So what is an American Producer doing in Europe?
My wife and I have been working with orphans and street kids in Russia since 2001 – and while I tried everything to put music aside and focus on those efforts, God had different plans. I never thought I could both work in the music industry and in mission to at-risk kids, but more and more the two roles have worked hand in hand.
Over the years, our work has extended to the whole continent of Europe – and we are now working with refugees arriving on European shores as well.
One of the easiest ways to connect with a street kid is to pull out a guitar and start singing. It’s amazing. Everywhere in the world I’ve been I can make friends by playing a few Beatles tunes. So instead of trying to be Charlie without music, I’ve just embraced this part of my life and its become an integral part of our work with kids.
Furthermore, many of the artists I work with have some connection to at-risk children’s work, refugee support or evangelism, etc. By helping them in their musical endeavors, I help them establish careers that give them opportunities to speak out about the situation for marginalized peoples around the world.
Finally, my family has been further blessed by my work in that it has, on occasion, helped to support our lives here financially.
When working with other religious artists called into ministry here, I keep my costs and the costs of the artist down as much as possible. But the reality is that raising a family and carrying on full-time work does not come for free, no matter where you live. On the occasion that the artist is able to pay me for my services – even at a rate much reduced from market – it has helped keep our ministry efforts here “in the black”. I’m very blessed to be able to do something that I love to help us continue to do the work we are called to do here in Europe and Russia.
I don’t really work in studios that much anymore. Most of the time I’m just trying to capture great performances in whatever context I find myself. Technology has changed so much – and I can now produce compelling art without the need for the controlled environments and thousands of dollars in equipment. My ability to capture in remote environments has opened the door for me to work with artists from all over the world: Russia, Turkey, Brazil, Estonia, Belgium, Norway, Italy, etc. I’m a long way from the studio in NYC where I started!
So my “day job” is a mixture of music production, ministry aid to at-risk kids in the former Soviet Union and refugees coming from the Middle East and North Africa. If you want to know more about our work, check out actsofadvocacy.wordpress.com. We’d appreciate your support.
Finally, just because I follow Jesus Christ and work in missions does not mean that I only work on “Christian” projects. To be honest, I don’t like the labeling and segregation of any music. If it’s good music, its good music.