Acclaimed singer Mat Kearney recently spoke about how faith and travel inspired his fifth studio album Just Kids.
On Feb. 24 Kearney dropped his latest album, four years after the release of "Young Love," which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Album chart. He explained his decision to wait four years to release "Just Kids" and also shared how marriage inspired the album title.
The Dove award-winner is gearing up to embark on his "Just Kids" nationwide tour, which will feature special guests Parachute and Judah & The Lion. The tour will kick off on March 5 in Spokane, Washington, and wraps up in his home town Nashville, Tennessee.
The Christian Post: It's been a few years since the last record. What has happened in your life in that time and how did those experiences influence "Just Kids?"
Mat Kearney: It has been awhile since I put out an album. Sometimes you have to wonder a little bit to find songs that really resonated with you and come from your heart — and not just trying to write songs that complete a record. I also started producing a lot more, so I was working a lot by myself, with a laptop, backstage at a show, or sometimes I would invite friends over to my house and we would record at my home studio. So a lot of it was me, growing as an artist and as a producer.
CP: The song "Just Kids" seems really personal -why did that song in particular become the title of the album?
Mat Kearney: You know, getting married and really digging in with another human being can point out your greatest strengths and your greatest weaknesses. And it's really about wanting to get to that place of grace and redemption and that may happen before you guys learned your bad habits. So "Just Kids" is really a song of me saying "I want to approach you with like childlike faith in the way that I love you and just viewing life that way." So it's kind of my story and I kind of tell that story through it.
CP: Tell me about "One Heart"
Mat Kearney: There's that place in our lives where we get a sense of desperation and we are like "I really need something bigger than myself," and I guess "One Heart" was really written like David in the Psalms where he is saying, "I'm at the end of myself and I don't have all the answers but I know someone who does and I really need that." It's a very humble song.
CP: Who inspires you musically and spiritually?
Mat Kearney: Musically, I have been really into some of the stuff I grew up on, like Paul Simon and a lot of like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which is this African vocal group that has worked with a lot of people in Nashville, like Charlie Peacock and others. But it's that real story-telling, fun upbeat groove but then the story can have a lot more depth and can really go to some places. So it's almost like it catches you off guard and you're listening to a pop song and then you listen to the lyrics and you are like "Whoa, this is really profound and has a story!"
Spiritually, I've been into a lot of Tim Keller — it is always good for an achiever (like myself), to hear the idea that God is way more committed to you than you Him. In your worst moments He's been there pursuing you. And in your best moments He's been there supporting you. That is kind of the message of this record — me coming to grips with my own shame, perfectionism and trying to control everything and come into the end of that and realize that is something I don't have to do.
CP: Tell me about your tour and what should people expect?
Mat Kearney: You know, I love creating moments that feel bigger than just like an artist on stage. So hopefully it feels very fun and people are there together and it feels like a moment that is bigger than just going to watch some entertainment. I love making it feel like we are there together. I think one of the things that I carry, and just my goals in life, just encourage people and make them feel joy and celebrated and they leave feeling like maybe there was stuff talked about that was difficult, but then there was a voice of redemption and grace in the middle of that.
For more information on Mat Kearney and upcoming tour dates CLICK HERE