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Hearts of Saints

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Review of self-titled


The Advocate



Hearts of Saints Interview

by Tracy Darlington

"We don’t have the ability to change people. Only God can do that. Our job is to love people unconditional as Christ did to us."
--Hearts of Saints


Merging infectious rock/dance pop amalgamations with spiritually centered reflections stepped in social relevance, Hearts of Saints is a buzzworthy fresh face on the Christian music scene. The Kentucky-bred road warriors comprising singer Craig Felker, drummer Jason Killebrew, guitarist L.J. Granstaff and bassist Joel Purdy spent the last few years touring tirelessly, refining its innovate sound to razor sharp degrees, while attracting fans across the country. Among those who embraced the band early on was Grammy nominated and Dove award-winning artist GRITS, who recently signed the band to its Nashville-based label, Revolution Art.



How did you know God was calling you to pursue music as a career?

When I was a Freshmen in college God spoke to me through music and it helped changed my life. I felt called to lead worship but I didn’t know how to play any instruments (seriously, my guitar playing abilities are shaky at best). It took a few years but I eventually met Jason (drummer) in college and he introduced me to the other guys (LJ and Joel) in the band. For us, playing music and worshipping is what we’re “called” to do, and as its became a career that was just an extra benefit. Our hope is that this can be a lasting ministry.

Talk about when you were known as Special D.

Before we were signed to Revolution Art we were known as an Indie band called Special D. This name was also shared by a European DJ that does not share the same conviction about his message (AKA lude/crude music). The sound and band members are the same now as then, but we made a decision to depart from the name to avoid any confusion or needless exposure for our fans (see next question for more).

Philemon 1:7 has almost become your mission statement. Can you explain?

After deciding to change the name we wanted to make sure that our name carried our vision and actually meant something (Special D was just a name). Paul writes to Philemon that he is encouraged by his kindness and faith because he’s refreshed the Hearts of the Saints. We hope that our music has the same impact on the church and hopefully spawns new saints from the unchurched.

How has your music changed from your Special D days?

Not a lot has changed. The songwriting and sound is more mature than before and since the name change we’ve really found our niche as a modern pop/rock band.

Hearts of SaintsTell us about your album Hearts of Saints.

The album has something for everyone . . . from sing-a-long anthems, to dance-a-longs (is that even a word?) to songs that are straight worship, we hope that it both inspires and rocks you. Our goal when writing a song has always been to both move you on the inside and outside. We feel like this record does that.

What are some of your goals as a group?

Overall we hope this music translates the hope of Christ to everyone who hears it. More tangible goals for the next few years include: A dove award nomination, a top 5 radio single and maybe a Grammy nomination?

Do you have any advice for teenagers trying to pursue their dreams?

Surround yourself with people that inspire you and have like-minded goals. You must believe in yourself and be prepared to work hard to reach those goals. Most importantly, listen to God and follow where the spirit leads you.

What specific advice do you have for teens on how to reach their friends for Christ?

LOVE people. Life a life of love (Ephesians 5:1) every day and put others needs/desires above your own. To know Christ is to serve and sacrifice.

What are the biggest mistakes teens make in witnessing?

We don’t have the ability to change people. Only God can do that. Our job is to love people unconditional as Christ did to us. If your life is a reflection of Christ and your truly seeking and following Him, others will want to know what you have. If we truly want to witness to others we must start with ourselves.

Are there any steps you take to stay on track spiritually?

It’s impossible to stay on track spiritually without being in God’s word daily. As a band we do daily scripture readings. There’s a great new iPhone app we’ve been using called YouVersion. It offers daily readings and great contributions that are insightful to the scriptures.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

GREAT question. Not sure what God has in store, BUT I hope this ministry is still going strong and we’re a part of changing the face of “Christian Music.”

If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?

Christ is the obvious one so I’ll leave that alone. Right now I’d like to have dinner with my wife Stephanie. I haven’t seen in her in several days and we’d probably talk about everything BUT the band.

I'm sure you have some fun road stories. Can you share with us one that sticks in your mind?

Definitely . . . check out http://www.youtube.com/heartsofsaints “How To Change a Tire.” It’s completely random but the video is from an experience live on the road.

Is there anything else you'd like to say to TitleTrakk.com readers?

PLEASE BUY OUR ALBUM :)? Seriously, we just like to ask the readers to check us out at www.heartsofsaints.com and join the fun.

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Tracy DarlingtonTracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.