Joseph Habedank is an award-winning vocalist and songwriter, who traveled with beloved family group The Perrys for 10 years and has just been announced as the Singing News Favorite New Soloist for 2014. He has waged a war against an addiction to pain killers and has been sober for over a year. Habedank found strength in the Lord to start again, returning to the stage, the music and the community that has surrounded him with love and support.
In August, Billboard magazine released an indepth interview with Habedank about his addiction and how he moved into recovery. Following that, he assisted SGN Scoops with a feature called Christians and Addictions, published in September 2014. He says it wasn’t so much deciding to take his addiction issues public, but just answering questions with honesty. “I think it had less to do with me talking about my problem and more to do with telling the truth when we were asked. Lindsay and I decided early on that if I was going to truly recover, I had to tell the truth.”
In telling the truth, Habedank admits that losing his job with the Perrys was his rock-bottom. “Music was my life, it defined me and when I lost that, it was like losing myself and I almost had to reinvent myself as an individual. I had to relearn how to think and even how to live. That wasn’t easy.”
Part of Habedank’s recovery included finding the strength to start again in his musical career. “I think it was two things, neither of which had much to do with me. First, it was a matter of trusting that the Lord wasn’t through with me, and then having the courage to do what most people said I couldn’t. And secondly, I had an incredible behind-the-scenes support system. Not to mention, the Lord specializes in the impossible. I thought I was a hopeless case, but He saw what I could be and not just what I was.”
Joseph and his wife Lindsay found that their friends in the industry were there to support them in his return to Southern Gospel. “Daywind was very quick to hop on board, as was the Dominion Agency, and Ricky Free was on board from day one,” Habedank says. “The songwriting community really rallied around me as well.”
One result from this experience has been the new project by Habedank entitled Welcome Home, which was a labor of love for the soloist. “We started recording in the spring, but it feels like I have been writing for this record for years. It is definitely the most personal album that I have ever been a part of; it’s my heart.” Habedank continues, “I had the privilege to work with the brilliant Ricky Free, who I now consider ‘my producer.’ He totally outdid himself on this record. I also got to work with Cliff Durren, orchestration arranger, for the first time. I just love his attitude and heart. Not to mention he’s a genius. And of course all of my wonderful co-writers as well. I had an amazing team around me.”
The first release from Welcome Home is “Never, No, Never” which Habedank co-wrote with Tony Wood and Lee Black. The song contains a great promise and a message of encouragement that Habedank hopes will help his listeners.
Another special tune on the album is “Empty”, which Habedank says follows the theme of the album. “We aren’t who the Devil says we are,” Habedank states. “We already have a name, we are part of a Royal Priesthood and we are because Jesus says so.” He was also thrilled to have one of his favorite people sing with him on this song. “Russ Taff was one of the first people to help me when I came off the road last year. He has been an amazing mentor and an even greater friend. I love him dearly and will forever be indebted to him. I just asked him to sing on my record and he said ‘Absolutely’ as he so often does. It was that simple. He’s a great man.”
“The Beauty of the Blood” is Habedank’s favorite on Welcome Home. “I feel something different when I’m singing that song, more so than almost any other song I’ve sung before. I think it’s because my life reflects the message that I’m trying to convey when I’m singing that song, so it’s much easier for me to communicate it. I’m extremely grateful for Tony Wood and Michael Farren, who helped to make it what it is.”
Joseph Habedank admits it wasn’t easy to step out alone on that stage after having shared it with the Perrys for so many years. To tell the truth, he says it was both “terrifying” and “wonderful.” However, traveling as a soloist has allowed him to see the country along with Lindsay, as well as being able to choose his own material, to say what he wants to through his songs.
As a soloist, Habedank’s personal goal is not much different from when he was part of group. “I say this a lot, but I really just want to help people by pointing them to Jesus. I want to be a better man, a better husband and a better kid to my Heavenly Father.”
Some people might question Joseph Habedank’s decision to tell the truth about his addiction, or even just admire his courage to be transparent, but he just has one response: “You don’t have to hide what Jesus has already redeemed.”
Find out more about Joseph Habedank and Welcome Home at http://www.josephhabedank.com/
Written by Lorraine Walker
First published October 2014 by SGN Scoops digital magazine.
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