Travis Greene Discusses 'Crossover', Meeting with Jesus and More
After the major success of his previous album ‘The Hill’, singer-songwriter Travis Greene had an outstanding 2017. He won the 2017 Billboard Award for Top Gospel Song with “Made A Way”, won 7 Stellar Awards including Song of The Year, Male Vocalist of The Year, and CD of The Year, performed during President Donald Trump’s Inaugural Ball, and still led the Forward City Church alongside his wife Dr. Jacqueline Gyamfi Greene.
In the midst of this, Greene was recording, what may turn out to be his best work yet, the album ‘Crossover: Live From Music City’. Since the release of ‘Crossover’, Greene has ascended even more so reaching number #1 on The U.S. Gospel Chart (peaking 61 on the Billboard 200) and receiving his third Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Album with this release.
With 2018 now being underway, Greene looks to build upon his success from last year. After anupbringing that brought him into this world stillborn, and even having a supernatural experience Jesus Christ, Greene now is looking to engage culture, tour within the U.S. for the first time in his career, and one day, play point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Crossover: Live From Music City, what should people expect?
Well the album,‘Crossover: Live From Music City’, is a sophomore album with RCA inspiration and it’s full of energy and passion. You’ll just experience my typical writing and energetic, fun loving, types of songs. But with this album in particular, its a collision with main stream production and what I do live. So, we had a real fun time with that putting that together, and, I’m excited to see the response. It’s up for the best Grammy, Best Gospel Album at the Grammys.
How does that feel? What were you thinking when you first got that call that it’s Grammy nominated now.
Yeah! I mean, it was overwhelming. It’s different because the first two Grammy nominations I got were songs, this one is for an album. So, for the entire body of work to be recognized by a committee as astute as the Grammys is, something really big and something I won’t take for granted.
Your single, “You Waited”, is number 1 on the Gospel Hot Chart. How does that feel to also have the single be number at the same time as the Grammy nomination?
It’s special! It’s special because the last album had two number #1 singles “Intentional” and “Made A Way” on it and typically when you come out the bat that hard most people are skeptical of your follow up and even me I was like man.
‘The Hill’ was a really good album.
Yeah, it had a really big response so it was like okay, what’s next? You know, after much prayer and some meetings, God helped settle me to let it be what it’s going to be and continue to write from my heart, sing from my heart, and just allow him to do what he does with it and that’s what happened. I just kind of relaxed and got in my zone and “You Waited” is number #1 on the Billboard Gospel [Chart] and it’s overwhelming to see the response off of not just that song, but the entire album has been well received.
A lot of people would say, “You Waited” is their favorite song on the album because it’s number 1 right now. Which is your favorite song on the album, or better yet, which are your top 3 in rotation?
Ohh that’s a hard one man. “You Waited” for me, I probably wouldn’t put that in my top 3. The label and my manager would probably shoot me for saying that but because I have a 3 year old, and that’s the only song he wants to sing! I have Alexa in my room, you know from Amazon Echo, and he goes Alexa play “You Waited” Travis Greene!
There you go!
The song is all around me and of course I have to play it everywhere, I do enjoy the song. But, if i had to pick out three, there’s a song on the album “Without Your Love” I just love. I just love the energy, I love the message of it. I think it’s an unpredictable approach. So I was really thrilled how it came out. “See The Light” is one of my favorite songs to perform. The energy on it is just crazy, and if I had to throw another one in there it’ll be a tossup between “Worship Rise” and “Be Still”. Like I said it depends on what mood I’m in. It’s like picking a favorite kid, it’s tough to do because all the songs came from different areas and different phases of my life.
What was the decision process to say we’re going to make this album a live album? Not too many people are doing those in today’s time.
For me it wasn’t really a decision process, it’s my go to. It’s something I love to do. With ‘The Hill’, ‘The Hill’, was a live album and it was very successful so if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! I ain’t about to get in here and, nah I’m just going to do what I do. Live for me, is a more honest demonstration of who I am as a musician, as a singer, and the adrenalin is something you can’t explain. The adrenalin and the energy you get from the crowd in those environments allow you to kind of go to a different place, a different zone, and the things that you’re able to capture are just unique so that’s why I do it live. It’s the difference between LeBron [James] putting up practice shots and him coming alive in the finals. I’m a Lakers fan but…
There we go! LA all day.
You’ve received a lot of awards and been nominated for a lot of awards. Whats been the most surreal award? Or is it this Grammy nomination that shows all this work you’ve put in has gotten you to this point where they’re acknowledging you as such.
That’s a tough question. Oh man, um. All of them have their own DNA you know? If I had to say, Billboard Gospel Artist of The Year was a pretty big deal. I think that was the award for 2017. The award I got for Billboard that was a pretty big deal. To be recognized for an entire year for putting out music was really cool. So to get that Billboard award was really cool. Stellar, we had a good run last year at the Stellar Awards for Song of The Year. Song of the year is a big, big, big deal. So to win that, even amongst the nominees that I admire, and have studied forever, it was really breath taking. I was not expecting that at all. But every award is super cool.
A lot of people see #EngageCulture on your social media and they want to know what is it exactly that Travis means. Can you explain to the people what it is that you mean when you talk about the #EngageCulture movement?
Yeah, I think culture is everything around us. It’s the rhythm of a generation. It’s the music we listen to it’s the the clothes we wear, it’s the arts that we appreciate, it’s the food we eat and philosophies that we embrace. It’s all around us. I think there’s only three responses you can have to culture. Being a Christian, a gospel artist, I think for too long the church responds to culture at large and the complaining with just kind of complaining about stuff. So either you can complain or you can conform and kind of become whatever is around you, whether it’s right or wrong. So many people do that. Or, you can confront, and that is what engaging culture is. It is confronting culture and not dissing everything about culture and finding things to appreciate it but at the same time the things that we don’t, I don’t necessarily agree with, instead of complaining or confirming to it, I confront it and move upstream and engage up in it. For example like, so many of the things have been going on, in the world, in the country, from the last year to the education systems, police issues, law enforcement issues, so many different things. Instead of being someone who is just like you know, I hate this and I don’t want to do that like. What if I, get involved, and inspire millennials to be the change, not just want change, but be the change. That’s what I’m trying to do with #EngageCulture.
Growing up you went through a lot in life. What’s some of the adversity you faced?
That’s a great question. For me it was kind of all through life ups and downs. Believe it or not, I was born stillborn. The doctors immediately were like, oh this is bad. My mother said my color was like purple, I wasn’t breathing. My father prayed for me and prayed that God would allow me to live. When I was 4 years old I fell four stories out of a window.
Yeah. We were living in Germany and I ended up playing around and falling asleep at my friends house on the windowsill and I ended up falling over and hitting the ground. There was a hospital across the street because we were at an air force base. They saw what happened and apparently, two doctors were leaving and kind of saw, the saw the commotion. They ran over and tried to revive me and literally, while I’m out there, they covered me up completely with a white sheet like oh this is over and pronounced me dead on the spot. My mother came and she picked up my lifeless body. She had to kind of fight to get to me. She picked up my lifeless body and literally prayed to Jesus and said God please, give me my son and God performed a miracle and gave me my life back. Something supernatural even kind of happened throughout that whole episode. I told her as we were leaving the hospital that I remember falling but I told her I never hit the ground. I told her right before I hit the ground a man with a big hand caught me. I couldn’t see his face but I heard a voice that said do you want to go with your mom or come with me? I said I want my mom and he said okay this time you go with her but next time you come with me. And I said wait, excuse me, what’s your name, and he said son my name is Jesus. And so, that was kind of a four year old reciting what had happened during this entire event. And yeah so here I am now just promoting peace and love and joy and I’m not really agenda oriented and I’m not trying to get somebody to become anything. It’s more of expressing the love of God, and allowing him to do the work, and we’re seeing tremendous outcome.
Upcoming, you have your first U.S. Tour! Can you tell us about it? You’ll be here in NYC too.
February 22nd we’ll be at B.B. King’s. The tour is called The Crossover Live Tour. I’m pumped about it it’s my first domestic tour! I’m nervous and excited. Nervous, because I’ve never slept on a tour bus in my life. But, it’s going to be a lot of fun! I’m going to have some of my favorite people with me from my team, and have a blast. We do a lot of international dates and we did 5 continents in countless countries so we do a lot international, so it will be awesome to bring that passion to America. Another cool thing we’re doing with it is, none of the venues will be at churches. So they’re all at live venues were you’ll go to see some of your favorite artists and we’re bringing hope and light into those arenas and I’m really excited about that as well.
What do you hope to do next in your career?
I would love to play point guard for the Lakers!
There we go! LA all day!
Haha yeah but, I’m so blessed to be in this position as to where I’m doing so much that I’ve always wanted to do. Now that I’m dreaming big and aiming for the stars and even with this tour that’s what we’re doing. We’re doing mainstream production. We got the LED walls, we got the light show, we got all of that. We’re going out with videos, we got all of that for the tour so super, super, super pumped about that! The next leg, oh man, we’re doing song writing for different artists as well as hopefully movies and different stuff like that so we got a lot on the rise that we’re excited about.