Worth of Souls Interview with Paul Cardall

Faith Filled Family Magazine June 2018 Issue

by Vernita Simmons

When you listen to the musical selections on Worth of Souls, you know this is not just another contemporary Christian album. is is a selection of chosen psalms to stir your heart and encourage your soul. “ is album is a tool—a med- ication—to help people feel something hopeful,” Cardall states. And without a doubt, this project is that and so much more. World-renowned pianist, com- poser, and producer, Paul Cardall have done an exceptional job in presenting an album that will sure to prove how music can help others overcome hardships and recognize you are of substantial worth.

His roles as an award-winning lm composer, musician, and producer, have found him collab-orating with such stellar artists as CeCe Winans, Audrey Assad, The Piano Guys Ellee Duke, Kenz Hall, and more. He spans many genres including Classical Crossover, Contemporary Chris-tian, and New Age, and in doing so has garnered 3 #1 albums on the Billboard charts. 

The star-studded project has already hit #6 on the Amazon charts and on iTunes has hit the Top 10 out of 150 new releases. Now with more than 2 BILLION lifetime digital streams, he cur-rently averages over 25 million streams monthly. Released on April 27 of this year and Co-pro-duced by Trevor Price which is being released on Cardall’s Stone Angel Music label, Worth of Souls, is sure to reveal to lis-teners that they have a huge value—that they have worth. Please give a heartfelt welcome to Paul Cardall. 

Among Paul Cardall many ac- complishments, you are also a speaker and philanthropist. You are originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. Tell us more about who you are. 

Born and raised in Salt Lake. My ancestors came from England, Denmark, and The Netherlands. My parents recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary so I’m one of the fortunate ones to have been raised in a very supportive and loving home. I have 8 siblings who are all mar-ried with children. Because I was born with a complex congenital heart defect, doctors told my parents I wouldn’t survive.

Fortunately, a surgeon opened my infant chest and corrected some of the deformed heart. I had numerous surgeries grow-ing up and was drawn to music over sports. 

During college, I established a music career signing with Vir-gin Records and later going in-dependent. My congenital heart disease and my talent led me speaking by invitation to hun-dreds, if not thousands of med-ical related events as well as church testimonies. 

My career was put on hold when I was listed for a heart trans-plant. I waited 385 days. During that time friends did a fundrais-er for our family and after I sur-vived, received numerous invi-tations to share my story in all kinds of venues; from Nursing medical conferences, American Heart Association conferences, to Youth conferences and much more. I observed a lot of heart patients forgo college because medical bills take the place of tuition. So, we created an en-dowment at Salt Lake Commu-nity College (SLCC) and offer full tuition waiver scholarships to students affected by congen-ital heart disease. It’s been a joy to see these students continue on with their education after the scholarship expires. We chose SLCC because it’s more afford-able than the Universities. 

Please share your journey in becoming a music composer and producer? 

As mentioned above, I was drawn to music from an early age. All of my paper-route mon-ey went to buying records and cassettes. I spent hours at the record store sampling. Piano music became popular in the 80s and 90s and I was drawn to the style of George Winston, Yanni, and Enya. I liked how pop and classical music were com-bined to make a catchy tune. I sat at the piano and tried mim-icking, discovering I could create my own music. 

The piano was a puzzle and ev-ery day as a teenager I spent hours putting the pieces to-gether without any formal train-ing. A friend mine passed away shortly before graduation and I was led to the piano. I wrote my rst song. At that moment God put on my heart that all was well. I shared the music with my friends’ parents and their friends. It was like a calling, God leading me to create music, to help alle-viate suffering and pain. My mu-sic is a tool or a resource to help people access God’s love. Music doesn’t heal us. God heals us. I’m trying to help people get in the right frame of mind with the music so their thoughts turn to Him. 

You say this album will be a “prescription for people who are struggling with depression or a feeling of being lost.” Tell us more about the purpose of Worth Of Souls? Why do you have such a deep concern for those are suffering from depression? 

Depression is growing problem in our society. Suicide continues to plague us. I’ve lost a handful of friends and, ironically, the heart beating in my chest after the transplant came from a young man who signed up to be an organ donor and then took his life. Families are so deeply affected when there is sadness, grief, de-pression, and when those they love give up. Music has clinical-ly been proven to change our mood, our thoughts, and thus how we behave. Each song on Worth of Souls was handpicked because the lyrics and the music counter negative feelings and restore con dence by anchoring our hope in Jesus, for He is Wor-thy of it all, and He wants to heal us. 

The project features per- formances by an array of award-winning artists such as Kenz Hall, Jordan Moyes, Ashley Hess, Ellee Duke, Charley Jenkins, Sierra Lauren, Jor- dan Moyes, Jim Daneker, Trev- or Price, Ashley Hess, Justin Williams and Emily Bea. What was it like working on this al- bum with such artists?. When choosing artists for such an incredible project what exact- ly do you look for? 

This was an altruistic project. Each of these artists is unique. They are pop, country, and sing-er/songwriters. Most of them have never written Christian mu-sic although they are Christian. So, it was a beautiful challenge for some of them like Ellee Duke who was recruited to be on Amer-ican Idol and turned it down be-cause she was writing in Nash-ville and already touring with LeAnn Rimes. Her tune, “Lift Me Out” is a hit song. Wow! The lyric she gave us describes the battle we all go through... “The war in my mind that I couldn’t nd my way out of and you were stand-ing there with all of Your love.” It’s beautiful... Kenz Hall and Justin Williams were on Ameri-can Idol and did very well on the show. Charley Jenkins worked in Nashville on Music Row as a country artist and writer before leaving to carve out his niche playing rodeos, fairs, festivals, opening for everyone from Tay-lor Swift to Jason Aldean. Emily Bera, Ashley Hess, Jordan Moy-es, and Sierra Lauren are great singer/songwriters and have such a love of the Lord that it was a no-brainer to ask them to be part of the project. Not one of the artists ever questioned the pur-pose—-everyone was on board throughtheproductionprocess, excited, anxious to share God’s love through music. Trevor Price produced the project with me and performs on the album. Jim Daneker is Michael W. Smith’s musical director, who not only is producing my personal Christ-mas album for this year, but he contributed a beautiful piano piece called “The Homecoming.” Everyone was exceptional, and each had a powerful experience with God doing this project. 

This album project features 13 handpicked contemporary Christian songs, to convey a heartfelt message to each listener. Among such songs are How Can It Be, Oceans, Come As You Are, and the ti- tle track, Worth Of Souls. Why did you choose these partic- ular songs? Who do you feelwould bene t the most fromhearing the message in these songs? 

Half of the album are original songs. I wrote “Lay It Down” and “Worth of Souls.” Jordan Moyes wrote “O Glorious Day.” Ellee Duke wrote, “Lift Me Out.” Emily Bea wrote “Push & Pull.” We also wanted some songs that have already proven powerfully effec-tive at helping people feel God’s love. “How Can It Be,” “Come As You Are”, “Redeemed”, “Tears of The Saints”, and “Oceans” are beloved worldwide. Our version of “Oceans” feels like an original tune because it’s fully orchestrat-ed with a gentle acoustic guitar and the voice of Jordan Moyes, whose music feels and sounds like John Mayer (if Mayer sang for God). The lyrics are the main reason we chose these songs. When we listen to music, the messagesinksintooursub-con-science. Lyrics that preach and teach the word of God changes us and makes us better people. 

In 1999, you founded Stone Angel Music: a label provid- ing services in artist devel- opment, merchandising, and recording. And you have nine signed artists and has re- leased over 50 instrumental and compilation albums. Now, that’s impressive. Tell us more about your record label? What do your genres include?

Stone Angel Music began in 1999 when I decided to leave Virgin Records and go indepen-dent. The problem was that there is this genre of music called “New Age” and the new agers sort of hi-jacked that genre and it became associated with their form of spirituality. I’m a Chris-tian. I love Jesus. The heart of my music and all I do is God. The artists who we would sign to the label were artists who per-formed with me on stage or I was familiar with their values. Steven Sharp Nelson, a cellist, was per-forming with me and a handful of other Christians from the Rocky Mountain region. We released a cello album, Sacred Cello, fea-turing some hymns and originals and he never thought it would sell. Not only did the album de-but on the Classical Billboard chart above Yo-Yo Ma, but Steve has gone on to create “The Pia-no Guys” who perform arenas all over the world and have music videos seen by hundreds of mil-lions. Overall, our goal at Stone Angel Music is to create albums, which are resources for people to use to create an atmosphere where the fruits of the spirit are felt. 

If there is one takeaway from this album what do you hope it would be? Can you share a testimonial of how listeners have been impacted by it? 

I heard a sermon at Nashville Life by Alvin Love, the son of Grammy-winning Gospel art-ist CeCe Winans. He asked a great question. He said, “May-be the reason people don’t seek the kingdom, or the reason they don’t seek God, is because they don’t feel valued.” He said, “Do we know how valuable we are to God?” We want people to lis-ten and know they are, as Jesus said, “Pearls of great price....” 

We hope music leads them to a restoration, a new life, renewed hope and con dence in trusting God. People are being affected by this message and our artists particularly are affected. Ellee Duke is open about how she was doubting her faith and tempted to abandon the church. Her uncle committed suicide incidentally during this process. Ellee gave the word, “Lift Me Out” which I 

believe should be sung in ev-ery place that does epic worship anthems. It’s that good. Justin Williams, from American Idol, a recovering addict, was given the song “Redeemed.” The testimo-ny he gives in the music video we created for him says it all. People can watch that on our website after April 27th. I’ve been changed, strengthened, and re-committed to Jesus through this process. We want to make Him famous because He is Worthy. 9. You have many projects in play. What’s next on the hori-zon for you? 

I’m wrapping up a Christmas album that’ll be released later this year. Jim Daneker, musical director for Michael W. Smith, is producing the album. It’s like Mannheim Steamroller meets Ludovico Eunaldi. I’m so bless-ed because the beloved Chris-tian artists Audrey Assad will be featured on the album along with the legend CeCe Winans. The Christmas album will be a cele-bration of God’s gift. 

Paul Cardall, what more would you like to share with our readers? How can we purchase this beautiful album; “Worth Of Souls?” Can you please give us your social media contact (as live links for the magazine)? 

We not only have the album on our website, but we have re-sources on depression and a suicide prevention line. We have articles that help educate on this subject. We link to powerful ser-mons that teach us our value to God and to one another. So, we encourage people to visit www. worthofsoulsproject.com and learn more. 

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Paul Cardall, I am very grate- ful for your candor. It’s been an honor speaking to you. It is won- derful to share our faith and give God glory for such an inspiring album. If you are looking for an album that speaks of how valu- able you are, anchor your hope in God and bring you into His presence, look no further. Worth Of Souls has this and so much more. Within these incredible songs, you’ll see you are God’s Precious Treasure and is worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox. And a BIG Shout Out to Alison Auerbach for facilitating this wonderful interview. I could not have completed it without your assistance. You are a Gem.