February 9th, 2011
07:55 AM ET
You'd think that Christian music singer Brandon Heath hardly ever has a bad day at work. Especially with the No. 1 song (Your Love) and No. 2 album (Leaving Eden) in Christian music. Especially when you consider in the past three years he's been named newcomer of the year and twice been selected male artist of the year.
But that's not necessarily true.
Making "Leaving Eden," his third album with Reunion Records, tested Heath. He didn't always see eye-to-eye with executives at the label and with noted producer Dan Muckala during the early production days. Not that's a bad thing.
"The label wasn't on the same page as me and neither was Dan," Heath said recently while on tour with TobyMac. "I guess you have to find the hill that you want to die on. But they challenged me to keep writing and right now it's easy to say that I'm glad that they did but at the time ..."
He said he was so invested in some of the songs that it was hard to go back to the writing room. But he said he realized he had a team he should trust, so he listened.
Take for instance the hit song, "Your Love." The bridge was the last thing on the project Heath wrote. He kept coming back to it, feeling like it just wasn't right. And Muckala didn't think it was good enough yet either.
"Some times I just had to give in and say, 'if I have to keep writing, I'll keep writing," Heath said. "But then there were some where I decided to take stand and say, "Look, this song belongs on the record.' "
Those two songs were "Might Just Save Your Life" and "Now More than Ever".
Heath said he's never been more proud of a CD given the work that went into it, including what he said was work "relationally" with Muckala and Reunion.
"I feel like I've learned to trust them a little bit more," he said. "Not all struggles are bad struggles."
The result is an album that Jesus freak Hideout calls it a commercial "home run." Roger Gelwicks, gave the CD 3 1/2 stars (of five) and said the record comes with natural expectations.
John Brandon at Christianity Today is a little less kind. He writes "... the album is front-loaded with sure-fire radio hits and thoughtful lyrical content, [but] Leaving Eden leaves a bit to be desired." He gave the CD three stars.
Heath's spring is filled with tour dates. Right now he is out with arguably one of the biggest names in Christian music, TobyMac on the Winter Wonderslam Tour. From there Heath will be doing a bit of headlining, followed by gigs with MercyMe.
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