In 2014, Phil Wickham didn’t know whether or not he’d ever be able to sing again.
He’d gone to the doctor, having canceled a string of concerts because his throat was bothering him. He could barely talk. The doctors ran a few tests and discovered a vocal polyp – a small lesion on his vocal cord. They could remove it, but the healing process would take time. Phil wouldn’t be able to speak for a month, and after that, there were no guarantees his voice would ever be the same. He might not even be able to sing professionally anymore.
All of this had come a few months into the process of writing his seventh album, but it was a struggle. “It’d become this mundane thing – more a job than a passion,” Phil says. “I didn’t know what to write. I’d sit down to write a song, and I’d think ‘What do I say?’ I could say the same stuff I’d already said on old albums over again, but I didn’t want to do that. I needed a personal awakening.”
Then came the vocal polyp, the doctors, and the month of silence. Very suddenly, Phil’s whole future was thrown into question. “I remember a few days after the diagnosis, I was on my knees asking God for some peace and clarity and a sense of Him in it all. All of the sudden I had this strong sense of Gods presence there with me. There have only been a few times in my life where I felt, undeniably, His voice speaking to me. This was one of them. He said my identity is not in what I do, but it’s in who He says I am. He said ‘I’m your father. You’re my child. Trust me.'”
Given a new sense of passion and freedom, Phil sat down to do what had proven so difficult just a few months earlier. He sat down to write some songs.
“I started writing songs out of this reawakening in my heart,” he says. “I still didn’t know if I was going to be able to sing a whole record of them. But I had a freedom and a lightness in my heart. That’s why I called the record Children of God. The way I feel about the record, that excitement and freshness, I feel like it’s my first record all over again. I feel refreshed. I have a new sound and a new heart. I can’t wait to get on the road and play these songs.”
That zeal is evident on Children of God’s first single, “Your Love Awakens Me,” a rollicking, massive worship anthem with an unforgettable chorus that dares you not to dance along. “I feel like my heart’s been reawakened to passion and purpose. That’s where the song came from,” Phil explains. “I definitely wanted the lyrics to be very communal in a way that wasn’t specific to my situation, but is specific to everyone’s situation who is going through something hard. The music coupled with the lyrics and celebrating God’s love and wanting more of Him – I hope that will inspire people.”
And yes, Phil does sing on the album. Two weeks into his healing process, the doctors told him they didn’t even see any scarring on his throat. He didn’t even need to remain silent for the whole month. He spent some time in vocal therapy and now, Phil’s voice is back and as good as it ever was. And his spirit is better than it ever has been. “I felt totally free making this record,” he says. “I had an awesome time making it. I just feel like I’ve been reawakened.”
That shows on every single song of Children of God, not only in the words, but in the music, and the heart behind the songs. Fans of Phil’s music will find the same energy and talent coursing throughout the album, but they’ll hear something else too. A freedom. An energy. A confidence. It’s infectious.
It’s what comes from knowing you’re a child of God.
Showtime: 8:00pm | Doors Open: 7:00pm
Admission fee: Tickets Only - $19.95-$54.95 | Dinner and Theater - $37.95-$72.95
Shipshewana Event Center
760 S Van Buren St, Shipshewana