Archives For songwriting

Ever since Michael W. Smith’s 1984 sophomore project, Michael W. Smith 2 (all the creativity was apparently used up in the songs, there was none left to title the album), I wanted to make music.

It was undoubtedly the argyles.

If music could get you a perm like that, I was all in. Sign me up! When do we start making records?


Fast forward a decade. My friend (and now CityCom co-pastor) Nathan LaGrange and I found ourselves with something fascinating.

A song.

One song.

An OK song (honestly, pretty mediocre).

We were on staff together at a large church, and one day our creativity got the best of us. So we took our passion for God and music and decided to do something with it.  Nothing life changing (at least we thought at the time).  Just a few lyrics and a simple melody line.

But that one song gave us the confidence to write a few more. And those songs helped us convince our pastor the church should do it’s first live recording.  And that recording inspired a second project.  Which built momentum for a third.  Then a fourth.

And a catalog of 70 songs later, I realized my old argyle-imprinted dream of making records had just kind of happened when I wasn’t looking.  Seven times over.

All because we wrote that first song.

I meet so many people with big dreams (heck, I still have some of my own).  But the distance between where you stand today and what you imagine for the future is a huge chasm that swallows your inertia.  Too many big reasons why you can’t. And they short circuit the little reasons why you can.

What’s your “first song?” You probably just need to go write it.

I hate when people tell me about their missions trips. Like I’m supposed to share their passion. Feel what they felt. Really. Come on.

So I’m not going to tell you anymore (at least for now). I’m going to let a couple of other guys do it.

This is raw video footage from our team’s download session early this morning. One of our guys, Andy Wiseman, wrote a song from the overflow of his experiences in Honduras this week. This is just the last chorus. Oh, by the way, Andy is almost completely deaf. Yeah.

And then our resident Puerto Rican, Mike Perez, slayed us all with another of his spoken word pieces you have to hear (I have his permission). So not right Mike!

You want to listen.

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Heading for the airport at 4am, and taking more home with us then we ever could have brought.

Adios Honduras. Hasta el proximo vez. Te quieres.

Painter or Artist?

Erik Cooper —  November 25, 2009 — Leave a comment

My friend Davy has really impressed me over the years. When I first met him, I knew him as a stellar, young guitarist who joined the music team I was leading.  A few months later, I found out he was an absolutely fabulous singer (think Adam Lambert’s range without all the, well…disturbing stuff).

About a year into our friendship, I learned he was into graphic design.  I thought, “awe that’s nice, this kid likes to draw.”  Then a few months later he took up photography (like, from scratch…never done it before).  I was impressed.

But the world was going the way of the internet (not sure if you heard that or not), and he didn’t really know how to do web programming or development.  Until he did.  Taught himself. Did this kid ever stop?

Watching Davy helped me realize something important.  He isn’t pencil sketcher.  A painter.  A computer designer.  He doesn’t just take pictures or write web code.  He is an artist.  And he’s willing to use whatever medium presents itself to bring to life what was is really inside of him.

I want to be the same way.  But how many of us get caught up in the expression of who we are instead of, well, who we actually, really are?

A lot of people have asked me if I miss doing music full-time.  In some ways I definitely do.  Music has been a life-long passion, and the piano a technical pursuit since I was just four years old.  I was just beginning to see my dreams of songwriting and record production come to life when we stepped away to start City Community Church.  Sounds crazy.  But I’ve tried hard to define myself by what’s inside of me, not by the way it comes out.

I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and my purpose is to bring God’s Kingdom alive in the world. Today that expresses itself, not through music, but in co-leading a brand new community of believers.  Through speaking and teaching.  By writing and blogging.  Through sitting across a table from real people as they process life, what it means to genuinely encounter Jesus, and if they really buy into all that or not.

I’m not a musician or songwriter, a teacher, a writer, a pastor. That’s just what I do.  And hopefully I can effectively use those expressions to accurately bring the redemption of Christ to life in this broken world.  I want to constantly work on who I am, and who God is becoming in me. The outflow always starts from there.

What’s driving your expression? Is there any substance behind what others see?  Are you nurturing what lies under the surface?  What’s at the source?  Are you an “artist” or just a “painter?”  What defines you?

I Believe There Is More

Erik Cooper —  January 31, 2009 — Leave a comment

Don Moen

My good buddy and co-pastor, Nathan LaGrange, and I had the honor of having Don Moen record one of our songs on his latest album.  “The Greatness of You” is the first cut on Don’s newest project, I Believe There Is More.  I always wanted to be a songwriter, and it’s an unbelievable dream of mine to have an artist of Don Moen’s stature find a song I had a hand in writing worth putting on his project.

Go on a pick up a copy!