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Matt Papa Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Matt Papa lyrics)
Matt Papa Biography
He may only be 23-years-old, but Matt Papa possesses a maturity in both his artistry and spirituality well beyond his years. Perhaps that's why this accomplished singer/songwriter and musician has been leading worship since age 14 and has been touring the country upon graduating college, working with organizations such as Student Life, Campus Crusade for Christ, Georgia Baptist Convention, Ohio Baptist Convention, David Nasser Outreach, Wayfarer Ministries, and SWAT Ministries. All the while, the Georgia-bred troubadour with a degree in guitar performance from Truett-McConnell College has been continuously refining his craft, ministering to sizeable audiences and gearing up for his forthcoming debut, You Are Good, on new label Spin 360.
"I look back to when I first started out and God has taught me so much between then and now," says Papa with his heart to serve becoming evident through his sincerity. "I made the decision to follow Christ when I was twelve years old and at the same time I began playing the guitar. Right around then the whole worship movement was blowing up in Christian music and I got my start singing for my peers at church, developing my gift and creativity in worship."
That creative process has reached new heights on his debut album, You Are Good, which features a balance of originals, church standards and Psalms set to cutting-edge instrumentation. Matt's musicianship is evident as he plays literally every keyboard and guitar lick on the CD. While Papa often ministers to teens and twenty-somethings, his material is likely to resonate with fans of Delirious?, Matt Redman, and early Sonicflood.
"I participated in live recordings at church before, but this is my first real recording," he admits, citing the aforementioned influences and help from producer Stephen Leiweke in shaping his sound. "God taught me that two people can many times make better music than one. The Lord taught me to be teachable and open minded, which looking back helped make the music all that much stronger."
Several cases in point include the string of originals, such as the title cut and lead single "You Are Good," which has become a cornerstone of Papa's concerts. Not only is the song an example of his expository worship writing style, but also a reminder that as Christians, we have all become temples of the Holy Spirit of God and we are to constantly live in humility, awe, and wonder. The upbeat expressions continue with "Lead Me On," a track about discovering the will of God and being liberated from fear thanks to His perfect plan of sanctification and redemption in our lives.
"Unto the One" digs even deeper into Papa's biblical inspiration, citing Revelation and the visions of heaven described, coming to the conclusion that despite a lack of specific details, the afterlife will be filled with incredibly joyful praise where every tribe and tongue unite. That scriptural rooting also recalls the pair of church standards "I Surrender All" and "In Christ Alone" with updated, modern pop arrangements, while soundtracks to Psalms "95" and "23" truly stir the soul.
"The worship covers are very gospel centered songs that have always been a big part of my life and my ministry," the tunesmith relates. "I chose Psalm '23' to describe the epic nature of Christianity as a whole. '95' is an invitation to worship that draws the worshipper into the experience and invites them to bow before the Lord."
Word of Papa's music became so widespread that it caught the ear of Spin 360 - a new label committed to making music the whole church sings. Spin 360 label head and longtime music industry executive Stan Moser fell in love with his music and invited Papa to join the label's artist roster. "I received a call from my longtime friend, Joel Engle, who told me I just HAD to listen to the rough mixes from this 'new artist' named Matt Papa. From the very first time I heard Matt's music, I knew I had to do everything possible to get those songs heard!"
"I've had a lot of conversations with labels and have found a lot of them to be very business oriented," Papa notices. "That's fine and all, but Spin 360 is obviously a God-centered, God-honoring organization. Everyone at the label is so kingdom minded, praying together and operating as a team - which is very refreshing and essential to me."
It's obvious after talking with the evangelism and missions-minded Papa for merely a matter of minutes that he's much more concerned with reaching souls for eternity than he is becoming a household name. "For me, it's all about ministry...music is simply a tool" he states. Matt learned this important lesson after years of traveling with worship leader Chris Orr, whom Matt gives much credit to for his success and more importantly, his desire to minister to the Church. In fact, not only is ministry a large part of Matt's music in the US, but he frequently journeys oversees to work with missions teams and share his songs. Most recently he took trips to Mexico and Wales over the summer of 2006.
Matt is careful when defining his role in the music industry and balancing that platform with ministry priorities.
"Honestly, I haven't put a name on what I do, but I can tell you that I'm a follower of Jesus first, a minister second, and an artist third," he sums up. "Music and everything of this earth fades away (including my ideas), but as Jesus says, the Word of God will stand forever. I feel a large part of my calling is to teach the Word of God through music, because I strongly believe that many times songs and songwriters can be more effective than sermons and preachers. Songs are little sermons with melodies. They get in people's heads, and then into their hearts. And if I can put the words of the holy scriptures to music, then I can let God speak for Himself."