BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Jim Brickman: Connecting with 'Grace'
By Jennifer E. Jones
Jim Brickman personifies romance to his fans worldwide with songs like “Valentine” with Martina McBride, “Love of My Life” with Michael W. Smith, and “The Gift” with Susan Ashton. Today Jim is composing for a different kind of love – a love that romances Christ. His new album, 'Grace,' is connecting with audiences everywhere, and that's just what Jim wanted.
Jennifer E. Jones: Why did you choose to do a hymns and worship project?
Jim Brickman: All of my albums for the past ten years have been my own original music. I felt like it would be a great departure to interpret some great songs that were written, many of them, hundreds of years ago.
Jennifer: Did you find that it was difficult to enhance these songs that are innately beautiful by themselves?
Jim: No because my whole thing is taking beautiful melodies and interpreting them in my style – whether I write them myself or they’re covers of other songs. The other thing is that a lot of these songs are very simple. Simplicity gives you a lot of places to go. It’s not real complicated with a lot of noise.
Jennifer: “Hear Me” with Michael Bolton is doing well on the mainstream charts right now. You’re no stranger to Billboard and Radio and Records. How does it feel to know that you’re putting songs out, and they’re connecting with people almost every time?
Jim: That’s the important thing with this particular message. ["Hear Me"] is about looking for guidance from God and asking for Him to give you the path. The idea that that would be played on mainstream, adult contemporary station is wonderful.
Jennifer: When you're known for writing and composing romantic music, does it put pressure on you to make a song the way that people expect you to?
Jim: People have more of an expectation of the style of music more than the content. Most people want to hear my piano work. It’s what I do. I don’t think the choice of material, as long as it’s in my genre, surprises anybody. It’s a welcomed change for me to take a different path in content.
Jennifer: How did making this record affect you personally?
Jim: It was a very spiritual experience. You have to explore your own faith, and you explore the memories of these particular songs growing up. That was a really important, key element.
Jennifer: What was a memory you had connected to one of these songs?
Jim: It was the memories of different faiths. My mother is Jewish and my father is Lutheran so I was exposed to a lot of faith-based music from all different points of view. That’s what this album celebrates – music of all faiths.
Jennifer: You’ve worked with some of the best in the business. Is there anyone you still want to collaborate with?
Jim: Oh of course. I love working with country artists. It’s a very cool thing to work with opera singers and Christian artists. All the different ways to touch and connect emotionally with people – that’s really what my music is all about. Whether it's faith-based, Christmas or romance, it’s all about that emotional connection.
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