Bryan Popin has jammed with Stevie Wonder and written for Justin Timberlake and *NSYNC. He’s also learned the hard lessons that come when you craft an idol from your dreams, chasing them for your own fame. I Got Out (buy) is the story of an artist breaking that mentality, a set of musical stories that share Popin’s journey from selfish desires to God-ward hopes. In the process, he’s been blessed with an even bigger platform.
We recently asked Popin to tell us a bit more about the meaning behind his new album title and how others are responding to the new songs. He also tells us about the day that Stevie Wonder just happened to give him a memorable nickname.
CCM Magazine: The new album title is I Got Out and your own bio refers to coming out of some difficult trials while writing this album. Does that refer, then, to you making your way out of a specific situation?
Bryan Popin: Everybody assumes that I Got Out refers to one specific thing I “got out of…” It does, but there are a lot of those things. You’re never going to have a perfect life. Even if God intervenes in something you’re struggling with and that season is over, there’s always something else. I think human nature is that we want certain things in life—a certain career or a bonus, let’s say. There’s always something else to attain; nothing is ever good enough. I got to a place where I Got Out was more of a mentality of…getting out of that mentality. It was realizing that God alone in my life, my family alone in my life, my wife alone in my life—it’s not that I didn’t value them, but I was already blessed because of them all. I didn’t need to attain another hit, or this or that.
I Got Out, for me, is all about a mentality, but it does refer to specific things. I almost lost my marriage. I was pursuing a career in music and even letting my ministry be an idol in my life. It was put in front of everything. I was always questioning God, wondering how He was going to do this, or how we could afford that. I was always worrying rather than trusting God through it. So I had to learn even in my own life how to put God first and how to worship and praise through all of the mess. Once I did that, my marriage and my priorities were back in order. I started serving at my local church more than trying to promote my local ministry. Then at that point, God started promoting my ministry and connecting me with the right people.
I even almost went bankrupt. Again, God intervened in that situation. I had land that we’d owned for thirteen years that we were trying to build a studio and a home on, and I almost lost that. The bank wanted me to pay it off and I couldn’t. Lo and behold, someone intervened to help me get another loan and secure it, and then we were able to build. I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you’re living through it and you’re desperate, it is. In general, I got out of a lot of stuff, but it was more of a mentality of learning to speak life in situations. We’re all walking in these same struggles.
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