Breakout CCM artist Cade Thompson hopes to serve as an inspiring voice in this new generation of Christian music. His single "New Normal" combats the fear many young people feel today concerning school shootings.
Thompson, a new artist on Red Street Records — a label founded by Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts — is using his voice for good as he says many of the artists he looks up to did for him.
"I grew up on Christian radio, I grew up on Christian music, and then now full circle hearing people listen to my songs on the radio and telling me stories after stories of how God is using the music really inspires me to keep making music," he told The Christian Post in a video interview.
According to the gun control lobbying group Everytown USA, active shooter drills are implemented in over 95% of U.S. K–12 schools today — a statistic that highlights the timeliness of Thompson's latest single, "New Normal," a song he co-wrote with Matthew West.
"The song 'New Normal' really started with my own personal experience. Back when I was a senior in high school, I remember walking into my high school just like every other day as a senior would, except this day ended up being a little different because there was actually an active shooter threat at my school," he recounted.
"I remember just that fear, that anxiety that I was filled [with], that my peers were filled with, as some students were leaving the building," Thompson continued. "I remember I called my mom, she never answered her phone, and there [were] just a lot of unknowns in that situation. Thankfully, I ended up going home that day safe, and it ended up not being a valid threat. But I remembered that fear. I remember what I felt in that moment."
Thompson explained that the experience opened his eyes to see what his peers all across the nation possibly feel as they walk into school every single day.
According to Education Week, there have been 66 school shootings since 2018.
"I remember when I was 5 years old, my sister actually had an active shooter at her school," the singer shared. "I remember I was driving to school with my mom, we were dropping my sister off at school, and there was an active shooter. Really, that's, I think, what stirred up this fear inside of me that I really had no idea that, as I was chatting with my mom, a school shooting would become one of my biggest fears."
"New Normal" was written to encourage and empower young people who live in that fear Thompson grappled with while in school.
"In this world, there will be trouble/ But take heart, take heart/ He's overcome the world," Thompson sings in the chorus of "New Normal."
"I wrote an anthem to speak about this and to bring hope that we can hope for a new normal, that we want ... normal, and that's what this song is about," he said.
When dealing with fear, Thompson encouraged others to turn to the Word of God.
"I think, first things first, as a Christian myself, I go to the Word of God, which you and I both know is so so powerful," he explained. "In John 16:33, Jesus says, 'When you go through trouble, take heart for I've overcome the world.' He doesn't say if you go through trouble; He says when you go through trouble."
"We will experience pain, we will experience trials, but we have a God who walks with us inside of that pain and inside of those trials, and that's the hope that we can live with as believers and as Christians," Thompson said.
The young singer wants people to know he is not making a political statement against weapons. Instead, he wants to speak to the emotion that comes as a result of mass shootings.
"I honestly just wrote this song out of my own personal experiences as my eyes were opened to see what other people across this country might feel every single day," he stressed. "I'm so honored that as a songwriter, I get to carry a message that's far beyond myself."
Thompson has been fortunate to learn from DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, who has taken the artist under his wing and has a wealth of wisdom and experience to share.
"When I met Cade, I knew he had his finger on the pulse of this generation's dreams and fears," DeMarcus, founder of Red Street Records, said in a statement of Thompson. "I've become a sounding board, encouraging Cade to give voice to his passion."
The young singer was in disbelief when he first received the call from DeMarcus, who offered him a record deal.
"I remember getting the call from Jay DeMarcus a few years ago, saying he had heard one of my songs. It was unreleased at that point, and I said, 'What in the world, Jay DeMarcus from Rascal Flatts wants to meet with me?' I remember growing up singing 'Life is a Highway' on my front porch, and it was honestly a really, really cool moment for me," Thompson told CP.
"Beyond that, I remember meeting him in person, and him seeing my vision for my music, and me seeing his vision and both colliding and aligning and seeing that, 'Wow, this is such a beautiful thing.' Now we're on our third radio single; it's been incredible."
"New Normal" follows Thompson's breakthrough songs "Provider" and "Every Little Step." "Every Step of The Way" is now a top 20 song on U.S. charts.
"Growing up on Christian music, I really want to be a voice for this next generation of Christian music and to help bridge the gap for my generation that they would fall in love with Jesus because Jesus truly has changed my life," he testified. "If I can point people back to Him every single day, then at the end of the day, I've done my job the best that I can do."
The Missouri native said that most young people walk away from Christianity because their foundation in Christ is not solid.
"It starts to really combat that is laying the foundation. I remember in middle school was when I really found out who Jesus was in my own life.
The son of a children's pastor and a youth pastor, Thompson has attended church his entire life. He has been drawn to music since he was a toddler, but it was in middle school that his faith really became his own.
He recalled how his mentor emphasized the importance of seeking God through the Bible outside of a worship setting.
"I knew all the things about Christianity, but my life didn't change until I found Jesus Himself, and it became a relationship," he explained. "There [were] a lot of moments where I was just in my own room, just worshiping by myself, not in front of anybody during my middle school years. I believe that is what laid the foundation for who I am today and the platform that God has allowed me to have at a young age."
For those searching for one-on-one moments with God, Thompson offered the advice: "Start with the Word of God, because that is something that is never changing. Surround yourself with people that are going to help you chase after Jesus."
Thompson's new song "New Normal" is available at HopeforaNewNormal.com. Visit his website for further information.