Over the weekend of 18 and 19 April 2009, City Harvest Church played host to two of Australia’s most anointed worship leaders Andrew Naylor and David Holmes — they led the congregation through a rousing time of praise and worship. City News caught them for an exclusive interview.
CN: Apart from church, what have you guys been up to?
David (D): Many things. Part of what I do is record production. I’m looking after a few children’s projects, and also a demo album for Sony Music in Australia. Andrew and I are also making a record together. We’re calling the group DNA (David and Andrew). That’s what we’ll be working on for the next few months.
CN: That’s great. What kind of songs will you have on that album?
Both: They’re all original compositions. We have all the songs sorted out, just putting them together now. It’s probably more the gentle side of what we do, than the rock side.
CN: What difficulties did you face when you started out in your music careers?
D&A: It’s difficult being a musician actually. A lot of people do not consider it a serious vocation; but music — historically, Biblically — carved the way before an army.
Any band that is successful becomes something new — even to itself. It takes hard work. You’ve got to go up against rejection and all those kinds of things. One difficulty is the amount of time and effort and energy you need to actually cut your craft. There are literally hours and hours you spend on your own that you don’t get paid for. That just chisels away at your diligence. No one’s there to cheer you on, no one’s there to pay you.
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CN: So in spite of these challenges, what keeps you motivated?
A: It’s about stepping up to the dream, what it is you feel called to do. Like any vocation, when someone knows exactly what they should be doing they will put up with the challenges, because if you don’t have those challenges you’re not going to grow strong. You’re not going to improve [on] how you communicate, how you learn, how you play, and how you work with other people. As with anything, music has its challenges. But if it’s in you, you just go “I don’t care!” I’ve been playing the guitar for 34 years and I still get as much out of it, if not more, now, because now I manage to do things I could only dream of as a kid. I still get excited about making music!
D: God’s given me a gift and He’s helped me work at it, preserve it and unlock it. I’ve enjoyed the last 25 years of playing music, teaching, worship leading, working with great people, making albums — it’s awesome! [Just like] how a 25,000-people church doesn’t happen in one year, you’ve got to persevere and keep connected to the principles and the values of what it is you’re trying to do. So, of course, in music, we do it in recognition of our Creator. We’re not just doing it for ourselves — it’s a gift from God that can bless others and connect with them and that’s really rewarding. We could have fallen into just secular music and that would have been fantastic, but the reward would be nothing like the reward we have.
CN: Wow, that is amazing. But have there been times you’ve felt like giving up?
A: Not really. When you start out as a musician, you’re not thinking about the ramification of what it’s going to be to earn a living. We both had times when it wasn’t easy making a living as a musician. But we’re blessed to have gotten where we are. We’re very fortunate to have great wives, great kids, great lives — we’re very blessed to have that.
There have also been outstanding highlights in our careers. And we have to say we’re very grateful to God for bringing us thus far. Hopefully we’ll see another 45 years of music-making.
D: [Laughs] Yeah. Imagine coming back to City Harvest Church when we’re 90 years old, “I’m gonna run with fire…”