Crystal Lewis released her career spanning compilation album 25 yesterday, and BreatheCast was able to catch up with the CCM pioneer about her career. In part three of our interview with Lewis, she shares on the power of music, finding your calling, and being genuine in worship.
Read part one of our interview with Crystal where she talks about 25, "People Get Ready," and working with rappers. Read part two where she discusses the evolution of Christian music and escaping that Christian label.
Lewis was asked about the power of music, and if she thinks it affects those who are listening. The topic of music being used as a ministry tool is popular among artists who each have differing opinions on music's effectiveness in spreading the gospel.
"Yes, music is probably one of if not the most influential platforms because it connects people, it spans, there's something for everybody," she said, "When you find a connection within that genre that speaks to you and...you can be at show with a bunch of strangers – then all of a sudden you are friends because you are connecting on this musical level. That's why I think it's such a powerful platform."
She continued, and spoke of how music was created as a way to worship the Lord, and anything sung to the Father is something of worth.
"God created it. I just read this morning Psalm 33:11, 'The plans of the Lord stand firm forever,' and God plans music. He created it from the beginning," she added. "David talks all throughout the Psalms about music, and obviously worshiping the Lord through it and all of that. That's why it's so powerful. It's a God ordained created thing...of course when we use it in the right context it's going to have a massive meaningful appeal to people."
While on the topic of praising the Lord, Lewis was asked on staying genuine while worshiping for all of these years. We wondered if she had any advice for creating that special place and bond with the Lord.
"I would say that one thing I'm learning today, that life is really truly a journey and that you learn bigger things as you get older. My parents would always say, 'Oh, God taught me this new thing.' Always thinking, 'but yeah, you're like old. How are you learning all these new things?' I'm realizing that we will never know anything and we tend to learn bigger lessons the older we get" she shared, "So one of the biggest lessons for me has been is I have to care less in a massive way about me, and I have to care way more about others but more so about God and what he is doing."
Lewis admits that things are a bit harder now that there is social media to tend to, and the actual business behind music. While it may be tough to sway focus away from ourselves and personal lives, it is important to give that time to God despite our own needs.
"The growth of our business is indicated by how many followers we have, and we have to keep up with that stuff in order to maintain growth to maintain an upward trajectory. We have to be majorly concerned with that and that is not God's heart," said Lewis, "His heart is people, His heart is more people knowing Him but the most important motive behind that has got to be more people knowing Him as opposed to more people knowing me. I will continually learn that lesson and I pray that my 18 year-old daughter is following in my footsteps and finishing up her second record now and getting ready to pursue this life as well."
"I hope I can leave this legacy for her. It is not about us," she added.
Lewis was asked if there was ever a definitive moment that she knew she was called to be a singer and in ministry. She was unable to pinpoint a specific moment, but said she has been singing since she was five. The calling was always there, she just had to slowly uncover it.
"For me it was more of a gradual evolving. I knew as a very young child that I was drawn to music ... I doubted myself somewhere in there because I thought well if that doesn't work out I'll do this or go to college for a year or two to see if this appeals to me just in case to see if this is the right road that I'm on," she shared.
Lewis said she was really pushed to pursue music by her boyfriend–now husband, when she was around 15. At the age of 17 she began working on her first solo record, and that's when his encouragement really kicked in.
"He began to really say 'You need to write songs' and I would say, 'no I can't, I really can't do that.' He would push me, and it was after that process that I think I went, 'Oh, this is something I'm supposed to do.' Rather than it was something I think I might be good at and find fun to do. This is on purpose, this is what I'm for."
Currently Lewis has been in the process of creating a new album for the last two years. She had admittedly suffered from some writer's block and set backs, but feels like her stride has finally kicked in.
"I have never in my entire career found it this difficult to create. It is infuriating, it is frustrating, debilitating, depressing, it is so stinking ridiculous. I do finally feel like we're moving forward. for a long time I felt stuck," Lewis revealed, "I have so associated with the story of Joseph and how he was in prison for so long waiting, knowing that he had something to offer and something to give and letting God use him in a prison cell. The same with Paul, letting God use him in a prison cell. not that my life feels like a prison cell at all, but there are moments where you think, 'Aren't I called to do this? Haven't you made me to do this? Why is this so hard, it's never been hard before?' A lot of growth takes place in those places of life where we are waiting."
She concluded, "So yeah, breaking free from that writer's block and moving forward at this point feels like freedom. So I am in a much happier place at the moment."
Lewis is working on a lot more things in the near future, but she kept that information under wraps for the time being.
"There are lots of other things going on, and hopefully in time they will actually come to pass and I can tell you about them. There's always irons in the fire, and I've learned that you don't just go running off your mouth saying stuff that might happen because then if it doesn't you look like a fool," she said.
So ends the third installment of BreatheCast's interviews with CCM legend Crystal Lewis. We would like to congratulate Crystal on 25 wonderful years of ministry and service to believers and non-believers, and wish her another 25!