Matt Papa, Matt Boswell Share Process Behind a 10-year Hymn Songwriting Collaboration

For the past 10 years, Matt Papa and Matt Boswell have written songs that permeate the congregational worship space. The pair work together to craft modern hymns centering on the glory of God, the beauty of Christ, and inspiring listeners to respond in a meaningful way, according to Boswell. 

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Papa explained their songwriting process, saying Boswell’s strength lies in the lyrics, while Papa’s own forte is developing the melodies. 

Time is a great mirror of the strength of a song, Papa notes. If something is not written well, it probably will not be sung very long in the church. With this in mind, Papa emphasizes he and Boswell are thankful for the long-lasting, positive reception they have garnered in reaction to the songs they have written. 

Their latest work, “Psalm 150 (Praise the Lord)” was released October 23, in commemoration of their two Dove Award nominations for “His Mercy Is More” and their compilation album His Mercy Is More: The Hymns of Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

“Psalm 150 (Praise the Lord)” melodically carries anthemic joy, resolve and triumph, according to Boswell. 

“Normally songwriting for us takes quite a while. Our process is not hurried,” Boswell says. “It’s intentionally slower so that we can live with what we’re writing. But that song was completed pretty quickly, and it’s been fun seeing how our own church has responded to it and seeing it already being sung in other churches as well.” 

Hymns, according to Boswell and Papa, are a marriage of truth and beauty as seen in Jesus – the aim of why they write. 

“You take these pieces and try to put them all together and pray that God would use it to bring glory to Jesus and to build up local churches in their own singing of the Gospel, and Christians in giving them language to articulate how they feel in seasons of suffering and seasons of joy and all of the moments in between,” Boswell says. 

Songs look back, and they look forward, Boswell continues. “The way that we’re writing is in a way looking backward, on the historical tradition of how Christians have sung. And it also looks forward, saying, ‘Are we writing things that we believe our children and our grandchild can one day also find still beautiful?’ So rather than writing songs to try to get us through the weekend, we’re trying to write songs that would carry us through all of life.” 

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