After the pandemic, MercyMe is ready to perform
MercyMe excited to fill Coliseum with their fans
The production of numerous studio albums has defined several stages of life for MercyMe leader Bart Millard.
The Grammy-nominated Christian rock band will finally bring their latest album, Inhale (Exhale), to Memorial Coliseum in November after pandemic-related delays.
“We’ve been a band for 27 years I guess, long enough to where I feel like my life is catalogued by whichever different album came out,” Millard told Whatzup in an interview. “When I think about my kids being born, it’s like, ‘Oh that was around Coming Up To Breathe.’”
The new album, he said, encapsulates the pandemic period of our lives.
“This one’s kind of like a timestamp for the whole pandemic,” Millard said. “The reason we call it Inhale (Exhale) was we just kept saying over and over that we just want people to be able to take a deep breath and set aside the things that worry them and be reminded what’s important.”
The pandemic and lockdowns gave MercyMe the chance to rework many of the songs on their latest album.
“‘Almost Home’ was the first single we released a year and a half before the album came out,” Millard said. “That was fall of ’19. The album was supposed to come out in the beginning of 2020, and then the pandemic hit. And we were like, ‘Well, we’re not touring, so what’s the rush?’ And so we slowed everything down so we could be in our studio for a year just to feel like something was normal and ended up writing about 40 songs total.”
Excited to Perform
Finally, MercyMe has the chance to perform their album live in front of fans.
“It has been a blast to start touring,” Millard said. “Three weeks ago is when we started touring after almost a year and a half off. It’s been incredible, but a lot of times you make an album thinking about performing in front of fans and stuff like that, and there was no touring in sight. And so that never crossed my mind when it came to making this record.”
“It’s bittersweet,” he added, “but it’s been such joy playing in front of people, just being in front of anybody right now.”
Millard also said that this is the biggest show they’ve done from a production standpoint.
“We’re all in,” he said. “We’re so hungry to be back out there. It’s a big night, it’s the most fun I’ve had touring, and I hope that comes across more than anything, that we’re having a blast on stage.
“The whole idea of the night is for people to understand who they are in Christ. I think the message that we are kind of revolving around this tour is, after everything we’ve been going through, and seeing more division within the Body of Christ than I’ve ever seen in my life, at times I get frustrated about how are we supposed to love our neighbor as ourselves? Are we not very good at it?
“I think we actually are good at it because of Christ in us. The problem is we don’t love ourselves that much. And so it’s just trying to show people and convince them that, ‘Man, until you see yourself the way Jesus sees you, not much is going to change.’”
Ready to Move on
Looking back at the production of Inhale (Exhale), Millard said that he feels it has “served its purpose.”
“And so the album we had got cleared out and we wrote a whole batch of new songs,” he said. “It’s funny. It’s like, we have 16 songs on the album. I look back like, ‘This is the pandemic for us.’ Then it’s this weird mixed emotion of ‘ready to move on’ if that makes sense; everything about the pandemic. I’m ready to make more music, which is nuts. Nothing against it, I love the album, but it feels like for me personally it’s served its purpose during the time off, if that makes sense.”
Which is Millard’s favorite track on the album?
“Probably ‘Say I Won’t’ because that song went to radio during the pandemic, so this is the first time you see the response from people that know the song and it’s been pretty overwhelming, and so that’s been a blast to play.”
He also said the band is having a lot of fun playing the song “Brand New,” which is also listed on Inhale (Exhale).
Check out Micah Tyler, Too
Fans can also expect to see a performance from Micah Tyler, who has toured with MercyMe in the past.
“Micah’s fantastic,” Millard said. “We tour with people that are dear friends and are close to us, and we’ve toured Micah several times. We don’t really look at whether it’s album sales or who’s hot, it’s like, ‘Who do we want to hang out with?’ Micah will always be one that we just love being around and he just puts on a great show and is such a great performer. His songs are stunning. It felt comfortable — it felt normal — to have him out.”
Tyler released his latest album, New Today, in 2020.
Millard said that fans will also get the chance to see his son, 19-year-old Sam Wesley, open for Micah Tyler.
“He’s the ‘opening’ opening act, and that’s been pretty crazy just to see him fall in love with music, and then the band to say, ‘Hey, why don’t we bring him out and give him a shot?’ He’s super talented, and it’s been something that I thought would never happen, me touring with my son.”