17 December 2017

Claire Hamilton

For CLAIRE HAMILTON worship is about so much more than the music. Although her self-written melodies are a pleasure to listen to, you cannot help but be impacted by the challenge in her lyrics as she calls on the church to take on the mission presented in Isaiah 61. We had the pleasure of chatting with Claire after the release of her debut album ‘Introducing Claire Hamilton’ and were inspired by her evident passion for her music and her God.

Claire, these are exciting times for you! How does it feel to have your debut album, ‘Introducing Claire Hamilton’ released?

It feels bizarrely normal at times, yet also challenging and exciting. Of course, I am frequently reminded of the responsibility on my shoulders as well – it’s such a mix of feelings to be truthful. However, I think the word that best sums it up is ‘privilege’…I really feel that it is such a privilege to have my own songs recorded and for people to find them useful, inspiring and a challenge in their walk with God.

What is at the heart of your album?

Loving mercy, acting justly and walking humbly before God. I trust that the songs inspire and compel us to action as we consider the mission He has set before us (Isaiah 61). We begin that walk in view of the mercy He has graciously given us. My hope is that people will find a greater sense of intimacy with God as their friend, saviour, healer and comforter and yet that they would also experience an overflowing and overrunning of His mercy, grace and power for those in need.

Can you tell our readers something of your songwriting process?

Songwriting isn’t a formula…I wish it was! Every song I write is inspired in a new way. I’ve given some of the songs from the ‘Introducing Claire Hamilton’ CD the title ‘Overflow Songs’. ‘Breathe on Me’, ‘Come Satisfy’ and ‘In View of Your Mercy’ (largely but not entirely) were songs that came as a natural overflow in a time of personal worship. ‘In View of Your Mercy’ was a spontaneous song that came out of a time of worship in my local church and was later co-written with Ben Cantelon. These songs came from times in my life when I was crying out to God for something or on behalf of someone.

Songwriting has many faces: it can be a painful thing, it can be a release from pain, it can be frustrating or it can be the most beautiful flow of worship. I experience all of these things. It’s just like a micro version of how we experience life or anything that we give ourselves to. What I know is that God seems to want me to do this and my response (for the most part) is obedience.

It’s lovely to hear you speak so passionately about your role as worship leader, but could you tell us how you have got to where you are today?

In short, in fact, using bullet points:

  • I became a Christian when I was 13 when I experienced something amazing during worship times at a youth camp. I began a relationship with God while singing ‘There is a Redeemer’.
  • I took piano and singing lessons from a young age so much of the training had already begun without me understanding its purpose.
  • I started leading worship at the age of 18, encouraged by some faithful friends and inspired by my worship pastor at the time (Kathryn Scott). In fact, seeing a woman lead worship gave permission for me to do likewise.
  • I moved to Belfast to begin my teaching career and started singing, playing and co-writing with Johnny Parks (‘Rescuer’, ‘All is Well’ and ‘Arise’) and recorded his latest album in 2008. I took a career break from teaching for one year to pursue my own songwriting and to travel more to lead worship. I then returned to teaching and signed with Kingsway at the same time as getting involved with Rend Collective Experiment.
  • That’s my journey: I got to where I am today because I am privileged to have faithful, loyal and honest people in my life (especially my husband David and my family). They really are the anchors in my life…not simply to keep me grounded but to call me back to community and serving in my local church and as a teacher. I truly believe that God is full of favour for his children. The prayers, words of knowledge and prophecy that have been given over the years have kept me moving forward. There have been many times when I have “wavered through unbelief” but with good people around me and a commitment to my local church, I have been “persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.” (Romans 4:20-21) So, I continue. It has only begun.

What causes you to ‘Rejoice’?

I rejoice when I see people encouraged. I am so encouraged when I see people realise they CAN do something. I suppose that’s why I am a teacher. I rejoice when I watch those who grieve experience the comfort of God through the Holy Spirit. I rejoice when my cakes and desserts turn out really well!

What is coming up next for you?

I am going to be out and about leading worship a little bit more. I lead worship in my church a few times each month and I will hopefully be initiating some worship leader training come January. I am currently writing songs so I hope that within the next year I will have a great collection of songs to record and help strengthen and bless the church. Meanwhile, I am preparing to take a team of people away to Cambodia in June/July 2012 so I will be fundraising and teambuilding for that.

I had heard that you are leading a team for ‘Habitat for Humanity’. Tell us a little more about this venture and your connection with this charity.

I’m excited that in the last few months ‘Habitat for Humanity’ have asked to use my song ‘Lend me your Heart’ for some of their promotional DVDs. I am so encouraged by this. At the same time I feel really passionate about facilitating a team experience for older teenagers and so my husband and I will be taking 13 people to Cambodia to build houses with HFHNI in June/July 2012. I hope that God will continue to expand our capacity for those who are in need. I hope that as people listen to and worship with that song they will also feel compelled to action. Isaiah 61 really is our mission statement.

Where can people get a copy of your CD or find out more about you?

My CD is available in Christian Bookshops (and if it isn’t they can order it in!). It’s available online www.kingswayshop.com/shop

I’m on facebook of course and you can interact with me there and join some discussions based around worship topics at my music page.

You can download the CD from itunes or other music sites.