Bren McLean

Tag: cityalight


by on Dec.12, 2016, under Worship


The new CityAlight album is finally available on iTunes and SpotifyRecorded live back in June, we are so excited to share these songs with you and our prayer is they will inspire and transform hearts all over the world in the name of Jesus. The perfect Christmas gift!

Only a Holy God is the title track and below is the first song lyric video created:

Check out the CityAlight website for all of the free resources such as videos and charts.



Comments Off on CITY ALIGHT ALBUM – ONLY A HOLY GOD :, more...


by on Aug.02, 2016, under Worship


Making a church album is a daunting task. Whether it’s a live recording or a studio album, there are so many traps you can fall into. In my 9 year’s at St Paul’s, I have been involved in 4 album projects and when people ask me for advice I usually say “DON’T DO IT!”.

But for the church that is committed to devoting the entire project to prayer, I have 10 questions that need to be asked before you press record:

1. Purpose – What is the purpose/vision of the recording?

Personal v Congregational, Local v Global

2. Songs – Do I have enough songs to choose from?

A typical album of 10 songs should have atleast 30 to choose from. A lot has already been written about songwriting and by sharper minds. My biggest encouragement is to collaborate on the song writing and don’t settle until a ‘good’ song is a ‘great’ song

3. Budget – How much money do I plan to spend and where will it come from?

Funds can come from a number of sources includes savings, donations, loans, crowd funding

4. Location – Where will I record?

Live v Studio v Home. Each has pros and cons that need to be carefully considered

5. Producer – Who will produce?

This is one of the most important questions. Will the album be produced in house, or do we need to engage external producer ? In my experience, the latter is usually better and costs from $1-4k per song

6. Project Management – What program will I use and who will champion it to help manage the overall project plan?

“Fail to plan and you plan to fail”. For the latest CityAlight live recording, we used an online program called Google sheets. This helped us to outline each step and who was doing what and when

7. Team Members – Who will be involved?

Only engage people who have a similar vision to you. You will be spending a lot of time together and there is no room for egos. Another factor is deciding who are volunteers and who need to be hired

8. Copyright – Do I understand copyright and the payment of royalties?

Make sure you have song agreements for each song. Friends can become enemies very quickly when money is involved. Get advice from organisations such as CCLI and APRA/AMCOS

9. Distribution – Where will the album be sold?

Retail (eg. Koorong), Digital (eg. iTunes, Spotify) via distributors such as Tunecore and CD Baby

10. Promotion/Marketing – How will the album be promoted?

Word of mouth, print, online (social media, YouTube)


An album project can unite the team and equip the church. But even well intentioned projects have the potential to divide the team, split the church and leave you in debt with boxes of unusable drink coasters!!!


  • Research – Do as much research as you can. Learn from others by speaking to those you admire and taking advantage of online resources.

EG. Recording Worship – Where do I Start; Hillsong 2011 – Behind the Scenes

  • Prayer – Bathe every aspect of the project in prayer. Everything we do is for His glory and in His strength
  • Have fun – Enjoy the experience of ‘making music to the Lord’
Leave a Comment :, more...


by on Jun.22, 2016, under Worship

Pic 1Sunday 19 June was a phenomenal night at St Paul’s Castle Hill. Gathering in the name of Jesus, 640 people participated in a live recording for the new CityAlight album. There was a wonderful sense of community and celebration as God’s people sang with such enthusiasm. I got goose bumps hearing the people of all ages cry out “I want to know you, Jesus my Lord”. It was a foretaste of heaven.

The event required an army of volunteers. About 70 men and women working together with a common goal; a genuine desire to see the Name of Jesus glorified. Special mention goes to Rich Thompson, Jonny Robinson and Rich Vassallo. I cannot thank these guys enough for their hard work and commitment. We are also deeply indebted to Michael Farren who traveled all the way from Nashville to partner with us. A long term friendship is being forged with Farren (and friends) who is such a talented producer/songwriter.

The 10 songs have been written and arranged with the small church in mind and I am believing these songs will go farther and wider than ever imagined, equipping people and churches all over the world. These uplifting songs are filled with biblical truths that point to a ‘Good and Gracious King’; the ‘One and Only God’ worthy of our devotion.

Pic 2

When will the album be available?

Good question. The producers are now working on post production and hope to have the album competed by late September 2016.  We plan to release a few singles sooner, so stay tuned!

Where can I purchase the first CityAlight album?

‘Yours Alone’ was released in 2014 and is available on iTunes and from Koorong.

May the words of Psalm 95:1-7 stir your soul:

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lordlet us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

3 Comments :, more...


by on Apr.05, 2014, under Worship

Jerusalem is the new song from CityAlight. Taken from our live recording on 23 February, it is available now to download for FREE!


I interviewed Jonny Robinson this week (co-songwriter of Jerusalem) to ask a few questions:

What is the song about?

The song follows Jesus scene by scene as he walks through Jerusalem to the Cross.  In Luke 9.51, Jesus ‘sets his face’ to Jerusalem and makes a decision to go through with this very difficult plan. So we wanted to capture some of that commitment and that resolution, to show him physically walking through those old streets on the way to the Cross. It’s quite visceral, in that sense.
(The path that Jesus took is also known as the Via Dolorosa)
Why write about this topic?
There are some terrific plays and films about Jesus and the crucifixion, and they’re able to rely on visual techniques to get the story across. Even the not-so-great ones have pictures and images and their disposal. And that leaves a mark- images leave a mark. What we wanted to do was try and incorporate that visual and cinematic feel into a song. So, it’s the story of Jesus walk through Jerusalem to the Cross with a focus on the visual elements- the streets, the crowds, the rocks, and so on.
There are a lot of really good and strong songs exploring the spiritual things that took place that day, but we also wanted people to be able to see this wild story unfolding- such a crucial part of the faith that did take place in history and on a road, and that, of course, for a reason. 
In such a story, though, the spiritual aspects of the day do come through in the song because they are tied to the history so inextricably. But the focus is Jesus walking, Jesus waiting, Jesus hanging there, and what it looked like. It’s important to get inside this story and to feel it and to see it.
This song, of course, can’t do that for someone completely or perfectly, but we wanted to give any help we could in that direction. If nothing else, it’s a song about the most important story on earth.
Where can people get a copy of the song?
The song is on iTunes or you can download it for FREE at the CityAlight website.
Who is CityAlight?
CityAlight is a team of songwriters, singers and musicians from St Paul’s Castle Hill. We aren’t a band or a movement or a church (although we do all go to one!). We have simply written and produced songs for the church because we love to hear the people of God come together and praise His name. The sound of a church singing is like nothing else. And God deserves that.

Jonny is highly regarded at St Paul’s and his paper last year on the topic of lyrical clarity has been a great resource for songwriters.

Jerusalem is a timely release for Easter, powerfully communicating the gospel of Jesus in song. May this song nourish your soul and by all means, share with your friends!

The Jerusalem lyric video has been created to show in church or at events. This is also available now to download for free.

May this song refresh your soul and draw you nearer to “the One who Saves us”.

3 Comments :, , , more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!