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Fr. Rob Galea talks pandemic and new song “Love You”

J-P Mauro - published on 11/05/21

The pandemic has halted tours, but Fr. Galea is still writing songs at record pace.

Capture every part of my heart
Come in and light up my soul
I want to fall in love again

Like most musical artists, Father Rob Galea was prevented from touring during the world pandemic, but that hasn’t dampened his incredible drive. Rising to the challenges presented by lockdown orders, the prolific priest has recorded and released 26 songs since 2020. Now he’s back with his latest release, “Love You,” a piece about strengthening one’s love in Christ. 

The song is epic in its design, gradually building from spare and simple tones at its start to become a rocking ballad that belongs in a big arena. The tune is marked by an impressive vocal performance from Fr. Rob, who shows off his range through two octaves. By the end of the song there’s so much going on musically that it practically demands a second listen. 

Fr. Rob was kind enough to sit down with Aleteia to discuss the meaning behind “Love You” and what influence the pandemic has had on his music. 

How have you been since the pandemic began? How would you say the state of the world has affected your music, if at all?

The pandemic has taken me off the road from speaking to millions of people — in 2019 I spoke and sang to 1.6 million people — to being inside a studio with three or four cameras. It has affected my music incredibly, where I’ve had time to write, to reflect, and to deepen also my theology.

I think my relationship with Jesus has deepened, has been strengthened and my thirst for him and my realization of my own weakness is reflected in my music. I look forward to writing more music as fruit of the lockdowns and also of the pandemic. Also being in touch with people suffering through this pandemic has deepened my sense of justice, my sense of writing from the heart of pain.

You’ve produced quite a few musical recordings from your own home since the isolation orders began. How does this compare to a live performance? 

One of the things I’ve grown in is singing and worshiping to my audience of ONE. At the end of the day it’s great performing in front of people, but when I’m on stage my greatest audience, the first person I want to sing to is Jesus. The pandemic has enhanced this.

I’ve recorded a lot of worship songs because that’s my time with Jesus before the Blessed Sacrament, before Jesus in prayer. This music has been an overflow of my thirst and desire for Jesus. So I’m leaning more towards worship music in my writing and recording. We’ve recorded and released 25 songs over the last year. 

In the lyrics you say “I want to fall in love again.” Where does this line come from?

It comes from my desire and my recognition that I fall in love with God, but fall out of love with God. I fail. I’m a weak person just like anybody else. Sometimes you realize how far you’ve fallen. 

The book of Revelation says this: “One thing I hold against you and that is that you’ve forgotten your first love.” And I have in many ways forgotten my first love, especially during this pandemic. “Love You” has been about falling in love with Jesus again. It’s not about feeling, it’s about service. It’s about living a pure and holy life. Becoming a person that is totally sold out for Jesus. 

You looked pretty cold in that music video. Where was it filmed and why did you choose an outdoor setting? Was the cold a metaphor for a life without love?

Yes, it was a very cold evening. It was filmed at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo, outdoors. It was not a metaphor for a life without love, but it was a beautiful atmosphere. 

What is your process behind writing songs? Do you pray before you write?

Absolutely, yes. I’m writing songs all the time. I write thousands of songs and release only tens of them. I’m always writing, I have a journal for lyrics and melodies I have I put on notes and put them together. 

Over the years you’ve lent your voice to many styles of music. If you had to pick, which is your favorite genre to play? Which style do you think has the most potential for evangelization?

At the moment I’m at a place of worship. The song “Love You” is where my heart is exactly. This is what I want to sing right now. There are different seasons of my growth. At the moment it’s about worshiping Jesus and being in His presence.

I think there is no style that has potential for evangelization. At the end of the day I think people want to listen to an authentic heart and that’s where my heart is. The greatest evangelization comes when people connect with a sincere heart that is sold out for Jesus. Not a style of music. You can have an incredibly contemporary style of music, but if it’s not authentic, if it’s not real to the person’s relationship with God, it’s just superficial. 

Do you have any tours or performances planned for when live music returns to what it was?

Yes, I have a big tour planned in the United States and Canada, in March. So I’ll be doing that for seven weeks. Three events a day, five days a week, for seven weeks. You can calculate how many events that is, but it’s a lot. And also I’ll be touring Australia and at the end of the year we’re going wider to even include Israel, Jerusalem, and Palestine. We are very blessed.

Tags:
Catholic MusicCOVID-19Interviews
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