Restored: The Chris August Story
About the Guest
Singer songwriter Chris August shares the origin of his hit song "Restore", and how God used a joke to produce this.
Chris AugustWhen he was just 22, August cut his teeth in the mainstream industry working with names like Ryan Cabrera, Brian McKnight, Robin Thicke and Babyface and signing with Geffen Records while being managed by Jessica and Ashlee Simpson’s father, Joe Simpson. He toured with and opened for Ashlee, and it was on one of those tours that he finally decided to leave Los Angeles. He’d been living there for three years and felt it was time to head back to Texas and his Christian music roots by leading wo...more
Singer songwriter Chris August shares the origin of his hit song “Restore”, and how God used a joke to produce this.
Restored: The Chris August Story
Bob: Singer / songwriter, Chris August, remembers a night when he and a friend were reflecting on the fact that both of them grew up in a divorce culture, where it’s easy to end things.
Chris: So, I was joking around—I said, “Let’s write a song called Divorced, about people getting divorced all the time. I sat there with my guitar and had this little campfire [Humming and singing]—“It’s obvious we’ve run the course.” Then, we had a good laugh. Then, we went to sleep.
At 3 o’clock in the morning, I woke up. All of a sudden, there is this one cord that I had for that opening line of the verse. I started playing that cord—and I go: “Nobody’s growing old together. We’ve made it easy just to quit.” [Guitar strumming in the background] Then, all of a sudden, at that moment, God said, “Chris, this song’s not supposed to be about divorce. This song’s supposed to be about restoration.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, June 18th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll hear more from Chris August and all of that song on today’s program. Stay tuned.
Chris: [Continues singing Restore]
Bob: [Applause] And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. We are, today, onboard the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise, with a studio audience that’s here with us. [Applause]
Now, of course, as you’re listening to this, we’re not on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise because we actually recorded this a few weeks ago when we were on the cruise; but last night, here on the cruise, the audience that was onboard the ship had a chance to hear a concert from Chris August. And Dennis, it was awesome!
Dennis: It rocked.
Bob: It did.
Dennis: It really did.
Chris: It did. [Laughter]
Dennis: And he’s here with us on the broadcast. Welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Chris: Thank you.
Bob: Would you welcome Chris August? [Applause]
Chris: We are in the future right now. Do you realize what’s happening?
Bob: It’s kind of—
Chris: I’d like to say something to my future self. Chris, don’t eat so much of that ice cream! [Laughter]
Bob: Good call. And I brought a gift for you.
Bob: This is a guitar—you’re a guitar player; right?
Chris: Yes, I am.
Bob: So, I brought you that pick. It says, “Ernie Ball®,” on one side. Flip it over. It says, “Newsboys,” on the other side.
Chris: Nice. I’m a big fan.
Bob: Okay, well, I just wanted you to have that. There you go.
Dennis: Bob signed that. That makes it worth ten cents at a garage sale.
Dennis: Well, if you don’t know Chris August, he has been nominated for a number of Dove Awards. Count them—five in one year—and he won three Dove Awards, including the Male Vocalist of the Year.
I know he is talented and really smart, but he really pulled an interesting move in coming on a cruise because he is single. With 2,000 married people, he’s single at a Love Like You Mean It cruise.
Bob: What were you thinking, Chris?
Chris: I was literally thinking about all that free pizza. [Laughter] As a bachelor, that’s what I’m used to.
Chris: Not free—but this time, it’s free. No, you know I—honestly, I just—it’s relaxing to turn your phone off; you know?—unless you want to pay some pretty crazy fees. I don’t want to pay those.
Dennis: Tell us about your—the family you grew up in—
—where you grew up, as a boy, and what life was like for you.
Chris: Yes, well, I grew up outside of Dallas, Texas. For some reason, anytime you say, “Dallas,” people automatically just go, “Are you a Cowboy’s fan?” I’m like, “Well, yes.” And then, they get mad at you. I’m like, “Well, you asked me”; you know? And so—but that’s so—yes, let’s just put that out there—for better or for worse.
But yes, I grew up just kind of—come from that broken home / broken family thing; but for years, I think I just told myself, “Well, these are just the cards I’ve been dealt.” I never even thought about it honestly. I went years just going, “Whatever.” I can remember it was a lot of fighting, growing up. I’m sure that happens in marriages that don’t end up broken—but it just—it was hard—a lot of the stuff that I dealt with.
Dennis: When did you first find your parents beginning to experience trouble?—from the start—when you were a child?
Chris: I was probably in second grade or so. That’s when there was someone not really living at the house.
I mean, back then, you’re like, “What’s going on?” Then, I think the first time that I really realized something was really wrong—there were a couple things that happened.
The first one was—my dad was living in this apartment complex nearby. I was over there with my little sister—she’s a couple years younger—and we’re just kids. I can just remember my dad—he was having a really hard time with it. I was kind of in one room, and he was in the other room. You could see through this little doorway, and he was just kind of on his knees. He was just calling us to come over and give him a hug, and he was just crying.
I will say this—since I’ve become a Christian artist, I wrote a song called 7x70. Because of that song—and this is nuts—my mom actually became a Christian, just a couple years ago—hearing that song. [Applause] Yes.
Now, that song’s about me coming from a broken home. She wasn’t happy when she first heard it, but I think it just kind of opened her eyes to what forgiveness is all about.
There have been huge strides—but I’m still like, “Man, I just wish that, when I go home for Thanksgiving, I didn’t—it’s hard because I live in Nashville—they live in Dallas. I’m like, ‘Okay, I can only go home for a certain amount of time. I’ve got to go here, and I’ve got to go here. I’m like, ‘Let’s just all eat some turkey and watch the Cowboys.’’”
Dennis: Yes. Could you sing that song? Would you all like to hear that song—[Applause]—7x70?
Chris: Yes, I could do that.
Dennis: Could you do it?
Dennis: I just—I think there’s, undoubtedly, someone listening right now who needs a song about forgiveness.
Chris: [Singing 7x70]
[Applause and cheering]
Bob: Can you tell us about the conversation with your mom after writing that song and after sharing?
Chris: Yes, well, it’s kind of funny. It’s like my dad did music stuff. That’s how I kind of grew up around it. When making this record, I had sent my dad and my mom some demos because, you know, I’m kind of—you know, you’ll demo the song up as you do it. So, my dad—definitely, my dad had heard every song I was recording.
Well, this song—I didn’t write it until literally two days before we tracked my record because—and that’s just because a guy that I did my record with, Ed Cash, told me I needed a personal song on my record. So, by the time she heard that song, my record was out. I never sent it to her or my dad.
Chris: The first time—I can remember the first time my dad heard it. I think I was driving to Atlanta or something. I had emailed my dad a copy of my record. I was like, “Oh, when he hears that song, it’s going to be awkward”; you know? He sent me a text—it was a pretty cool text I got from him.
Bob: What did he say?
Chris: He just said—you know, he just apologized for his failures, as a parent. He just said, “God has the ability to take something that’s broken and make it better than we ever thought it could be.” And for me—I’m just saying, “Look, don’t forget the hope that we have in Christ.” That’s where our hope lies. It doesn’t lie in what anybody else thinks of you or whatever. It’s finding the hope in Him, and the forgiveness in Him, and the healing in that.
Dennis: We mentioned earlier that we’re doing this broadcast recording live, here on the Love Like You Mean It cruise. And your songwriting didn’t stop with this song.
Chris: No, no.
Dennis: You’ve written another one that is all about something special as well.
Chris: You’d think I’d just learn my lesson. [Laughter] I mean, that’s the thing—you know, I just—it’s funny, like we have these doubts. Sometimes, we ask God for miracles and stuff. We look up to heaven like: “Send me a sign! Show me a miracle!” You know:
“Strike the tree with lightening or something.” We are asking for something crazy. And like—in the meantime, we’re walking through a field of burning bushes; and we don’t even realize it. Still, God is bigger than that. You know, He is bigger than it.
Bob: So, what was the inspiration for the song, Restore?
Chris: And that basically—I was in India with a friend of mine, named Ian Eskelin. We were doing my second record together. We were just there on a little mission trip—just me and him—doing all sorts of stuff. I had never been to India. And we’re driving up this mountain and going to this place called Kodaikanal in India. Really—the night before—me and Ian had been working all day. So, we get back. We’re in our rooms. We’re like: “Man! We are beat.”
And so, I was joking around. I was telling him about some of these stories I’d heard from 7x70—being like, “Man, it’s been so awesome!” So, I was joking around. I said, “Ian”—I was like, “Let’s write a song called Divorced.” I wanted—I mean, it was—
—we wouldn’t be able to release it—but I wanted to write this sarcastic song. I was thinking, “I’m going to have this hilarious song called Divorced.” I’m like: “That’s not very funny.” I’m like, “Not a good joke there.”
Well, I went to sleep. At 3 o’clock in the morning, I woke up. Then, all of a sudden, at that moment, God said: “Chris, this song is not supposed to be about divorce. This song is supposed to be about restoration.” I just said, “Man!” So, that morning, I woke up. We got in the van to go up this mountain. I said, “Ian, I know we were clowning around last night, but”—I said—“this is thick on my heart today.” I said, “We’re supposed to write this song called Restore.”
It was a three-hour drive up that mountain—played at this college—came back down. By the time we were down off that mountain, this—Restore had been written. It’s another one of those things that—it’s actually been worse than 7x70—
—as far as people getting mad at me for writing it. I mean, I’ve had—you should see some of the messages I get on Facebook® and Twitter®—just—I can’t—“Don’t get mad at me! Get mad at the Bible.” I mean, it’s like—
Dennis: Well, do you know what? Instead of talking about getting mad, let’s make some people mad.
Chris: Yes; exactly.
Dennis: Would you sing it right now?
Chris: Let me—[Applause]
Dennis: You know, I just—first of all, I say to you, again—here, what I said down there: “I applaud you, as a young man, for using your gifts to honor God. You’re thinking right.” [Applause] I appreciate you, Chris, and hope you’ll come back and join us again on FamilyLife Today sometime. Like I said—“If you do decide to get married someday, you need to come to the Weekend to Remember® to prepare for that marriage.”
Chris: Sounds good to me; sounds good to me.
Bob: Chris August, ladies and gentlemen. [Cheering and applause]
Well, it’s fun to listen back to the conversation we had with Chris August on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, back in February.
A couple of things I want to remind our listeners of—Chris is going to be joining us at all three of our I Still Do™ marriage events:
Saturday, August 2nd, at the Allstate arena in Chicago; Saturday, August 23rd, at the Moda Center in Portland; and then, Saturday, October 4th, at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC—and a worldwide simulcast of that event.
Chris will be there, along with Andrew Peterson. Dr. Al Mohler is going to be speaking—David Nasser, Crawford and Karen Loritts, Dennis Rainey, Ron Deal, Shaunti Feldhahn—got a great day planned. I would encourage you: “If you live around the area anywhere, plan to join us. Plan to bring a group and be a part of I Still Do—August 2nd in Chicago, August 23rd in Portland, October 4th in Washington, DC. More information about tickets and about the event when you go to our website: FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the button at the top of the page that says, “GO DEEPER.” You can get the information about I Still Do.
I also want to remind you about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise in 2015—
—Valentine’s week of 2015. The reason I’m reminding you is because we are very close to having this cruise completely sold out. I went to our team and said, “We’ve got to let our listeners know that it’s going to sell out quickly.” I think part of what has happened is—having Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman joining us on the cruise; along with Tenth Avenue North, who is going to be a part of the cruise; Voddie Baucham is back with us this year—we’ve got a great lineup. And so, the cruise is about to sell out.
If you are interested in being on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise with us in 2015—Valentine’s week—go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click on the link you find there for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise—top of the page, where it says, “GO DEEPER”—click there. You’ll find the link for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. There is a special offer in place for FamilyLife Today listeners—that expires at the end of the month. So, get more information; either by going to our website:
—FamilyLifeToday.com or calling 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to have a challenging message for every married couple about how we go the distance together and how we engage with others in a missional marriage. We’ll hear from Dennis Rainey tomorrow. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
Artist: Chris August
Recorded by: FamilyLife, 2014 Love Like You Mean It® Cruise
Artist: Chris August
Recorded by: FamilyLife, 2014 Love Like You Mean It® Cruise
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