Amy Vogelsang Photo
Lance Redman sees his singing as a blessing and a talent God uses to touch people.
Record Staff Writer
His eyes close, his entire face portraying the emotion he feels in the music and words he sings. This performance isn’t just for the audience, but also for himself and for the Lord.
For Lance Redman, singing is a blessing and a gift he uses to touch people, although he tells it differently.
“I can’t touch people; the Lord can touch you,” he says. “I don’t see me doing that. I see the Lord using what I’m doing to touch people.”
It wasn’t until college that he suddenly realized he could sing, but ever since, Redman has taken the gift and run with it. He mostly does gospel music, or at least takes songs and adds a religious twist.
“Music was originally heavenly,” Redman explains. “(Music) started as love songs directed to glorify God.” So he returns songs to those roots.
Some “middle of the road” songs, as he puts it, can be taken in many ways: a simple love song can be heard and remind one of either a sibling, parent, child, spouse or, as Redman sees it, God. One such song might be Rod Stewart’s “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.” Other songs that may not have been meant as Christian songs can still hold a message, like the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas.
“It’s not really a gospel song, but it talks about the physical versus spiritual man,” Redman says. “It makes a statement, but is (also) just a pretty song.”
He also uses narratives at times, talking about the Lord or using short stories to help make a point. One story tells of a son leaving home as a rebel against his family, but when he finally straightens up and returns home his father has passed and his mom has also died just days before his arrival home. Redman changes the words of “You’re Always on my Mind,” as sung by Michael Bublé, to help along the emotional point of his story:
“Mama I didn’t see you quite as often as I could have,
“And Mama I didn’t treat you quite as good as I should have.
“Many things I could have said and done, but never took the time.
“But you’re always on my mind…”
With the narratives and touching songs, Redman has to watch the audience’s reaction to make sure it doesn’t become too intense. This was a concern at a performance once when he sang the Ray Boltz song, “What Was I supposed To Be?”
“People were coming unplugged,” he says. “I had to back off because I got worried. The atmosphere was so tense; I had never seen it that way. I had to take off the gas and tap on the brakes a little. It was the last song, and I didn’t want to leave them that way.”
Regardless of whether a show is as intense as that one in West Virginia, or if there are just a couple glistening eyes, tears seem to be part of the performances.
“I like mellow songs,” he states. “And most places I sing I see a lot of people cry. It’s normal. Somebody is going to cry. They just don’t know it.”
With all of his songs, whether emotional or just uplifting, his melodic voice is its own instrument. Each note floats in the air, woven together in perfect harmony with the other notes, creating a line of sound that reaches into the soul.
“This is what I do,” he tells people who ask him to avoid Christian music. “If you have a problem (with that), I’m not the guy for you.”
Born in Ohio, he moved to Carlsbad in 1980. Since then he has been on local television, sung at many churches and produced three CDs. He meant to make a fourth, but when his wife got sick in 2003, he lost some motivation.
“I need someone to push me, I guess,” he said of the struggle to complete his fourth CD. “At the time, I was feeling it.” He may have lost his groove for CD production, but he is still doing little performances, such as a recent visit to Roswell to sing to seniors at La Villa.
Redman’s biggest goal, however, is not the performances themselves, or even the recognition for his talent. He simply wants to praise God and spread the word of eternity and love of the Lord.
“(Singing) is a trial and error thing,” he concludes. “I thought, if I could, I would be a blessing. But I didn’t want to be a star.”