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Bart Millard: Steven Curtis Chapman on 'All That is Within Me'

By Bart Millard
As Told to Chris Carpenter

CBN.comWe were in Idaho in the studio and we were working on songs and I caught Steven online.  I was saying hi to him and he was asking what was going on.  I told him that we were in the middle of trying to come up with songs for the album.  He kind of laughed and made fun of me for a little bit. 

Then he said, “I’ve got 40 that didn’t make my newest record.” 

I was like, “Who has 40 songs!!  I am lucky to get ten.” 

He asks, “Do you want any?”  I thought he was kidding. 

I said, “Yeah, I want some.  Send me whatever you think would be good.” 

Of course I am thinking if it didn’t make Steven’s record how good are they going to be?  He’s not just sitting on 40 number one hits.  He probably sent three or four over to me.  All they were was him on a guitar singing a verse.  Then he would mumble through something you couldn’t even understand.  On the tape you would hear him say, “This is where I am stuck.”  Then he would be on to something else. 

So, all of them were pretty cool, well, they were ok.  But this one, he had a verse to it and it went into some completely different chorus that wasn’t that great.  But I couldn’t let go of the verse.  The first verse of the song, ‘Even before there was a start to the drop in the ocean, earth and sky, you were on your throne.’ 

I was like, “Man, there is just something so great about that concept.” 

I asked him if it would be cool if I messed with it and he was like, “Yeah, good luck.” 

I gathered it was something he had had for a really long time and hadn’t been able to finish.  And our producer Brown (Bannister) has worked on previous albums with him. 

He said, “Yeah, he will have these ones that he has had for ten years.  And he will keep bringing them up trying to get them onto the record and they never do.” 

He thinks this song might be one of those.  I haven’t actually asked him directly but the way he was talking it was like, “Yeah, take that one as far as you can because I am sick of it.” 

It was probably a song that had given him fits.  Well, I wrote it as a chorus that I had written and had never been able to do anything with.  It was called “You Reign”, a worship chorus.  With what he was saying, it was a perfect fit.  So, I put them together.  I play keyboards very, very little so I kind of fumbled through it, saying it over and over.  I emailed him a little MP3. 

He was like, “That is awesome.  I never thought to go that route.”  So, the next thing you know, we were working out the other parts.  What was his chorus became the bridge of the song.  I pretty much used everything he had and just added to it.  That was a last minute thing.  We were almost done in Idaho.  Actually, we were done in Idaho.  It was the very last thing.  He sent me those.  Then I sat on it and played with it for awhile.  We start mixing the record and then I finished the song. 

And that is how the song “You Reign” came into being.


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