Most Christians recognize David Crowder because of his distinct voice and beard; however, the Grammy-nominated artist considers himself “more of an evangelist than a singer.”
“When I moved to Atlanta in 2012, most of my friends that I was hanging with had no idea I even did music, much less just knew I was that Christian dude,” Crowder said. “One of my favorite moments was there were a bunch of people that lived in our same apartment complex. They’re like, ‘Do you ever play around here?’ I’m like, ‘Yea, actually I’ll be here in January.’ They’re like, ‘Where at?’ I’m like, ‘I’m at the Georgia Dome.’ I’ve got like 20 people who have hardly stepped into a church going to a Passion Conference saying, ‘What in the world is happening? What is this?’ My favorite people are folks who aren’t in that scene.”
Crowder recalls a Scottish man who moved to Atlanta and started his own barbershop.
“As soon as I met him it’s not five minutes and we’re talking about Jesus, and he’s got all these issues and comes from that whole idea of ‘How can anyone be so dumb as to believe in a fairytale like this?’” Crowder added. “Now he’s in an orthodox church, goes all the time, and I got to baptize him in a buddy’s pool.”
While offstage Crowder hangs out with those far from God, he plays worship music in front of thousands at churches, conferences and events across the country.
He is the headliner for Winter Jam 2020, which will make a stop at Southeast Christian Church’s Blankenbaker Campus Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m.
“We’re excited to host Winter Jam for the first time,” said Southeast Momentum Pastor Cary Meyer. “Worship is a big part of Southeast, and we believe that we connect through both expressive worship and sacrificial generosity. Winter Jam helps us do just that by bringing in amazing artists and guest speakers while also allowing us to give a portion of the proceeds to a local ministry partner.”
This year’s lineup includes speaker Louie Giglio and artists Andy Mineo, Building 429 and NewSong among others.
Through the years
Crowder was born and raised in Texarkana, Texas, the son of an insurance salesman and a social worker. His father would read a Bible story after dinner each night.
As a toddler, Crowder liked to bang on the family piano, and his mom signed him up for piano lessons shortly thereafter.
Crowder’s childhood shaped his future career.
“I grew up in a Southern Baptist church. Probably when I was around 7 or 8, my parents got into Holy Ghost stuff,” Crowder said. “We would be with hymnals, organs and choir music on Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church and then pop over to some Pentecostal or Assemblies of God place on Wednesday night. My brother and I loved it because it was way more fun. You’d bring your tambourine, run around, it was like play time. It has been very helpful being exposed to so much of the diversity of the church and having a genuine, deep love for a lot of our differences.”
Crowder’s sound as a musician is as unique as his upbringing. That sound began when he was a student at Baylor University.
“At Baylor, the church I wound up being a part of was a collection of folks on the margin, not in the bubble, and had rejected church in a sense,” Crowder said. “It was like a collection of refugees and a place to drop the baggage off. So that’s one of the reasons I started writing because none of us wanted to sing the songs that we had sung at camp together because they didn’t feel authentic.”
Crowder formed The David Crowder Band his junior year with a few of his church buddies, and they took off from there, traveling to summer camps and college retreats.
With numerous Dove Awards and hit songs, the band parted ways after 16 years. Crowder became a solo artist in 2012 and has since released the albums “Neon Steeple” and “I Know a Ghost.”
Some of his songs are “How He Loves,” “Come As You Are” and “All My Hope.”
Fear the beard
The man behind the music is just as recognized for his beard.
The last time Crowder was clean shaven was when he made a New Year’s resolution he immediately regretted. He jokingly said not shaving allows him to have more time for creative pursuits.
“My wife, Toni, and I were going on a vacation to Mexico this past year, and we were going through customs, and the custom agent goes, ‘Wow, that’s a very large beard. How long have you been growing that?’” Crowder said. “I do the math, ‘Oh, 19 years.’ He says, ‘I’m 19. Your beard is as old as me.’ It put it in total perspective, ‘OK. I am an old man.’”