Interview: Luke Wareham
Worship leaders and songwriters, Luke Wareham and Rachel Mason, have been steadily building a reputation as some of the most exciting writers on the UK Christian music scene over the past few years. Louder Than The Music caught up with Luke to find out how the pandemic has affected the way he approaches life and music, the process behind their songwriting, and his hopes for the future.
It's been exactly a year since we last interviewed you, and back then we were all just getting used to lockdowns and new ways of working. How has the last year has been for you?
This year has been challenging hasn’t it! I work as a youth worker for Bristol City Council and we have been able to keep delivering youth work for the most vulnerable and marginalised young people which has been really good and a chance to shine some light into the darkness. And I am getting married! In terms of music I have been releasing new songs with my friends Rachel Mason and Matt Caddick which has been produced by the amazing Tim and Jon Stephenson. It has been amazing to see these songs speak to people and Rachel and I came no.1 in your 2020 Louder Than The Music awards, we were winners of the International Radio Awards and we were also nominated for the 2021 Hollywood Music in Media Awards which was really exciting to be part of!
How have you adjusted the way you work since the pandemic began?
Leading worship at church has been different particularly with people not being able to sing and I have found myself learning more and more about leading worship for an online congregation. I have found myself worship leading in these ‘fish tanks’ due to social distancing!! One of the positives we have seen come out of the pandemic in relation to online church is the reach that it has had on people who have not been coming to church on a Sunday.
You've just released a new song called 'Forgiven', tell us a little about the song and the story behind it?
Forgiven is based on a simple, yet miraculous, Biblical concept. The concept of every sin we've ever committed, every transgression, every miserable failure, fault and frailty - being washed clean by Jesus’ act of forgiveness on the cross.
Co-writer Damon who came to Rachel Mason and I with the concept for the song says ‘As I sat in my church in Carmel, Indiana one weekend and heard our pastor call anybody to invite Jesus Christ into their life as Lord and Saviour, I considered the simplicity of what WE have to do (accept Christ and humbly ask forgiveness) against the backdrop of how massive and miraculous is the gift HE gives in return. He gives us eternal salvation and a forever home in the presence of God. And so the song ‘Forgiven’ was born out of this realization. If forgiven is all that we’re given, then we still get an eternity in Heaven. It's a pretty immense reality, for any sinner... like me’.
Forgiveness is something that many people really struggle to understand, how God can forgive us fully. Do you have any advice for people who feel like that?
I love the song ‘Christ be magnified’ by Cody Carnes and these words speak to me particularly when thinking about forgiveness and understanding the magnitude of what Jesus did for us and how it transforms our daily lives and life outlook not matter what we have done tne key for me is how forgiveness leads to transformation.
And if it puts me in the fire, I'll rejoice 'cause You're there too
I won't be formed by feelings, I hold fast to what is true
If the cross brings transformation then I'll be crucified with You
'Cause death is just the doorway into resurrection life
And if I join You in Your suffering, then I'll join You when You rise
And when You return in glory with all the angels and the saints
My heart will still be singing, my song will be the same’.
You and Rachel have co-written this song with Damon Brown, can you explain how the process of actually co-writing a song works for you?
I love co-writing and this song ‘Forgiven’ was written with Rachel whose friend Damon came to us with the concept for the song. Rachel is a close friend and I lead worship with her at our local church. Rachel is great to co-write with as she is always encouraging. Rachel has a heart for raising others up and has a lot of experience in the music industry. We work really well together and have enjoyed supporting and encouraging each other as we’ve worked on the new music.
At the moment a lot of my song writing is done virtually over zoom which has actually helped in terms of travel and distance. I feel co-writing works for me as I am always trying to learn off better songwriters and I love how co-writing if done well brings out different strengths in people.
Talk us through your writing process - do ideas come to you fully formed, do you have a book full of ideas just dip into, do you set aside dedicated time to write... how does it happen for you?
For me my writing process starts as I worship by myself often in my bedroom. I have a journal which I use to write down ideas throughout the week particularly as I listen to talks on a Sunday or a podcast. I strive to write songs that are biblically focused so I read the bible and just worship! I think it’s important to base my songs on scripture from the Bible, both Old and New Testament, because the Bible is God’s word inspired by the Holy Spirit and it points us to the God we worship. The Bible also guides us in our faith and everyday life. Then I take these ideas to some trusted songwriting friends and we set aside a time to write together and pray about the songs.
When can we expect to hear more new music from you?
I am in the process of writing new songs with some friends and will be releasing new music throughout the year. Rachel and I are also finishing off another EP which we cannot wait to release. I would love to do a ‘live album’ this year including songs already released and brand new songs.
What are your plans for the rest of this year?
Looking ahead to 2021 I have already started writing new songs with some of my friends. And I would love to share the songs with the wider church and will be leading worship online, in my local church and at different events particularly over the summer as festivals gradually open back up. I cannot wait to the time when we can sing together!!!
My prayer this year is that the songs I write would:
- Bring hope to a broken world.
- Speaking the prophetic truth of Jesus into everyday life situations.
- Help people to have a sense of wonder and love from God that will help them get through everyday life and to fix their eyes on Jesus.