the church periodically but we lead every Tuesday night and it’s been awesome. The Lord just continues to open up doors through local ministry and also our platform outside of that. We’re just grateful for that. We’re also doing a conference in February on Valentine’s weekend. It’s been on my heart for over a decade. It’s called the Linger Conference. For a couple of days, we’re going to sprawl out and get into the Word and have a lot of opportunity to just linger in the presence of the Lord. We’ve brought a lot of projects to our studio. Our families are growing like crazy. The Everetts had their third girl this year and we have our two girls. It’s all kinds of craziness.
Bonham: How would you describe the running theme behind Bring Your Nothing?
Barnard: The thought of Bring Your Nothing came from Isaiah 65 and how we have nothing to offer Jesus. That’s the Gospel message. If you bring anything other than nothing, than Jesus has no part of it. He says, bring nothing and in return, I’m going to give you everything, forever. That concept continues to wreck me because I grew up in a good deal of religion. I didn’t know the world. It’s polar opposite of what I see in the world and what I grew up with. At the same time, it does require a supernatural amount of humility to admit you have nothing. In my greatest day, in the day I’m playing in front of 50 thousand people and God used me in the most powerful way and I was floating on a spiritual cloud all day and I was the perfect husband, there was still so much sin going on because the Bible says the heart is deceptive above all things. In my most righteous deed, I’m still called a dirty rag when measured up to the holiness of God. The only thing I have to give is what put Jesus on the cross. He takes that and He trades that in for everything—for life in Him and for life in eternity. As the old timers call it, it’s the great exchange.
Bonham: Talk about the song “The One You’ll Find” and the scripture, 2 Chronicles 16:9, that inspired it.
Barnard: That concept co-exists, somewhat, with what we just talked about. Even in my most righteous deed, I’ve got nothing. That’s why in that song, it’s really a prayer song asking the Lord to create that heart in me and to find in me that heart that is fully committed to me. It’s a big, huge thought that the Lord is searching for the heart that is fully committed to Him. I don’t think that heart exists. The only heart that has been fully committed to God has been Christ’s heart. But if we cling to His righteousness, He then calls us the righteousness of God. It’s not about being perfect, because no one is perfect. The ones that are fully committed to Him are the ones that are clinging to Him, seeking Him, pursuing Him and going after Him. Even if it’s messy and sloppy, the Lord sees the desire of our heart to love Him. It’s a big prayer of mine that God would find me doing that. I want to fix my eyes on Him and not on my own works.
Keep up with the latest from Shane & Shane by visiting the band’s official website HERE.
This entry is somewhat of a departure from the Q&A’s with Christian artists that are usually found here. That’s because Whole Notes was recently given the unique opportunity to visit a movie set during two of its final days of filming. Moms’ Night Out was just about to wrap up several weeks of shooting in Birmingham, Ala., and several key cast members were made available for interviews to talk about this family comedy slated for 2014 release via Provident Films and Sony Affirm.
Among the cast members present were Sarah Drew (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Abbie Cobb (“Suburgatory”), Patricia Heaton (“The Middle,” “Everybody Loves Raymond”) and country music star Trace Adkins (“Celebrity Apprentice”).
Whole Notes had a chance to sit down with Adkins who has become quite a popular cast selection these days with upcoming releases such as Saving Santa, The Virginian and Palominas. In Moms’ Night Out, he plays a gruff, but kindhearted biker named Bones who sets out on a crazy adventure with four moms whose night on the town goes wrong in every way imaginable.
In this video interview, Adkins talks about how he got into acting, why he was drawn to this film and what it was like starring alongside comedic veteran Patricia Heaton: