Elliot Powell is a Christian musician, as well as an ordained Presbyterian Pastor. In this interview I was able to catch up with Elliott and get to know more about him and how he got started playing music.
Can you give us a little background history on how you got started playing music?
Hi Courtney. Thanks for the interview. I got started playing music in my early teens. Like a lot of kids that age, I began to pay attention to popular music. For me, however, it didn’t just stop with enjoying music; I wanted to learn how to create it. My Dad lent me his acoustic guitar when I was 12 or 13 and I began to teach myself guitar.
How would you describe your sound musically, and who are some of your influences?
On “Songs of Ascent” I think you’ll hear some Coldplay influence, some modern dance/rock beats, and some Indie/Folk sensitivities comparable to Bon Iver or Escondido. Those were some of the bands I was listening to at the time of writing and I think you’ll hear that influence in these new songs.
How do you think being a pastor affects how you write your music?
That’s a great question. It certainly affects the lyrical content of the music. I was also purposeful in writing songs that are accessible and sing-able in hopes that the melodies and lyrics would stay with people through the day after listening to them, so as to minister to them.
What do you hope listeners will get from listening to your music?
Encouragement. There are so many contemporary Christian songs which focus on the topic of God’s love- which is great and necessary - but I purposely focused on other themes that, I think, are needed in CCM. “Brighter” is a song about the light one finds in the person of Christ; “Majesty” is a song about trusting God in all circumstances knowing that an ultimate, secure destiny awaits the church; “You Gave” is about our response to God’s sacrificial efforts to offer us salvation. So, I hope that these songs will offer encouragement through these topics. That, and, I hope people just enjoy the music!
Where is your favorite venue or place that you have played?
I have a number of favorites. Probably at the top is selling out the Viper Room in Hollywood.
Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life?
Jesus. The more I come to know him, the more he astonishes and inspires me.
How does your family inspire you, in everyday life, as well as in your music?
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?
Personally given to me? My mother said something to me once that really stuck with me- probably because of the imagery of it. She’s a strong Christian and she told me once to “keep the center of your life uncluttered.” I like that. Keep the important things at the center. Don’t crowd your life with a bunch of stuff that doesn’t matter. I also took it to mean that one should regularly take a life inventory: Is your life clean and ordered? People do better in order; not so good in chaos.
Five Random Bonus Questions
1. If you had one day to do anything, anywhere, what would you do?
I feel like I’m supposed to say something epic, like climb the Himalayas or something. But, you know, because my little girls love Disney princesses so much, a day at Disneyland sounds pretty fun – as long as they have a place to take a nap. Little kids at Disneyland with no nap = no fun.
2. What is last CD you bought?
Like most people these days, I mostly buy downloads as singles or selections from records.
The last full CD I bought was Arcade Fire, “Reflektor.” Most recently, I’ve been listening to Ivan and Aloysha, Imagine Dragons and American Authors.
3. Do you have any pets?
No. I have nothing against pets, but I am allergic to cats and dogs, so that kind of ends any thoughts of pet ownership for me.
4. Camping or hotels?
5. What is your favorite movie?
It’s an oldie- “Chariots of Fire.” If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks, Courtney! This was great. Be sure to “like” Elliott Powell Ministries on Facebook and sign up at my site, www.epmusicministries.com, to get updates and free downloads.