LINCOLN BREWSTER … Real Life Worship
“God’s given me the courage to not let my past control my future… He’s given me the chance to be the father I never had and the husband I never saw modeled.” – Lincoln Brewster
What is “real life”? Is it the pain, struggles and moments where hope is in short supply? Is it faith in a God we can’t see and hope for a future we don’t yet know?
For acclaimed worship leader Lincoln Brewster, “real life” has meant all of that and more. Born and raised in a small town in Alaska, Brewster’s childhood in a broken home was perhaps a little too “real.”
It was an environment darkened by his stepfather’s violent behavior and alcohol addiction. An environment from which Brewster and his mother sought solace in music.
“My mom loved music and played with local bands,” he says. “She was the one who inspired my love for singing and playing instruments.”
As Brewster bonded with his mom through music, he began mastering a variety of instruments —including a stunning prowess on the guitar. It was this incredible talent that caught the attention of mainstream labels, landed Brewster a “gig” playing with rocker Steve Perry (formerly of the band Journey) and earned him a mainstream record contract by age 19.
But God had other plans. After attending church with his high school sweetheart and now wife, Laura, Brewster yielded his life to Christ. Filled with a new passion and purpose, Brewster walked away from the promise of rock stardom to take a job at his
local church. This new trajectory eventually led him to a recording partnership with praise and worship label Integrity Music.
Since that time, Brewster has performed and crafted songs that have helped shape the sound of today’s modern worship while also climbing Christian radio charts. These include global anthems such as “Today Is The Day,” “God You Reign,” “Everlasting God,” “Salvation Is Here” and “The Power of Your Name.”
So after six acclaimed albums and multiple hit songs, where would Brewster’s musical journey take him next? As it would turn out, inside himself.
“Last summer, I took my family to where I grew up in Alaska,” Brewster shares. “I watched my sons skip rocks, fish, and run on the beach just like I did when I was their age. It brought back a lot of nostalgia. A lot of good feelings, and a lot of bad.”
Once Brewster returned to his home in California, he discovered that his songwriting was taking a decidedly inward approach.
“When we began writing for this new project, a lot of life transparency was coming through the songs,” he notes. “Maybe more so than in the past.”
This personal approach to songwriting has yielded Real Life, a dynamic worship collection that features Brewster’s guitar expertise set against a backdrop of soaring songs of faith. Featuring co-writes with Jason Ingram, Hillsong Music’s Mia Fieldes and Dove Award winning writer Paul Baloche, it’s a project that examines and celebrates life through the perspective of someone who has truly lived.
“Made For More,” a heartfelt declaration co-written with Fieldes, would become the catalyst for Real Life.
“I started playing something on the guitar,” Brewster says, “And I sang the line, ‘Don’t care about money, don’t care about fame.’ Mia loved it, and we knocked the song out in an hour. And when I was done writing, I thought, ‘This is the most honest
song I’ve ever written.’”
This transparency would set the tone for what was to come. But it was another track that would prove to be Brewster’s most vulnerable to date. And it began with a challenge from his wife.
“We had all ten songs chosen for the record,” Brewster remembers. “And my wife said, ‘I still think you have one more in you.’”
That insight resulted in two tracks, one of which would become the title cut, a song that chronicles Brewster’s own path from childhood, to parenthood, to his future in eternity.
“Having played ‘Real Life’ for a number of people, it seems like so many could relate to it in their own way,” Brewster says. “Everybody has a past, everybody has a present, and everybody wonders about their future.”
“Real life” continued to be a theme in Brewster’s songwriting. Project opener “Best Days” offers encouragement to those who are mired in the past.
“My pastor says, ‘Can you imagine what it would be like if people truly lived like their best days are ahead of them and not behind them?’” Brewster recalls. “I believe in this song and I want people to understand that their best days truly are ahead of them.”
Project standout and the album’s first radio single, “Reaching For You,” offers an intimate plea that Brewster wrote with the church in mind.
“When I write songs, I always picture my church and wonder if they would connect with God through that song,” he says. “And I really felt like ‘Reaching For You’ is a great wrap-up in the day of a the life of a believer.”
The moving track “Whom Shall I Fear” would draw on the real difficulties a friend faced.
“I had just kind of taken a phone call from someone who was going through a tough thing,” Brewster shares. “And the song was a response to anyone who fears. It has statements that allow people to say some things that are truth. I hope it’s a drink of fresh water for the soul.”
Having completed Real Life, Brewster’s own life continues to be full. He currently serves as the worship arts pastor for Bayside Church in Granite Bay, California. And his family—wife Laura, and sons Levi, 8, and Liam, 5—is his priority through it all.
“My wife and I have been married for 16 years,” Brewster says. “My family is the biggest deal for me. I didn’t have strong male role models in my life as a kid. But God’s given me the courage to not let my past control my future… He’s given me the chance to be the father I never had and the husband I never saw modeled.”
It’s a personal story that offers a universal message for every believer.
“I look forward to singing this music and sharing my story,” Brewster says. “So that maybe people who are going through tough things will think, ‘There’s hope for my life.’ Because even if that life was your past, or your present, it doesn’t have to be your
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