PROVIDENT’S LINDSAY MCCAUL Talks About Songwriting, How She Got Her Start In Christian Music And Her New Album

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How did you get your start in music?
Lindsay: Well, I grew up with it. My dad loves singing, so that’s how I started loving music I guess. But when I was attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for college– I had started writing songs when I was probably, I don’t know… I think 12 or 13, somewhere around there. So I had just written and written, and when I was at Moody, when I was a freshman, this senior girl (who led worship in chapel) came by my room and she was like, “Hey, I’m about to graduate and I know that you write songs and you play the guitar. I need somebody to fill my spot when I graduate.” And I was like, “I’m not a worship leader. I don’t think that’s such a good idea.” And she was like, “No, I think you’d be a good replacement.” And I was like, “No, no… I really don’t do that.” And she was like, “No, I really think you are. And I actually signed you up for two weeks from now, so you should start practicing.” *laugh* Sooooo that was a little nerve-wracking, but that’s how I started leading worship.
After I graduated Moody and was leading worship there, I came to my church in the suburbs of Chicago called Harvest Bible Chapel, and I was leading worship there and writing. A friend, this guy named Jason Ingram, also came up to Harvest to lead worship every once in a while. He calls it his church away from home. And he called me out of the blue one day and said, “Hey Lindsay, I know you write songs. What do you want to do with those songs?” And I was like, “Umm…. I don’t know… sing them for Jesus?” *laugh* And he’s like, “Well, have you ever thought about maybe working with a record label and getting some more use from your songs other than you playing them by yourself?”
And I was like, “Well… I don’t know. Obviously I’ve thought about it, but I don’t know how to do that.” And he said, “Well, I can help you. Why don’t you pray about it?” And I prayed about it.
So I went down to Nashville, and we just started writing songs together–Jason and I–and he introduced me to the people at Provident, which is where I found my record label home. So Jason was kind of the key piece in doing more of this kind of thing.
It sounds like you just kind of fell into the music thing? 
Lindsay: Well yeah, I’d thought about it. I’d always thought, you know… ’cause I wrote songs. I’d been writing songs for a long time. But well… you know, how many people get to do that? Tons of people write songs and sing. And how many people get to work with a record label? Not very many people do that. So I was like, “well, surely I’m not going to be one of those people that gets to work with a label and tour and do that, so I should just give that up.”
But I had prayed about it. Like, “God, I would love to do that someday.” When I was even in high school, I was thinking about it. Like, “God, if you want me to do that, then you just open the door.” But I didn’t want to just move to Nashville like, “Hey this is what I’m going to do!” if that wasn’t what God wanted me to do. I didn’t wanna decide for myself. I thought surely God is big enough that if He wants me to do that, he can make that happen, and he did!
For me, it was a huge faith-building moment to realize that we can trust God with the desires of our hearts because he knows how to get us. He knows how to fulfill those desires, and He will because He has given us those desires. So that was a really cool moment for me to see that God had fulfilled that dream for me, and I didn’t have to push for it.
So Writing the story songs comes more naturally to you?
Lindsay: Yeah, for sure. Definitely the story songs. Those come out of, you know, any different season that I’m in, I usually find myself thinking about writing a song about it. And actually, usually I feel like God will remind me of a person in the Bible that experienced a little bit of the same situations that I’ve experienced. Does that make sense? (Jen: Mmhm. Yeah, totally.) Like “Take My hand” is about Peter on the Sea of Galilee and that realization we all come to every once in a while that we aren’t in control and that we need Jesus to be with us, to receive him. And my song “If It Leads Me Back” is about Job and his suffering and his decision — even through extreme difficult hardship — he still said to God, “You give and you take away and blessed be your name.” And that’s what I wanted my response to be to the Lord through every situation.
So a lot of my songs come out of seasons where I’m thinking about, like, “Okay, God, this isn’t something that I would have chosen for myself, but obviously you’ve allowed me to go through this season, so what are you trying to show me? What am I missing here? I wanna learn whatever you want me to learn in this situation, because obviously that’s why you brought me here. So don’t let me miss it.” And then he’ll kind of bring a story or a truth from his Word to my heart to just remind me that someone else has gone through something like this before. That is really comforting.
 So how would you describe the sound of your new album to someone who might not know your music?
Lindsay: Hmmm… well, the sound I would hope is… kind of acoustic? Well it’s not really all acoustic. I guess… pop… acoustic pop.
But it’s not all acoustic. *laugh* That’s not a very complete summary.
So what is your personal creative process like? Do you start with music or words? What’s your preferred method?
Lindsay: It varies. It can go either way, but usually I start with song lyrics. And things start kind of coming, usually when I’m trying to fall asleep. That’s the honest truth.
Okay, so you mentioned Sara Bareilles. What are some of your other favorite musicians?
Lindsay: Oooooh, okay… Steven Curtis Chapman is my all-time favorite. I think he is just a genius, lyrically. And Nichole Nordeman. Those are my top two. She is… man, that woman…
Steven Curtis Chapman and Nichole Nordeman both have my favorite songs. I feel like they understand so well how to craft lyrics. Like what I strive to do lyrically, they have. You know, I want my songs to be reflections of their writing, I guess.
Let me see, who else do I love? Um… well definitely Sara Bareilles. Brandon Heath… I love Brandon’s stuff. I think he’s a great writer too. I’m a big fan of Meredith Andrews! (Even though she was my roommate.) I think she’s amazing… she really is. She has one of the most humble, genuine hearts, and her music does reflect that, I feel like. And I think Matthew West is a great writer. Um… I’m not saying this because I’m on tour with them, but I love Casting Crowns. They have incredible music and they are incredible people to match up with their songs, so… yeah!
This Was fun
Yeah, it was thanks for stopping by
No problem.
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