Sunday, January 13, 2008

Interview with Greg Hansen

Several years ago, I attended my very first Faith Centered Music Association (FCMA) workshop. I was so excited to attend and be taught by some of the best in the LDS music business. As I got out of my car in the BYU parking lot, I noticed a really tall guy (at least in comparison to my short self) get out of his car and head in the same direction as me, walking just a few feet ahead.

While attending the workshop that day I soon discovered that the really tall guy was none other than Greg Hansen—the inspiration behind the Sounds of Zion record label and one of the most successful producers of LDS music ever.

A lot of the detail stuff about Greg I’ve learned over the years and not all at that workshop, but I really learned the most about him just this past week when I was privileged to interview him over the phone.

Like many of you, I am familiar with the wonderful albums Greg has produced with Sounds of Zion in conjunction with amazing artists, such as Jessie Clark Funk, Tammy Simister Robinson, Barry Hansen, etc. But I’m ashamed to say that I just barely learned this past week that Greg is just as successful outside of the LDS market, having worked with such greats as David Foster (also known as the man who gave us Josh Grobin and Michael Buble—see, Sony Music (Nashville), EMI Records (New York), Bob Hope, and the list just goes on and on. Check out his website ( so you can see his long history of amazing musical achievements for yourself.

During our conversation I not only found Greg to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever talked to in the music industry, but…Greg Rocks! Well okay, maybe not incredibly hard since he’s a jazz musician at heart, but he started his label, Eagle Springs Records, for those music artists who don’t quite fit the mold of “LDS inspirational,” which is what is mainly produced through Sounds of Zion. It was this wonderful discovery about Greg that really got me excited, because like me, he has a vision of a day when LDS music won’t just be known for what you can hear on Sunday radio programming, but will include uplifting music of all genres.

Greg also has a mentoring program he runs through his website for those who are trying to get in the business, either as songwriters or artists or both. To get the instructions on how to submit your music, go to Greg’s “Latest News” section, scroll down to the “Mentoring” section, and then click “for more information.”

Check out Greg’s web music store,, where you can download songs from independent and signed artists whose songs reflect a positive message no matter the genre or their religion. And for all you independent musicians and writers out there, you can also sell your songs one song at a time through this great new site as long as they fit Greg’s high-quality production standards, which are the highest in the industry. And for those of you who want to buy or sell your own original LDS sheet music, check out

Okay, I’ve made this blog a bit longer than normal, but what can you do when your subject matter is as influential to the LDS music industry as they come and offers so many new exciting ways to break into the industry…give him your attention!
So with that said, I’m posting a little excerpt from Greg Hansen himself about Sara Bethany Ham, one of the newest artists he is helping develop through his new Eagle Springs Records label, so…read up!

Sara Bethany Ham
A New Voice with a Firm Mission
by Greg Hansen

A New Voice
Sara Bethany Ham may be one of the first truly new artists to hit the LDS market in years. Youth and parents who've heard her debut album, Wanna Be Brave, seem to bubble up adjectives like a fountain: "youthful, fresh, vibrant, sincere, upbeat, and wholesome—just what we've been wishing for.”

Sara, now 20, has been singing for years, and has always wanted to perform music that would uplift and inspire people. She was featured as a soloist on Jenny Phillip's theme albums, and toured with Jenny's group. Sara's warm, sincere, and youthful voice is slightly reminiscent of Christian artist Nicole Nordemann. Memorable tracks include the title cut “Wanna Be Brave,” “Bring On the Rain,” “Awake,” and several new never-before recorded songs by noted LDS songwriters. It breaks the mold on what has gone before, yet is never inappropriate.

A Firm Mission
“I wanted young people to know they can still be cool without lowering their standards,” says Sara, who grew up in California. Her album is positive, motivating, and filled with powerful messages of faith, testimony, and courage, with a sound both youth and parents will love. Look for it wherever LDS music is sold, online or in stores, or visit her website,

A New Label
Wanna Be Brave represents the first release of the new positive music label, Eagle Springs Records, owned by multi-award winning producer Greg Hansen and Pearl Award-winning engineer Steve Lerud. Eagle Springs produces music that is positive, refreshing, and multigenre—not necessarily tied to any single religion or sound. It is the next step of progression in music that appeals to a broad values-based audience. The label's mission is to “create music that is excellent, edifying, and entertaining, leaving the listener better for having heard it.”

Copyright Julie Keyser, December 2007