Using reggae, rap and hip-hop, musician Paul Wright uses his music to encourage and inspire others. His songs were featured in the movie To Save A Life and he desires for listeners to make his music the soundtrack to their lives. We sat down with Wright five years ago and talked about how he realized music was his calling and his take on mainstream versus Christian music.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
Wright reflected on when he feels like music became his calling in life.
“I think I really received the calling when I was 12. It was one of those times God became more evident. Music was instrumental for me in coming to understand God more. I think because I was inspired in that way I wanted to also inspire others. That was really the focus and drive when I first began that Toby had…’R-A-P, talk is my tool, my gift to use, R-A-P to spread the news that God may know your part, tell the world what’s on your heart.’ As a 12-year-old I took that literally. It was pretty cool when it came full circle for him [TobyMac] to get a vision for my tunes. It was one of those moments where you say, ‘Ok God I see how you’ve orchestrated this.’ I think with every musician, when they are independent and on their own, they are looking for the opportunity to get their songs out there to a bigger audience.”
Wright shared how his music was featured in the movie To Save a Life and the storyline behind the songs.
“It was really cool. The songs used were the ones I wrote while in San Diego. That PB song…I wrestled with it. Just like your magazine, the song isn’t necessarily Christian. That record was really kind of more of a narrative approach and a concept record as opposed to songs directed towards my faith, although there is faith in the story. The song PB talks about partying, and taking shots, and I don’t want that to be my banner or message, but it’s one of those things where you don’t want to be judged based on some lyrics in one song. Playing in a lot of churches growing up, you wonder, ‘How is that going to be interpreted?’ And if younger people hear, then what is that going to do to them? It’s so cool because that song was used in the movie and I was just reminded that God is so much bigger than me. Why am I trying to control what is going to happen to this song? He’s going to work it out for the good. That brought a peace to me. God is bigger; it was a reminder he was in control.”
“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 1 Timothy 1:8-10
Wright explained to us how he feels about Christian music versus mainstream music.
“I think as I progress in my songwriting and after playing so many shows, I’ve realized the need for conversation. I’m personally not the type of guy that would go up to a stranger and dive into faith matters; unless it was really on my heart. But I love just getting to know people and if it comes up, then that would be sweet. I love to hear where people are from and what they are doing and that’s how I approach music. I wouldn’t necessarily consider my music Christian, in the sense that I don’t really think music really is Christian, but there definitely is a need for worship music. I think that’s what Christian music is, worship music. You can sing about the light, or what you see in the light; and I’m an artist that likes to sing about what I see in the light, at the same time, singing about the light too.”
Explore your calling. God has given each of us a calling and purpose for our lives. Take time this month to explore what yours is. Reflect on the callings of Moses, David and Daniel. Think about how God spoke to them and how they listened and were obedient. Ask God to show you your gifts and talents and how you can use them to glorify Him. Consider taking a weekend retreat to pray and be still with God to listen to His direction. Leave your phone and laptop behind to be wholly focused on God.
Glorify God. You may not be in full-time ministry or a worship leader, but each of us has the ability to glorify God. We can do this everyday by working hard in our professions, in the classroom, on the athletic field and in our homes. Our work ethics and attitudes can be a great witness for Christ. Whether it is our co-workers, classmates, teammates, neighbors, friends or family, God wants us to share His love through our words and actions to those around us. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words to share and questions to start a conversation.
Share a song with a friend. Whether it’s a worship song or a hip hop song, if there’s a song with lyrics that have meaning to you, share it with a friend who might be going through something similar to you. Use it as an opportunity to share your testimony and ask your friend what they believe in.
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