Verra Cruz's Marc James on his first solo album - Surrender

CT: Surrender is your first solo album. What’s it like going solo?
MJ: It’s good, a bit different not having the band there in the studio but I really enjoyed it.

CT: Explain more about the album?
MJ: Surrender is a worship album and ‘Surrender’ is a song I wrote eleven years ago. Then there are nine brand new songs which are all worships songs, all different themes, but hopefully songs people can pick up and play.

CT: It’s a softer approach than your albums with Verra Cruz?
MJ: It’s been good. I didn’t want to do the same, another Verra Cruz album, so it’s more pop rock. Also I work with a very good producer in this album, so he just helps me craft things in a very different way which is a good experience.

CT: Will you continue to do worship songs or will you go back to the band?
MJ: I have always done both. I became a Christian when I was 19 and was invited into a worship band because I was a guitar player.

CT: What's it like being a worship leader?
MJ: It’s good. It’s something I enjoy doing and it’s a great privilege to be involved in people’s lives in that way, it's a real honour. Something that is important in my life is worship and worship songs. Some of the big changes that have happened in my life, these were times of worship, and if I can provide that place as well.

CT: What kind of changes were there?
MJ: Well, there been lots of them, one of them was when I really first became a Christian, the second one was getting married and the third one has been having a son which has been an amazing thing.

CT: What was touring in a band like?
MJ: You have real highs and real lows, there have been times when you play huge outdoor concerts which have gone really well, other times when you feel well that it didn’t go very well and like we didn’t play well, or gigs where it’s just two people and a dog and we've found ourselves saying 'why are we doing this?' It's been a real mixed bag but it’s been a privilege.

CT: Back to the album, what are you hoping will capture the audience?
MJ: For me I want people to put the album on at home or in a car and do it to worship with the words and the spirit behind the music, to lift people, to lift people’s spirits. It’s quite a positive feeling album.

For me it was a profound experience. Just writing it and being in the studio I really felt Gods spirit around me and the producer as well, sometimes we just stop and feel we need to stop. That gives me hope that the album will have that effect with people and that it's helping people.

CT: What is your favourite verse in the Bible?
MJ: Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." Just talking about the end of war and suffering, there is a theme in the album talking about Christ returning and his kingship when things will be brought under his rule and the chaos will stop. We look towards him and we are transformed and that is worship, as we come unto him and he changes us.

CT: Are you taking a break now or going back to the band?
MJ: Not really sure, there are a few things happening over the summer, I'm going to play guitar. There’s Soul Survivor events over the summer so that’s going to take up a month in the summer and I'm also going around a few churches with some friends to do a little work, worship leading and speaking. And then in the midst of all that hopefully we will start working on a third Verra Cruz album.