“Shaun Groves is using his voice in many arenas – as a committed husband and father, a well-known blogger, a much sought-after speaker, and a gifted and accomplished musician – but in all cases, Shaun’s voice is heard loud and clear as an advocate for those living in extreme poverty. His long-awaited album, Third World Symphony, showcases much more than Shaun’s musical abilities – the lyrics clearly express the poverty of ‘not enough’ as well as the reverse poverty of ‘too much.’ I am humbled by Shaun’s conviction and passion as he compellingly represents Compassion’s ministry to needy children around the world. Thank you Shaun for continuing to show us God’s heart for His children!”
– Dr. Wess Stafford, President and CEO, Compassion International
Shaun’s newest music was generated from his global travel and work with Compassion International, a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty in 26 countries and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.
The journey that produced Third World Symphony started with a single trip to El Salvador, where Groves traveled to visit Yanci, one of four children his family sponsors through Compassion International. Compelled to act, Groves and his family simplified their lifestyle in order to give more and he hit the road, speaking about justice and mercy and releasing children from poverty. This trip turned into many with Compassion International. A poignant experience during a trip with ministers in Ethiopia lead to the decision to create new music. “My music is not as weighty as the lives these people had lived,” confesses Groves. “I realized how much the third world was teaching me. That’s where the idea for this record started.” Along the way, music became not a career but a small piece of a much bigger mission.
“I know that through music and speaking we’ve been able to release children from poverty, but I feel like those children have even more so released me from wealth, from a narrow perspective,” says Groves. “They’ve taught me about grace, and what it means to be truly thankful. They’ve taught me about simplicity and generosity and purpose, and about beauty and joy that exists in places that are rusty and broken and corrupt. So I guess in a sense this record is a tribute, trying to redeem the term ‘third world’. Too often we just feel sorry for them, but they’re beautiful, life giving people I love to be around.”
While Groves spoke to audiences and congregations around the country, he expanded his reach through blogging. He garnered a broad online following, such that he was able to completely finance his new album in a matter of only two weeks through a fundraising campaign on a site called Kickstarter.
GRAMMY ® Award Winning producer Mitch Dane teamed up with Groves for his newest project. “Musically and lyrically it’s different than the things I’ve done in the past,” explains Groves. “Fewer ‘Me’ and ‘I’ lyrics, a lot of ‘We’ and ‘Us’.” It is a testament to Groves the songwriter that he can make that concept as accessible as a moving four-minute song. “Down Here” identifies the need for social justice in the here and now. A powerful arrangement of the hymn “Just As I Am” declares that we are all wounded and in need of the Lamb of God. “No Better” is a humble song of confession set to a surprising banjo melody. And “Enough” speaks to the tension of living in plenty after witnessing poverty.