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Mark Schultz 

Mark Schultz tells stories about people or events that he has experienced and have in turn inspired and moved him. While his genre is definitely different, Mark Schultz’ thoughtful and sometimes whimsical lyrics remind one of storytellers from the past such as Roger Whitaker or a souped-up version of modern day musician extraordinaire Michael Card.
His song “Closer to You” is a composite of two ladies that he knew who eventually died of cancer. One was a personal friend, the other a woman whose family contacted Schultz and said their daughter’s dream was to just spend an afternoon with him, which he made possible.  He says he was inspired by the way the women lived their lives and how they believed something better was awaiting them. Within one year he lost four people he knew to cancer. The others were a boy from a youth group and a 28-year-old woman who worked on promotions for him. At her funeral, he said of her and the others he knew, “I don’t think God looks at the length of life to decide how valuable you are going to be to Him. I think He looks at the power of life that you live while you are here. This girl who passed away a few months ago had a way of dancing with Christ.”
Schultz says one thing that inspires him to share his stories is the same thing he finds encouraging when he participates in Bible studies. “My favorite thing in a Bible study occurs when people share their testimonies, because you see the faithfulness that God has shown in their lives and you think if He can do it in their lives maybe he can do it in my life.  I think when people hear these stories it gives them comfort and inspires them to think God wants to be in my life as much as the people in these stories we are hearing.” 
A song that personally impacted him is “Remember Me.”  He had embarked on 12-day, 3,000-mile trip with the youth director from his church to visit graduates from their youth program.  At three o’clock in the morning he began to pen the words to “Remember Me,”  a song he later recorded as a duet with Ginny Owens. At one point, he thought to himself that nobody was ever going to hear the song and he questioned why he was even writing it. Fast forward three years later to Mark Schultz playing before an audience in a football stadium in North Carolina.  “I started into the chorus and the people in the stands were singing it louder than I was. Tears started running down my face and I couldn’t sing anymore. I just got choked up.”
The song “I’m Running Just As Fast As I Can” takes a look at the lighter side of life but again is drawn from the personal experiences of Schultz and others:

I am driving
I am late for work 
Spilling coffee down my whitest shirt
While I'm flossing and I'm changing lanes
Oh Yeah
Now I'm driving
Through the parking lot
Doing eighty, hey what the heck why not
Watch it lady, Cuz you’re in my spot
Once again, It's early to work 
And here's a surprise, I got a
McMuffin for just 99 cents today
I think they ran a special 
Schultz says often before concerts someone comes up to him and calls him Ross, alluding to the verse in the song that says, 
Now I'm running
Straight into my boss
And he's angry, Oh and he calls me Ross
Which is funny, cause that ain’t my name 
The song which he created at the urging of producer Monroe Jones is a song he refers to as whimsical, yet serious. He says it is a reflection of his own life and pokes fun at the busyness of life.  As you listen to the song it sounds a lot like something Chris Rice would have written which is not surprising since they both have worked with Jones.
”Monroe Jones is like a mad scientist or a painter who paints on the wall. What is really interesting about him is you never see what is happening while it’s going down. He will just throw a bunch of colors down and use his hands to start smearing the colors all over the place. When you are working on a song you say this makes no sense to me whatsoever. Towards the end of the project he puts on two more brush strokes and you say to yourself this makes sense. He’s unbelievable that way.”
”Letters from War” is a song that derived its inspiration from the entries in his grandmother’s World War II diary when she had three sons serving in the military. The song resulted in a general at the Pentagon invited Schultz to film a DVD in the courtyard of the Pentagon to encourage the troops.
Mark Schultz tries to capture the same intimacy on stage that can be found in his lyrics. He refers to himself as a relational performer.  
He says, “It’s just like visiting with a friend and if something isn’t registering with them you just move on and talk about something else or you find something that you have in common.”
Something else that Schultz does that breaks the mold of most performers is he keeps the house lights up in order to see the faces of the people in the audience. He says it allows him to get a better read on whether or not there is a connection between audience and performer. If necessary, he adjusts his show accordingly.
This superbly talented musician and songwriter says that it is when he is writing songs that he feels most connected to God. He compares it to taking his hands off the wheel and letting God lead.
Schultz says the fact he writes his own material allows him to live out his songs on stage. He can recall the circumstances or events that led to a particular song being created.
Schultz, a modern-day story teller, says, “I’m moved by real life events that I feel should be brought, exposed and turned into art.”
By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved
This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague.
Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.


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