Hello Meredith Andrews. How are you doing? Where are you currently?
Great! I'm sitting in my living room watching the snow fall outside. It's a cold day in Chicago!
How’s 2011 going thus far?
So far, so good! I was in Haiti during the second week of January spending time with about 50 orphans. Being with the people of Haiti and seeing the hope they have in Jesus regardless of their circumstances was absolutely the best way to kick off the new year.
If people don’t know what you and your music are about, how would you describe yourself?
I'm a worship leader at Harvest Bible Chapel outside Chicago. My goal in writing music is to express the honesty of my heart to the Lord, attempt to capture at least a glimpse of His majesty and goodness and love in each song, and relate to the listener in a way that will ultimately draw them closer to Jesus.
When did you give your life to God and what made your life turn in God’s direction?
I was raised in a Christian home and gave my life to the Lord when I was six years old. Even as a kid, there was an awareness that I was made for something bigger than myself, and I experienced the presence of God at a young age. God began to reveal Himself to me through His Word and other means, and I simply responded to His beckoning.
You've had a number of releases. Which would you say was your most successful and how would you define success?
I'm going to take a guess and say that The Invitation was the most 'successful', simply because it sold more than my other projects. (I honestly don't keep track of the numbers. I choose not to.) I believe that success is less about record sales and more about being faithful to God's calling. If I've sought to honor the Lord through my music and ministry and loved people sincerely, I have done what God as asked of me.
What’s your favourite track from your albums? Which do you most enjoy playing live?
The River and Show Me What It Means are probably my favorite tracks from The Invitation. Come Home and What It Means To Love are very personal to me. Live Through Me is a bit of a departure from what I normally write. All Will Fade Away talks about the temporary nature of this world and the joy that will come when we finally see Jesus. These are all from As Long As It Takes. I enjoy playing each of these songs live as well as You're Not Alone because I know how much it resonates with people.
What message do you want to give through your music?
The Gospel. I know that sounds simple but it's everything. I want to communicate the relentless, unfailing love that God has for each individual in a way that will inspire the listener to run after Him in return. When that happens, we get a glimpse of God's heart for the world , and that becomes our heart as well. I hope to write songs that challenge the Church to rise up and be the Church, to love the world like Jesus does and put that love into action.
Do you prefer worship leading or performing as a Christian artist?
I honestly love both. I will say that there's nothing like leading the people of God into the presence of God, however. And when it comes to singing songs I've written, I see it not as a performance but as a time of ministry where I can share the stories behind the songs and hopefully encourage the hearts of the audience.
Your last album As Long As It Takes was released at the start of 2010. What is your favourite track from the album?
That's a hard one. All the songs from As Long As It Takes were so personal and vulnerable for me, so they each have a special place in my heart. Perhaps Come Home is just slightly above the rest. It's a song I wrote for my brother, Derek.
Back to your roots, how did you first come to music?
My mom and I used to sing together in our church and other area churches. I sang my first solo when I was six and basically never stopped singing. :) When I was twelve I began singing back ground vocals and playing tambourine for our youth band and that eventually morphed into playing keys and leading worship.
Where do you find influences?
Rita Springer. Nichole Nordeman. Darlene Zschech. Mother Teresa. My parents.
Who would you love to perform with, past or present?
Past: Keith Green. Present: U2. :)
What artists have you most loved sharing a stage with?
Matt Maher. Michael W. Smith. Phil Wickham. Natalie Grant. Chris Sligh.
What are you currently listening to on your mp3 player?
The new Taylor Swift record.
Who do you think is going to sum up the sound of 2011?
I'm going to go with producers Max Martin and Dr. Luke (i.e. Katy Perry).
God's Earth is a huge place, where have you most enjoyed visiting, what cultures have you embraced?
Haiti, Guatemala and India would be my top three favorite places I've been outside of the US, not necessarily because of the country itself but more because of the people and culture. I miss my home state of North Carolina. I'm intrigued by New Orleans. I wish I could live in Southern California or Hawaii.
What's the best live performance you’ve played?
I'm not sure what the best would be, but I have lots of memorable ones. A show in particular that stands out to me is one we did in upstate New York back in October. Sold out venue. Just me and my husband Jacob on keys. A solid hour and a half of ministry. It was an unforgettable night of worship.
What do you miss the most when you’re on the road touring?
In this season of life I am able to take my two favorites with me on the road: my husband Jacob and baby boy Maverick. If I miss anything it would probably be my bed. :)
If Meredith Andrews was a Jelly Bean, what colour and flavour would you be and why?
Let's go with Passion Fruit. A little bit of sweet, a little bit of tangy, and a whole lot of passion for life.
Some quick fire questions:
Tea or coffee?
Summer or winter?
Superman or Batman?
Mac or PC?
Bread or Wine?
Bread...if it's wheat or whole grain. :)
Favourite passage from the Bible?
Acts 20:24 - "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me: the task of testifying to the Gospel of God's grace." I love John 15 as well.
You had a child not so long ago. Massive congratulations! How are you finding being a mother? Will you still continue worship leading, writing music and performing?
Thank you! It's been the most amazing journey of my life. The Lord is teaching me so much of His love for me through my boy, Maverick. It's not without its challenges (there have been days where I didn't brush my teeth until 4:30 in the afternoon) but it's such an indescribable love. And yes, I started leading worship again at my church just two weeks after he was born and have been traveling since Mav was one month old. He's my little roadie. :)
How does it feel being in a position where you can influence so many young people?
Do you feel the pressure or does God talk easily through you and your music?
I don't feel a pressure necessarily, but it's not something I take lightly at all. Being able to influence young people is one of the biggest privileges and responsibilities of what I do. I hope to encourage young people to run after the Lord knowing that nothing can fulfil their lives like He can.
What’s coming up in 2011 and next on the agenda for Meredith Andrews? Nappies aside :)
Haha, well there will be plenty of those for sure. :) I will continue to lead worship at Harvest every weekend I'm not on the road. I'll be leading worship for a couple women's conferences coming up including Girls of Grace and Extraordinary Women. I hope to do a tour with another worship artist and organization called Children's Hope Chest that will revolve around informing and mobilizing the Church to get involved in orphan care. I hope to return to Haiti before 2011 is out. There may even be a new record on the horizon; I'll definitely be writing new songs so we'll see what happens!
And finally, how would you describe the love of God for all those peoplewho are unsure of their direction and of course those already on their journey with Christ?
Since I've been a mom, the Lord has pretty much revolutionized the way I understand His love. I know how much I love Maverick no matter what he's doing at the moment. Whether he's screaming his head off or laughing or even leaking out of his 'nappie,' my love for him never changes. How much greater then is the love the Father has for us! His love is not based on our performance or position. He doesn't love us more on our good days and less on our bad days. His love for us is always relentless and sacrificial and unconditional. He loves us because we are His (1 John 3:1). He even went to the cross to prove it. And there is no greater love than that.