When it comes to having a natural ability to pull at heartstrings, singer/songwriter Mark Schultz is as gifted as they come. And, when you consider his new CD, Broken & Beautiful (Word), is his most personal recording yet, you have all the makings of a career album.

After relocating from Nashville to the Chapel Hill, N.C., area recently, singer/songwriter Mark Schultz thought his new surroundings would provide him virtual anonymity. Not that he minded being recognized for penning well-known songs such as “Remember Me” or “Back in His Arms Again.” He wasn’t even bothered when people thanked him countless times for recording tear-inducing hits “He’s My Son” and “Letters from War.”

But Schultz, newly married (see the “First Comes Love, Then Comes?” sidebar) and moving to a quaint college town, had every reason to envision a much more private lifestyle than he experienced in Music City. That’s until the cable guy showed up.

Schultz recounts the humorous story during an exclusive interview with CCM: “Soon after we moved in, we had a guy come in to hook up our cable television, and he said, ‘Hey, you look just like that singer who has the same last name as you!'”

Since that encounter, it seems word has spread about Schultz’s arrival to Tar Heel country. “We live in a cul-de-sac where there’s really no traffic, and you’d have to be lost to find your way back here,” he says. “Believe it or not, about six or eight times a day, people come back here, park in front of our house and just stare at it.”

So, why the fascination? It’s likely due to Schultz’s extraordinary success in the Christian pop market, where, in just six years, he’s scored seven No. 1 hits. More recently, he earned a top spot on Billboard magazine’s “Hot Christian Adult Contemporary Songwriters” list.

Schultz’s popularity is fueled by his catalog of enduringly memorable songs and his inimitable storytelling style. Even today, parents of special-needs children consider “He’s My Son,” released in 2000, a cathartic magnum opus. Armed service members and mothers of soldiers feel “Letters from War” is their personal anthem. And countless high school seniors embrace sentimental ballad “Remember Me” as a graduation hymn.

Now, Schultz unveils a new studio project, Broken & Beautiful, that’s certain to keep him at the forefront of Christian music for the foreseeable future. The disc released on September 26. “I think it’s probably my strongest record from top to bottom,” says the Kansas-bred tunesmith. “A lot of beautiful songs are born out of the struggles of life, both during ordinary and broken times.”

Copyright © 2006 CCM Magazine, Used by Permission

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