It has been barely a year ago since I first heard Kansas City native worship leader Dustin Smith for the first time. He didn’t enter the scene with sirens blasting, but his album "Rushing Waters” was all the resounding introduction that was needed for people who never heard of him.
I listed “Rushing Waters” as one of the best live Christian records of 2013, and it comes as no surprise to me that since the release of the project Smith has been soaring higher. Smith co-wrote most of the songs on the project, so his chops as a songwriter was never in doubt.
Two of his songs on the album recently found their way into acclaimed Christian artist Michael W. Smith’s latest album called "Sovereign". Dustin Smith has also recently released a new single “ Extravagant Love," to usher in a new era, and a new album which he will be recording live this saturday, May 17, in his hometown.
Right before heading overseas for a tour I caught up with Dustin Smith and here is the outcome of it.
Michael (Examiner): How has life been since the release of "Rushing Waters?"
Dustin: It has been amazing! I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people, spent a lot of time writing songs in Nashville and I have traveled all over the U.S. and around the world leading worship and stirring up a fresh passion for the things of God.
Michael (Examiner): Two songs “The One That Really Matters” and “You Are The Fire” from Rushing Waters have so far been re-recorded by iconic Christian artist Michael W. Smith, how does that feel to have such a major act cover your music?
Dustin: It is still hard to believe. I remember growing up listening to MWS and now hearing his voice on a song I wrote is incredible. He has been a trail blazer in Christian Music for years and I think he is continuing that with this new cd so it is an honor to have a couple songs on it. Michael also had Kari Jobe sing with him on the live album and it is incredible. I was able to attend the live recording of his new album and it was out of this world. I am amazed to see God take songs that were written for a local church and promote it to the world!
Michael (Examiner): You are gearing up for a new project - tell us about the project?
Dustin: We are going to be doing a live recording Saturday, May 17th at 7pm at my home church in Kansas City, MO (World Revival Church). Everyone is invited to come and be a part. The plan is basically to get as many passionate worshippers together as possible, sing our hearts out and hit record.
Michael (Examiner): You will be recording a live project on May 17th - must be exciting, tell us about this recording. What preparation have you put in place for this?
Dustin: I am really excited about it. We have been working really hard trying to get all the pieces to come together. First, I have spent this last year trying to write songs for my church that would give voice to what we feel we need to say in this season. Second, my producer and I started sifting through the songs and narrowed it down to about 12 songs. Next, we began to pull the band we felt we needed together. And now we are working to make the music as seamless as possible so it can be added to the worshippers that are going to show up the evening of the recording.
Michael (Examiner): What is the theme of the new project?
Dustin: I would say that the theme is - hunger for the presence of God. We are really hoping to create a deeper hunger in people for the presence of God. We are not looking to just make a good cd but we want to see peoples lives changed as they get lost in worship. The scripture I used as as my foundation when we were preparing and writing for this album is psalm 84 where is says, "How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty. 2 I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God."
Michael (Examiner): Which artists, songwriters and producers will you feature on this project?
Dustin: I have a lot of amazing people involved in this project! My band consists of guys who are not just great players but they are guys who have been a part of the worship scene for a long time and they have hearts after God! The band includes a couple of guys that have been a part of my band for a long time, James Galbraith (electric guitar) and Garner McGregor (acoustic guitar). Joining us will be Casey Moore- electric guitar (Leeland), Jacob Lowery - bass (Michael W Smith), Josh Brown - keys (Planet Shakers) and Jacob Arnold - Drums (Matt Redman). On BGVs my wife, Jeanna will be singing with me along with Katie Wormley who is a worship leader in Clovis, NM. Writing for this album was an awesome process with some incredible guys such as; Michael Farren, Sam Tinnesz, Ed Cash, Michael W Smith, Seth Mosely, Chris Clayton, Richie Fike and Jack Mooring. Kyle Lee who produced my last album, Rushing Waters, will be producing this album.
Michael (Examiner): Your latest single "Extravagant Love" is already turning out to be a powerful worship tune - what inspired it?
Dustin: I had the privilege of writing Extravagant Love with Jack Mooring and Michael Farren. Jack actually came into the writing session with part of the chorus. He had written it after traveling overseas and visiting a place that talked about the Holocaust. He said he went to soundcheck that night pretty overwhelmed by what he had seen and heard of the loss of life and the shedding of blood. As he was sound checking he just got overtaken by the thought of how Christ gave himself and had his blood shed willingly as a sacrifice for all. As he started to play he started singing, "O Lamb of God, You gave it all". That line is definitely the heart of the song.
Michael (Examiner): What should people expect from the new project?
Dustin: If you are familiar with our last project you can expect some of the same. It will have a lot of energy and passion. We are recording it live at my home church, World Revival Church, and they are some of the most passionate and strong worshippers I know. They definitely sing with all their heart, mind, soul and strength! You can expect songs that exalt the name of Jesus and an atmosphere that is charged with the presence of God!
Michael (Examiner): What are your expectations for this single and album as a whole?
Dustin: My heart is always to write songs that the church can use a tool and as a weapon. Each song is chosen to make powerful declarations about who God is and about who we want to be in a time where people long for hope. We want to create an album that is full of faith and life. I am expecting this cd to be used as a weapon to fight the enemy with and a tool to build up the lives of believers around the world. My greatest desire is that people do not just experience the songs but they experience the life of God through the songs!
Michael (Examiner): You are currently set for a tour in Poland and Amsterdam - are we going to see more tour dates in the near future?
Dustin: I love traveling the world and seeing lives changed. While each country has its own culture their is a Kingdom of God culture that should unify believers around the world. We have plans to have a fall tour in the states to help promote the album but we will also be in other countries such as; New Zealand, Australia, Poland, Italy, the UK and others!