Behind the Artwork: VICTORY - Bethel Music
Well, here we are! Finally the day for VICTORY has arrived!
To begin, you’ve gotta know that this album’s creative process has been quite a journey. There are so many different elements to this album cover - not to mention the crazy year that our team (and the greater Bethel Church family) have been part of in 2018.
For the first time in our Bethel Music visual history, the album cover is a literal representation of the stories of the songs featured. So, if you haven’t streamed or pre-ordered this album yet — do yourself a favor and stream it while you read this story — it’ll really help set the tone and bring a colorful and different aural expression to the artwork.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with what 2018 looked like for Bethel Music, I’ll give you an overview. In Christmas 2017, Joel and Janie Taylor (our CEO)’s son Jaxon was airlifted to UC Davis Hospital for emergency care as he’d contracted E-coli and was dying. What ensued thereafter was a rallying of our community like never before. A nightly prayer vigil was held at our Bethel Church Prayer Chapel as friends and family gathered to pray, and declare victory over Jaxon’s life.
During that time of intercession, a spontaneous song of victory and declaration was birthed. Written by Jonathan and Melissa Helser, “Raise A Hallelujah” became the melodic weapon we sang to defeat the enemy in the spiritual realm. After weeks of prayer, worship and expert medical care, Jaxon made a miraculous and full recovery!
Fast forward to July 2018 when Redding was devastated by the Carr Fire. The almost unstoppable inferno raged through neighborhoods and national parks, destroying more than 1,500 homes and claiming 6 lives.
Many people within our Bethel Music family were affected, and again we found ourselves in the midst of tragedy and sorrow. Not without a melodic weapon, another songwriter from the Helser’s community Molly Skaggs, penned an anthem of victory and declaration. “Ain’t No Grave” found it’s way into our hearts, bringing life and hope amidst devastation.
Amidst all this, our team is preparing, writing, recording, and producing our next live worship record (the first album of new songs in 2 years). As the year unfolded, it became clear that this project was to be called “VICTORY”. This album would be a stake in the ground, a declaration of life and joy, no matter the season, and serve as a tangible reminder to the body of Christ that Jesus is alive, He’s still healing; calling His Bride to be free of fear and shame; fully empowered, bringing the reality of Heaven to earth.
How’s that for an overview!?
To be honest, when our team began to dream of what this album artwork could look like, it was a more daunting task than usual — how could we ever sum-up or visually honor the craziest season of our lives so far?
If my creative journey has taught me anything thus far, it’s that in those overwhelming moments that God shows Himself glorious and faithful. He takes our most humble efforts and turns them into something beautiful, because that’s His nature; it’s truly what He lives for and loves to do.
That being said, the album cover that you see today has seen many different titles and has was originally attached to a different album before finally finding it’s home with VICTORY.
Once the theme and stories were set in stone, I began searching for ways we could visually communicate this theme and tell these stories. I was reminded of an old album cover concept I’d made as a pitch for Cory Asbury’s “Reckless Love” back in mid 2017.
I’d always wanted to have an album cover that directly (typographically) tells the story of an album and VICTORY finally felt like the chance to do that, and this old cover concept being the perfect way to visually communicate these stories.
In the process of creating concepts and visual narratives, the album title changed a couple of times — VICTORY was once called “Promises”, and “Stand”. While both those titles are great in their own right, they didn’t have the power and definitive nature that “VICTORY” does.
The album cover concept is very simple and straight-forward — it’s our take on the “ideal newspaper”; one that plainly tells the stories of God and His goodness with every issue. The power and beauty of this artwork comes from the real stories, testimonies, scriptures, lyrics and photos we’ve used. These stories are powerful and deserve to take center stage — after all, testimony (the re-telling of God-stories) is one of the most powerful prophetic acts we can do.
Every newspaper article is either a testimony from someone in our community telling of God’s faithful goodness, or a scripture re-enforcing those timeless truths of provision and victory.
While the album cover came together very quickly, it’s story and theme did not. I believe that’s the way the Lord intended it to be — He led us on a long journey, where our team learned hard lessons and walked through both joy and sorrow, so that out of a place of dependence on Him for both life and creativity, this project could perfectly “fall into place” with no ounce of striving.
I’ve included the hi-res album cover (and bonus poster) here for you to download, zoom-in, read and meditate on. It’s our prayer as a team that you’d be blessed not just by the incredible songs on this record, but also by the art.
May this album serve as a tangible reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness.
As you listen to these songs and see the album artwork, I pray you’d be encouraged and your spirit strengthened as these testimonies and scriptures release joyful faith over you — faith to believe again for the impossible, and hope that no matter what you’re facing God is a good, faithful, miracle-working God!