The Grammy Award winning song arose from the artist's time running a prison ministry.
Zach Williams has had a long road to success and it shows in his music and lyrics. At one time, this Christian artist lived the life of a stereotypical secular rocker, but in a sudden burst of religious inspiration he quit his band, Zach Williams & The Reformation, and devoted his craft to a higher calling.
Several years later, Williams was struggling to make it as a Christian artist and he turned inward again, reflecting on his life’s work and the many failures he saw along the way. The bumps in the road were wearing on him when the song “Chain Breaker” arose in his mind.
Lyrically, the tune praises the goodness of Christ, while imploring the listener to rely on His mercy through turbulent times. Musically it is a trendy folk masterpiece that fills one with hope through a brilliant chord progression and use of organ. William’s desperate vocal is the icing on the cake, as the artist displays an incredible range.
In an explanation video, featured below, Williams talks of the process behind writing “Chain Breaker.” He said:
“I’d been doing prison ministry at my church and I thought, ‘What a cool title. What an awesome thing to say about what God is doing in my life and what he can do in other people’s lives.’ I remember, immediately after writing it and demoing it, that it was special and there was going to be something about this song that could really speak to people. “Really, the song related to me on so many levels … That was just such a part of my life for years. Just dead-end road after dead-end road and just hearing a voice in my head that said ‘You’re not going to make it’ and ‘Everything you do, you get to the end of it and fail at it’ … I’ve conquered it, but its been through Jesus and not my own doing.”
Williams was right to identify something special in “Chain Breaker,” as it went on to reach #1 on the Christian Billboard chart, and the full album (of the same name) won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. In an interview with the Gospel Music Association, he spoke humbly of his Grammy win:
“I’m blown away and completely shocked. I’m a huge fan of everyone in the category and honored to win. But without God none of this would be possible.”