Exclusive: Crowder Explains Swamp Pop and Horizontally Aimed Music

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Growing up, I knew David Crowder as the lead singer (and face) of award-winning Christian group David Crowder Band. Not only were they a huge part of my childhood, but they are responsible for penning some of my favorite worship songs of all-time. (“Everything Glorious,” “O Praise Him,” “Wholly Yours” and “After All (Holy).”)

Now, as a person, David Crowder is still David Crowder, but as an artist, he’s Crowder — a Christian-folktronica-country-pop singer-songwriter who’s gearing up to drop his second solo album, American Prodigal. His first solo album, Neon Steeple, garnered him a GRAMMY nomination with “Come As You Are” for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song.

Recently, I had the coolest opportunity to chat with Crowder about everything from his new album, to his creative process, to his move to Atlanta, to his single “Run Devil Run,” to his dream collaborations (Jon Foreman and NEEDTOBREATHE) — and, let me tell you, he is genuinely the nicest guy.

Throughout the entire conversation, Crowder’s excitement about American Prodigal, and music in general, was almost palpable.

He was absolutely giddy when sharing the creative details behind his new album and, to me, it seemed as though he’s been waiting his entire career to produce and share these particular songs and this particular sound with the world — which makes hearing the new stuff that much more exciting for us, the fans.

Crowder chose to release “Run Devil Run” as the lead single off the album because he believes it will give people a nice little taste of what the new album is all about.

“So, we were trying to figure out what to shove out the door first, and kind of give everyone a peek of what’s coming,” he said. “Hopefully, everyone can get a little taste of what’s gonna be coming for the whole record from that one little song. And it’s fun, it will make you smile.”

And he’s right. The song is incredibly catchy, incredibly fun and also, completely different than anything else he’s released throughout his career.

“The whole record is very different from what we’ve done in the past,” he said. “It’s very upbeat, for the most part, and it’s also got quite a bit of Southern swamp in it. I call it, like, Swamp Pop.”

For this album, David was heavily inspired by the city around him. After moving to Atlanta, Georgia nearly 4 years ago, he realized that the bustling Southern city was the perfect representation of Southern, country and urban sounds.

“Being in Atlanta, you know, it’s kind of like you just soak up what’s in the soil,” he said. “So, the sound, and what my ear was turning toward was just a little more Southern and a little more diverse. You know, Atlanta’s a really diverse place and the sound of the music kind of is reflecting the soil I’m in right now… It’s got a lot of urban flare to it. And thank goodness, ’cause I freaking love it!”

And so do I. The marriage of these diversely different sounds has created something totally unique and fun for fans to listen to.

Other than his single “Run Devil Run,” Crowder is most excited for fans to hear “Keep Me.” He thinks it’ll surprise some people because he raps, or “talks fast in time,” throughout the song.

“The first, like, legit song is called ‘Keep Me’ and it is, I think it’s going to surprise some people,” he laughed. “I wouldn’t call it rapping, but, uh, talking fast in time. That’s what I’m doing, and so I think it might catch people a little off guard. Like I said, I went ATL on this thing.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m incredibly excited to hear Crowder “not rap.”

While this album may not officially be in the “worship music” category, Crowder still considers the songs and the lyrics of the songs to be “horizontally directed.”

“Well, this [album], I classify as [worship music] too. Everybody’s always said that about me, it feels like. It’s like, ‘Well, I wish you did more worship music,’ I’m like, ‘To me, it is.’ But, yeah, I think this [album] has a lot of that in it. As I said, in my mind, pretty much all the lyrics are horizontally directed.”

When listening to the single, it’s blatantly obvious to me where Crowder’s lyrics are directed, leading me to believe that his new album is going to be the ultimate (and probably first ever) swamp pop worship album.

The album officially drops September 23. Check out CrowderMusic.com for more information.