“God's given me the courage to not let my past control my future," says Lincoln Brewster, "He's given me the chance to be the father I never had and the husband I never saw modeled.”

What is “real life”? Is it the pain, struggles and moments where hope is in short supply? Is it faith in a God we can't see and hope for a future we don't yet know?  For worship leader Lincoln Brewster, “real life” has meant all of that and more. Born and raised in a small town in Alaska, Brewster's childhood in a broken home was perhaps a little too “real.”  It was an environment darkened by his stepfather's violent behavior and alcohol addiction. An environment from which Brewster and his mother sought solace in music. “My mom loved music and played with local bands,” he says. “She was the one who inspired my love for singing and playing instruments.”

As Lincoln bonded with his mom through music, he began mastering a variety of instruments -including a stunning prowess on the guitar. It was this incredible talent that caught the attention of mainstream labels, landed him a “gig” playing with rocker Steve Perry (formerly of the band Journey) and earned him a mainstream record contract by age 19.

But God had other plans. After attending church with his high school sweetheart and now wife, Laura, Lincoln yielded his life to Christ. Filled with a new passion and purpose, he walked away from the promise of rock stardom to take a job at his local church. This new trajectory eventually led him to a recording partnership with praise and worship label Integrity Music.

Since then, Lincoln has performed and crafted songs that have helped shape the sound of today's modern worship while also climbing Christian radio charts. These include global anthems such as “Today Is The Day,” “God You Reign,” “Everlasting God,” “Salvation Is Here” and “The Power of Your Name.”

After six albums and multiple hit songs, Lincoln took some time to go back to his roots, “Last summer, I took my family to where I grew up in Alaska,” he says. “I watched my sons skip rocks, fish, and run on the beach just like I did when I was their age. It brought back a lot of nostalgia. A lot of good feelings, and a lot of bad.”

Upon returning home, Lincoln discovered his songwriting was taking a decidedly inward approach.  “When we began writing for this new project, a lot of life transparency was coming through the songs,” he admits. “Maybe more so than in the past.”

This personal approach to songwriting has yielded Real Life, a dynamic worship collection that features Lincoln's guitar expertise set against a backdrop of soaring songs of faith. Featuring co-writes with Jason Ingram, Hillsong Music's Mia Fieldes and Dove Award winning writer Paul Baloche, it's a project that examines and celebrates life through the perspective of someone who has truly lived.

“Made For More,” a heartfelt declaration co-written with Fieldes, would become the catalyst for Real Life.  “I started playing something on the guitar,” Lincoln says, “And I sang the line, 'Don't care about money, don't care about fame.' Mia loved it, and we knocked the song out in an hour. And when I was done writing, I thought, 'This is the most honest song I've ever written.'”

This transparency would set the tone for what was to come. But it was another track that would prove to be his most vulnerable to date. And it began with a challenge from his wife.  “We had all ten songs chosen for the record,” Lincoln remembers. “And my wife said, 'I still think you have one more in you.'”

That insight resulted in two tracks, one of which would become the title cut, a song that chronicles Brewster's own path from childhood, to parenthood, to his future in eternity.  “Having played 'Real Life' for a number of people, it seems like so many could relate to it in their own way,” Lincoln says. “Everybody has a past, everybody has a present, and everybody wonders about their future.”

Real life continued to be a theme in Lincoln's songwriting. Project opener “Best Days” offers encouragement to those who are mired in the past.  “My pastor says, 'Can you imagine what it would be like if people truly lived like their best days are ahead of them and not behind them?'” Lincoln recalls. “I believe in this song and I want people to understand that their best days truly are ahead of them.”

Which is a nice segue into his next project...

In July 2014, Lincoln released his album Oxygen which features the song "Made New." According to Lincoln "'Made New' is really, at the end of the day, kind of this encouragement anthem. The chorus revolves around getting people to see themselves the way God sees them - not the way we see ourselves so often." He continues, "We can often have a very skewed view of our lives. When we get a glimpse of how God sees us and who we really are in Him - it's awesome."

Lincoln's own life continues to be full. He serves at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, California as the worship arts pastor. And his family-wife Laura and sons Levi and Liam-remain his priority through it all.

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