I had the pleasure of interviewing Christian Artist and Award-Winner Steven Curtis Chapman. This is part one of a special capsule series, giving you the inside scoop on the newest collaboration with Steven Curtis Chapman and Mitchell Tenpenny.
Some of the best friendships begin unexpectedly. And the untold story of Steven Curtis Chapman and Mitchell Tenpenny's friendship is no different.
On Friday, February 17, Steven Curtis Chapman released a new version of his current single, "Don't Lose Heart," featuring No. 1 hitmaker Mitchell Tenpenny. Earlier this month, they shared the stage at the Ryman, where Steven made a surprise appearance during Mitchell's sold-out show.
But there's more to this story. Interestingly, the heart behind this collaboration actually began on the I Am Second set in August.
"This is one of those God-orchestrated stories," said Steven.
Steven had just wrapped the filming of his White Chair Film. Meanwhile, Mitchell was shooting for I Am Second's social media. The legend and rising star meet. They, of course, exchanged brief conversations in passing. Unbeknownst to them, this collision of talent was, in fact, a divine appointment.
As shared in his White Chair Film, Steven's journey of overcoming the valleys of grief and loss inspired him to write his latest album, including the song "Don't Lose Heart." Meanwhile, Mitchell was still in the depths of his valley. He lost his father five years ago, and his dad’s dog had just passed away, reopening old wounds. But God went before Mitchell and Steven in this otherwise “random” encounter. They would discover that God placed the right person at the right time in their lives.
Soon after the I Am Second filming, Mitchell would hear the gripping news of his mother’s breast cancer diagnosis. Incidentally, "Don't lose hope" and "don't lose heart" were phrases Mitchell's mother would say to encourage him not to lose hope in God during difficult times.
Concurrently, Steven was in search of another artist to join him on a new version of the song. The day after they met, Mitchell remained on Steven’s mind. He felt an overwhelming sense that Steven was the right guy.
Their connection to faith led to a beautiful collaboration. "Instantly, I fell in love with this song," said Mitchell. So they decided to team up on a new version of Steven's song, which helped Mitchell take another step towards healing.
For many of us who have experienced sorrow, sometimes, words from another are not enough. That's when we turn to the transcendence of music to say what we cannot express. Similarly, Steven and Mitchell used the power of music to share a part of their faith journeys with us. When it seems like all we hear is silence, God gifts us with that best friend or perfect song that fills us with hope when we need it most.
One of the important reasons Mitchell agreed to work on this song is because he knew it was something his fans – even himself – needed to hear. “I know so many people are struggling with their faith, just like I do,” recalling what Mitchell relayed to Steven.
When we enter a new valley, many of us ask the same questions as "Don't Lose Heart": Is God listening? Why is this happening? Am I doing life right? The "upbeat honesty and truth" of this version of the song strikes a chord with multiple generations. This duo reminds us there's no shame in exploring questions because Steven and Mitchell have been there.
“I know what it’s like to be in the darkest of places,” said Steven.
Moreover, this unique story reminds us how we are designed for community. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another," says Proverbs 27:17. Reflecting on their kinship, Steven believes this song represents a full-circle moment in their lives.
“I can’t believe God does this thing. How God put two unlikely people together that both audiences needed to hear.”
So for those of us who may be wandering in a valley or if you're celebrating on a mountaintop, know that you are not alone. And don't lose heart.
Check back next week for the second part of the special capsule series, revealing the heart behind the exciting between Steven Curtis Chapman and Mitchell Tenpenny.