“What is the Sound the of Heaven? Its the people of God. Us. It is our calling, in whatever arena, to be His light, His hands and feet to a lost world. These songs are a declaration of the desire to walk in the identity of Christ and be the audible and visible Sound of Heaven.” – Brad + Rebekah
As life goes on and circumstances change, we transition from one role into another. We move, we change, we grow. Our sense of self transforms and evolves with each season, but one thing remains constant through it all: who we are in Christ. It’s a powerful truth all believers must confront, and one that forms the foundation of “I Am Found,” the first single of Brad + Rebekah’s newest record, Sound Of Heaven, due out Feb. 16.
Though unique in its theme, Brad + Rebekah’s latest work is consistent with their previous albums’ thoughtful, passion-provoking worship songs. With lyrics like, No other name holds my foundation; only one love has welcomed me with arms swung wide, and saved my life, “I Am Found” introduces the album’s topic of identity while establishing the duo’s signature sound. Carried by Rebekah’s full, buoyant voice, it’s a sound the couple has spent the past 10 years perfecting.
The pair first met and began singing together while students at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At the time, Brad was part of an all-male worship team that needed a female lead for one of their songs. As fate would have it, Rebekah fit the part, and soon after joining the team, it became clear that there was more than just musical chemistry between she and Brad.
The two continued getting to know each other and soon found themselves falling in love “between worship and watching ‘Gilmore Girls.’” They got married in 2006, and two years later, God opened the door for them to start touring full-time together: “We started traveling in 2008 without really knowing what we were doing, but knowing that that’s where the opportunity was,” Brad says. “And God made it very evident in that time that that’s what we were meant to do.”
Between the traveling and ministering, Brad and Rebekah welcomed their son, Ayden, in 2012, and their daughter, Addilyn Grace, in 2016. Yet even as their family has grown and the musicians have embraced their new role as parents, they’ve continued to travel and focus on their music. Although it can be challenging, getting to share their personal and professional lives with one another has become one of the most cherished and rewarding aspects of their work. “Because we live and work together, none of us are missing out on each others’ lives,” Brad says. “We get to travel together and experience life together.”
The family moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 2014 and currently spend half the year ministering with Christ’s Church of the Valley and the other half of the year traveling and producing music. Brad + Rebekah’s Sound Of Heaven is now their seventh career release. Nearly four years in the making, it represents a long journey of patience and trust. “We had just finished our record, When We Gather, and were having dinner with pastor Gary Hoyt when he asked us, ‘So, what’s next?’” Rebekah recalls. “We were like, ‘We just finished an album! Give us a break!’”
But that question sparked a conversation about the kind of music that Hoyt, as a pastor, felt was most needed in the Church, and it spurred an idea to contact other pastors about their thoughts, too. Brad and Rebekah spent the next four years interviewing almost 50 pastors nationwide, asking them, “What’s needed in worship songs in the Church? What should we be singing about?”
The topics that came back in response ranged from obedience and surrender to brokenness and healing. The most common theme that emerged, however, was identity. “That’s the biggest thing we’ve seen come through Sound Of Heaven: this concept of a declarative response, knowing and understanding our identity is in Christ,” says Brad. “Only when we know who Christ is can we understand our own identity and be His light to this world, The Sound of Heaven.”
Together with many new and old song writing friends, Brad and Rebekah then set to work creating a set of fresh worship songs that would speak to this theme while being simple, sing-able and solid. “We want all of our works to be deep on a theological level, but easy to understand and easy to sing,” says Brad.
One of the most meaningful songs they wrote for the album is “Never Alone,” which was produced in partnership with Watoto (www.watoto.com), a child care ministry in Uganda birthed in response to the growing number of orphans and vulnerable children in the area. It provides physical, educational, spiritual and emotional care for thousands of children, and it has been an integral part of Brad + Rebekah’s personal story and career.
The two became involved with the ministry after their first visit to Uganda 8 years ago, and have been sending proceeds from their record sales to the kids there ever since. In 2015, they invested even more -- bringing a team of musicians, songwriters, dance instructors and producers with them to put on the first five-day Watoto Worship Camp for the kids. They’ve done three more camps since and have no plans of stopping. “It’s been a huge piece of what we’ve done,” Brad says. “From visiting and supporting them through our fundraising efforts, to actually coming and bringing creative teaching teams with us, I would never change our involvement with them, ever. We love it.”
The pair first featured Watoto in their music in 2015 with the impactful release of “The Heart of the Father.” Now, with “Never Alone,” Brad + Rebekah have produced another powerful piece. “These kids are orphans and have come from horrific situations: having no parents, seeing their parents die, being left, abandoned,” says Rebekah. “This song is a reminder that God is their Father, their healer, their comforter, their provider, and they are never alone. The bridge says, ‘You and I cannot be separated. Nothing can come between us, nothing can come between us,’ and that’s our story, too; we’re never alone.”
It’s a message that underlies all of Brad + Rebekah’s work. No matter the season or the joys or challenges they face, the two never lose sight of their mission. As Rebekah says, “Everything we ever do is meant to bring people back to Christ.”