I first met Nikki Mathis at a conference where Dutch Sheets was ministering. When she put her hands to the keyboard and lifted up her voice, I heard the sound of revival.
I've since enjoyed listened to her albums: Sounds of Rain, Overcome and her latest, Radical Love. She even recently put out a Portuguese album called Me Chamas para Teu Fogo, which translates My Flames for Your Fire.
I recently sat down with Nikki to find out what inspires her music and why music is so vital to the next great move of God:
Charisma: What inspires your music?
Mathis: I get inspiration a lot of times through what God is speaking and saying to me in that season, my own prayers or Scripture that the Lord is showing me. Musically, I love hearing what some of my favorite worship leaders are putting out, and often songs will be birthed from a place of spontaneous worship in a corporate setting that later gets turned into a song.
Charisma: How would you characterize your sound?
Mathis: I would say it flows in both a live, intimate love message and awakening and revival. Flowing in the prophetic and spontaneous is one of my favorite places to go in worship, and that can come out of an awakening sound or a deep intimate worship sound.
Charisma: What bands or singers have influenced you?
Mathis: Jason Upton and Rita Springer were foundational for me when I first started listening to and leading worship. They were real forerunners for spontaneous and prophetic worship.
I built on that with IHOP, Misty Edwards, Jaye Thomas, Laura Hackett and Jon Thurlow. Bethel and Jesus Culture through Kim Walker, Amanda Cooke and their awesome group of worship leaders. More recently Rick Pino, Lindy, Harvest Bashta and Chris Burns are some more favorites.
Charisma: Why is music so vital to the next great move of God?
Mathis: With music being one of the primary ways our culture receives messages, the enemy is working overtime on putting his stamp and message in the secular music of this age.
Lucifer was a worship leader, and anointed one at that, and understands how to use music to glorify himself. His job was simple and still needed. But now, instead of an anointed and selfish cherub, God has chosen us, His people, His worship leaders, to bring the glory to Him instead.
I believe music is vital for the next move of God because across the board it speaks a language that goes deeper than words, and when all of Gods worship leaders are on their post, bringing glory to Him and penetrating people's hearts with love for Him, unity will arise like never before.
The sound of worship is changing. It is being used in a real raw place, because that is what this generation wants. And to reach the lost, we have to get real and raw, and worship that is not fake will cause others to worship.
Charisma: What is your favorite song on your new album and why?
Mathis: My favorite song on Radical Love would have to be the song “Radical Love.” Also known as “Calling me to the fire,” God is calling us as the body of Christ to go deeper into His fire.
It's not comfortable, and it is sometimes full of tribulations, but without this fire, we will become a complacent people whose words fall to the ground. There is something on the inside of all of us, that knows there is so much more that what we just experience in our Sunday morning services. And this call to the fire is the call to explore that. We will come out shining!
Charisma: What role should music play in revival?
Mathis: Music should always be used to point people to Him. Music in revival will cause people's hearts to be drawn to Him on a level that isn't easily reached.
I have heard people say, “That is just emotionalism.” Our soul is made up of our mind, will and emotions. Why wouldn't I want to experience God with my soul? I want to experience and worship God with all of my being! Spirit and body as well!
Music touches all three parts of us, and it isn't wrong that we get emotional when worshipping Him with music. It means our soul is entering in to worship the living God! That's what music should always be doing in revival, pulling people into worship the King of kings in a way that goes deeper every time.
Charisma: Why is worship so powerful in warfare?
Mathis: Isaiah said to put on the garments of praise instead of a spirit of sorrow. Praise and worship always magnify Him and make what we are going through so much smaller.
When we compare the cares of this life to His greatness, they tend to fade away in comparison. There are many prophetic acts we can do that the Bible tells us bring confusion to the enemy, like clapping our hands for an example.
When we choose to worship and praise in the face of the enemy, the struggles and the warfare he tries to bring gain no ground because we are taking our greatest weapon, which is our worship, and watch it fade under the majesty of the King being lifted up.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder of awakeningtv.com, on the leadership team of the New Breed Revival Network and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening;Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God; The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer onFacebook or follow her on Twitter. Jennifer's Periscope handle is @propheticbooks.