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Meet the artist: Nick Morrow

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After starting out on bass 15 years ago, Nick Morrow is still finding his way in writing Christian music.

The pastor’s kid, who now leads worship in Indianapolis, started off in a Christian band that exemplified “all the bad cliches of ’90s Christian bands,” as he described it.

Disenchanted with Christian rock and never particularly fond of church worship music, Morrow started the more secular Quick Said the Bird, which gigged around Indianapolis and Bloomington.

After dissolving the band, Morrow brought his focus back to Christian music — this time with an eye toward worship music’s rich tradition and potential for sincerity.

“I found that there’s a really rich history of worship music in the church,” Morrow said. “This history has sort of been lost in the modern Christian music scene, but I’m drawing more from that.”

What did you like about the bass?

I don’t know.  I think the accessibility. Someone said, here’s the opportunity. I thought, well, I could probably figure that out. I thought it was going to be really easy, like I could pick it up in a day. I was really crushed at first, then I had a couple of guys take me under their wings.

When did you pick up guitar?

I remember realizing that I didn’t have any distortion on the bass. I realized all the cool effects I could do on guitar.

What bands were you in?

Not good ones. It started out, it was a Christian rock band. It was all the bad things you could imagine. I knew, even as I was working out my faith, that experience made Jesus and music take divergent paths for me. Even though I continued to play in church, I grew away from wanting to do Christian music.

Why did that make the path diverge?

For the Christian band, we were just faking it. I was not any sort of strong Christian. And playing in church, I just never connected to the worship music. Christian music, by and large, is not looked on favorably by music critics. I realized the music I was playing in church wasn’t satisfying those creative desires.

So, tell us about writing songs now.

When Quick Said the Bird was coming to an end, we had had our first child, and we felt guilty about leaving him behind to play gigs, and we had a second on the way. So she said, “What do you think about doing worship music?” I said absolutely not. Christian people would say that I’ve got a hardened heart toward Christian music. I wouldn’t change it. It allowed me to re-enter that music with kind of fresh eyes. But now, I try to write worship songs. I try to write really simple songs that are really singable using lyrics or Scripture or whatever tends to hit me.

Who are your influences?

The Beatles — “The White Album” was what got me. Also, “Rubber Soul,” “Revolver” — there’s none of it past “Rubber Soul” that’s bad. Other than that, I like the Beach Boys, and Simon and Garfunkel and Nick Drake. Sigur Ros and Vampire Weekend are some of my favorites.

How do you merge your faith and music?

I think that it’s a process. I’m still in process myself. As a musician and as a person of faith, I think that’s something artists really struggle with. They try to have a big agenda, or they completely leave it out, like they’re ashamed of Jesus. Whatever your faith or political ideology, it’s about working that out with honesty and being who you are. When I quit trying to sing like Bono and just tried to sing like Nick, I found that hey, I do have interesting gifts. My faith has probably influenced my ability to be honest in that way.

— Staff writer Jenny Elig

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