UK worship leader Mikey Powell has released his new single 'Is There Anything Too Hard For You'. Louder Than The Music chatted with Mikey to find out all about his music, his plans for an intriguingly titled worship EP, and why he thinks it's important to have fun during worship!
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
So, I'm a Worship Leader and songwriter based in Southampton. I am the Worship Director for New Community Church there. I am married to Emily, who is currently training to be a midwife, and we have a cat called Noah. I grew up in a pretty musical family. Started learning the recorder when I was 6, which rapidly became the clarinet, which then became the electric guitar. I was leading the worship team at my home church when I was 16, then went off to study music in Southampton and the rest, as they say, is history!
Tell us about your new single 'Is There Anything Too Hard For You' and what the inspiration behind it was?
Is There Anything Too Hard For You started its life in a moment of personal worship - just me and my guitar. I was singing around that very line from Genesis - is there anything too hard for the Lord. I wanted to focus on the way that God turns lives and situations around - that no-one is too lost for him, that he can make all things new. It's gone on quite a journey since that first time of worship - I don't think I even remember how the original version went! Now we have this gentle, slow-burning folk feel that sort of bursts into life by the end. I even play ukulele and clarinet on the final track!
That single is taken from your forthcoming EP, what more can you tell us about the EP?
It's been a dream of mine to release a collection of worship songs, so it's super exciting to see that coming to life. Is There Anything Too Hard For You is the final single before I unleash the whole EP onto the world. It's going to be called The Snowball Chronicles Vol. 1: Symphony of Grace. Which I will admit, is an unusual title. It comes from a line I read in a Jeff Lucas book that said trying to describe God is a bit like lobbing snowballs at the moon. If you want to know more, you'll just have to listen when it comes out!
What message would you like people to take from your music?
I'm passionate about writing songs and leading worship that is authentic, creative, and - dare we say it - fun. I want to write lyrics that are honest and speak to where people are at - that find new ways of expressing old truths. I want to push boundaries with how I package that. Try new things. And even have some fun while doing it! I'd love to see some more fun in worship music - I firmly believe that having fun and taking something seriously are not mutually exclusive concepts.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
With difficulty, to be honest! I always struggle to answer these kinds of questions. I grew up listening to Delirious, U2 and Muse. And then as I went off to Uni, I discovered stuff like John Mayer, Sting and a bit of Gungor. Now I'm listening to more indie pop vibes. I think you can hear a bit more of The 1975 in this EP. So probably a little mix of all of that!
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
What a question! There are so many - Sting, Bono, Michael Gungor, Israel Houghton. I've recently been listening to Maisie Peters, who I think is an incredible songwriter. Just a wonderful - and often very funny - way with words. But I think I'd have to go with Martin Smith - Delirious were such a huge influence on me and my musical journey as a teenager. I think Martin and I would complement each other well. We could write a mean worship anthem. He could sing the notes I can't reach!
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
Wow, you're really going for it with these questions! One time someone asked for a song that I'd written to be sung as their baptismal song. I found that incredibly moving. It's those moments that represent success for me - people finding meaning and encountering God through my songs. That's the goal, really.
What is your favorite album of all time?
I think it's got to be either John Mayer's Continuum or Sting's Ten Summoner's Tales. I think today it's Ten Summoner's Tales. Ask me another day and it might be John Mayer though!
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
Firstly, I'm assuming I've already used my phone to try and contact somebody? And do I have headphones on me? Because nobody wants the last song they hear to have no bass. I'm actually going to go with a left-field choice here and say the 2nd Movement from Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2. It's utterly beautiful. Just strings and piano. If you haven't heard it, do yourself a favour - grab a pair of headphones and close your eyes for 6 minutes or so. The piano entry is one of the most glorious moments in the history of music.
What does the next year hold for you?
Well, the main thing is finishing this EP! Once that's done, I'm going to enjoy having no particular goal for a bit. But I'm sure new music will be on its way. After all, it is The Snowball Chronicles, Volume 1. It would be rude not to do at least a second volume...