Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Christmas Single - Now Available!

The new Christmas single, This Christmas Time, is now available for free on Reverbnation. Featured on the song is talented vocalist, Kristi Poole, a worship leader at One Church in Columbus, OH. Click here to listen/download.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Follow the Podcast

I've started a podcast detailing the production of my new album! You can listen to the podcast on iTunes.

Click here to go to iTunes.

If you don't use iTunes, you can listen to the podcast on my web site. Click here to visit

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Making Demos

I’ve been busy recently working on demos for a new album! I have eleven songs written and am creating MIDI mock-ups of the songs (fake drums, bass, guitar, etc.). The fake instruments will eventually be replaced with real ones. I’m pretty stoked about these songs! Stay tuned for more updates.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Strategies of Song Writing (Part 1)

I recently had coffee with a friend who works as an independent film writer and producer. During our conversation, we shared about some of the projects we’re working on and discussed the creative processes we each go through as we develop a new film or song.

It’s always interesting to me to hear how other creative people think, as everyone has his/her own way of doing things. As an example, my friend mentioned that he is often most creative after a long day on the golf course. I told him that I’m sometimes inspired by a great sermon, a life challenge, or an eye-opening interaction with a friend or family member. I then went on to explain that as a young father, I’ve had to learn to write on demand as free time comes infrequently and in short doses. I typically write late at night or while our almost two year old son, Joshua, is napping. I even occasionally record song ideas while I am driving to work in the mornings.

Recently, I’ve been trying to focus much of my creative energy on writing new songs. To date, I’ve written four new tunes, and I believe more ideas are on their way. I always enjoy the process of songwriting. However, the journey is often filled with challenges.

Selecting a Song
One of the first songs I ever wrote was a rap called “Prehistoric Skater.” The song was about a caveman who liked to skateboard. I wrote the song in eighth grade, and it debuted in 1991 on my first cassette album called “Initial Cut.” I didn’t have much life experience at the time so many of my songs were birthed through sheer imagination. If I needed a song, I would just make something up.

I'm now more particular when selecting song topics. To begin, I try to write about subjects I am passionate about. If a topic turns me into an emotional mess and/or gets my blood boiling, I mark it as an idea worth exploring. Next, I begin fleshing out the song using a rough outline. I categorize thoughts and potential lines into song sections. Some thoughts may fit better in the first verse while others may work better in the chorus, second verse or bridge. I usually try to identify a single line or set of lines that sum up the entire message I’m trying to communicate. I then attempt to create the chorus of the song while singing and playing chords on the piano. Sometimes, I already know the title of the song and try to build the chorus around the name of the song. Other times, I decide on a title after I have created the chorus.

If I can’t come up with a compelling chorus, I usually scrap the song altogether or put it on the backburner and start working on another song. If I find that I don’t have enough content to write a complete song, I either toss the song out or work some of the song ideas into part of another song. There have also been times when I’ve written something that needs to be toned down as the ideas expressed are too harsh, too direct or too controversial. At times, I’ve softened the emphasis of the message by rewording questionable lines and/or moving them from the chorus to a verse or bridge of the same song or another song.

Sitting With a Song
I am by no means a patient person. I can’t stand traffic, I get anxious when someone doesn’t return my email within twenty-four hours, and I don’t like waiting for song ideas. There have been times when I’ve written 95% of a song within a couple hours, only to then wait for days or months for the remaining 5%. The lyrics might sound perfect with the exception of one line or even one word. Through the years, I’ve learned not to rush the creative process (unless I’m up against a hard deadline). I’ve often found that stepping away from a song actually helps in the creative process. It’s usually more beneficial to get some good sleep compared to staying up all night in attempt to nail down that one missing line. The anticipation is uncomfortable, but a good song is worth the wait.

Structuring a Song
I am a creature of habit. I usually get Ravioli Di Portobello when we go to the Olive Garden and I often wear blue, grey or black. Sometimes, I just do things a certain way because I’ve always done them that way. The same goes for song writing. Often, I start melodies on the same beat or I place the bridge right after the second chorus. I continue to learn the importance of breaking my own creative habits.

Predictability can be uninteresting, but too much fluctuation can leave the listener longing for something familiar. A song that changes key, tempo and time signature every measure may be a bit overwhelming, but occasional and tasteful variation can bring freshness to otherwise boring music. A forward-thinking musician should avoid the coast of autopilot. He/she should always be aware of his/her surroundings and his/her creative go-tos. Breaking one’s habits takes knowing one’s habits.

Synchronizing Songs
Most of my albums have begun with a single compelling song. This one song usually inspires me to write more songs. After two to three songs, I usually start to see connecting themes between the songs, and from there on out, I try to further separate songs through specific themes, all the way attempting to draw parallels between song ideas. For me, it’s a creative connect-the-dots where the picture is an over-arching lesson God is trying to teach me and the dots (songs) are specific areas in which I’m learning those lessons.

Up Next… “Spiritualizing Songs – Is it necessary for the Christian musician to write songs with spiritual principles?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Flashback - My Almamater

I released "My Almamater" in 1996 while I was a student at Liberty University. The song was played extensively on the campus radio station, C-91. It's hard to believe it's almost been eighteen years!

Video produced by Mark Nunnally. Vocals and keyboard/drum programming: Marc Andre. Guitars: Jeff Farner. Trumpet: Bob Bechtel. Mix: Doug McLaughlin.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

And Today’s Features Are…

I once worked along side a music producer who had lived in Nashville for some time. He still kept in touch with people in music city and even had the opportunity to be involved in a traveling production that featured a number of well-known Christian musicians. I remember asking him once what all the “big guys” did when they weren’t making money traveling or selling music. He told me that a number of Nashville artists worked “normal” jobs during the off-season to try to make ends meet.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be a signed and well-distributed artist. I’m sure there are a number of musicians who make their living off music alone, but I’m curious how many lesser-known artists struggle to feed their families and pay their mortgages. I’m guessing some of these musicians wouldn’t want to admit that they have to do side-work to keep the financial boat afloat.

I wish I was one of those folks who could make his living solely from music, but the reality is, I earn most of our income from non-music work. Over the years, the amount of freelance music jobs has increased, and it certainly supplements our families’ income. However, I also work about thirty-five hours a week as a server at a New Mexican restaurant. Surprisingly, I’m actually doing better than I was doing as a production assistant at a television station (I’m getting a lot more sleep too).

I’ve never worked as a server, but I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. Honestly, I enjoy what I’m doing. My managers and co-workers are great, and many of them are Christians. My boss even recently began a morning Bible study that meets at the restaurant. After four years of college and nearly twenty years of “career” jobs, I’ve found the most peace serving people delicious fajitas and quesadillas. For the first time in a long time, I believe in what I’m selling. It’s good food (I’ve been eating it for three months and I’m still not tired of it). In addition, I enjoy making someone else’s day a little brighter – whether that person is a customer or a co-worker. I usually leave work feeling like I’ve done something positive.

I’m certain God has been trying to teach me some lessons in perspective over the last several years. For one, I’ve learned to appreciate a good job when I see one. I went to college thinking I would only be happy doing production work, but I’m learning that the culture of a workplace is often much more valuable than the duties the actual job entails.

I’m always itching for more music work, and I keep pressing forward. I’m writing new songs and new jingles. I’m knocking on new doors. We’ll see what the future holds. In the meantime, I’m trying to keep an open mind and watchful eye, knowing that God often reveals His blessings in the least likely places.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17

Thursday, February 06, 2014

The Story of Crystal and Marc

Six years ago today, I met my wife, Crystal, for the first time. Here is a chapter from my book, detailing our story.

"The story of how Crystal and I found each other is quite an amazing tale, and I can only attribute our meeting to the Lord.

At the ripe age of thirty-two, I had pretty much resolved I was preordained to be single for the rest of my life. In my mind, there was simply no way that I was going to meet a lady to whom I was attracted, a lady with whom I clicked, and a lady as enthusiastic about me as I was for her. It had become too much of a burden to hope any longer.

I dated during college (at Word of Life and Liberty University), but nothing ever worked out. By May of 1998, I was discouraged. I had earned a communications degree, but like many Christian college seniors, my expectations of finding a mate in the university singles’ pool had been drowned.

After college, I entered the strange world of the church singles’ group. What better place to find a mate than at church? Sadly, the first church I attended out of college hardly had a singles’ group, and the few girls I met in this group didn’t fall within the parameters of what I thought God would have me look for.

Then, in 2001, I began dating a girl rather seriously for four months, but our differences led us to break off our relationship. It was an especially sad time in my life, a period which inspired many emotions and several songs, including Hurricane and After Everything.

Worth the Wait
Looking back, I can see how God was orchestrating those years of trials and lonely nights for good. It’s easy to say now, but those valleys were tough, and even now, I feel for my single friends who haven’t yet found that special someone. This world can be a lonely place, and I think everyone needs a companion, a tangible friend of flesh and bone who can connect at the deepest heart level. It is only by providence that I found the love of my life. I often pray for my single friends that God will do the same for them. The story of Crystal and me is a testament that miracles do happen.

Around 2001, my parents told me about an older friend of theirs in his sixties who had met his second wife through a Christian web site, Mom and Dad kindly suggested I give the service a whirl. Honestly, I was suspicious at first, but having given up on the gambles of the church singles’ group scene, I decided that I didn’t have much to lose.

Internet dating was slow going at first. I received a good number of matches, but many of the people seemed uninteresting and at times, scary. To add to the equation, many of the profiles didn’t have pictures. To make a long story short, I tried eHarmony on and off for almost six years. In fact, I even traveled all the way to Florida and to Mississippi to meet a couple girls. In both cases, the chemistry was not there. I spent a bunch of money over that time, and often, I felt like I was throwing dollar bills to the wind. After a number of disappointments and seasons of searching, I decided to give online dating a rest. I finally faced the possibility that God might not want me to get married, and I think I was ok with that.

Then, in the winter of 2007, for some reason, I was inspired to give Neil Clark Warren’s baby another go. I was surprised to discover that there were a number of interesting matches, many more than I had seen when I had tried eHarmony in the past. Apparently, the pool of girls on eHarmony had grown. Some mornings, I’d open up my email to discover two or three new female matches who wanted to correspond.

Unfortunately, most of these girls didn’t interest me. However, there was a handful of girls I was curious to know more about. In many cases, however, these were the women who either blocked me or ignored my requests to communicate. It always baffled me how this worked almost as a pattern. If a girl was good looking, she was either in the bar scene, or she ignored me. I was surprised to find what seemed to be a lot of ladies getting out of the bar scene and searching for a nice “religious guy” with no preference of his doctrine. Appearance aside, I really wanted to spend the rest of my life with a lady who loved Jesus Christ — not just a woman who followed a generic “God” or lived a “moral life.” The pool at eHarmony had grown, but now I felt like I just had too many choices of nothing I wanted.

In January, 2008, I was alerted that I had been matched with a girl named Crystal from Ashland, OH (and she was also notified that she had been matched with me). I initiated the online conversation by selecting and sending her five multiple-choice questions (the first stage of communication on eHarmony). She responded by sending me five multiple-choice questions, and, liking her answers, I replied. The next stages of communication included five open-ended questions, an exchange of one’s “must haves and can’t stands,” and, finally, open communication where two people can freely email one another through eHarmony’s secure email system.

Within a week or two, Crystal and I were exchanging personal email addresses, and eventually, we began speaking on the phone a couple times a week. However, the more I talked to Crystal, the more I realized that our backgrounds and convictions were quite different, and after several weeks of correspondence, I began to wonder if I honestly wanted to communicate any further. This is where the story gets a bit strange.

Crystal Clear and Clearly Crystal
One morning as I was sipping a cappuccino at the Mean Bean, I checked my email only to discover a message that read, “Crystal from Ashland would like to begin communicating with you.” Needless to say, I was confused. Wasn’t I already corresponding with Crystal from Ashland? Turns out, there was another Crystal in Ashland, OH, on eHarmony, and even more interesting, like me, she attended a Grace Brethren Church. Like me, she also grew up as a missionary kid! Wacky and ironic stuff! It’s also crazy that I was Crystal’s first match on eHarmony, and she literally had to be match number 2000 or so for me! Wilder still, she had casually signed up on a whim after receiving a junk email from Neil Clark Warren! We still joke that God can even work through spam!

To make a long story short, I tapered off my communication with the first Crystal and spent more and more time talking to the second Crystal through email. The second Crystal was such a contrast to the first Crystal, and I think it is this drastic difference that God used to initially draw me to the second Crystal.

About two weeks into our correspondence, Crystal mentioned that her family was coming to Columbus to celebrate her sister’s birthday, and they were eating at a restaurant directly across from the production house where I worked! “Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “It might be a bit quick, but maybe we should meet up in person so I can see if this girl and I have any chemistry.” So, putting thought to action, I emailed Crystal and asked her if she wanted to get together while she was in Columbus. (We hadn’t even talked on the phone yet!) She enthusiastically agreed and actually invited me to dinner with her sister and her parents. Talk about a high pressure first date!

It was a Wednesday evening slightly before seven, and I was watching out our office window for a cute girl and her family to walk into the entrance of the Cheesecake Factory. I was slightly nervous but surprisingly calm given the circumstances. After a few minutes of spying (and not seeing any family of these specifications), I decided to make my way down to the restaurant where Crystal and I, and her family, would have our first rendezvous.

As I walked through the doors of the Cheesecake Factory, I noticed a pretty young lady waiting on a bench seat. Looking at me, she rose, said, “Hi, I’m Crystal!” and she proceeded to shake my hand (She now tells me she had no idea what to do except to shake my hand). “Hi!” I exclaimed, “and, of course, I’m Marc.” She smiled and led me back to a booth seat where her parents, her sister and a friend of her sister were waiting.

As I sat down, I already felt quite comfortable around her family. They were quite easy to talk to, and the continued gorgeous gaze and smile of Crystal across the table further put me at ease. The server brought us some bread and butter and ice water, and, only moments into our conversation, I reached for a piece of bread and inadvertently spilled a glass of water all over Crystal’s lap! “Now that’s the way to make a first impression,” I exclaimed with a nonchalant chuckle. Crystal and her family graciously excused the blunder, and we continued our small talk about siblings, hobbies and employment. Even after the water incident, I felt unusually relaxed.

I remember people telling me over the years, “When you meet the right one, you will know.” I swore I had “known” on numerous occasions, but this time, something was different. Even my initial interactions with Crystal lacked the awkwardness and doubts I felt with so many prior dates. This first meeting was just the beginning of what would prove to be an unusual and divinely designed encounter.

We concluded the evening with a tour of the production house where I worked, and after this, Crystal and her family returned home to Ashland with each of us feeling a sense of “Wow, what just happened?”

Crystal and I continued dating throughout the spring and summer of 2008, mostly alternating travel destinations on weekends (Columbus or Ashland). I would also often make the hour and fifteen-minute drive to Ashland on either a Tuesday or Wednesday night, returning to work by 10am the next morning. It worked out great as she could stay at my parents’ home in Columbus (only fifteen minutes away from my apartment), and I could stay at her parents’ home in Ashland (only ten minutes from her house). Ah, yes, her house. This brings me to yet another sign of God’s foresight and planning.

A Future and a Hope
Like me, Crystal had concluded that she would probably be single for the rest of her life. She decided to settle down in Ashland and purchased a nice two-story, three-bedroom home about a month before she received my profile via. eHarmony. This is interesting as her dad had told her that she would probably be married within a year of buying the home. He may have the gift of prophecy!

The purchase of the home was rather unusual. First, Crystal actually sold her own home to herself and was paid commission (She was a real estate agent at the time). Next, she was able to sell the home after living in it for four months. She never even had to put it on the market, and she again made more money on it! Speaking of junk mail, the previous owners (who had foreclosed on the home) contacted Crystal via email and asked if she would be interested in selling the house back to them. How often does that happen? If Crystal had not checked her junk folder, she would have again missed a golden opportunity (As I mentioned previously, she had signed up for eHarmony because of a junk email).

As it turned out, the original owners of the home were unable to get a loan, and two other people contacted Crystal directly about the house (Again, it was never on the market). The third person made an offer and bought the home one day after Crystal and I were engaged. Amazing how God works!

I don’t necessarily consider the following a “fleece,” but I think it does illustrate God’s attention to detail and may contain some sprinklings of His humor. As a birthday gift, my artist dad decided to design a beautiful calligraphy of Crystal’s favorite verse Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper, not to harm, plans to give you a future and a hope.”

At the time, Crystal was still living in her new house, and her bedroom was decorated with bluish purple paint and a queen-sized bed with a beautiful dark wood bed frame and intricately carved bed posts. I remember my dad asking me, “What colors does Crystal like?” I told him that her favorite shade was purple, as was the color of her bedroom walls. He then asked me to pray that God would give him wisdom in choosing colors, and I did.

At the end of March, my parents came up to Ashland to surprise Crystal on her birthday. They were already at one of her favorite restaurants and appeared just as we stepped up to put our name in for a table. Crystal was wide-eyed with surprise. After dinner, we went back to Crystal’s house for ice cream cake, and soon thereafter, my dad revealed his carefully wrapped birthday present. Crystal opened the gift and was thrilled with his calligraphy, especially since it included both her favorite verse and her favorite colors. Crystal immediately took the framed artwork to her room to see how it looked. My parents, Crystal’s parents, Crystal’s sister, and I all followed.

As she held the calligraphy up to the wall, we were all amazed. The purple of the artwork matched the purple on the wall precisely! And even more astounding, the frame of the calligraphy had the same wood and carved design as Crystal’s bed headboard and bedposts! None of us really knew what to say, except for Crystal’s mom who quickly whispered to me as we left the room, “Marc, we believe you are Crystal’s future and hope.” If that wasn’t a hint of in-law blessing, I don’t know what is!

I’ll Go There Too
The Lord’s hand was so evident in the ways He brought Crystal and me together, and He continues to show His faithfulness and direction in our marriage today. Wherever Love Would Go was written as a promise to Crystal and to the Lord. Regardless of what comes our way, I have committed to fight for our relationship while keeping Christ central in our marriage. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 paints a beautiful word picture of Biblical love — “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Read more in my book, Snapshots of the Shattered Soul: The Stories Behind the Songs. The book is available as a paperback through my web site,, and is available as an eBook on the iBookstore and

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Anticipations of a New Year

I rarely make New Year’s resolutions. Like many people, I’m inspired by the idea of starting fresh, but I fear the prospect of failing.

For Crystal and me, 2013 was filled with change. As we look back, we can see how God was slowly tweaking and re-directing our steps. Some doors swung wide open while others refused to move despite our prayerful and fervent knocking. We learned how to live with less income, we figured out how to survive with less space and we managed to do more with less time. We took a hard look at what was most important to us and we chiseled away everything we felt we could do without.

In July, we re-located to a more affordable area of town. Soon after, Crystal moved from four days of work to two days so that she could spend more time with Joshua. In November, I quit my early morning job at the television station and began working as a server at a New Mexican restaurant so that I could do more freelance music and audio work at home. With each change, we could see the faithfulness of God. We never went hungry. We never missed a bill. The Lord continued to meet our needs regardless of the situation.

I believe our faith is stronger than it was a year ago. God has proven Himself to us time and time again. I know great things are going to happen in 2014. Sure, I have some well-meaning intentions. I’d like to write new songs and play a bunch of cool shows. We’d like to save enough money to buy a house. Crystal would be elated to have a larger kitchen and bathroom and I’d be overjoyed to have a room dedicated to music making (right now, all my studio gear is crammed in one corner of our bedroom). However, we realize that God may have different plans. Whatever happens, we are confident that He will take care of us and we believe that He has our best in mind.

I’m looking forward to 2014. The New Year is filled with potential. There is nothing wrong with making resolutions. I’m certainly not opposed to the idea of “trying to do better.” However, I’ve discovered the most exhilarating moments come with seeing God do the unexpected. The greatest joy arrives when God blows our expectations out of the water and enables us to do things we could never do on our own. To say, “Look at what I did!” accomplishes little, but the opportunity to say, “Look at what God did!” can create a ripple effect that shapes eternity.

"What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him." I Corinthians 2:9

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10