Kindred Concerts is proud to announce Eddy Mann as our February Artist of the month. Eddy is an incredibly talented and gifted musician, songwriter and worship leader. We recently were able to spend some time getting to know him better through a recent interview with him about his life, ministry and music.
On your bio, you share that you wear a lot of hats. You describe yourself as a worship leader, musician, songwriter, teacher, speaker, coach, husband, and father. How do you juggle so many roles without burning out and which role is your favorite and why?
I was taught early on in life about balance. When I was young and growing up a balanced diet and lifestyle was a part of each day.That lifestyle always included God’s Word. I’ve always been aware of His presence in the everyday moments. So as an adult it was an easy transformation when different opportunities presented themselves. I count myself blessed that I love what I do, that His hand is guiding me, and that I have the opportunity to serve.
My favorite role is always what I’m currently doing. It’s always an all out effort to please my maker. I don’t know any other way.
How did you get your start in music?
My father played Bebop piano so it was in my blood, but like most kids I wasn’t a very good student in my tween years. It was while I was in college that I discovered that my passion was writing. At that point my focus changed. I couldn’t learn enough, or practice enough.
Twenty some years ago, you shared that you made the decision to offer your creative gifts to God. What were you doing before that and what caused you to have a change of heart and turn towards ministry, or more specifically the role of worship leader?
I played professionally for many years before meeting my wife. When we started a family I wanted my kids to know who I was so I took a teaching position. I wrote a song one day during my teacher prep time that changed my life. It was just a simple song called “Swept Up in Joy” but it opened my heart up and I made a decision at that moment to offer my gifts back to God. The role of worship leader was all God’s idea. I had my sights set on being a Christian artist (recordings and concerts). Then I got a call from a pastor that I didn’t know, but that God, in His own way, had led to one of my CDs. Now fifteen some years later I’m still at the same church and have had an amazing amount of opportunities to lead at home and on the road.
Now as I mentioned earlier you call yourself a worship leader. If you were to define the word worship what would you say is true worship?
Well I think what we do on Sunday morning should just be an outgrowth of what we do everyday. The Bible tells us that all we say and do, all day, everyday, should be an act of worship.
The worship music that you write is 100 percent original. With the recent popularity of mainstream worship we find more and more worship becoming very intricate with lengthy guitar solos or huge stadium production. It’s edgier, louder and more intense than things we grew up with. How would you describe your style of music and what makes your worship style different from what most churches would view as worship?
I think it’s important to understand as leaders that what we need to do is write in a voice that touches our own congregations. Write in a language that’s in tune with our pastor’s. In other words, I may find any number of current (or traditional hymns) songs that fit our need, but just because it’s being played at Passion or Hillsong doesn’t mean it’s right for us. That being said, as our congregation experiences different seasons, so does the music I write.
Now you just came out with a brand new CD called Who We Are. Could you give us an overview of the CD and share briefly what the listener should expect when they pop it into their CD player?
From the beginning I wanted this CD to sound like it was recorded in the listener’s living room. The texts were written over a period of time when our sermon series was focused on our statement of faith. So I was writing weekly for that week’s message and the songs just kind of came about very easily. I wanted the listener to have a CD that would allow them to experience a quiet, personal and spiritual time of worship.
One of my favorite songs from the CD is a song called My Grateful Heart. I love it because the lyrics are so honest and straight from the heart. The message is so simplistic but in the same element is deeply profound. In the song you share your gratefulness to God for all He’s done for you and how through everything you do you’re going to give that thankfulness back to God. My favorite line In the song is where you say, “There’s no hiding how I feel, all my praise and worship’s real. Nestled to serve by your guiding hand, Lord know my grateful heart.” Mirroring the idea found in Romans 1:16, could you elaborate on how this came to be written?
I‘ve always been intrigued with the idea of authentic worship. You can tell when someone’s left the building so to speak. I’ve had worship moments when I totally forgot where I was, I just kind of engaged with God and like David the joy overcame me. I love that, and when I was writing this I was trying to capture those moments or feelings on paper. It really has touched quite few people already and turned out to be very hymn like in it’s finished form.
Another song that I absolutely love is the opening track “Beautiful Day.” Though it’s only 1 minute and 45 seconds long, I love the beauty and simplicity of the song how we can join in creation in giving praise and glory to God. It reminds me of the scripture verse found in Luke 19:40 which talks about if we don’t give God praise, creation will. Could you talk about this song and was that part of the thought process when you wrote it?
Yeah, I’ve been in a season of mindfulness for some time now and it’s made me very aware of how creation is praising God constantly. I wrote this very quickly one morning and didn’t consider it for the CD. It was an accountability friend that said you have to record this, and it should open up the project.
I also love the lyrics to the song “We Are The Body of Christ.” The reason I love the lyrics is because in the song you’re not afraid to challenge the body of believers. In the chorus you say, “In community our hands our building, in community we share the weight, in community our eyes see the less fortunate. Together we’re the body of Christ.” As the body of believers in Christ, we have an obligation given to us by God, however many times we sit on our hands saying that’s not my job or we say to ourselves, someone else will do it. Could you talk about the idea of this song and how we as believers need to step up and take action?
This is a common theme for our church. So I really didn’t feel like I was on the front lines with this idea when I brought it to our service. But what I’ve found the most satisfying, is how well it’s been received outside of our church. It seems to reach people on a level that inspires them without passing any kind of judgment.
You’ve shared that you feel your calling is to be a worship leader and song writer to fellow believers, something that I believe is much needed amidst the body of Christ. What has the churches response to your leading been? Do you find it hard to kind of in a sense preach to the choir?
Well God has brought me to a place of leadership within the church, but that doesn’t discount the lost that have as yet found His peace. I’m challenged and enjoy, as you say, preaching to the choir, but I’m just as passionate about reaching those who don’t know His love. If I allow God to work through me, it’s never hard to do what I do. The secret for me is getting out of His way. Being a worship leader can sometimes be tough because people look to you to lead them into the presence of God. How do you detract from the idea of being into the spotlight to keeping people’s focus off of you and on to God? I think I touched on this just a moment ago. I’m constantly trying to get out of His way… God’s always at work trying to be in fellowship, in conversation, in prayer with His children. I just want to help create that meeting place.
Now you’ve been writing music and worship songs for awhile now. As a songwriter, there’s always a process. For some, they write the music first then fill in lyrics later. Others use lyrics and then build around that. What would you say is your process to creating a song?
Wow, no simple answer for this one. Let me see if I can paint some kind of clear picture. You know how God can find endless ways to touch us? Well for me, He seems to find endless ways of inspiring me. It can be the most unusual or common thing, but it lights something up inside of me and I feel the need to let God speak through me. Here again, I pray and then try to stay out of His way.
Getting back to your CD, one of the most beautiful guitar riffs can be found on the song “Through His Life.” In the song you share that we find our path of God through the life of Jesus. We find our path to God, through what He teaches. That ultimately everything we need to about our faith and relationship to God can be learned by following after the example and life of Jesus. Can you talk about this idea in more details and share how we can experience this in our own lives?
I think sometimes we try and make things more difficult then they are. We look deeper for some secret message while missing the obvious. My personal relationship with God is one based on the simplest of ideas… modeling Jesus. ‘Through His Life’ is just my attempt at making a black and white statement concerning the most important commandment, to love one another.
Another topic that you focus on in this CD is the idea of Christ’s return. In both “Christ Will Come Again” and “He’s Coming,” you share that in fact Jesus came to earth, he died on the cross, rose again and is coming back. Can you talk about the idea behind this song and what this means to not only Christians, but non believers as well?
‘He’s Coming’ has an unusual story behind it. It was written as part of an online worship leader community challenge. The monthly challenge was to write a Christmas song. The awkwardness for me was that I was in the middle of spending a month’s vacation in Florida. I actually wrote the song on the beach, in the middle of August. Though it was inspired by the book of Isaiah, and has been a wonderfully powerful worship song leading up to Christmas, it speaks clearly about the return of Christ. I don’t subscribe to the scare approach to Jesus’ return. My approach is one of great expectation and joy. My heart was given over to God a long time ago. So I have no fear and that’s the message I choose to share with nonbelievers. I’ve found it to be one that has been very successful at turning other hearts toward Him.
We’ve been talking a lot about your music and we’ve been featuring many of the songs on your upcoming CD, But many people reading this right now might be thinking these songs are great, how do I get a copy of their music? Where can we find your music?
Most if not all can be found at the usual online outlets… iTunes, cdbaby, amazon and always at live events. A good place to start is eddymann.com… and please sign-up to the mailing list so that we can stay in touch. It’s always a blessing for me to hear how the music is touching the lives of others.
As I was browsing your website, I stumbled across guitar chords for song that you have on your CD’s. I love this because I’m a guitarist and worship leader myself and thought it’d be cool to attempt to play some of your songs maybe at my church during worship. My question is, how do you feel about other people singing and playing your songs ?
My approach has always been to make the gifts available to others… to be a good servant. How God uses them is ultimately up to Him.
Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedules to do this interview with me. It has been so awesome getting to learn about your heart and passion for Jesus and your ministry.