Pointing Back To The Cross - Getting To Know Freddy Washington
There is no mistaking Christian music artist, Freddy Washington's love for Jesus and spreading the Gospel message. A passionate and gifted man of God, with a hearty laugh, he allowed BTYM to interview him, giving us the chance to get know him before his visit to our Friday Night GLO on April 5th. Originally from California, he resides in New Jersey, with one main goal in mind - to spread the Gospel through music.
Hi Freddy. How about we take it back a little, starting with your musical roots. You served in your father’s music ministry, correct?
Freddy: My dad is a pastor & a musician, so I grew up in his music ministry. He did double duty; playing & leading worship and then also preaching. Eventually, I took over the music ministry, but I grew up watching him do it all, in that sense. It was very inspiring and I think that’s what led me to want to do it.
When were you saved?
FW: I started in music before I was a Christian. You know you grow up in church learning all the ”church things,” and music was interesting at that time. I was young, a teenager and I started playing music because it was the fun thing to do. I started playing drums & then I started playing keyboard; I wasn’t very good (laughing), but I lugged it in anyway, and then eventually I started playing the organ. I was at church all the time, practicing, playing. But, that was all before the Gospel had penetrated my heart, before I received Christ. I see it as God using music to kind of soften my heart and draw me in to the Gospel message. I was coming to church as a teenager with full well knowledge that I was going to hell. I felt that way because I viewed the Christian walk to be something of perfection. I saw the people around, I saw the adults who were in my eyes at the time very perfect; they didn’t do anything wrong, they didn’t say anything wrong and I thought, “If this is Christianity, I can’t do this. It’s impossible.” But, I learned that the gospel message was that we are not going to perfect, we are not going to do everything right, but that’s why we need a Savior and His name is Jesus Christ. There are young people that are in church, who are very active, but are not yet Christians. That was me. The turning point was when I realized we are not saved by works, we are saved by grace. So, there wasn’t a “night,” it was a process between 14 & 17 when I just really came to know the Lord & began walking with Him in my heart & not just my actions.
Was it hard growing up a ministry/pastor's kid?
FW: Absolutely. I was a regular, normal kid - I still got in trouble & still disobeyed my parents at times. People say we are the bad kids sometimes, but we are the visible kids. I was somewhat well behaved & didn’t get into a whole lot of trouble, but if I did get intro trouble, it was magnified, because I wasn’t allowed to do anything wrong. I think I had a normal PK life, whatever that means. I wouldn’t trade it – it helped to shape me. I am grateful for it.
So you write, produce, play the piano, drums, keyboard, organ & sing – you betta go ahead! Is there anything that I am missing? Do you play the harmonica?
FW: *Laughing* You covered it all. I also play the guitar as well. I have been blessed & come from a musically gifted family; my father is a great pianist as well. I was blessed to be around music at a young age & a lot of great musicians & I had a love for it & I believe it’s what the Lord called me to do. I try my best to be a good steward over it – There was a time I thought I would be a pro baseball player or a cartoonist, because I draw (laughs), but music was always there. Eventually I came to know that’s what the Lord wanted me to do. There were others things I could have pursued & probably would have done well at them or at least made a living doing them & probably had fun doing them, but it’s not settling for doing something that’ s good, but really chasing after something that is God.
Amen! That is so true. Your 1st album was "The Jesus Record," in 2011, correct? Can you tell us a little about that album?
FW: Yeah, sure. I think we view the cross to be the initiation into Christianity & then we are off onto all the "important" stories, like Noah & Samson, but the truth is, the entire Old Testament & everything we read in text, is pointing to one event; everything before it points forward to it & everything after it points back to it, and that is obviously the cross. So, for me, I wanted to write & produce a record that kept the main thing, the main thing. Something that reminds us that this is what it is all about. I'll write other records & they won't all be titled "The Jesus Record," but I wanted to start off my musical journey with bookmarking it & saying going forward this is all I am going to be talking about - the man who lived for 33 years, completely sinless and a life that should have been rewarded was punished by death & it's because of that death, that we can now have life. And because He died a death He didn't deserve, we can now by faith have life that we will never be able to earn. That's the Gospel message. That message is good enough for grandma, it's good enough for dad, it's good enough for teenagers. It's good enough.
Let’s talk a little about “We are the City,” off your debut album. Why that title?
FW: We are the city comes from the passage where Jesus talks about us being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. If you have an ordinary job, you may be wondering, “Is this making a difference for the kingdom? If I am working at the supermarket, how is that making a difference for the Kingdom?" Light is light beause it shines; that’s what light does. If we are doing everything we do to the glory of God, then we are shining. No matter your job, pay scale, no matter what you do, somebody is seeing that light. We are in it together because we are the city, community.
If you had to describe your style of music, what would it be?
FW: It's kind of hard for me, because I feel like I have so many influences, but I think that the best way for me to communicate it to people in a simple way, is to say if you could take Andrae Crouch & mix it with Michael W. Smith & fast forward a decade or two, that's probably closer to what I do. I have a lot of Contemporary Christian music influence, but I have a ton of Gospel influence. I love making the music the Lord inspires me to make. I break all the rules, and then sometimes I follow the rules. Sometimes the way He gives them to me does not fit the conventional song forms. The music is just the vehicle for the Message.
What are your plans for your music going forward?
FW: I've been doing a lot more traveling; spreading the gospel through music. Writing a lot more music for another record and seeing what the Lord does with that. I'm anticipating starting a new project very soon. I'm really excited about this material.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
FW: Well, I love Michael W. Smith. His music inspires me.
What is something you would like to tell the teens that can encourage them as young people? With there being so many distractions in the world, how can they stay grounded in God?
FW: When you’re young, it’s hard to think of the you 10 years from now. Follow God & as you do that, you will find that later on there are so many rich benefits. The 20 year old will thank the 13 year old that you didn’t get into all the mess. In your 20’s you want to be building, not fixing; you want to be going forward in the Lord, not fixing. In our culture it is so easy for us to trick ourselves into thinking we know so much because of all that we are exposed to, but it’s not wise to lean on our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. 1- He (God) knows more than you. 2- He has your best interest at heart. Even when it seems that it is not working for your good, it is working for your good. And He already did the hardest thing - come to flesh & die for us. So if He can do that, helping you to get good grades or stay out of trouble is not hard for Him. If you acknowledge Him, He will help you.
What is a fun, hidden talent that you have?
FW: I can draw really well. Not like a cool sketch artist, but like super heroes & wrestlers *laughing*. Also, since I'm originally from California, one of the fun things we use to do is surf.
If it was possible, what food or dessert would you eat every day?
FW: If I could, I would eat lasagna every day. Yeah, definitely lasagna. *laughing*
Good choice! Okay, and now for the big one, the one to wrap up this interview (drum roll please)…If you could be invisible for one day, what would you do?
FW: That's a good one. I never thought about that before. (Takes a second to think) - *Laughing* I probably wouldn’t do anything. I am always so busy, I would take that day to do nothing. That's the honest answer.
Calling all teens, ages 13-18, be sure you are in the building this Friday, April 5th, when Freddy will be ministering at our Friday Night GLO - 180 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY, along with free refreshments & giveaways. You can purchase Freddy's first album "The Jesus Record," currently available on iTunes & Amazon, to hear more from him. It's definitely worth the purchase! www.freddywashington.com