Songwriting chops I didn’t even know I had

The title of my new album coming out tomorrow is called “Dreams I Didn’t Even Know I Had,” and I bring this up (not only as a gentle reminder, but) because I just read a simple songwriting tip that I discovered I unconsciously use… so, the blog title.

Famed songwriter Ralph Murphy says – in talking about “accessibility” of a song that you are writing: “How easy is the song to sing? One-syllable words are your friends.”

It’s that simple.

So, I thought about my own songwriting and the tunes that have been a hit and miss. Two examples:

HitNew Life: “It’s the start of a new life… a new life for me.” (one syllable laden)
MissBy Your Grace: “I may lack certainty in many situations in this life…” (egads)

How about a Taylor Swift hit, “Shake it off?”

I stay out too late
Got nothing in my brain
That’s what people say, mmm-mmm
That’s what people say, mmm-mmm

I go on too many dates
But I can’t make them stay
At least that’s what people say, mmm-mmm
That’s what people say, mmm-mmm

Exclude “nothing” and “people” and we have nothing but one-syllable words… and the two syllables can act like one-syllable words in syncopation.

Say what you want about “trash music” or “commercial music,” etc. But, I don’t know a single songwriter who writes songs just because she wants to listen to them herself. We write songs for other people to hear and enjoy, too. And, as a Christian worship songwriter, this is even more important.

It is most certainly hard to find originality in one-syllable words… but maybe our goal shouldn’t be “originality” as much as “conveying an emotion and a message.” This goal is certainly where we should be going in our Christian songwriting.

Can you think of other lyrical examples of hits and failures… perhaps your own?

cover170x170 “Dreams I Didn’t Even Know I Had” is comprised of thirteen songs that deal with God, worship, sin, freedom, fatherhood, and love… styles vary from basic acoustic singer/songwriter to Depeche-mode-like 80s electronic. Check it out!

My Baby’s First Christmas Lullaby

I tried my hand at orchestral music production last year, and I decided to share the music with the world… I think that it works great as a Christmas lullaby to help get your family into the Christmas spirit and to get your babies to sleep!

It is a 21 and a half minute medley of Christmas music, including Silent Night, O Holy Night, Come All Ye Faithful and more.

Available in most online digital outlets, I would recommend that you download it at CDBaby for the cheapest price ($2.99). Listen (and download) the medley, below.

“Dreams I Didn’t Even Know I Had”

I am releasing my latest Christian worship CD on November 15th… it will feature my Christmas song “Christmas is Christ” and the Advent song “Tender Mercy” (originally released as a single last year).

The music is recorded and out for mastering. You can help me in getting this project out by participating in my Kickstarter campaign… I’m looking to collect $750 (as a “pre-sale” of sorts) to help defray the costs of the mastering and pressing into CDs.

If you can help, I am greatly appreciative!

Click here to go to the Kickstarter page and watch an intro video.

Here is the latest update video on the project.

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Thanks for watching!

Happy New Year 2014!

I just wanted to take time out to wish you a Happy New Year and to let you know about some of the happenings in my music ministry.

2013 was a great year as a number of singles off of “The Start of a New Life” received terrestrial and internet radio play. Currently, the singles “New Life,” “Shema Yisrael,” “All That We Need,” “I Will Rejoice,” and “None But Thee” get regular play at Check them out (always great music, 24/7), and they have a nice Itunes app.

The worship team at LIFEhouse Church in Northridge, CA ( continues to grow. The collective ages on the team run from 15-70… what an awesome way to worship God, bridging the age gap, through the gift of music!

I released the Advent song “Tender Mercy” on December 6, 2013. It is available on Itunes (… as a special offer to my “street team,” if you leave a review of my CD “The Start of a New Life” at the Itunes link, below, let me know by emailing me the review at, and I will send you a download code to download “Tender Mercy” for free.

What a blessing “Tender Mercy” has been this year! A few churches throughout the country (and one in Canada) used “Tender Mercy” in their advent services. Here is a church in Illinois that used the song for a youth group “blacklight” drama.

Two projects are on the burner for this year, which might merge into one… a regular CD of original worship music and a Christmas CD near the end of 2014, featuring “Tender Mercy.” I also wrote a song this Christmas season (“Christmas is Christ”) which is bound to appear on that CD, also. You can hear a demo of that here:

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Blessings and wishes for a wonderful 2014,

One more for Advent! Light One Candle To Watch For Messiah – An Advent Hymn

I have said it before and it bears repeating for this blog post that because I became a Christian just over 7 years ago, an “old Christian hymn” for me is anything off of Chris Tomlin’s Arriving. So, I am always greatly appreciative when a brother or sister who has been in the faith much longer directs me to a “real” oldie but goodie. This is one of those songs.

“Light One Candle To Watch For Messiah” is an Advent hymn based on an old Yiddish folk song, made popular (I believe) in churches in the 1980’s. I tried to “hip” up the oldie but goodie a bit by adding an anthemic chorus (with the intention, of course, of getting the song stuck in your head). I hope it works. Enjoy.

12 Songs For Advent

This season, I have become a lot more appreciative of the meaning of Advent and have searched out for relevant advent songs (and arrangements) to present to the church. Particularly, I have been focused on the concepts of light and of waiting.

If you are a worship leader who has been struggling to do the same, I hope that this will help you find that new song for your congregation as we help the church to prepare the way.

1. O Come Divine Messiah – Robbie Seay and Jennie Lee Riddle – Download

2. Leave A Light On – Matt Maher – Download

3. O Come, O Come Emmanuel – David Crowder Band – Download

4. Everlasting God – Chris Tomlin – Download

5. Tender Mercy (Zechariah’s Song) – Rob Reed – Download

6. Come Thou Fount – Audrey Assad – Download

7. We Are Waiting – W. Zachary Taylor & Chris Kline – Download

8. A Strange Way To Save The World – 4Him – Download

9. Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s Song) – Amy Grant – Download

10. There Is A Light – Delirious – Download

11. A Baby Changes Everything – Faith Hill – Download

12. Prepare Ye The Way – Michael W. Smith – Download