Former Audio Adrenaline vocalist Mark Stuart took some time out to do a Q & A with BREATHEcast where he shared about his Hands & Feet ministry, Haiti Made, his time with Audio A, and the future of the band.
BREATHEcast: As someone who was in Haiti during the major earthquake, what were some of the thoughts going on in your head as you looked around?
Mark Stuart: It felt as if we were in a war zone. There were buildings collapsed, injured people everywhere, dead bodies, and an overwhelming sense of urgency to help those around us.
BC: In America, the country rallies around major tragedies: hurricanes, major fires, 9/11, etc. How were the people of Haiti toward one another in attitude, spirit, and willingness to be there for each other?
MS: The weeks following the earthquake, the Haitian people were amazing in how they cared for each other. People were sharing housing, food and water. Many of the men were participating in search and rescue by digging for bodies alongside the UN soldiers. The church as a whole rose to the occasion by becoming the main point of distribution for tents and sustenance. It was incredible to watch.
BC: Since creating the Hands & Feet Project how has your life changed, and what has it taught you about being self-less?
MS: Being connected to Haiti has definitely changed my life. It's often said..."you can't un-know or un-see what you've experienced in Haiti." Once you know the level of need in a place like Haiti, it shifts your priorities. Haiti has a way of forcing you to forget about the American made struggle for comfort, security, and pleasure. Haiti reminds me that life is really a lot simpler than we often make it.
BC: Did you think a song you wrote (Hands & Feet) would ever have such a profound impact on people's lives outside of even the Christian music realm?
MS: When we finished the song "Hands and Feet," I knew we had something special. It was an honor to write it with Tyler Burkum, Bob Herdman, and Charlie Peacock. I never would have dreamed that the song would have grown into what it has become today. God is full of surprises.
BC: How is Haiti Made really changing the game as far as providing opportunity for the impoverished people of Haiti?
MS: Haiti Made provides a strategic shift from charity to sustainability. Our focus with Haiti Made is to encourage and empower women to keep their children by building job opportunities. Most of the orphan and child slavery crisis in Haiti is a direct result of extreme poverty. Haiti Made hopes to bring hope to mothers in crisis by providing a way out of extreme poverty.
BC: Your life has become almost the tale of two stories with Audio Adrenaline being the first half, and the Hands and Feet Project now coming to the forefront of the entire focus for the second half. How have you transitioned from rock star to servant?
MS: Kicking and screaming? [Haha] In many ways being a rock star was just as much about being a servant as working with the Hands and Feet Project. Both careers have long hours and lots of traveling. One thing is for certain, God has orchestrated every step. Every moment, as I look back, was romantically and beautifully written by God. He takes our tragic and broken stories and redeems them.
BC: Do you feel as you gradually lost your physical voice, God opened up your spiritual voice?
MS: Yes. I can testify that when things we rely on get stripped away, we rely more and more on God, and that's a good thing.
BC: What do you hope to see the Hands and Feet Project grow to, and will it ever expand to other nations?
MS: I pray for God to use Hands and Feet Project however He wants. Our goal as a team is to continue to provide the very best care for children in need and to fight to keep families together.
BC: How do you feel about the current state of Audio A, and what sort of involvement do you have with them if any?
MS: I hope and pray for good things for Audio A. The new record is sounding amazing and the hearts of the guys are pure. I'm excited to see what God does with the vision. My current involvement is as a writer, advisor, and maybe a big brother. [Haha]
BC: We recently interviewed Kevin Max and asked him about his time with Audio A. He says you guys are great friends and he enjoyed his time with the band. Can you maybe share a little bit about Kevin's time with Audio A and what you thought of it?
MS: I love Kevin. We live in the same neighborhood and go to church together. Most people wouldn't know it...but underneath that edgy rock star vibe is one of the biggest hearts you could ever imagine.
BC: "DC-10" 1992 or "DC-10 1999"? "My God" or "Houseplant Song?"
MS: DC-10 1999 and Houseplant song. Tough questions.
For more information on the Hands & Feet Project and how you can get involved click here.
Stuart co-founded Audio Adrenaline with his bandmates in the late 80s and were a highly successful band through the 90s and early 2000s. With classic songs such as "Big House," "Never Gonna Be As Big As Jesus," "Get Down," and "Ocean Floor" in their catalog, these guys are Christian music legends with DC Talk and the Newsboys.
Audio A disbanded in 2007 due to the loss of Stuart's voice after suffering from vocal ailments for a few years. The band resurfaced in 2012 with all new band members except for co-founder Will McGinniss on the bass. They also added another Christian music pioneer, Kevin Max, formerly of DCT. He has since left the band and after a bit of lineup switching, Audio A 3.0 is in full effect. Read about it here.
Also, be sure to check out our interview with Kevin Max as he explained his thoughts on his time with the band.