Multiplatinum selling country star Josh Turner, one of country music's most recognized crooners, sings about his faith in the new 12-track gospel album, I Serve a Savior.
"I grew up in a Christian home and I come from a line of Christians, so I grew up going to church," Turner told The Christian Post in an interview. "It wasn't like Bible studies were mandatory for us, but it was a daily walk. So that had a profound impact on me."
Turner was baptized at age 12, but for a young southern boy that was "considered late."
"For me, I didn't want to just go and get baptized. I wanted to dig a little deeper. I want to know exactly why I was doing what I was doing and know what I believe," he explained.
"I spent a lot of time talking with the preacher and my parents, just really trying to understand what it means to be a Christian," he said. "From that point on, I've had a lot of experiences in my life that've strengthened and solidified my faith in Jesus Christ. I've done a lot of reading and a lot of traveling and talking with different types of people. I've asked a lot of questions and I've just come to realize that we serve a living and loving God."
In I Serve a Savior, listeners will here Turner's rich baritone voice sing timeless hymns such as "Amazing Grace," "How Great Thou Art" and "Great Is Your Faithfulness," along with original tunes including the title track, "I Serve a Savior."
When asked to share the story behind the powerful album title, he revealed that he had no idea where it came from except for the fact that it just dropped in his spirit one day.
"That title came to my mind years ago and I wrote it down in my phone. I got together with my friend to write that one particular day, two years ago, and I shared the titled with him and he loved it. I said, 'I'd love to write like a modern day hymn with this title. So that's basically what we did," Turner explained.
"It's a declaration and it's a bold declaration. And for someone who's not a Christian it's kind of thought-provoking and intriguing, and they'll try and figure out 'what does that mean?' So hopefully that will inspire people to listen to this record and dig into things for themselves and what they think and what they believe," he continued.
The South Carolina native explained that when he wrote the song, he faced the challenge of trying to say a lot in a short amount of time. Turner wanted to share the Gospel message and theology, and explain what it means to him as well as share the heart of serving a Savior — all in a four-minute song.
Turner is no stranger to writing real-life accounts in his tunes. He's had a successful mainstream career and is one of the youngest performers to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. He's sold more than 8 million albums and topped more than 1.5 billion in global streaming.
"I've said for almost two decades that God called me to be a country singer. I feel like I've done that to this point and I want to continue to do that beyond this record. But I was coming off a successful record and had just celebrated a No. 1 with 'Hometown Girl' and this opportunity was presented to me," he said of subsequently venturing into the gospel genre.
Turner had nothing scheduled to release for 2018 and he believes God sent him this project.
"I had the time to devote to it and I just felt like it was the Lord's timing. My fans have been asking for this for a long time. I've been wanting to do this for a long time, and I just really felt and I still feel like God's hand is on this project," he testified.
Some of the cuts on I Serve a Savior were recorded in Gaither studios in Alexandria, Indiana, and will be accompanied with a DVD release.
"It's something I've never done before," Turner gushed, saying that it was a great "joy" to work with the legendary Gaithers. "I'm just so proud of the record and the DVD."
Turner ended the interview with advice for all people in this day and age where life at times can be very negative.
"We as performers, we have the freedom to choose what we watch and what we listen to," he said. "It amazes me how many people will go to a movie theater and 15-minutes into the movie, they'll realize that it's a bad movie, but they won't leave, they'll just sit there and watch the whole thing."
"We have the freedom to choose. So for me, when somebody listens to one of my records or goes to one of my shows or listens to one of my interviews, I want them to feel better about themselves and about the world around them," Turner concluded. "Because I realized that I can either use or abuse my platform and I just choose to use it. And I just try to appeal to the human nature in my fans and in my listeners because whether you're from the woods of South Carolina or the ghetto in Brooklyn, we're still human and we have a lot of emotions; we have a heart; we have a brain. I try to deal with that part of people in my music."
I Serve a Savior will be released on Oct. 26. Along with well-known classics, it features a new song titled, "The River (of Happiness)," written by his wife, Jennifer, and their eldest son, Hampton. Along with the 12-song release, Turner's 90-minute live performance DVD, filmed at Gaither Studios, will include a special interview of Turner with gospel legend Bill Gaither.
For more information on Turner's new album and DVD, visit JoshTurner.com.