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Phil Wickham Shares Songwriting Journey Behind New Album ‘I Believe’

Screenshot courtesy of Westmont Graduation 2020 on Vimeo

Phil Wickham Shares Songwriting Journey Behind New Album ‘I Believe’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Christian musician Phil Wickham recently opened up about the songwriting journey behind his latest 14-track album, “I Believe.”

Over two years ago, Wickham held a two-day song-writing session with Brandon Lake, Jonathan Smith, Steven Furtick and others. They wrote for more than 12 hours both days.

“I don’t think we even left to eat,” the singer-songwriter told Billboard.

Wickham credits his fellow writers for adding variety to the album. “Steven is a writer on so many songs that have just blanketed church music across the world. He understands how to dig deeper to find new ways of phrasing things,” Wickham said.

One of the album’s songs, “The Jesus Way,” first came about in 2020 as a poem. It serves as an acknowledgment of Jesus’ sacrifices and compassion.

“Jesus met people where they are at. He met the poor, visited with sick people that no one else wanted to be around,” Wickham said. “For years, I thought the poem was just for me, but earlier this year, I just felt like people should hear it.”

Wickham confessed his reluctance to transform the poem into a song: 

“I was reading the lyrics and realizing how far I was from that being the reality of my life. I can be selfish and quick to be impatient with people. I’ll think, ‘God’s been so gracious to me and I’m not showing grace right now.’ I hesitated to record it because it’s like, I know how much I fall short of it. But it was written, and it felt right, but it was a three-year process to write that song.”

Wickham shared the inspiration for the album’s standout song, “I Believe,” with Joy FM: 

“There are so many people in a state of crisis of their faith. The people I know closely (are asking) – what is real? What do I believe? Then, you look outside of the church and outside the faith, obviously looking for hope.”

“In a crazy world that seems like it’s shifting every week, they’re looking for some solid rock to stand on, that’s not shifting underneath their feet. And I believe I’ve found it – with all my heart – in the person of Jesus,” Wickham said.

Niagara Frontier Publications reported that “I Believe” is the biggest and most thoughtful project that Wickham has ever worked on. The artist also involved other musicians in his album. Maverick City member Naomi Raine and Elevation Worship singer Tiffany Hudson joined him on several tracks.

Movieguide® previously reported on Wickham’s collaboration with Raine:

 ‘I wanted another moment on the album where you hear more than just my voice, and I thought if I could have anyone on the album, it would be Naomi,’ he explained.

Without having a specific song, Wickham asked her to join his project. Looking for a time to meet, they realized they both had a free evening in Nashville and set up a recording session. A conversation turned into singing, which led to a song.

‘We had no title for it, we didn’t know what we would end up creating, but it became such a song in itself, a holy moment in the studio, we had to call it ‘Holy Moment,’’ Wickham said.


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