The Evolution of a Worship Song


Today Sovereign Grace Music releases an album entitled “Psalms”, which, as the more intelligent readers may have guessed, is comprised of worship songs based on specific Psalms. I had the privilege of writing two songs for this project and hope that they serve many local churches.

But what you hear on the album is often very different (in a better way) than what was originally written by the songwriter. My songwriting process usually goes something like this:

_Stephen writes a song and immediately thinks it’s brilliant – possibly the best worship song ever written.

_Stephen plays the song for his dad, who points out the chorus is boring and cliche, and that the verses could really use some more work.

_Stephen goes back to the drawing board (well, writing board actually) and attempts to correct the above problems. Stephen then plays the song for his dad again, who again helps him to refine the song.

_Stephen finally comes up with the ‘finished’ (note the quotation marks) and then records a very rough demo. Trust me folks, my demos are really rough. Don’t believe me? Click on the player below and listen to one of my original demos from the Psalms project.

_Stephen then sends the rough demo to men who are much more musically gifted, such as Bob Kauflin, who then suggest further changes to improve the song. After another round of changes, the real final version of the song is given to the producer, who takes my really rough demo and creates something that actually sounds good. Click on the player below to hear the album version of the song.

So there you have it folks. That’s how a song goes from idea to album in a nutshell. I’m so grateful to work with Sovereign Grace Music and guys like my dad and Bob Kauflin. I hope I can do it for many more years.

FYI – You can download a free song from the album by clicking here.


  • BethAnn says:

    That was so interesting, to hear both songs, thanks for doing that! I really have wondered how the songs we hear on CD’s come to be, I guess I thought they just came out finished, like we hear them, but now I know! Your original version was so sweet, just how the Lord gave it to you. Thank you for using the gifts He gave you to glorify Him. The beginning of the song writing process is just as necessary as the finishing touches! Praise the Lord for the body of Christ!

  • Courtney says:

    Wahoo!! My husband and I have been anxiously awaiting July 30th and it’s here. :) We have enjoyed listening to SG music really grow up so to speak. With each new cd release, the sound quality and really everything seems to move up a notch. Based on the songs from the Psalms project I’ve heard this will be no exception.

    Thanks for sharing your writing process with us, that was really cool to get a behind the scenes look at things.

    To reiterate what BethAnn said, thank you so much for allowing God to use you and your gifting. I have been so blessed by you, your dad, Bob Kauflin and the rest of the talented folks at Sovereign Grace Music.

    Off to download my MP3 and get ‘er loaded on the iPod. :)

  • Stephen Altrogge says:

    Beth Ann and Courtney – Thanks so much for your encouragement. I hope you’re blessed by the Psalms CD!

  • beth says:

    this is me, beth…. anddd…
    just wanted to say hi.

  • Michael says:

    FYI, the free song URL is incorrect…it should be

  • Stephen Altrogge says:

    Thanks Michael. I fixed it.

  • Jared Duba says:

    Awesome stuff! Would it be possible for you to post anymore of these?? :)

  • Stephen Altrogge says:

    Jared – I’m glad you enjoyed it! Unfortunately I can’t post any more because of permission reasons. Sovereign Grace was kind to let me post this one. Thanks for your encouragement!

  • Jared Duba says:

    Oh, okay. Thanks anyways! :) Keep up the awesome songwriting!! You and your dad are my favorite Sovereign Grace Music songwriters. :)

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