A RIGHTEOUS RESPONSE PHIL WICKHAM SINGS A SONG OF AUTHENTICITY TO THE ONE WORTHY OF OUR WORSHIP by Caroline Lusk Phil Wickham is what tour mate Shane Bernard calls “an artist’s artist.” Endlessly creative, enormously talented and now, immensely accessible in a way unlike he’s been before. His latest album, Response, is a bit of a new direction for Wickham. More pared down production, purposeful lyrics and intentional ordering of tracks, Response is more than just another album. It’s more than just another worship album. Response is Phil’s act of worship. The new father sat down with CCM to tell us more about the creation and heart behind the project. CCM: This album seems quite different from some of your previous projects. What’s the intention behind it? What are you hoping that listeners will take with them? PHIL: The word response is a great definition of what worship is. It’s responding to who God is and what He’s done. It’s kind of a formula for worship—God reveals himself, whether it be through His creation or with what He’s doing in our hearts or through the Word. He reveals Himself in some way and our hearts just automatically respond to all that God is. That’s when worship happens. There’s no song called “Response” on Response; it’s just what I want the entire record to be...and then calling other people into that response as well. Something I can sing with the church and with the people... CCM: Each song seems to revolve around a singular aspect of worship. Can you walk us through some of the songs and the purpose they serve? PHIL: I had a few specific goals with this record. The first song I wanted to make sense at the beginning of a moment of worship. I wanted to be asking God to reveal himself. It’s called “Heaven Fall Down.” It’s that moment of asking Him to reveal Himself and make His presence known. Another song is called “Joy,” which I think is another response to who God is and what He’s done in our hearts. There’s happiness, which is one thing; but then there’s joy, which kind of supercedes happiness and even when we’re sad, there is some kind of deeper joy in Jesus that lasts even in dark times. There’s this hope beyond all badness that no one can take away. There’s another song called “This is the Day,” which was a personal response for me. I was leading worship at this thing called Harvest Crusade. And there were thousands of people who responded and said that they were going to believe in Jesus. And that was a response to God saving all these people. This is the day for salvation. And there’s a song called “Victory” at the end of the album. It’s about the cross and how, at the end of the day, we can stand on the victory of it. CCM: Everything about this record— the production, the lyrics, even the look of the album and artwork seems more pared down than your previous albums. Was that intentional? PHIL: From the way we went about recording to the visual elements, we wanted to cut any fat off, so to speak. We tried not to go off on any tangents. Sometimes tangents in art can be the best thing possible, but with this project we really wanted to be focused on what we wanted each 34 CCM Worship