The title of Tauren Wells’ new single could be “Fake It”, but the Christian star is a real dynamo on the track. With the help of star performer Aaron Cole, who co-wrote the song with Wells, Chris
Stevens and Emily Weisband (Stevens co-produced with Tedd T.), Wells effortlessly navigates
funky piece like someone having the time of their life. Amid the danceable grooves, the track offers a
profound message about the dangers of faking faith.

Wells called the American songwriter from a stop on the Winter Jam tour in Columbia, South Carolina the day ‘Fake It’ broke to talk about the birth of the song, why true faith matters more that image and how he tries to push the boundaries of his genre.

American Songwriter: Tell me how this song came to life in terms of writing.

Well of Tauren: This one was a song where we were just chilling in the studio talking about life. It was one of the first writings back from the pandemic, so we were just processing all of that. Chris Stevens, who is an amazing producer, said, “I have a fun track.” He played it. There was so much joy in the room immediately, just because of the mood, the excitement. So it turned into a really fun day when we really needed it. It’s my hope with the song, that when people hear it, they feel that sense of celebration. It was fun to write.

AS: Were there any specific influences that you had in mind when recording the music?

TW: We are not aiming for anything specific. Of course, there’s an MJ side, which I still love, one of the big influences in my musical journey, that’s for sure. But it was just about putting something on
together it was really fun and lighthearted, but there were always meaningful lyrics.

AS: How did you get Aaron Cole involved?

TW: I knew I wanted some kind of dope deck on it, so I hit Aaron. He’s such a talented writer/singer/rapper/performer. I hit him and I said, “Hey, can you just jump off that bridge?” And he sent it back within the hour and it was on fire. Rather easy.

AS: There are so many great one-liners scattered throughout the lyrics. Is it easier to do when you have a good track as a base?

TW: Absoutely. The song was so fun. Sometimes you can get so heady and try to make
something more than he naturally wants to be, for some reason. If you’re trying to prove you have writing chops, or if you’re trying to tick those invisible boxes. It was just fun. We weren’t even necessarily thinking about the outlet if it was going to be pop radio, Christian radio, what kind of thing it was supposed to be. While writing, you often wonder what it’s supposed to be, who’s supposed to hear it. Because of the mindset we were in, it was just let’s have fun today and write something we love. And the lyrics came out very easily, even the concept is real, no need to pretend. It was easy. The verses were easy. I remember saying during the session, “It shouldn’t be that easy.” (laughs) But that was because we weren’t trying to hit a target. We were just having fun. And these are some of the most special scriptures.

AS: What appealed to you about the message of people who don’t think of their faith in terms of appearances?

TW: You do not have to. When we give people appearances, you realize they don’t even really pay attention. We’ll live our whole lives trying to please people who don’t really care about us. On the faith side, there is so much that goes into the packaging of our beliefs, traditions and religion, and that doesn’t impress God either. There were people who were very impressive in the Bible. They were called Pharisees. And you just found out that they were the furthest from Jesus. They didn’t even recognize Jesus when he looked them in the face. For me, it’s a fun song, but it’s also a challenge to remember that I am more than the image I project. That I’m more than what society says I am, what a track record says I am, whatever awards say I am. I am something so much more than that, something deeper than that. And that’s the thing that really matters. This is what counts in relationships with people. The real ones don’t engage with us based on what we’ve done. They engage with us based on who we really are. And the same must be said
about Jesus. He didn’t die for the image we project. He died for who we really are. So no question of impressing him. We are already loved.

AS: Have you ever had the chance to try “Fake It” live?

TW: We’re doing it tonight. I tested it on my fall headlining tour. We did it for about 10 shows, and I liked it. But we were working on it simultaneously in the studio. As the son got better and better, I became more and more unhappy with how live it was. So we pulled it, because I was like, “I’m not even playing the song to its full potential anymore.” Tonight we’ll try to hit it full force and see what people think.

AS: Is it important for you, with songs like these, to constantly push the boundaries of what Christian music can be?

TW: I hope people will give us permission to do that. This is really the obstacle to all of this. This is true in any genre. Once you’ve established yourself in a particular genre, it’s hard for people to see you differently. I don’t necessarily want people to see me differently, but I want people to see me more. That’s what’s interesting about Christian music. It’s kind of because of the message. But in Christian music, there’s country, hip-hop, rap, R&B, gospel, southern gospel. There are so many subgenres within this overarching thing called Christian music. I really feel like I’m making music that’s true to who I am, who God called me to be. And I happen to believe that there are people who don’t consider themselves Christian music fans who would like my music. The hope is just to raise awareness and let people know that there are things here that are both good for your soul and also absolute fire.

Photo by Steven Taylor Photography

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