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Interview Leftovers: Phil Stacey May 6, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Music.
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While in Nashville I sat down with Phil Stacey, the top-5 finisher on American Idol a couple of seasons ago who has recently signed with Reunion Records and is finishing up his second album. Here’s a part of our conversation that did not make my recently-submitted article:


MG: How have you  grown as a performer since singing in church, singing on American Idol, making an album, and touring and performing in front of so many live audiences?

Phil Stacey: I believe I’m more self-aware now. You get on a program like American Idol and you realize that people are watching you. At church, growing up, it’s not about anything other than, “I love Jesus, and I’m going to share a song because there’s a song on my heart.”

MG: Eyes are closed a lot of the time.

Phil Stacey: Mine sure were. Then you get on American Idol, and they’re like, “It looks weird when you close your eyes, so keep your eyes open.” Then I see myself on camera and I’m like, I look like  a deer in the headlights, because I’m trying to keep my eyes open, and they’re open a little too wide! So I’m more self-aware now. I realize that there’s more to this thing. If you want to make your ministry as effective as possible, there are things you have to learn about communication. I’m very grateful for that. There is a truth to that. If you’re going to talk about the love of God and how incredible it is, you can’t [lowers voice to monotone] talk about the love of God like you talk about what you had for breakfast yesterday.  It’s easy to get into that mode.

MG: You can’t overshoot the mark either, and trickle the tear down your face every night on cue.

Phil Stacey: Exactly, and you’ve got to be open to follow God wherever He takes you. Sometimes it seems like the hard thing to do if I’m in a secular environment, and I feel God saying, “I want you to ask if anyone wants to accept Jesus as their savior,” and I’m like, “Really? Really, here?” It’s tough to do, but you’ve got to understand that you’re not here because of you. You didn’t give yourself any talent. God put you where you are because He wants to use you. How incredible to understand and believe that you are part of an ultimate plan, and that’s He’s using you. That’s where I’ve learned I want to be. I think through the American Idol process, part of what He did in me was allow me to hone my craft, and become better at what I do.

MG: But in a crucible.

Phil Stacey: Right. I think it’s important. Do all unto the glory of God. You want to do what you do with excellence. I had never gotten the opportunity to really watch myself before. The first time I saw myself, I was thinking, “Is that really what I look like?”

MG: Talk about secular label vs. Christian label. You have both perspectives.

I had the benefit of being on a country label that actually was run by Christian men. I had some Christian songs on my record. I don’t think that would have happened at other labels. I didn’t understand going into it how much control the record label has.

MG: You can’t just sneak that stuff in while they’re not looking.

Phil Stacey: You don’t just sneak it in! Especially in a genre like country. I think country music is going more towards that dirty, gritty thing right now. It was a tough decision for them to make, but they said, “You know what, this is who Phil is, this is what his heart is, this is what he wants to share with people,” so they allowed me to. The president and vice president of the label I was with before sat down with me and agreed with me, “You’re right, you need to be in Christian music, you need to be doing music for the church.” and so I had a very good experience. Great friends at Lyric Street records. Good people. They’re praying for me right now. They’ve congratulated me, and are very happy about where I am right now. Of course, Provident is an incredible music group. Everybody who was a friend and supporter of me then continues to support me now.

I came from an interesting place as a musician, growing up, hearing horror stories about Nashville, and even the Christian label owners – how they’re just trying to make money – but I’ve been very impressed with the people I’ve been able to work with. They have a heart for ministry. You’ve gotta do some research and figure out exactly what the foundations of this Christian music industry are. We’re not talking about money-motivated, we’re talking about the idea that if there are going to be records bought, why can’t we make records that glorify Jesus Christ? Why only leave people the option of listening to music that doesn’t glorify Jesus Christ? What people would be surprised to find is that a lot of these people, their heart is in ministry. These are people who have been called to this. If they wanted to make all kinds of money, you and I both know, this is not the direction they would have gone. And some of them definitely – probably most of them have the talent to be anywhere they want to be, and they’ve chosen to be here.



1. Interview Leftovers: Phil Stacey - May 6, 2009

[…] Original post by markgeil […]

2. CFPhilfan - May 6, 2009

Mr. Geil, thank you for this interview with Phil Stacey. He was my favorite of season 6. I am looking forward to his next cd. I know that, since he has done Christian music from a child, it should be awesome. Since you mention an article that this interview did not make, would you mind referring me to the article? I would like to read it. Thank you so much.:-)

markgeil - May 6, 2009

Thanks! The article will post on Christianity Today.com within a week or so. I’ll post the link here when it does.

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