I live and work in the UK city of Kingston-upon-Hull which is right on the east coast of England, with just the North Sea separating us from the continent. I have been married since 1998 to Natalie and we have four children. This is quite a remarkable story as we were infertile and through an amazing set of encounters on the other side of the world (Dominican Republic) saw God healing our infertility and blessing us with four amazing children. We vowed that we would never be silent about what He had done, and have told literally hundreds of people since, and have recently had our story accepted as an answered prayer on the new UK landmark called The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer, and had our story played on UCB2.
I arrived relatively late to songwriting. In 2007, as part of a city wide initiative called 40 Days, I decided to dedicate my free time to trying my hand at songwriting, rather than jumping on the X-box or equivalent. I had been involved in leading worship at my local church for a number of years prior to this, and had often written poetry when younger, but had never tried to write worship songs.
During this time, I wrote five songs, each coming out of a particular challenge I set myself – and once I became more intentional about the whole songwriting thing three of those actually made it through to full production and feature on my two earliest EP’s. Those songs were This is our time, Devoted to You and As we look across our city.
I then laid down my songwriting until a particularly difficult situation at work, where God had tipped me off that I would “come through the fire and not get burned”. This was in 2014 so pretty much a seven year gap between songwriting attempts. We used this song regularly in my church as I walked through the fire, eventually emerging the other side with nothing so much as a scorch mark – an amazing story of God’s care and concern for me – that he would both warn me, and then guard and guide me through that time.
Even with some fairly regular use of some of these songs in my church, I didn’t particularly pursue it much further at that stage – my songwriting seemed to be occasional and sporadic. However, that changed when I came across Resound Worship, and in particular their 12 Song Challenge. This gave both a real focus to my songwriting, and a wider community to develop alongside. This was a real catalyst to much more frequent songwriting, and developing a real focus to find the voice of my local church community and singing songs that expressed both our experiences of God and some of the stories of what he was doing.