I recently had the opportunity to talk to Jimmy Mitchell about his new project “Love Come Alive” with the musical company Mysterium. “Love Come Alive” was a live concert in the Fall of 2011 that helped support 40 Days for Life and was turned into an album and a touring concert this spring in cities around the country.
Listen to “Love Come Alive” by Haylee Mitchell
What is Mysterium?
Well, at it’s core, Mysterium is a company that produces music, publishes books, and puts on live events and tours with the vision of rebuilding Catholic culture through the arts. Our hope is to bring Truth and Beauty to a dark and disparaging world. I really believe that art is something that can engage the human heart, that can transform human culture.
I think there is this delicate balance between art for its own sake, which has its value, but art to glorify God, which is a lot of what we’ve done up to this point with two Marian Grace albums which are very much meant to stir that heart’s desire for transcendence. But I think that there are fine arts that are not necessarily meant for sacred things or for the Church, but are meant for the culture at large. Artists that are wrestling with their own humanity. Whether they are Catholic or not, Christian or not, have Truth to share with the world. They have art to share with the world that expresses Truth.
Primarily, we’re doing music right now, but the hope in the long run is to be an influence in the Church and in the culture for bringing Truth and Beauty, keeping those two things properly united in every form of art.
This is your third album, but your first non-sacred album. Why the change?
I probably would have done this ten years ago if I had the people around me. I’ve always had this dream of finding and forming and affirming Catholic artists, better put artists who are Catholic.
When I was in seminary two years, sacred music was just something that was very much intriguing me at the time. When we put out that first album it was very much on a whim. It was not meant to become something huge or lead to another album.
So when I got this committee in the Diocese of Nashville who wanted to take the 40 Days for Life campaign to the next level, I mentioned the possibility of doing a music festival. Not sacred music or Christian music and certainly not liturgical music, but music that uncovers the richness and mystery of what it means to be human. A great pop, rock, jazz, folk music about life and love inspired by a deep Catholic understanding of the human person in the culture at large.
This CD is all about what it means to be human. About the Truth, Beauty, Goodness of a life lived well, which to me is just as Catholic as sacred music, but totally different in its approach.
There is an intentional focus on pop songs. Why would the artists choose to write those type of songs?
The Church has a very distinct vision for how music fits into the life of the faithful. There’s music that is properly sacred and properly liturgical. There is music that is properly prayerful and devotional, that stirs love for our Lord. In an XLT or praise and worship. But I think a third dimension that is often neglected is music that is meant to be secular in nature. That is meant to transform the culture from within.
I don’t know many non-Christians who listen to Christian music. I know very few who would ever step foot in a Catholic church. I really want to bring music in all three categories.
What I’m hoping with “Love Come Alive” is that this kind of music in the hands of someone who would never step foot in a church, who would never turn on Christian radio, but could be engaged by simple but beautiful songs about love and life.
Why would this album be attractive to a young person when most of what young people listen to today is more about rhythm than about melody?
People buy this album when they see these artists live. If you see a show and enjoy an artist, enjoy the live performance, than you’re much more likely to buy their music. I think that young people will be excited about this CD when they have a personal contact with these artists.
If you can get a middle school girl to love your music, you’re pretty much guaranteed that the whole society is going to encounter it. I think there’s a little bit of that. Meg Murray’s “Share Some Love” is very poppy.
I think that because it’s helping raise money for the 40 Days for Life is going to motivate a 20 something or 30 something more than a teenager that is used to getting something for free anyway.
We’re going to start be doing some two week tours. We’ll be pairing up Halley and Chris, and Kevin and Colleen into some 10 or 11 city tours and get these artists out there. From my perspective the best way to connect with music is to get artists out there doing shows. Unless we get some crazy break and get on the radio or television or movie, we’ll just have to work hard. We’ll have to get in front of as many young people as possible.
What do you view as the future of Mysterium and this particular music?
With this music you get campus families, young adults, young families gather in a parish or mainstream venue. This sort of music really stirs Catholic culture. I don’t mean like we’re all on our knees in adoration. I mean people gathered because we believe in the gospel of life and love. Therefore, leisure and entertainment are things that are being human. I believe that leisure and entertainment can be rooted in something true and beautiful and deep, and it’s going to be that much more of a profound experience.
For a young teen who’s grown up in a world where interaction is less incarnational and more digital, how does “Love Come Alive” speak to a teenager?
They’re going to gather anyways, so let there be meaning behind the gathering. That’s a very naturally occurring thing.
One of the things that I think makes “Love Come Alive” distinct is that it’s an amazing opportunity for them to invite others who aren’t even Catholic or Christian. I think it touches enough upon those transcendentals of truth, beauty, goodness, and love that you don’t have to be Catholic, you don’t have to be Christian to enjoy this music. In some ways I want that of all the music that Mysterium puts out.
If people want to connect with Mysterium more, how should they do that?
The best thing with “Love Come Alive” is at lovecomealive.com. You can find all our tour dates there. We’re going to be a doing another big music festival in the Fall here in Nashville.
If people want to find and hear more about Mysterium, you can go to mysteriumonline.com. It’s the best place to read our blogs and stay in touch with all of our music up to this point. We’ve also release some books.
We’re on Twitter and Facebook and you can find that info on the websites.