By Kevin Sparkman, CCMMagazine.com
Beautiful. Wonderful. Powerful.
All three of these attributes—the backbone to the now “cheat song,” as a few of the Hillsong Worship members describe it (you’ll find out why by reading below), new GRAMMY win for Best Contemporary Christian Song/Performance, and current staple in church worship services Sunday after Sunday across the globe—happen to be words you will often hear in the every day language from the very creators of “What A Beautiful Name”.
Shortly after their trip to New York City where they were recently awarded the GRAMMY at Madison Square Garden, we got the opportunity to sit down with three of the worship collective members, Dave Ware, Brooke Ligertwood (one-half of the award-winning song’s writing duo), and Jad Gillies, where words of thankfulness and praise ensued. Also, be on the look out for the brand new album, There Is More to drop soon—more, beautiful worship from the Hillsong family.
CCM Magazine: Could you guys have predicted the response from the Church to “What A Beautiful Name?”
David Ware: …I couldn’t [laughs].
Jad Gillies: It’s all crazy because you just never know. When you produce or write a song, if anyone says, “I knew that was gonna be a hit,”…you just don’t know. The crazy thing about worship music is some things resonate with people and some things don’t. The crazy thing about “What A Beautiful Name” is it actually is about the name of Jesus, and I think with all the static that goes on and with everything that we could sing about—with everything that does get sung about—I think the simplicity of singing about the name of Jesus strikes a chord with people right now.
CCM: It’s not a new thing—the name of Jesus being taboo or driven out. Schools here in the States have been trying to drown out Jesus for decades. What about this song brings forth both the person and salvation of Jesus in such a welcoming and inviting way?
Brooke Ligertwood: It’s interesting… I was recently talking with a friend of mine who’s an incredible teacher of the Word of God, and she was telling me about a conference she was invited to speak—what she thought was a Christian conference—and they told her, “We would really prefer if you referred to ‘God’ and didn’t use the name of ‘Jesus.’” She replied, “I’m sorry, you’re asking the wrong person. Jesus is all we have. Jesus is the whole point.”
What really registered to me about this song happened recently when our amazing team pulled together an Arabic version of “What A Beautiful Name.” Obviously there’s a refugee situation right now in some countries where people are walking for their lives out of these places of conflict. We have some friends with an organization who put water stations along the way, and have also put speakers on the stations, and I imagined this song in Arabic being played out of those speakers and people who had never heard about the name of Jesus hearing it for the first time, and kind of realized…I mean, we didn’t intentionally do this, but [in this way] this song is the Gospel in a song. It explains who Jesus is and that he was the Word at the beginning, that He’s been there from the start…that He is God, what it meant for the incarnation… Jesus brought Heaven down, and then He died and rose again.
So, I thought to myself, “If there are people who have never heard of Jesus, who have no idea who He is, or what He did and what He’s done, and they hear the song for the first time…we give glory to God for that because we’re not that clever! Jesus—He’s all we have. When we start watering Him down we lose everything.
CCM: Why do you think “What A Beautiful Name” has had such an impact?
DW: I was talking to a friend of mine who doesn’t know much about music at all and he said, “I’m just so shocked that a song that’s so blatantly about Jesus would be nominated for a GRAMMY.” I was like, “But you understand it’s in a Christian category, right?” And he said, “Yeah, but still…” I thought to myself, “That’s the kind of the world we live in now.”
For the rest of this interview, visit CCMMagazine.com