Songs of the Season: Celebrating Christ’mas with Michael O’Brien

If you’re at all familiar with the Christian music world, chances are you know of Michael O’Brien.  A Grammy nominated and Dove Award winning artist with seven #1 and ten Top 5 songs, he’s been in music ministry for over 20 years and is best known from his 7-year tenure as lead singer of Newsong.  But what you may not know is that Michael recently released his first solo Christmas CD titled, “Christ’mas,” which includes the powerful debut single, “The Story.”

“I really felt impressed by the Lord to record a full CD of sacred Christmas songs,” Michael said in an interview with Creative Promotions. “I wanted to steer away from the commercialism that comes during the Season and focus in on the sacred holiness of God incarnate.  So every song on the project speaks of it.”

While Michael was working on the CD project, he got the idea to take four of his favorite familiar Christmas songs and tell the story of Jesus Christ with them.  He creatively and seamlessly combined verses of “O come O Come Emmanuel,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “What Child Is This” and “Mary Did You Know,” and the final product was “The Story.”  “Each verse has its own part in telling the full story of Jesus’ birth,” he said.

The single has been very well received and is making its way up the iTunes Christian CD sales chart , climbing as high as #44 last week.  “That’s very significant considering Michael doesn’t have the weight of a major label behind him,” says Wendell Gafford of Creative Promotions, emphasizing that “The Story” is not just another Christmas medley.  “Why is this song brilliant?  Because every Christmas I am reminded by programmers that, even though your listeners love new songs for the season, they still want to hear their favorite carols more than anything.  ‘The Story’ is the best of both worlds!  It is a completely new song yet completely familiar!”

We asked Michael a few questions about his music ministry, his family life, and what makes his new Christmas CD stand out during this season:

RM:  With the radio playing Christmas music 24/7, how are your songs different?

MO:  We really tried to steer away from the commercialism that the season brings and focus in on the sacred holiness of God incarnate. Every song speaks of it and every note proclaims it. My hope is that Christ is lifted up.

RM:  I understand that this is a “family” effort.  How many people do you have in your family?  What is working with your family like? Is there anyone in your family who’s not musically talented?  If so, how do they respond to living in your musical family?

MO:  My wife Heidi and I have four children. Everyone in our family has musical gifts and all of us sing. Heidi traditionally sings on at least one song per CD that I do and her contribution this time was on the song “We Adore You.” Interestingly, we met in a singing group.  Another one of the songs features my daughter Meghan and me.  She has a beautiful voice.  She actually sang “Be Still My Soul” on my previous CD, so this is an encore performance!  And finally, my three boys, Mikey, Joseph, and Timmy, sang with me on a song called “This Christmas Night.”  I wrote that song with Regie Hamm, who penned the song “Time of My Life” for American Idol winner David Cook. One of the highlights of my life was to sing with all my boys, and it’s something I will never forget!

RM:  Why is your CD titled “Christ’mas?”

MO:  The word Christmas comes from 2 different words:  “Christ” and “Mass.”  It was on the 25th of December that the church would get together and celebrate Jesus’ birth, and that is what this CD represents.

RM:  What is your favorite song on the album? 

MO:  Not a fair question.  But I am partial to “With Us” and “The Story.”

RM:  Will fans of “Christmas Shoes” like this new album?  

MO:  I think so, though this CD has a very different feel to it. Like I said before, there is no Santa or Jingle Bells or Rudolph on this one. Just Christ-filled.

RM:  As a professional “music minister,” do you have spiritual droughts? How do you handle that?

MO:  Whether you are a music minister or a pastor, I think you can have times of struggle and not feel very spiritually whole. The danger is to rely on your feelings instead of believing what the Word of God says. The Bible says God will never leave you or forsake you. My comfort in the Lord far outweighs my human emotions and struggles. When the challenges come, I am reminded of God’s great love for me and find confidence in the knowledge that I am forgiven and free through Jesus Christ!

We’re giving away a copy of Michael O’Brien’s “Christ’mas” CD!  Please leave a comment below for your chance to win!

On December 18 at noon (EST), we’ll pick a name in a random drawing from all eligible entries received and send you an email notification if you are the winner!   Limit one (1) entry per person; NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  Not only will you enter for a chance to win “Christ’mas,” you will also receive free weekly e-zines from SixSeeds!  Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and Washington D.C. who are 18 or older as of date of entry.

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