I had the honor of interviewing Christian singer Nate Whitelock, check him out and look forward to his upcoming stuff-
Me: So my first question is, for those that aren’t familiar with you, how would you describe your music?
NW: As a rule I tend to say Christian Acoustic Rock, though for the past several years most of what I’ve been writing has been praise and worship. Influences would range from David Crowder, Jesus Culture, John Mark McMillan, to more seasoned country names like Buddy Greene (guitar and harmonica for Jerry Reed, now touring with the Gaithers), and Don Williams. I’m very focused on a good lyric as a songwriter too. To me, what you say is at least as important as how you say it.
Me: So lyrically, what inspires you?
MW: my songwriting process is purely at the Lord’s whim to be honest. Most of the songs that I’ve written that are “good” (in my opinion or my listeners) happened in minutes. When I try to force things myself they never happen, or if they do, it doesn’t seem to flow as it should. So I guess I’d have to say that the Lord inspires me. I know that some writers drive for a certain setting, scenery, read books, etc. There’s nothing wrong with catching some inspiration from CS Lewis or a theologian, from God’s creation, etc. Some of my personal favorite songwriters do all those things, but for me I have to immerse myself in my calling, get quiet with the Lord, and let him speak to me, sometimes that means my living room floor in the middle of the night, sometimes that means writing a song in my head on my motorcycle. When He starts to talk, I start to write.
Me: You mentioned favorite songwriters, which songwriters do you admire or get inspiration from?
MW: McMillan and Crowder really impress me, so does Audrey Assad and All Sons and Daughters, Bebo Norman would be another one. I grew up on Buddy Greene, his writing was probably the first to really strike a chord in me; I was writing lyrics long before I finally picked up an instrument and started doing something about them.
Me: So lyrics were just laying around?, or did you have other musicians?
NW: They laid around. I’d write things, sometimes I’d try to sing them to myself, sometimes I didn’t even have a melody in mind, I just wrote. I didn’t pick up an instrument with any real intent until I was 15.
Me: So high school was when you really started getting involved in music?
NW: Well that was the age, I actually graduated HS around that same time. I was homeschooled my entire life and grew up on the road. My parents were evangelists to motorcyclists and truck drivers so I had a kind of unique upbringing. I don’t think that either of them knew that I was musical, to be honest I’m not sure that I even knew back then, I was just writing. Mom tried to teach me keyboard a couple times, I had a recorder for a while, neither of those really connected. Someone gave mom a guitar, which she didn’t really play, and I… sorta stole it LOL.
Me: Awesome story!, so what are your current/upcoming projects?
NW: Right now I’m 1-2 songs away from completing the next project which will be titled “Songs Inside the Key of Grace.” Pretty sure that the finishing touches are in my scratch pad at the moment, just waiting on the word to “put the pencil down” lol. Once all the material is finished, I’ll be starting the process of tracking and recording, which is always a fun combination of exhilarating and frustrating! This album is a little more upbeat in content than some of my other projects, just because of life experiences, new chapters in my own life, personal growth. The Lord’s had me sing about struggles, He’s had me sing about failures, temptations…Now I get to sing about His grace and I just love that!
Me: Upbeat as in not about failures or musically too?
NW: musically and lyrically. Several more up-tempo songs, with a nice mix of quiet, intimate worship as well.
Me: Well we definitely look forward to that!, you’re hoping to have that done in the fall or winter?
Nw: The writing will be done in the next couple weeks Lord willing. The recording process will depend greatly on whether I have to track everything myself or if I go into a “real” studio, as opposed to my home recording setup, and let the pros do their thing. If I have to do everything myself, it may be more like Spring. Working full time, and still going out and playing shows, staying active in my church worship team, and keeping family first, it’s a full schedule.
Me: So you play shows locally?, where can people find a schedule?
NW: Yes, right now I have 4 appearances on the schedule and I’m always looking for more. You can find all that info on my ReverbNation page ( https://www.reverbnation.com/natewhitelock ) along with some of my older music, pictures, and a short bio. Most of the MP3s there are available for free download as well.
Me: Definitely worth checking out!, so what else can we can we expect from you in the future?
NW: I guess time will tell, I took a break from writing and playing out for a while a couple years back and I’m just now getting back into it. I had to take some time and let the Lord sort me out a little bit. Now I’m really excited about what He’s doing again, and that’s a big part of it. Being happy, actually happy, about serving him. I trust, I believe, that He’s going to do great things, and I’m almost giddy to think that He’s going to use me just to be a small part of it. That crazy passion for my calling is new to me in many ways. It’s easy to “burn out” doing anything, even the things you love. Now when I play, it’s like each time is a breath of fresh air, a recharge even. So, I plan on being at it for a long time, do His work anytime, anywhere I can!
Me: Is that what led you to write songs about failures and struggles?
NW: Yes. I guess it’s easy, when you’re literally born into ministry, to take your faith for granted. I never knew what it was like to wonder just who I was actually living for, as it turned out, the answer used to be “me.” Knew all the answers and still at the end of the day, ended up making wrong decisions. Thank God He dragged me back. I think that no matter how much I wish I could redo some things, those same experiences helped me to understand my own need for a savior. Alot of pride died when I handed my life back to Him. I needed that. I needed to learn that I didn’t know what I was doing, didn’t have all the answers, and that I desperately needed redemption. I can’t do anything. Not on my own. That’s really why I’m so excited now, I knew all the words to the speech before, but it takes the joy of new life in Christ to teach you all the dance steps!
Me: Amen brother!, so worship from this is the center of your music?
NW: Most of my music is horizontal, yes. It’s my hope that some of them will be accepted as “congregational” material, that others can use them as doorways to worship the Lord too; Some of my songs are meant to challenge others to deepen their own commitments to Christ as well, or to see the need to change. One of my songs that’s less geared toward corporate worship is called “Wreck Me.” It’s about letting God come in and just ruin everything that we think is important. It’s gotta happen for His kingdom to flourish, ours needs to crumble. I also have one that’s the story of the Prodigal son, and another one called “Come Around” that isn’t worship at all, it’s meant to be a startling wake up call. I describe the church, the bride, as a sort of sleeping beauty, the trouble is that sleep, in times like this, can be dangerous. When you read the Bible, there’s a fair number of times where “sleep” wasn’t the appropriate response to the moment. In Judges 4, it cost the commander of the Israelite’s army His life, he slept on a field of battle, while a woman came into his tent and drove a tent peg through him, gross, yes, but when we can look around and see so many Christians who’ve given up trying to be the change, be light in darkness… one has to wonder if that’s not what so many of us are doing, sleeping, hoping that Jesus comes and steals us away in the night so we don’t have to be here anymore, I don’t have time to sleep, not now. So yes, I do spend a lot of my musical energy on worship, but there’s also going to be some real food for thought in there too.
Me: That’s definitely alot of deep stuff to listen to and think about
NW: I’ve noted that the more life I go through, the less able I am to keep my mouth shut, LOL. I tend to say whatever’s on my mind
Me: Thank you so much for this interview!
NW: You’ve very welcome, thank you for the opportunity! God Bless!