Delirious? Questions Their 'Kingdom of Comfort'; Compassionart Launches
By Heidi Krumenauer
CBNmusic Guest Writer
Busy touring, working hard and recording their new album, ‘Kingdom of Comfort’, UK-based Delirious? is back after nearly three years with their April 1 release. This time, Delirious?’ inspiration from their world travels and exposure to global issues has been documented, in a sense, in their tracks.
Having witnessed extreme conditions as they toured the world, the band members started questioning their own kingdom of comfort – that place where personal isolated environments make us complacent and indifferent to the needs and struggles of others. The album questions everything from cancer to consumerism, big dreams to slums. Their travels and experiences naturally moved them to tell the story, according to Delirious?’ front man, Martin Smith. It’s an album that calls for sacrifice, social justice, and love.
“As you know, we’ve been traveling to a lot of countries over the past few years,” says Martin. “We’ve been to places like Indonesia, Cambodia, India, and Rwanda. It’s been mind blowing to see how five-sixths of the world lives. It’s very different from the UK and America. I think we’ve had our hearts touched and broken by a lot of things. We’ve seen a lot of extreme poverty. And I think when we came back and we turned our guitar amps to start writing songs, it naturally came out and that was it.”
Martin adds that there wasn’t a conscious decision for the group to write about the tough issues they experienced. “It kind of all fell out of everyone. It was just there. That theme carries the heart of that issue on the album. I don’t think it’s in an overly heavy way. I think the music’s great…it’s exciting…but there’s an undertone of wanting to highlight these issues.”
What does Martin hope the listener will take away from this new album? “I think the main thing is that God has put something in everybody’s hands. That’s the trick in life is to figure out what that is, isn’t it? Even more than that, is to then work at how you’re going to use that for the greater good. I think that’s all we’re trying to do. We write songs, we play in a band, and we’ve been given microphones. What can we do to help people on the other side of the world? I think for us it’s writing songs…for someone else it might be a completely different thing. It’s exciting. It’s not a burden to pour yourself into someone else’s life.”
Delirious has been fortunate to travel around the world, making friends and fans in every corner. Martin says he and the band members are thrilled to meet different cultures and learn all that each one has to offer. He’s quick to point out that no matter what cultural difference separate our countries, music speaks an international language. “Once you start playing these songs, it’s all one country anyway.”
As if Martin hasn’t been busy enough with his travels and recording an album, he has assumed an enormous role with Compassionart, a charity that will generate income for the most poverty-stricken people. But this charity has a unique twist. It incorporates the talents and time of twelve internationally recognized singers/songwriters: Michael W. Smith, Chris Tomlin, Steven Curtis Chapman, Darlene Zschech, Matt and Beth Redman, Tim Hughes, Paul Baloche, Israel Houghton, Graham Kendrick, Andy Park, Martin Smith, and Stu Garrard. Together they spent some time in the UK, writing songs that would be used to raise money for the poor. And now a few more artists have joined them with guest appearances: Amy Grant, Leeland Mooring, CeCe Winans, and tobyMac, to name a few.
Martin and his wife are the founders, and when asked how he came up with the idea, he said it was one of those moments that naturally drop from the sky and all the pieces start to come together. “The funny thing is that we were having breakfast one morning and we talked about getting all these singers and songwriters together. And we said let’s find a structure where we can write all these songs where all the money can go straight to these projects,” says Martin. “We got to that place incredibly fast. Everybody has been very generous giving their time and giving their songs away. That’s the joy of this…seeing everybody giving something.”
So how did Martin choose such a prestigious list? “To be honest, the list of twelve people are friends of ours…most of them have stayed in our home. It felt like a very organic thing. It wasn’t like let’s pick the top twelve names in the industry and invite them. It was more of making twelve simple phone calls to our friends and saying, ‘Hey, are you in?’”
Listening closely, one can almost hear Martin’s voice change as he thoughtfully reflects on the time the group spent together writing songs. “We were all together for five days at a hotel in Scotland. We slept in the same hotel, we ate breakfast together, we had devotions together, we wrote songs together, we had lunch together, we wrote songs again, and we took walks together. It felt like camp really. By the end of the week, nobody wanted to go home. It was astonishing to see the output. It was really wonderful.”
What are Martin’s goals for Compassionart? Simply stated, the goal is to raise millions and millions of dollars. “It was quite funny that we were sitting there trying to write for money. That’s the first time I’ve ever done that consciously. Unashamedly we’re trying to get all these songs profiled to churches around the world…get people buying a record and all the proceeds go straight to a charity.” One-half of the money will go to the songwriters' charity of choice, and the other 50 percent will go to a charitable project agreed upon by all the songwriters involved. (Martin said they are getting close to naming the group’s charity.)
As the songs make their way through the final production phase, Martin says he is pleased to see the industry working together on this project. “With seven different record labels throughout the world working on this, I thought how on earth are they going to get together to put this record out? That was my mandate. Instead of just one label having it, I would like to find a way they could all work together. I’m just thrilled that they’re doing us proud. It’s magnificent to see it. There’s been some mountains to climb, but in general it’s been a great experience.”
The Compassionart CD will be released in November with a companion book called The Art of Compassion. With twelve chapters, each one written by a different contributor, the book will tell the story of the role we play in global justice. Martin adds, “It’s going to be amazing!”
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