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From an Interview with Audrey Assad

Below are three answers that I liked from an interview, The Fortunate Faith of Audrey Assad, that Audrey Assad did in 2013 with The Catholic World Report. Emphases in itlalics and red are mine and indicate parts of her answers that I especially liked and appreciated

Assad: After making my first two albums (and after a few years in the music business) I found myself at a personal crossroads: I asked myself what, as a Catholic, I should be doing in the world—and how I should be making music. In that period of discernment I came to the conclusion that there is no room in my artist’s heart for making “Christian pop” — less still for making what has come to be known as “Contemporary Christian music.” In these phrases, the word “Christian” is a modifier, not a noun—essentially, it’s become a marketing term. I don’t believe that’s how the word should be used. So going forward, I don’t make “Christian music”, even when it’s intended for the Church. I make Church music, and that’s what Fortunate Fall is.

Assad: Being Catholic has affected me in more and bigger ways than I could possibly hope to communicate. The Sacraments have a way of changing people, and I can attest to that personally. As an artist specifically, though, I can say that it has given me freedom and permission to be bolder, braver, and better in my art. Not only has it permitted me to, but it has instructed me to do so, in both its teaching and in its long tradition of sacred and non-sacred art. Since coming into the Church I have split my career into different sections—one being Church music, in which Fortunate Fall is included, and one being pop music, which I am working on under another name (LEVV). Being Catholic has made these two things seamless and permissible, even beneficial; my Evangelical upbringing made it difficult for me to see how a song that didn’t say “Jesus” could be beautiful, good, or true. I now know that Beauty is not really about overtness or agenda—that is closer to propaganda than art. (Propaganda is not always a bad thing, by the way. But I am not a propagandist, I am an artist.)

CWR: What can Catholics do better to invade (if you will) and influence today’s popular culture?

Assad: Well, my opinions are so biased, based on my experience in the “Christian music industry”: so you and your readers ought definitely to take them with a grain of salt. I think we Catholics can and should stop copying/participating in the current Christian subculture in both ministry and art. Specific to music, artists ought to either make Church/sacred music or just regular old music, or both separately, if they wish—and we ought to abandon the practice of making pop music “for Christians only.”

Making music that is not intended for Church use, but is intended only for Christian listeners, is not a Catholic approach to art and never has been, in my opinion. Let’s learn from the mistakes of Christian subculture in the West and seek to achieve something brighter, higher, and better—let’s be artists, makers, and creators out in the culture doing good work with the best of them, witnessing in our very pursuit of excellence and integrity to the Beauty that is most full in the Sacrament. Let’s not be followers, but leaders. And above all let’s not use “Christian” or “Catholic” as marketing terms, speaking only to our own, and “being combers of sheep”, as Pope Francis put it. I think we would impact the culture at a much deeper level if we learned to be great at what we do and stopped sitting around combing each other’s hair—er, fleece. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!

Below is the song Softly and Tenderly which is the B-side to the Even Unto Death single.

And here is a song, Arrow from the Strange Fire EP of Audrey Assad’s other music project, LEVV. Listen to the whole EP HERE. Watch lyric videos for two other songs HERE.


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