Singer/songwriter and worship leader Justin Warren shares the hope we have in Jesus through his music. Warren had recently signed with Radiate Music and he is set to release his debut single on the label next month.
With a heart to communicate the hope we have in Jesus, Warren has shared stages across the country with artists like Mercy Me, Sanctus Real, Building 429, Natalie Grant and more. Beginning Sept. 9, he embarks on the "Bigger Story Tour" with Red Street Records artist Cade Thompson, which is being presented by child sponsorship and adoption agency, Holt International. While on tour, Warren leads fan favorites and new songs like his recently released single and performance video "Back To Life."
Q: Justin, thank you for doing this interview with us. Let's start from the beginning, how did you first feel the call to be involved in the music ministry?
It is an honor to speak with you. Thanks for having me! I was in the 6th grade at church summer camp when I first felt the Lord leading me into the music ministry. At that time all I wanted to do was play drums. I had no idea years down the road I would pick up a guitar and begin singing and writing songs. When I was a kid I actually hated being in front of people and singing. God has a great sense of humor.
Q: How would you describe your style or direction of your music?
I would describe my style as pop/rock.
Q: You have toured with many of CCM's biggest artists. Can you share with us any interesting stories from working with some of these artists?
I am so blessed and thankful for the opportunities the Lord has given me to travel with great artists. Rhett Walker stands out as by far the funniest person I have ever toured with. On top of being a great singer and songwriter, he is also hilarious, on stage and off. I have a video on my YouTube page of one night backstage before I went on to play my set, Rhett had found some marching band cymbals. He proceeded to sing one of my songs while playing the cymbals and told me that my fans would love the new rendition. I didn't take his advice, but it gave me a good laugh.
Sanctus Real stands out as being some of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever toured with. They have been so gracious to me. I will never forget one night in Nebraska after a show, the team was loading the trailer back up while it was snowing. These guys have hit songs on the radio, this was their tour, and they just finished playing their hearts out. In my mind they had every right to get in their bunks and rest, but instead they were in the trailer helping the crew load out in the snow. I was a fan of Sanctus Real long before I got to meet them. After knowing them and touring with them, I will be a fan forever.
I have had a lot of people along the way be kind and gracious to me, and it would probably be impossible for me to mention them all or even remember every single person. I say all of that to say JJ Weeks has been one of the biggest blessings to me and my ministry. I will never be able to thank him enough or repay him. He has taken me under his wing like a little brother. After the pandemic I was discouraged. The very thing I had felt called to do and loved doing had come to a halt. During that season, even when I would get the rare opportunity to go play an event, I found that I had lost the joy and passion I used to have.
Fast forward to earlier this year, I had the opportunity to open up for JJ on his Worship Nights Tour. One night in the back of the bus I told him about how I was struggling and how I felt like I had become apathetic towards the very thing God had called me to. JJ encouraged me and told me that he believed in me, that he believed in God's calling on my life and that he wanted to do what he could to help me. I can honestly say if it wasn't for his friendship I wouldn't be where I am today.
Q: You have recently signed a deal with Radiate Music. How did that happen?
My friend JJ Weeks set up a songwriting session with himself, Ian Eskelin, and myself. We wrote a couple songs that we loved. Ian and I decided to record one of them to see how things went. After I finished recording my vocals for my new song Ian and I went to lunch, and he talked to me about signing to Radiate Music. Words can't express how thankful I am to be a part of the Radiate family and for the opportunity to work with Ian Eskelin. I am excited to see what God has in store for the future, but more than anything, I am praying that God is glorified!
Q: I believe you have a new song "All Things Well" coming out. What's the story behind this song?
I started writing "All Things Well" during a difficult season. One of my best friends' father was diagnosed with cancer. We prayed and prayed for healing, but ultimately the Lord's plan was to take him to glory. The song was originally filled with asking God a lot of questions. I struggled writing the song for a long time because I knew at the end of all the questions, I wanted to end the chorus by somehow expressing that even though our prayers weren't answered as we had hoped that God is still good and we can trust Him.
After a couple of months of wrestling with this song, my dad sent me a sermon to listen to. The pastor's main scripture was Mark 7:37 - "And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, 'He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.'" He talked about how we may not understand why certain things happen on this side of eternity, but one day our faith will be made sight, and we will be able to see in full that God does do all things well. I knew immediately that was what I had been looking for to finish my song. I played the song for Ian Eskelin and JJ Weeks during a songwriting session. We took it, and the three of us recrafted it into a song that I am so excited to share with the world. In good times and hard times we can praise Him, we can trust him. He does all things well!
Q: What can we look forward to in terms of more new music?
My debut single with Radiate Music, "All Things Well," releases on September 30th, and I am so excited to see what God has in store. As far as more new music, we are currently working on more songs, and we plan to release an EP at the start of the new year.
Q: How do you hope your songs would impact your listeners and the church?
I hope and pray that whoever listens will be reminded of the greatest news of all, that Jesus loves them. For people who are walking through difficult seasons, I pray these songs would give them hope, encourage their faith, and give them joy in the midst of pain. I hope the church can use these songs to worship our God Who is worthy of all our praise.
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to do this interview - for the chance to talk a little about this new chapter in my life and the new music. I am honored and grateful. God bless you and all that you do!