CCM Magazine sat down with Signature Sound’s Doug Anderson last month, and their interview with him has been linked to in the most recent digital issue. Here’s the Youtube, and I’ve also transcribed it for readers stranded with a soundless computer at the moment:
CCM: Hi, I’m Caroline Lusk, editor of CCM Magazine, and you’re watching CCM Magazine.com. Thanks for tuning in. We are chatting here with Doug, and he’s gonna tell us a little bit more about his brand-new solo project.
Doug: It’s called Dreamin’ Wide Awake, so excited, basically the whole project is about the journey of my life. Ups and downs, successes and failures. We took about 150 songs and narrowed them down to of course 10 on the project. We got a couple extra writers to come in and do it… But Wayne Haun and Joel Lindsey, which are two of my best friends in the world…
CCM: Amazing writers.
Doug: Wrote the title cut “Dreamin Wide Awake,” which is basically a story about my town and how God’s blessed me where I am and put me in the spot where we are, in our little “unfancy” hometown. That’s what we love… Talks about the ice cream store that we go to and of riding our bikes and things like that, and people have identified with that themselves, whether they live in a small town or not.
Doug: And then I guess one of my favorite songs on there is a song called “I’ll Take What’s Left,” which…I mean, like everybody else, we’ve all been through our struggles. And God seems to take whatever we have left to give him, and he makes it brand new. So the CD takes you on a journey, and it’s got great response. And I’ve always been a quartet guy, a team guy, I’ve always played sports. So I’m used to having people around me.
CCM: What’s it like being in the solo spotlight?
Doug: It is different, but I’m enjoying it. To find out that people would actually want to just hear me as a soloist…humbles me, you know, from the beginning. So I’m enjoying it, it’s a different thing for me, course I’m still traveling with the group. But the group takes about 15 weeks off, and in that time my solo schedule is booking up crazy, but we’re gonna try to do about 20 to 30 dates in that time period, and in that time my family can go with me, which is what I’m all about anyway, is family. I’ve got two little girls at home.
CCM: What are their names?
Doug: Isabelle, Isabelle’s 10, and Emma is 7.
CCM: Oh gol, that’s a handful.
Doug: They’re busy, and they’re into the whole sports thing. And my wife’s a teacher. And she’s the volleyball coach at the highschool where we went… we were highschool sweethearts. So she’s a volleyball coach… And we’re, we spend time, we’re such a family that’s all we do, is we’re together. So that’s kind of my life, and the CD portrays that and shows that.
CCM: Well you and your wife were highschool sweethearts, and you’re very tied in, obviously, to the community and the town that you were raised in, and now you guys are giving back. You started a foundation, tell us a little more about that.
Doug: Yeah, we created a foundation called MAD34 foundation. MAD stands for Michelle (which is my wife’s name), Michelle, Anderson, Doug, which is MAD, and 34 was our highschool numbers, which I know is corny, but it worked. MAD34 foundation. And basically, everything that comes from this CD and my solo work, we will give a percentage back to our local schools to fund the education and music departments, because we were so blessed and they’ve given so much over the years, whether it’s supporting me or supporting my kids and my wife. We wanted to be able to give back so that our kids could have the same results and the same experiences that we had. So we wanted something to give back and we found an avenue to do it.
CCM: Well obviously a lot of your music has been within the southern gospel world. But you’re a lot more diverse than that, which we definitely hear coming through onto this [CD], and which has been recognized with your GMA Dove Awards nod this year for Male Vocalist of Year.
Doug: Well it’s a huge honor to be nominated, even nominated with those group of guys. Just to be mentioned in the same breath with Brandon Heath and Jason Crabb, I’m thrilled for that. Of course your family’s always like, “Do you think you’re gonna win, do you think you’re gonna win?” and my answer to that is “We already won.” Just to be mentioned with those.
The diversity of the project comes from a lot of different backgrounds. I mean, my roots are in southern gospel, but at the same time I was a huge 4Him fan, and a Steven Curtis fan, Michael W. Smith… Growing up, I listened to all different styles of music, which helped me be the artist that I am today, because you take all those different styles, and you put ’em all into one thing. I’m always going back and listening to old CCM projects and pulling things out—a lick here and a lick there, to something that they would have done. dcTalk, I mean who didn’t like dcTalk? MercyMe, Casting Crowns, you know, all those groups influenced me over the years. And you just go back and take things, and you’ll hear a little bit of all that in there. Even though my roots are in southern gospel, I still grew up listening to all that stuff.
It’s interesting to hear Doug talk about his CCM influences here (which makes sense, since it is CCM Magazine doing the interview). It seems to tie back to what many of us have observed, namely that we see a lot more SG singers acknowledging and borrowing from CCM than CCM singers from SG. Moreover, it often seems to be an older manifestation of CCM that’s being cited as an influence. Little surprise there.
It’s nice to see a southern gospel singer get a little bit of exposure/attention in the wider world of Christian music. One could wish for more with a singer of Doug’s caliber (quite frankly I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of currently active CCM singers who are as good or better), but this is something at any rate.