A Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter who once gained fame in the mainstream realm says he has rediscovered joy and found his purpose in life within the Christian music industry.
Andrew Ripp is best known within the CCM community as the voice behind hits such as Jericho and Fill My Cup, but in the 2000s he was writing music for mainstream artists. He helped write five songs for pop singer Ryan Cabrera’s 2005 album You Stand Watching, which reached the Top 25 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart. He had a hand in the song Shine On, which was a tribute to Cabrera’s romance with Jessica Simpson and charted in Billboard’s Hot 100.
“I was running for a long time. I didn't really know what Christianity meant or looked like. So I just wrote songs to gain my work. I needed work, I needed to be loved,” Ripp told Christian Headlines.
Ripp licensed his own music, and even got airplay on Showtime’s House of Lies and The CW’s The Vampire Diaries. He also released his own albums and toured the United States and Europe.
Around 2017, he began having nervous breakdowns on the road.
“The panic, it was overwhelming for me,” he said. Ripp decided, “I can't do this any more the way I'm doing.”
Ripp quit music altogether.
“I sold my guitar,” Ripp said.
He even had a plan for his non-music career: He and his wife would build houses. (She's a designer.)
God, though, had other plans for Ripp.
“And then over a two-year period of time, I began to listen to music in a way that I wasn't able to listen to it when I was trying to write hit songs,” Ripp told Christian Headlines. “I was listening to it like these guys [Christian musicians] do. I was like, ‘Oh, wait, this is just powerful stuff. These [songs] are like weapons.’
"I realized that the gift that God had given me was not for me. It was for His use,” Ripp added. “It's been a beautiful new season since the Christian music world has opened its arms to me.”
Both Jericho and Fill My Cup reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Airplay Chart. This year, Rachael Lampa’s song Somebody To You, featuring Ripp, reached the Top 20. Ripp also co-wrote Zach Williams’ song Rescue Story, which received a Grammy nomination.
“We have a truth that never changes that we sing about,” Ripp said, referencing his desire to write and sing Christian music. “So we need to keep singing about it. But we need to do it in an authentic way. … I try my best to get alone with the Lord and really get myself out of the way, get the business mind out of the way, get the carnal mind out of the way and let the Spirit lead. And as songs happen, I receive them rather than trying to write them. And those are the ones that usually God will breathe on.”
Photo courtesy: ©Jason Davis for K-LOVE Fan Awards, used with permission.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.