NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next, an excerpt from Listening In. This week, Warren Smith visits with author and songwriter Matt Hammitt.
In 1996, Hammitt and a buddy from his Christian high school formed the alternative rock-band: Sanctus Real.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: After years of scraping by, the band began headlining shows and traveling a lot. But that success came with a price—Hammitt’s marriage suffered. That’s where we pick up the conversation with host Warren Smith.
WARREN SMITH: So Matt you have this period from 2000 to 2010, more or less, where you know you guys are just on the road and it’s a hard slog but you’re married. As you mentioned, your wife is traveling with you. What happens around 2010?
MATT HAMMITT: Yeah, so, 2010, two things, I’ll say. Number one, I had this little song that I had written out of the struggles in my marriage, called “Lead Me” that I didn’t want to share with anybody. But, the band heard it, and the label heard it and said: “Man, you’ve got to share this song with people.” So that was one of the leading tracks off our fifth album.
At the same time, one one month after Pieces of a Real Heart, our fifth album with “Lead Me” on it, came out, my wife and I went for a 21 week ultrasound for our third baby. And we found out that day we were having our first boy, which was so exciting. But we also found out that our little boy only had half of his heart.
And so, that was definitely a defining moment for us as parents—to move into such an uncertain season, health related with a child that we couldn’t even really tangibly help because he was still in my wife’s belly. And so it was like, just from April to September, while this record had just come out, while we’re starting to see more success we’ve ever seen behind some of the songs, I’m like, trying to figure out how my wife and I are going to care for a child with special needs.
And knowing that I’m going to be spending all kinds of time in the hospital and going through multiple open heart surgeries after this child was born, and so, you know, I’m trying to really process the fact that everything I’ve been chasing in my career is kind of happening, but things in my personal life, feel a little bit like they’re crumbling.
EICHER: That’s Matt Hammitt talking to Warren Smith. To hear how the story ends, look for Listening In wherever you get your podcasts.