8 Keys for Leading Musicians, Designers, and Artists

Okay, so alot of us who run organizations, or manage teams, or have staff direct reports, are leading those who consider themselves to be ARTISTS of some sort.

Whether it’s musicians, or designers, or writers, or entertainers, or worship leaders, or those who sketch/paint/draw, I’m going to lump them all together for the sake of this conversation and my thoughts on how to best lead them.

Disclaimer: we are ALL artists. In regards that we all are called to create things of excellence. Some of us are way more “Artistic” at our core than others. That is who I’m talking about here. You know who they are on your team. Guaranteed.

I’m also VERY INTERESTED to hear from you on how you best lead/manage artists. Please comment below and share your thoughts.

Here are a few of my thoughts on effectively leading Musicians, Designers, and Artists:

1. Start with reality. Artists are different. Not in bad weird way. But in a great weird way. So just begin with this, and it will help tremendously.

2. Lead, don’t manage. Share vision, inspire, and let them loose. Managing an artist type like you would an accountant, or a project manager, or a typical hard charging type A, is not a good idea.

3. Be very specific on areas that most think are ambiguous. Most leaders think that because artists are spontaneous and spatial in their thinking, that they don’t want specifics. So alot of leaders will be totally ambiguous in their interactions with artists. But just the opposite. Most artists need and desire very clear, focused and specific direction. They don’t mind boundaries; in fact, they welcome them (more insight on this from my friend Tyler Reagin here).

4. Give them room to dream. This might mean they need to spend an afternoon at a coffee shop or in the park or at the lake. Let them do that.

5. Include them in the process. If you simply tell them what you want once you and everyone else have decided, you’ll probably get it. But including them in the creative process will create more buy in and probably a better outcome.

6. Allow them to decorate and make their area “their own.” Their office or cube or space needs to reflect who they are. Otherwise, finding inspiration could be tough in the office.

7. Release them into their areas of greatest strength. Don’t burden a great artist with tasks and responsibilities outside their strengths. If it’s a money thing, pay them less but let them do what they are great at. Most artists care way more about doing their “art” anyway.

8. Aggregate artists in “pairs” and team lead them. I like to always have at least two artists in a meeting, on a team, working on a project, sitting together, and ultimately working together. It gives them more energy and allows them to vent to each other. Also, if you have personality conflicts with artists on your team, then “team” lead them. Don’t take it personal, but figure out the best way to release them and inspire them. It might be that you are not the best person to do that, and it’s okay that someone else on your team is.

12 Music recommendations you don’t want to miss

in Favorite New Things,Friends and Links,Misc,Music. No Comments

Here you go, 12 artists and 12 albums worth the download. Enjoy!

1. Gungor- I am Mountain

2. Matt Redman- Your Grace Finds Me

3. Johnny Swim- Heart Beats (EP)

4. Hillsong Young and Free- We are Young + Free

5. Phil Wickham- The Ascension

6. All Sons and Daughters- LIVE

7. Austin Stone Worship- King of Love  (releases Oct 22)

8. Martin Smith- God’s Great Dance Floor, Step 02

9. Matt Maher- All the People Said Amen

10. FlameRoyal Flush

11. Brian and Katie Torwalt - Kingdom Come (releases Oct 15)

12. Young Oceans- Advent

An interview with Hillsong songwriter and worship leader Reuben Morgan

in Friends and Links,Interviews,Misc,Music. 1 Comment

I recently caught up with Reuben Morgan, prolific songwriter, artist and worship leader with Hillsong Church.

Reuben is one of the most influential songwriters of our generation. He has written or co-written such powerful worships songs such as Cornerstone, God is Able, Mighty to Save, Awakening, and Forever Reign, among many others.

The new album Glorious Ruins from Hillsong Live is powerful, epic and amazing. Check it out.

In part one below, we talk about the new Glorious Ruins album, a few specific songs from the album, how Hillsong maintains a distinct sound, and Reuben’s move to London in the past year.

In part two below, we talk leadership, what makes a great leadership culture, and some of the key leadership essentials that make up the Hillsong DNA.

- New album- Glorious Ruins- tell us about it.

- Christ is Enough is one of the feature songs on the album (which you wrote), along with Glorious Ruins as the feature track and name of the album. Talk about each of those songs.

- You also co-wrote Glorify Your Name with Chris Tomlin. Give us insight into that song.

- How do you all maintain the integrity of songwriting, and the sound of a Hillsong worship song?

- You are now spending your time in London. Talk about what is happening there at Hillsong London.

- You’ve been around the Hillsong culture for a long time- what are the few key leadership essentials/traits that you see all the time and that seem to be embodied within the Hillsong culture?

- How about for you? In terms of leading, what would you say is key and crucial regarding leaders who you are now influencing?

- I’ll give you the last word.

15 Music Albums I recommend (Worship albums)

in Friends and Links,Music. 2 Comments

For all of you who love worship songs, here is my most recent list of albums I recommend:

1. Hillsong Live- Glorious Ruins; (releases on July 2)

2. Passion- Let the Future Begin

3. All Sons and Daughters- Live

4. Hillsong United- Zion

5. Worship Central- Let it Be Known

6. Rend Collective Experiment- Campfire

7. Darlene Zschech- Revealing Jesus

8. Jesus Culture- Live from New York

9. Chris Tomlin- Burning Lights 

10. The City Harmonic- I Have a Dream

11. Mali Music- The 2econd Coming

12. Tim Timmons- Cast My Cares

13. Matt Maher- All the People Said Amen

14. Kim Walker-Smith- Still Believe

15. Page CXVI- Lullabies

**Bonus: Carlos Whittaker- Fight

 

Your Song (s) right now

in Music. 2 Comments

What is the song right now that is on repeat on your iPhone or in iTunes at your desk in the office?

Your theme song you might say for the dog days of summer…

I have five songs right now that are on repeat:

Come to the Water- from the new Brett Younker album

I Surrender- from the new Hillsong Cornerstone album (releasing tomorrow!)

No One Higher- from the newly released North Point Inside out Live album, and soon to release on the North Point Live album.

I Know You- from the new Bellarive album

10,000 Reasons- been out a while, but this Matt Redman song is epic!

What you got?

 

 

 

10 Organizations creating great worship music

in Favorite New Things,Music. 19 Comments

Here are some organizations (churches primarily), that in my opinion, are writing, creating, singing and releasing great songs for the entire Church around the world to sing. This is not an exhaustive list or a top ten list. Just wanted to provide this so you will be able to check out all of their music and maybe include some of their songs into your rotation and put on your iTunes list.

1. Passion- Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Matt Redman, David Crowder and more

2. Hillsong- Darlene Zschech, Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston, Pete Wilson and more

3. North Point- Eddie Kirkland, Seth Condrey, Casey Darnell, Todd Fields, Candi Shelton and more

4. Bethel/Jesus Culture- Kim Walker-Smith, Chris Quilala, Jenn Johnson, and more

5. Holy Trinity Brompton/Worship Central- Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon and the Worship Central band

6. Reach Records/Reach Ministries- Lecrae, Tripp Lee, Tedashii, and others

7. New Life Church/Desperation Band- led by Jon Egan, and birthed out of Desperation Ministries, the student ministry of New LIfe Church

8. Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church- Charles Jenkins and the Fellowship Choir

9. Elevation Church- Wade Joye, Mack Brock, Chris Brown, London Gatch and more

10. Austin Stone- Aaron Ivey, Jimmy McNeal, Kyle Lent, and more

other organizations to check out: Victory World Music, Bayside Church, Gateway Worship, Lakewood, 12Stone.

Who else would you recommend? 

Highlights from my interview with Chris Tomlin

in Interviews,Music. No Comments

Back in the summer I sat down with my friend Chris Tomlin, singer, songwriter, worship leader and pastor at Passion City Church. You can listen to that interview here or better yet, download from iTunes for Free. 

Here are some highlights from the interview with Chris, as captured by Brian Dodd originally in this post he did.

  1. “We’re trying to navigate who’s in our church…Who’s at the core.”
  2. “The church is not a physical building. The church is people.”
  3. “It’s (leading worship) serious business because you’re dealing with people.”
  4. I’m trying to write the songs for the church. I’m not trying to write the next radio hit.”
  5. “From cribs to the end of life we want one central theme in this church, the glory of Jesus Christ.”
  6. It’s the greatest mystery I’ve ever known.” – Paul McCartney on song writing.
  7. “At the end of the day I am trying to write a response to God.”
  8. “He (Louie Giglio) started building me up and believing in me, mentoring me…Everyone needs someone who believes in you.”
  9. The poorer you are, the richer in faith.”
  10. “The biggest thing in planting a church is to listen…listen more than you talk…Leading with humility.”
  11. God gives different people different influence at different times.”
  12. What is going to change the world is a few. The few people will live and die for it.”
  13. “When you’re becoming a band mate, you’re hiring a friend more than a musician.”
  14. Anyone who does leadership…. it’s so tough because you make decisions that affect a lot of people…Anyone who has a sense of care and compassion carries that.”
  15. “It’s good that the pastor does not see the worship time as a warm-up for his message.”
  16. “He (Giglio) is completely engaged with us.”
  17. “When you get done (with your worship set), it’s not a time to sit in the green room.”
  18. Louie makes edits to what I’m thinking all the time.”
  19. “At the end of the day, the pastor is the lead worshiper of the church. As a musician you have to put yourself under that.”
  20. You’re not going to change the church past where the pastor thinks it ought to go.”
  21. “Will you give me simple songs God that people can sing?”
  22. “Songwriting is not a weird or magical thing. It takes work and we take it very seriously. You don’t just sit down at a piano and start playing. You have to work at it. Same thing with writing songs.”
  23. “I always pray that the Presence of God on these songs is what will connect with people.”
  24. You don’t just cruise through life by yourself. You have to have people all along the way that God has placed in your life to take you to the next step and help you understand what God has wired you to do.”

You can follow Chris on Twitter.

And I can’t wait for the new Passion 2012 Live Album that will release in March. If you were at Passion 2012 earlier this month, you had the chance to sing the songs that Chris, Christy Nockels, Matt Redman, Kristian Stanfill, and the rest of the Passion crew have written for the global Church and will soon be available to all.