There are not a lot of younger artists, in my opinion, that show the hardships of being a Christian in this day and age. I hear so many gospel songs about how great God is and how God always answers, but many people fail to sing about the process to get to this journey. I believe that we all need encouragement, but we are also missing that relatability.
When I want to listen to a gospel song, I want to hear a testimony that you have been where I have been. Even if the artist is still in the same place spiritually and mentally, tell me about your struggle and that you still have faith. Show me that this walk is not easy, but it is worth it.
One artist that I felt did this was Montell Fish. I remember sitting in my room, and I was in a dark place. I felt lost like I had no direction. It felt like no one could relate to me at that moment. Music has always reached me when no one else could, and I remember letting my music app just play random songs.
I heard Montell Fish sing, “Father show me who I am because I have been running for way too long, Father show me who I am,” and in that moment it felt like he was singing my thoughts. Then, I kept listening to him, and he had a song called “Talk to me.” “Talk to me” was about him feeling like he could not feel God anymore.
He was pleading to God to talk to him. He just needed a sign that God could hear him, that God was still there. Through his first few albums, he was always honest about his journey with God. He talked about going through depression and using different vices to heal until God stepped in and healed him.
However, in his most recent album he took a more secular approach. His new album is called “Her Love Still Haunts Me Like a Ghost,” where he discusses going through grief and losing himself to this relationship. He has a song on his most recent album called “Hotel,” and it turned a lot of fans away.
In this song he talks about losing himself willingly to a relationship that he knew was bad news. Many of his core fans felt like he walked away from his faith because this album was mostly secular. There were barely any songs addressing his relationship with God or that showed any evidence that he was still a Christian.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t disappointed with his decision to make this album more secular. However, a part of me feels that his decision to go secular is what makes not just his gospel music but his story more pure.
Christians are made of imperfect humans. Every Bible protagonist once had a part of their story that did not feel “Christian.” When we are going through grief it is not going to feel like gospel. Grief will not always feel like worship or motivation. The truth is, depression does not feel like a worship song.
I admire Montell Fish for making an album about where he is currently in his journey. Everyone in the Bible who had the greatest stories all had a chapter where they felt lost. Some characters were so lost in their identity that God gave them a new one.
I sometimes think we are so quick to judge other people’s lives that we forget that what we are seeing is only one chapter. Eventually, even Montell Fish will have to turn the page. When I think of his music, I used to feel like it was a love letter dedicated to Jesus.
In this letter he is saying, no I am not perfect. I fell many times, and I don’t always get things right. Sometimes I do not always feel like worshiping and sometimes I get led astray, but I will worship you anyways.
But as a person of faith, the more I listen to his music, I start to think that it is God’s love letter to him. Eventually when this chapter is over, he can look back and see the things that God has done and the places that God has pulled him out of.
His music is so honest. It is something that is different, and I believe that there is a need for artists like him. Most people have had a chapter in their life where they have felt blinded by a relationship or they have lost themselves due to this relationship. Most of us have all felt broken at some point.
I believe all those fans that were disappointed, including myself, if we were to put our brokenness in an album, it too would feel secular.