2007 Dove Award Winner:
Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and New Artist of the Year
CD/Song Compilation – Anything Worth Saying
By Brad McBrayer
This year has been big for new artist Aaron Shust who made a significant splash in Christian music with his mega-hit “My Savior My God.” The title alone probably elicits uncontrollable choruses in your heart and mind. Not only did his song win the Dove Award for “Song of the Year” at this year’s annual GMA event, but Shust also won the “New Artist of the Year” Dove Award as well as one for “Songwriter of the Year”. High praise for this singer/songwriter and his debut album!
With his sophomore project “Whispered and Shouted” due to hit store shelves in early June, it was a good time to correspond with Aaron to see what the whirlwind has been like from his perspective. TCP traded emails with Aaron recently, take a peek at what he had to say in this month’s Feature Interview.
TCP- How has the success of your debut album which featured one smash hit
("My Savior My God") and other Top-10 hits ("Matchless" and "Give It All Away") affected your songwriting?
AS- I don't think it has. Except to say “Anything Worth Saying” is a collection of songs that I wrote thinking of the people of a specific church body that they could either sing on a Sunday morning, or at the college ministry on Wednesdays. “Whispered and Shouted” is a collection of songs ranging from songs I wrote for my church to sing, to songs I wrote back in my early 20's, to songs I think the church at large could get behind and sing with all their hearts whether it be at a concert, at church, in their car or in their living room vacuuming with their iPods. All the songs come from my heart's cry to the Lord, however, just like “Anything Worth Saying.”
TCP- On your first album, you questioned if you had "Anything Worth Saying." Now, you are offering words "Whispered & Shouted." Does this suggest that there has been some growth in your personal relationship with Christ?
AS- Hopefully their has been growth. What IS growth? I've lived through 3 more years of experiences, proving to me that Christ loves me and He's absolutely trustworthy. If that's 'growth', then I've grown. But the titles of the albums don't reflect that at all. I actually have the full version of "Give Me Words" (a 17 second track on the first album) on the new album, with a lyric similar to the Apostle Paul's ranting on about not doing what he wants to do and doing what he doesn't want to do. Hopefully we don't see that as an indication of Paul's spiritual immaturity, but simply his humanity.
"Whispered and Shouted” refers to the way that God can choose to communicate with
us: sometimes loudly and clearly, sometimes quietly and faintly. But it also can refer to our responses. Sometimes they're whispered in reverence and fear; sometimes with yelling, dancing and shouting!
TCP- While you are on the road with two big-time Dove Award winners, Mercy Me and Audio Adrenaline, what is the one thing you are most looking forward to during your time with them?
AS- Learning how they operate in life, on the road and with the industry, loved ones and each other. I'm sure they've learned how NOT to do a lot of things by trial and error, or by learning from those who came before them. I pick their brains a lot, and I watch them a lot: on stage, but mainly off. They're incredible people with incredible hearts that point to Christ.
TCP- Touring for a Christian artist is different from a mainstream artist because it's not all about selling records. How do you find the balance on stage between "please, like me and buy my records" and "please hear my words and join me in praising God"?
AS- The balance for me is (in) trusting that God's going to take care of me and His plan is going to be realized no matter what I plan. I don't like to know how many CDs I sell in a night. My merch people (people handling the merchandise table on the tour) don't tell me. I ask them not to. Because I AM human and if I sell x number of CDs one night but sold 2x the night before…I'll think I did something wrong and get bummed about it. I'd rather just not know. It shouldn't matter anyhow…my job is not to sell records, but those sales DO continue to provide me with the ability to travel, sing praise to God and share my thoughts with people. That's the balance.