Listen: Zach Williams talks to Duncan Robinson about his spiritual journey, and the Grammy-nominated song ‘Chain Breaker’.
The life of a rock star is often marked by mischief, and a multitude of vices. Zach Williams, famous for his song Chain Breaker, was no exception.
Now a Christian singer-songwriter, he was once a typical rocker, recording and touring for three years with his band Zach Williams & The Reformation—living life on a cliff-edge.
“I was a rock-star, and with that attitude and that lifestyle came a lot of bad things,” he says. “I was miserable, everybody about me could see it, I was so lost.”
He’d grown up in a Christian home, but Zach ended up living life far from God. Until, that is, a song on the radio began his journey of redemption.
“God showed me a glimpse of what my life could be like, if I would follow him.”
On the brink of a failed marriage, Zach was in a tour bus somewhere between gigs in 2012, when he heard Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave on the radio. In that moment, he felt the presence of God and his life radically altered. Zach cancelled the next show, in fact cancelled the whole tour, quit the band and headed back home to be with his family.
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“God showed me a glimpse of what my life could be like, if I would turn from my sin and follow him,” he said in a chat with Hope 103.2.
After that point, Zach’s priorities shifted. Having left the band behind, the singer made the challenging decision to make God and family his priority. He and his family found a church and together they sought to restore their marriage and family. The story almost sounds clichéd, but this was the predictable power of Jesus at work: transformation from an encounter with the good news.
Watch: The music video for Chain Breaker.
Now he Sings for a Different Cause
Zach Williams’ encounter with God came through a song by Big Daddy Weave and now, his hope is that his debut single Chain Breaker will create the same impact in other people’s lives.
The song, released in late 2016, was written with the former Aussie Hillsong-girl Mia Fieldes, and Jonathan Smith of Luna Halo, and it reached number 1 in the US Christian music charts. This year it was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song category. Its lyrics speak of overcoming life’s challenges:
If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost, He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you’ve got chains, He’s a chain breaker
“Being nominated for a grammy was such a surreal moment,” Zach told Hope 103.2. “I remember sitting in LA and my wife saying, ’Can you believe that we are here because of a song you wrote?’”
Zach said he felt humbled to be nominated and deferred the honour to God, acknowledging that he wouldn’t be in that moment if it wasn’t for all the work God had done in his life.
While most people still might not know Zach Williams, he said he has been inundated with fans who have been inspired and challenged by Chain Breaker.
Find out more about Zach Williams on his website, zachwilliamsmusic.com.