The one and only time Christian pop singer Chris Tomlin played Tucson was 2007.
We didn’t really know him, but in the almost decade that’s passed, Tomlin has become one of the biggest names in the genre.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” Tomlin said during a phone call late last month. “There’s been a lot of miles traveled and a lot of life lived. It’s been incredible to see how all of this has transpired and to see how God uses music in people’s lives. I’m surprised as anyone, and I’m grateful for it. It’s truly an honor to be in people’s lives as I have through music. Being in a room and singing these songs together is so special.”
He’s back in Tucson on Tuesday, Dec. 6 — call it the long-awaited, highly anticipated encore to that 2007 show — with a full band and his longtime songwriting buddy Matt Redman, a prolific artist from the UK.
Tomlin’s “Adore Christmas Tour” is centered on his 2015 album “Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship” with a few cuts off his his just-released album “Never Lose Sight,” which debuted in October at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Christian Albums charts.
We chatted with Tomlin, a 44-year-old father of two, about the show, his songwriting and his new album. Here are excerpts from that interview:
What to expect from the show: “My concerts have never really been a spectator sport. They’ve been more about let’s all sing together. There’s something about Christmas that people are more ready than ever to sing because there’s a spirit about Christmas. There’s so much music and life.”
“The heart of the thing is a real night of worship. My Christmas album is called ‘Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship’ and that’s always been important to me. That’s kind of the way I’m wired and what my music is about, to help people worship God. We sing a bunch of Christmas carols.”
Why Christmas music is so popular: “Christmas is the only holiday that has its own music genre. There’s so much music of Christmas, and there’s a reason for that: We’re proclaiming the good news … of the son of God being born in the world, the grace of God in the world through Jesus.”
It all comes down to the song: “To me it’s always come down to the song. I try to not lose the big picture there. … It’s not about how I’m feeling or what I’m going through. I have a completely different lens than that. The lens for me is I gotta write a song that people can praise God like ‘Amazing Grace.’ That’s a song that people give praise to God. That’s the kind of lens I see it through. I’m always thinking about people, what do they need to say, what can they say and sing. … It’s always been about the songs and about the way they help people worship God. I’ve never lost sight of that.”