Today’s Conversation with Leith Anderson features two innovators in Christian music: Eddie Carswell and David Crowder. Both have been in the Christian music industry for decades, producing award-winning albums and songs. In addition, Eddie launched Winter Jam, a Christian music tour that has outpaced any other tour’s attendance — including non-Christian tours — for the past four years.

In this podcast, you’ll hear two veterans of Christian music share:

  • The joys and challenges of this unique ministry space;
  • How they stay connected with the Body of Christ while on tours;
  • The ways in which the industry has changed in the past two decades; and
  • Advice for young artists.

Read a Portion of the Transcript

Leith: You’re both at a place where you’ve been richly blessed and highly successful. It’s maybe been hard along the way, but it’s gone really well. So what advice do you have for someone who’s just getting started in Christian music? At the beginning, it was mentioned about having to do marketing. And you know, somebody’s got a garage band. They don’t understand about marketing. How do you get started? And what do you tell someone who’s at the front end?

Crowder: Well, I have like a metaphor. If you are doing this, and if you do have any sort of visibility, “success” in the mind of someone who wants to do this, you get asked that a lot. And I tell everybody, “Tune your guitar.” That’d be Step #1. It’s like a metaphor for me, and it’s like there’s not a lot you can control. But there’s a lot you can actually do to at least to create an opportunity for being used, for the thing that God’s put in your heart. If this is what you’re just dying to do — you like your made and built to do this — then it’s probably there for a reason.

And if you can pay attention to where you’re placed — where your feet on the soil that you’re standing in right in that moment — and then give everything you have to that moment and the people you’re in front of right then or around or living with and just play, play, play, play, play, play. And if God wants to breathe into it, fantastic.

I think you’ve got to have open hands. And what he puts in your hand, you’re responsible with. What he takes, you’ve got open hands because that’s what you’re wanting to give. That’d be my deal. Tune your guitar. The rest of it: Don’t worry about it so much. If you’re worrying about getting seen or not seen, or being in that guy’s position or this gal’s position, you start getting really messed up. There are lots and lots of stories in Scripture that show that that doesn’t really end well. So, probably just tune your guitar. Keep your head down. Tune your guitar. Take care of what you can take care of.

Leith: Good advice. Eddie, what are you going to say to the young Christians wanting to get into the business?

Eddie: I love David Crowder’s “tune your guitar.” That’s good. I do think: Just do the things you can do. There’s no magic formula that David or I either one could tell anybody — or that anybody on this tour could tell somebody. “Here’s how you’ll get to do this, and you’ll be on Winter Jam. You do this; you’ll be on Winter Jam or you’ll be doing great.”

I do think if you are doing this, and you are doing it from “I feel like God called me to do this.” I think, first of all, don’t get so busy trying to do this that you don’t pay attention to reading your Bible, getting up. I think it’s a big deal to get up and start your day. I’m not 100 percent, but I try to be as close to 100 percent as I can get. Get up and spend a little time with the Lord every day, and pray and ask him to help me and show me, and all those things. Be serious about that. If you get to a point where you think your about to do something; You’re serious about your music and you’re not serious about the Lord, but you’re going to be in Christian music, you’re about to strike out again. Because it’s not going to work. You won’t have anything to say.

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Today’s Conversation is brought to you by the University of Northwestern – St. Paul.