Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Life doesn't get much better than this: I'm sitting back at home - MY HOME!!! - and I'm listening to the new Coldplay album (which, btw, is fantastic), getting great news about what's going on.
First off, let me be clear. Me talking about the next album or showing you guys new songs should in no way be construed as "moving on" from this album. It will probably be at least 2 years before another album comes out, maybe longer. This album has a ton of life left to it. We're the best-selling new Christian artist of 2008 so far and as I mentioned before we're finalizing booking my first official headlining tour, promoting the album.
However, because of the way my schedule is looking for the next few months and even years, the label and I have decided to take a different approach with the next album than with this one. Instead of spending 3-4 months straight working on a record, I'm gonna be recording it off and on for several months, perhaps even over a couple of years. The plan is to end up recording great songs as I write them and when it feels right to make a new album, then we'll figure out what we have, who we need to bring into finish the singles and then the album is already done.
So...these 5 songs I recorded last week are simply the first batch of songs that I recorded. It may be a direction for the album, it may not. We've got a long time to come to that conclusion. What I do know is that the next album will be different from this album, and it will be better than this album. This album is the peak of who I am creatively at this point...but with every day, I'm growing musically and lyrically and creatively and the next album will definitely explain and inform that growth!
Anyway, on to this album. Remember a while back I told you to not worry - that the Billboard chart is just a waiting game? Well, after I think 8 weeks at #18, last week, we jumped to #16, and this week, we gained more plays but moved to #17 (MercyMe's new song hopscotched from #21 to 16 - hey, it's MercyMe - they're bigger than me!). However, early indications for next week are looking like we could be #12! The plays are so close between #12-16 that it will be hard to tell this early, but we're moving up. On the other main chart, AC Indicator, we have a top 10 hit! So, "Empty Me" is by no means done at radio. It just takes a long time to move up the charts, especially as a new artist!
We finally got the 2 biggest Christian networks - KLove and Salem - to pick up on the song! These are 2 stations that several other stations watch as an indicator if the song should be picked up....so we may get a bevy of adds in the next few weeks!
I think I'm finally allowed to announce that "Arise" is the second single. Depending on what happens with "Empty Me" it looks like it'll be coming out some time in July. We may have to hold it off, if "Empty Me" picks up even more steam - but for now it looks like July is launch for "Arise". I knew it took time to move up the charts...but to put it in perspective, Matthew West recently had a #1 with "You Are Everything" - it took 20 weeks to reach the top 5 and another 5-6 to reach #1. It's number 8 this week and it's been on the chart for 36 freaking weeks! The Robbie Seay Band has a song at #9 that's been on the chart for 42 weeks! That's 81/2 to 10 months they've been working their way up the chart! So, my measly 14 weeks on the chart is nothing. Believe me when I say that the Christian chart is THE hardest to move up on. It just takes time. But "Arise" is the next single.
Also, this summer, we'll be taking a couple of songs to mainstream radio for testing. The basic plan for the mainstream songs is to get a few stations to add the song, give the song a chance to get tested and if it comes back from testing as a hit, it gives us a chance to use that data to build a story in the mainstream market. The plan for now is that starting in January we go for official adds en masse in the mainstream market, about the same time we take our third single to the Christian market. We're not sure what the first mainstream single will be but it's between "Let You Know", "In a Moment" and "Cry Tonight"....I have a feeling "Let You Know" will win out, but you never know - if our mainstream radio guys really dig another song? Well, we'll know more about that soon.
When we go mainstream, we are already working on relationships for tv stuff, for me to make appearances, etc. Again, it has to work at mainstream radio first, but we have people interested in having me on tv shows, etc...we just have to have a hit. That's the hard part. I have no idea what works at mainstream radio...I mean I look at the charts and every week a new song jumps to the top 10 and it's something I had no idea would work at radio! So, maybe we can get lucky and have a hit!
We've sold about 11,000 so far. We sold 4,100 our first week and this last week we sold 1,500. We're selling steadily, which is a great sign for our industry. The more exposure "Empty Me" and "Arise" after it get, the sales will build. The more I tour, the more sales will build.
Sales are obviously important because they are what keep me going as an artist...but the most important thing to me is the fact that people are being changed by the music. I get testimonials almost daily from people who have been touched by a song or their lives reflect a song like "Empty Me" or "Potential". So, no matter how many records are sold, I know that people are being touched...I hope a lot of people are touched, but whatever number it is...I'm totally okay with.
This blog is the perfect example of people's live being changed...friendships have been made in a virtual world that have transferred to real life, all because of some chubby kid who sings songs he wrote! I don't understand it, but I love it!
So, that's the update!
Oh, yeah, I've written about a quarter of the script for the movie idea I was talking about last week. It's a first draft, but I think it's pretty funny. It'll only get funnier as I hone it, but I think the idea is good.
Thanks for being the best fans in the world!