Want to know a little bit about Shaun Groves? “Shaun Groves defies typical expectations and simple labels. He is an insightful songwriter, one who displays such incredible lyrical prowess that his musical peers nominated him for Songwriter of the Year solely on the strength of his 2001 debut. He’s also a solid on-stage performer as the lanky Texas native can hold his own whether standing solo before a college crowd or fronting his band at a youth event or festival. And to listen to Shaun Groves’ music showcases a complete and talented artist in full bloom, constantly reaching for excellence.” – ShaunGroves.com
We had a chance to sit down with Shaun while he was in California, so just take a look.
Jonathan: You have the new album that came out not too long ago, White Flag, what are your thoughts on it? What’s the meaning behind it?
Shaun: umm Surrender is right in the middle of it. White flag is the central theme of the beatitudes. Matthew 5:1-12, Jesus is basically spelling out for us some core principals to Christian faith so it begins with our sin problem and that we’re poor in spirit dishonor how we feel about that and we give that up; we commit that to God and the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross, we become meek and surrendered. So now, the beatitudes gets us to the place of surrender and meekness and the back half tells us now how we’re supposed to live like. Now we’re supposed to be mercy, mercy showers and peace makers and pure at heart and we are hunger and third for righteousness. We live a life that is so unusual that we couldn’t possibly be persecuted. So right in the middle of that is the idea of surrender and unless we realize our need for God, we won’t surrender. If we’re not living a life of mercy, peace, and purity, then we’re not surrendered. We’re fooling ourselves and we’re just believers in something but we’re not disciples. So it was very central to the theme of what Jesus is teaching the idea of surrender, that’s where White Flag comes from.
Jonathan: Ok…going back to an older release, with the song ‘two cents’, people might get the idea of what you’re giving to the world, but what are your feelings behind that song?
Shaun: I went to a good Christian university down in Texas where I didn’t realize how self-absorbed I was; and since you’re around other people, and that helps you see some flaws in yourself. I think was I was around some pretty religious people there and I felt like I lacked some perspective…when you’re asking for prayer for your car [laughter] you probably lost perspective on the world. I kinda backed into this job at an orphanage near campus where I started working and I got to see some people with some real issues, some real struggles, and hardships in life. So seeing these people with the real problems and being around other people like me who seemed kind of self-absorbed and had no perspective and those things kind of woke me up to how selfish I was. That along with the feeling of inadequacy feeling like I didn’t really have anything to give these orphans because I hadn’t really struggled myself in life and that’s where the whole song came out of. It touches on how we throw pity parties for ourselves and like to draw attention to ourselves. It also touches on how we feel inadequate and unable to fix people’s problems, and what they really need sometimes is just to get beyond and have someone listen.
Jonathan: I’ve seen you now twice on the west, but do you have plans of touring on the West Coast anytime soon?
Shaun: [laughter] Well, we don’t make plans really…we wait for the phone to ring and when the phone rings from California, we answer it. I have no idea, we love coming out here, we just haven’t been out here that much. This is my 5th or 6th time out here.
Jonathan: We tapped on this a little bit last time, but what are your thoughts on the big church…mega church…small church thing…what are your thoughts behind that?
Shaun: It’s just two different ways of doing church. There are hazards of doing it both ways. In some large churches, it can become consumer driven. About people showing up and filling a seat, and solve my problems in four steps that start with p – “God is a commodity – I wanna come”. Does God still speak through that kind of church? Sure, I’ve seen it. But is there some kind of danger in it? Yeah, we leave sometimes leave pages of the bible untouched if we go for 10 steps to better finance or marriage or raising good kids. We can tend to miss out on the character of God and the plan of God which might have nothing to do with me today and the problem I brought in today. So there is danger in that. Same though with the small church, I grew up in a small church and it can tend to have other problems. It’s not really a size issue, it’s a heart issue, a priority issue, just like individual people, churches can get it wrong.
Jonathan: So you just had the release of White Flag, but do you have any plans of getting back in the studio any time soon?
Shaun: I would like to in the next few months…record some new stuff. I started writing here and there, its mellower stuff, kind of like the twilight record. But yeah, I would like to in the new few months.
Jonathan: so you’re married. But do you have any kids? Plans for kids?
Shaun: I have three kids. A 5-year old daughter, a 3-year old son, and a 10-month old daughter.
Jonathan: How have they helped shape you?
Shaun: I didn’t realize, I started realizing in college how selfish I was [laughter], but I hadn’t really grasped it until I got married and you kind of realize you want to have things your way. How you want it and when you want it…and you can’t do that in a partnership, you can’t always have your way. So you realize a little bit how much I didn’t like giving up my way and then you have kids and it takes that realization to a whole new level. Because now you can’t ever do what you want when you want how you want it. That doesn’t mean it’s not offset by a huge amount of joy and fun, but it requires sacrifice, to be a parent, to do it will requires that you don’t think about yourself all the time – and I think that’s the true meaning. It’s been hard, but there’s definitely a pay off there that keeps you mature and you want to be a better person for these people. You don’t want to lead these people wrong. I guess it’s a lot like being a pastor in a way you feel like you need to yourself together and the kids do that to me too.
Jonathan: For our readers, do you have a challenge for them?
Shaun: Just a thing that I ponder…ponder more and more lately…it’s hard to believe in a Christ when the people who that believe in this Christ don’t really look any different than the people that don’t. That’s a constant struggle for me too, everyone has their time of doubt in life and mine sometimes is because it’s some new thing I learned or some new question I don’t have an answer to, but it’s usually that plus me being around myself or being around Christians that aren’t really that different and it really makes you wonder, is this faith real? Is this story true? If it is, why are we any different than we are? If we believe that he has come and lives inside of us, and has given us this super natural ability to love and care, why aren’t we doing it? If it’s more than just getting out hell, then why aren’t we different right now? That’s a tough question and I Would like people to be their answer to that. Jonathan: with their actions, voices, or what? Shaun: With their actions, priorities, values, with everyone we do. We should some how be different, shouldn’t it? The center of us has been changed then everything we do should be different. So the challenge is that do you really believe this? If so, how does it affect you right now? ‘Cause the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus, isn’t just something that is just one day, it’s something right now. It’s the has come, is coming, and will come, so how are we different because of that? So it’s just a challenge to examine yourself and just like I do, figure out if I really believe this, how should it impact me and why isn’t it?