“Always write from the heart and seek the truth, because the greatest art expressed is the truth and the reflection of the human condition,” advises Scott MacLeod. With co-writer Chris Rice, MacLeod is American Songwriter’s Christian Writer of the Year and writer of the Top Christian Song, “By Faith.”“Always write from the heart and seek the truth, because the greatest art expressed is the truth and the reflection of the human condition,” advises Scott MacLeod. With co-writer Chris Rice, MacLeod is American Songwriter‘s Christian Writer of the Year and writer of the Top Christian Song, “By Faith.”
“We wrote that about three years ago, and Km Boyce recorded it,” MacLeod continues. “I like it because it deals with the reality of the struggle of having faith when things are difficult. Sometimes it’s hard to be a believer when you’re facing life’s fires and trials, but that’s reality. We were trying to wrap up faith aggressively in the song, but what the Lord put in our hearts is that there is no real answer.
“As the song says, ‘In a world where our questions are haunted, and life’s not as fair as we all want it, where the innocent die, and we ask why, and still we await the reply…Blessed are those who believe and who have not seen,” MacLeod adds.
He told us Rice “is a great guy who spends about 95% of his time on the road with youth groups, using his music to communicate with them. I really respect him and I like to write with him when we’re able to get together, though we each also write separately.”
Rice said that when co-writing with someone, it’s important that the individuals beliefs are similar. “As far as what comes out in the song, I think the co-writer’s beliefs should match closely because songs are communicating the truth,” says Rice. “To me, writing for someone else is secondary to writing to express the truth. For that integrity to come across s important, whether writing alone or co-writing.”
The duo does seem to put their beliefs in action. MacLeod, with his other frequent co-writer and partner in Ocean Motion Music and Ocean Motion productions, Trace Scarborough, helped begin, and still works with The Foundry, a Nashville Christian coffeehouse with live music on weekends. It has ministry provision teams who “bring life and hope through song and the truth of the gospel to those like the homeless and those in nursing homes, who’re often forgotten in our own city. To me, that’s love in motion. Being Christian is what’s in the heart and the life that backs it up,” MacLeod explains.
He says the Christian music field is “different because it’s a smaller market, but it’s a privilege to be able to write from the heart and touch people’s lives. I believe songs should portray truth and human emotions. The more it touches reality, the more excited I get about it. I write out of human expression to touch others and to keep it pure. I think there will be more opportunities as the market grows and the world pays more attention. The paradox is that it may be done more for money then, while the greatest songs, like ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘The Old Rugged Cross,’ weren’t meant to make money but were expressions of faith, sometimes written in broken states. But each individual needs to draw their own boundaries.
“The Word of God is the foundation…the sunglasses I look through in all aspects of life. The key is to take the Word and apply it to real life situations. A writer can express it in the right way. For example, it’s not wrong to express anger, but a Christian should go about it with forgiveness and not revenge.
“Writing is the biggest part of my life, as far as faith. Music is universal and speaks a spiritual language, so writing is a natural overflow of my heart. I played in different types of bands as a drummer before I moved here from Canada about eight years ago, but Christian music was always in my heart. I write pop and love songs, too, but I feel that the world just classifies music for marketing purposes and that, if I write from a Christian point of view, even pop music can be spiritual.”
MacLeod, whose wife Sarah gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Emily Ann, just a few days before this interview, is justifiably excited about life and looking forward to continuing to express his faith and emotions in Christian music in the future.