The Christian singer-songwriter has attracted a large following with an eclectic sound. His third solo album, “I Know a Ghost,” includes urgent messages of redemption.
Christian artist David Crowder draws inspiration from many places, including scripture, hymns and Jay-Z.
Prior to creating his latest album, “I Know a Ghost,” the Atlanta-based singer-songwriter was influenced by clips of rappers in the studio, cultivating raw hip-hop beats from producers into musical gems.
“There’s some dude sitting at the control desk and he's scrolling through some beats,” said Crowder, recounting a typical scene. “All of a sudden, a beat will (drop) and there's a hit song that just happens in the room. … (For example), you see Jay-Z light up and he's flowing. I was super jealous of that. I'm like, ‘That's the way to go in and write a song.’”
Following that example, Crowder — who performs under his last name — constructed his songs from beats, flowing over them with his signature country, folk and blues-inspired guitar lines and raspy voice. The result: an eclectic album that defies genre.
“I had more fun writing this record than I’ve had, ever," said Crowder, who will perform Saturday at Nationwide Arena.
Originally from Texarkana, Texas, Crowder grew up in a “devout” Christian home, and began playing the household piano as soon as he could reach the instrument. He moved on to guitar in college at Baylor University in Waco,Texas, where he studied music and began writing songs for Sunday worship at his friend’s church.
But he didn’t intend to make music a career.
“My dad owned an insurance agency back in Texarkana, and I thought
he was the coolest dude on the planet,” he said. “I wanted to work for him and then take over the family practice because he was like living the dream. He had wood-paneled walls with a waterfall wallpaper scene behind him. And he's just got that phone receiver cocked on his neck while he's typing. I’m like, ‘This dude is doing it.’”
But about 20 years later, Crowder has a discography that includes multiple albums with the now-defunct David Crowder Band, and two solo albums that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart.
His third, "I Know a Ghost," named for the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit, includes urgent messages of redemption. On the song “Wildfire,” Crowder asks, “How wide are the arms of grace?”
The answer, according to his faith, is infinitely wide. And he’s been shown that God-inspired forgiveness through the actions of people around him.
“Most times, if we're done wrong, our natural reaction is to get them back or to be sad or internalize it and hold on to that moment of pain,” he said. “That controls us, that holds us back. … It's the grace of God through people that has allowed me to experience what I read about in scripture.”
And it’s the open-mindedness of his team that allows him to make music outside of the box, he added.
“I don't know how anybody else likes it,” he said, laughing, “It seems very specific to my tastes. … I'm glad that it's resonating with others."