It all started at age 13. With the release of Passion Music‘s latest live album, Follow You Anywhere (Live), Kristian Stanfill fondly recalls the excitement he had at the beginning of this musical journey.
He first started strumming his guitar and writing songs in middle school. He now declares those songs were “terrible”, but he goes on to note something fascinating: if he hadn’t been willing to be terrible first, he doesn’t believe he’d be where he is today.
“Everybody starts at zero! Well, I don’t know if I can say that for sure. Maybe there are some people who are just crazy brilliant. They sit down at the piano for the first time and just kill it. That was not my story! I had to work at it.”
The headlines are almost always the performances and recording sessions, but Kristian says it’s still true: there’s no substitute for the hours upon hours of hard work.
“I’m still working at it. I’m still getting better. There was a discipline involved in learning guitar, and learning how to sing. Learning how to play songs. In being okay to write the bad songs. Being okay to say, ‘I’m not as good as I want to be, but I want to keep getting better.'”
“I talk to other musicians & songwriters. We talk about songwriting, and people want to write these great songs. Well, then you’ve got to write a thousand bad ones! You’ve got to sit down, and make yourself available. And put yourself out there, and do the work. Because there’s no overnight success. That’s not a real thing. There’s a discipline involved, a work ethic that’s involved in what we do. The second I get comfortable, and think that I’ve arrived – and I have nothing else to learn – that’s when I start on the downward spiral.”
Kristian is grateful for the way that attitude has shown up on Follow.
“To be honest, I really feel like these are some of our best songs, and I’m happy about that! I’m happy that this year I think we have better songs than we did last year, and I hope that keeps happening. And by God’s grace it will.”
Kristian Stanfill is a recording artist & worship leader with Passion Music. Their latest live album is Follow You Anywhere (Live).