Christian bands should never aspire to become the biggest or the best, but if there were an app for betting on who will be the biggest Christian band, I’d put all of my money down on We The Kingdom.
If you’ve never heard of We The Kingdom (WTK), they’re the band who penned the smash #1 hits “Holy Water” and “For God So Loved.” And last week their new single “Child of Love” climbed to #4 on the charts. Translation: 25% of the songs on their debut album are already bona fide hits.
I can’t say I’m unbiased. I’ve met them all, and one member has been my friend for years. But knowing them hasn’t demystified their talent or torn the mask off of their Christian image. Instead, getting to know them has solidified my belief in their potential and in their character.
After getting to know them on stage and off, I’m convinced they’ll be the biggest Christian band in the world. Here’s why:
5. The Songwriting
Long before Ed Cash, Scott Cash, and Andrew Bergthold formed We The Kingdom, Ed Cash had written the classic worship song “How Great is Our God” with Chris Tomlin. Scott Cash, Ed’s brother, had written another smash worship single “God of Angel Armies.” And Andrew had penned “My Weapon,” a Natalie Grant single.
Usually in every band there’s one or, if you’re lucky, two hit songwriters. In We The Kingdom, three time-tested hit makers teamed up, plus from what Ed, Scott, and Andrew say, Ed’s daughter and son, Franni (lead vocals) and Martin (percussion) both exhibit exceptional instincts in knowing what a song needs lyrically and musically. Ed and Scott both credit Franni and Martin with keeping the songwriting and the feel of the band fresh.
4. The Vocalists
Since digital recording was mainstreamed in the late 90’s, recorded songs have mutated into a highlight reel of singers in their very best moments. So now, when I go to concerts, I’m often disappointed by the quality of the singer’s live performance.
Fortunately for WTK fans, what you hear on the radio or on Spotify is what you get in concert. Whether I’m in a small studio or a large concert venue, Ed and Franni’s lead vocals cut through with an Americana tone and perfect pitch only paralleled by somebody like Bear Rinehart, the lead singer of NEEDTOBREATHE.
When a band features 2 world-class lead singers from the same musically accomplished family, it’s hard to beat the blend. It not only sounds magnificent. It sounds natural and unforced. Listen for yourself. They performed live without any prep for Songs From a Mug. This isn’t autotuned, and all of it is improvised.
3. The Producers
Andrew Bergthold, the band’s jack of all trades (Keyboard, electric, BGV’s), also has produced tracks for Ginny Owens, Natalie Grant, Sanctus Real, and Carrollton. His expertise comes from years in bands, working with artists, and some time spent working as an intern for Ed and Scott Cash.
When I first came to Nashville and met Andrew, I had only heard the names of three famous producers, and two of them were Ed and Scott Cash. When I interviewed Ed, he said an old Christian artist by the name of Bebo Norman hired him to produce some songs, and Bebo’s music became Ed’s business card.
When Ed’s name began spreading around Nashville because of Bebo, Ed got a call from Chris Tomlin. He was impressed by Chris’s heart, but at the time, Ed wasn’t in love with worship music. Ed’s wife convinced him he needed to meet with Chris, and shortly afterward Ed and Chris wrote “How Great is Our God” together.
From there, Ed’s career took off. Since then, he’s produced for Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Rend Collective, Kari Jobe, Needtobreathe, Dave Barnes, Caedmon’s Call, Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Phil Wickham, Jeremy Camp, etc. The list just keeps going, and his younger brother Scott’s list of production and music credits looks almost as stunning.
2. The Connections
After years of producing hits for multiple artists, Ed, Scott, and Andrew are now interwoven into the fabric of the CCM sub-culture of Nashville. And in their debut concert, We The Kingdom opened for Chris Tomlin at (drumroll please) Red Rocks in Colorado. For most bands, Red Rocks represents the peak of their career not their first show ever. But because of all of the artists they’ve helped in the past and because of Chris and Ed’s history, it seems like the first natural step for a band of their caliber.
Ed specifically told me he did not call in any favors to get the band kickstarted. Instead, the band wrote a truckload of songs together, showed some labels and friends, and everybody was like, “Dang…” I made up their reaction, because that was my reaction when I first heard their songs. I said, “‘Holy Water’ is a hit.” And it was, but unfortunately the people who make hit predictions don’t get any kickbacks. Those are only for people who write the hit songs.
1. The Intentionality
We The Kingdom is basically a family band with a best friend thrown into the mix. Ed Cash and Scott Cash are brothers. Ed’s two kids are Martin Cash & Franni Cash Cain, which makes Scott their uncle. Andrew Bergthold is the best friend/adopted brother/former intern to Ed and Scott.
Let’s look at those relational dynamics.
2 brothers, 1 father, 1 daughter, 1 son, 1 brother, 1 sister, 1 uncle, 1 nephew, 1 niece, and 1 best friend. Sounds like utopia, right?
Wrong. Just like any other group of people, the members of We The Kingdom disagree, get their feelings hurt, and have to apologize to one another.
The band purposely addresses this by going to counseling together. Andrew told me, “When you’re in a band, it’s kind of like marriage. You have to be intentional.” We The Kingdom is a super band. They have the songwriting, the vocalists, the producers, and the connections. But in this industry of grueling tours and creative tension, if all they had was loads of talent and connections, their egos would kill the band in less than 5 years.
When I see them perform or watch their latest music videos, I realize why they’re successful. They’re a group of unbelievably talented individuals who have chosen to lay down individual priorities and projects to intentionally serve each other and God. Instead of seeking to build their own little kingdoms, they’re a band who says, “It’s more about We than Me.” And as long as they remember that, they’ll become the biggest Christian band in the world for many years to come.
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