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Heather Payne's Sweet Exchange

By Hannah Goodwyn Producer – Formerly a member of Point of Grace, Heather Payne is no stranger to Christian music. Two years after retiring from the female vocal group, Payne has gone solo. With a busy ministry with her pastor husband and four children, Payne didn't think singing again was something she wanted. But, she did have a desire to share hymns with a new generation. Thus, she recorded her debut album, Sweet Exchange.

Recently, spoke with the veteran singer about Sweet Exchange and the inspiration behind some of the hymns featured on her debut. Christian music fans know you from Point of Grace. What should they know about Heather Payne, the solo artist, and this new record?

Heather Payne: It has been an incredible journey to the place where I'm doing this solo album, and I never pictured me doing it. I didn't know in what capacity I would sing again. This record is very personal to me because I love hymns. I grew up singing hymns.

In my first solo project, I wanted to come up with a way churches can take these songs and sing them, and it would please both the older person who loves the hymns and the newer person who loves the worship songs. And so we incorporated hymns and wrote some worship choruses to go along with the hymns. It's all very updated. My heart is in this record, that it would become something churches could do, that the body of Christ would be edified and lifted up and brought to the places gratefulness for what God has done for them in Christ.

The recording of it was different for me also because I have four kids and I am a stay-at-home mom. Tuesday is the only day of the week I have all four of my kids somewhere. I took Tuesdays, and I went over to my producer's house and recorded. It was just an incredible process and I can't say that I've ever had so much fun singing. I never knew I could do it by myself because I always had three other people to do it with. So I feel like I accomplished something, just putting it out there and doing what I love. Hopefully that can encourage people that maybe there's something in their lives they feel like they might not be able to do, but they sure do want to. If they just put themselves out there, who knows what the Lord can do. What was the inspiration behind the title track, “Sweet Exchange”?

Payne: My husband was doing a sermon series on Romans. He was explaining a 2nd century letter explaining imputed righteousness. And the way the writer explained it was this… “Oh sweet exchange. Oh unsearchable operation. Oh benefit surpassing all expectations, that the wickedness of many should be hidden in a single righteous one and that the righteousness of one should justify many transgressors.”

When I heard that, something clicked. And I didn't know what imputed righteousness was. The way it was communicated was so glorious. This person that was writing this letter was so excited to explain the exchange that happens when we receive with robes of righteousness, the righteousness of Christ and the transfer of our sins over to Him so that when God looks at us, He looks at us and sees His perfect son, Jesus. What an incredible, glorious thought that is! Is there another hymn on Sweet Exchange that's special to you?

Payne: There is one from the hymn “My Jesus I Love Thee”; and we changed it around a little bit to “My Jesus I Love You.” We brought it into more modern language, and it's a very personal. It's written in a minor key. It's a darker feel to that song. It's a very intimate moment, and I'm hoping people can get that, feel that intimacy and want to sing it to the Lord themselves. When I was recording it, I felt that connection, just me proclaiming my love for Him and knowing that's what the writer had in mind, just singing his love and thanking him for how much He loved us.

“Rock of Ages” is another one that I love. Also, we put in there “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand”. I was just explaining to my kids the other day, that our Lord is a rock. Everything else around us can fall away, but as long as we are standing on the solid rock, we're going to be OK.

Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn serves as the Family and Entertainment producer for For more articles, visit Hannah's bio page.

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