People

Keith Getty – biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story

IntroNorthern Irish Christian singer and songwriter
Is Singer 
Musician 
From United Kingdom 
Type Music 
Gendermale
Birth 16 December 1974, Lisburn, United Kingdom
Age:45 years
Star sign Sagittarius
Residence Portstewart, United Kingdom
Education
Friends’ School, Lisburn
Instruments:
Voice

Julian Keith Getty OBE (born 16 December 1974) is a Northern Irish Christian singer and songwriter, best known for writing the modern hymn “In Christ Alone” in 2001 with veteran English songwriter and worship leader Stuart Townend. Getty and his wife also release music under the musical duo Keith & Kristyn Getty, which have been nominated for many Dove Awards, and has albums that have charted on multiple Billboard charts.

Early life

Getty was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, to Helen Getty (née Irwin) and John Getty. He is the eldest of four children.

Getty began making music at age 11, learning to play the classical guitar; at 12 years old he began playing the flute. During school, Getty was influenced by classical music, Irish music, and church music of all kinds. As a young adult, he studied Music at St Chad’s College, Durham University, graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in 1995. As a student, Getty completed special conducting opportunities at the Canford Summer School of Music and the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts. Getty participated in a summer master class under Irish flautist Sir James Galway.

Career

Orchestrator

In addition to his work with his wife as Keith & Kristyn Getty, Getty has also orchestrated or produced music for more than 200 projects—recordings, concerts, theatre, television, and film. Diverse credits include orchestrations for Michael W. Smith’s 2004 Healing Rain album, McDonald’s television commercials, and Silvascreen label movie soundtrack recordings Music from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Once upon a Time: The Essential Ennio Morricone. He has orchestrated for Sir Cliff Richard and other gospel artists including Natalie Grant and Watermark. He wrote and produced the music for the 1998 C. S. Lewis International Centenary Celebrations.

“In Christ Alone” song

In 2001, Getty and Stuart Townend wrote the song “In Christ Alone” with the purpose of creating a modern hymn that would explain the life of Christ. They released it on the Kingsway album New Irish Hymns, featuring vocalists Máire Brennan, Margaret Becker, and Joanne Hogg. The song gained popularity, and by 2005 it was named by a BBC Songs of Praise survey as the 9th best loved hymn of all time, and in their 2010 survey was named 2nd best hymn of all time. It hit number one on the United Kingdom CCLI charts by 2006, and in January 2009, it was still number one in the UK, number two in Australia, number seven in Canada, and number 15 in the United States. The British Hymn Society nominated “In Christ Alone” as one of the top 5 hymns of all time, and BBC One’s “Songs of Praise” nominated “In Christ Alone” as a top 10 hymn in 2012.

Keith & Kristyn Getty

Influences and Composition Technique

The Gettys melodies have strong similarity to Irish folk songs, Keith Getty has said ‘Most of our best hymns are based on folk melodies’ and We write melodies that borrow their structure more from classic music or traditional folk music that can be sung apace , in response to an interview observation “So why do they sound so much like something that’s always been around. You hear it and you think ‘I heard that before I don’t know where, but I heard that’?

“There’s two reasons: one could be the songs are stolen, but as far as I know they’re not stolen! But I think that really boils down to melody, especially folk melody style. There are influences of folk music…

While some of the melodies are virtually identical to their influence for example ‘My Heart is Full of Thankfulness’ is extremely akin to the Robert Burns’ song ‘My Love is like a Red Red Rose’ other Getty melodies appear to be more subtle ‘re-workings’ of well known songs. These include ‘Across The Lands’ which draws from the well known Folk Song ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ the melodic structure namely the first 8 notes are identical , the verses of ‘Hear the Call of the Kingdom’ draws from ‘Battle of the Royal Republic’, ‘In Christ Alone’ appears as a re-working of the Hymn ‘Before the Throne of God’ and ‘Over Fields of Green’ being very similar to ‘Dawning of the Day/Raglan Road’ however set to an alternative time signature. These amongst other examples have prompted many to conclude that The Gettys do not ‘create’ new melodies but Keith Getty has mastered reworking existing melodies in new and fresh approaches.

Awards and honours

Getty holds an honorary doctorate from Lancaster Bible College, awarded to him in 2011. In 1994, Getty founded the New Irish Arts, which works in partnership with the church to present Christianity through the arts. He is also the honorary President of the organization.

Getty was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for his services to music and modern hymn writing.

Theology

In 2012, Getty’s hymn “In Christ Alone” was involved in a controversy with the Presbyterian Church (USA) hymnal committee in the creation of their new hymnal “Glory to God”. The committee requested permission from Getty and Stuart Townend to use an alternative lyric to the phrase “Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied”, changing “wrath of God was satisfied” to “the love of God was magnified.”

Getty and Townend rejected this lyric change, and the hymnal committee barred the hymn from the book. Mary Louise Bringle, committee chair, defended their decision saying: “The song has been removed from our contents list, with deep regret over losing its otherwise poignant and powerful witness.” The decision to change the text arose when members of the committee found the alternate text in the Celebrating Grace Hymnal published in 2010. They assumed the songwriters had agreed to this change, but upon request of the hymn, found that the text used in the Celebrating Grace Hymnal had not been approved by the writers. Capitol CMG Publishing, managers of the song, said it is working with the Celebrating Grace Hymnal’s publisher to fix the problem.

The controversy was covered by several major news outlets, including USA Today, The Washington Post, and The Economist, and sparked a theological discussion in the church centered on the subject of atonement and the doctrine of propitiation. Getty was quoted as saying:

First, it’s important to express how truly honored we feel that these groups would consider adding “In Christ Alone” to their hymnals. We support the approach they take of studying the lyrics of hymns as they select music worthy to be sung and preserved. However, we believe altering the lyrics would remove an essential part of the gospel story as explained throughout Scripture. The main thread of what we see revealed throughout the Old and New Testament is the need for man to be made right with God. The provided path toward reconciliation came through Christ’s predetermined and perfect sacrifice on the cross, satisfying God’s wrath once and for all.

Personal life

Getty met Kristyn Lennox in 2002 after being introduced by his friend, John Lennox, world-renowned mathematician, Christian apologist, and Kristyn’s uncle. Kristyn was attending a nearby university and asked Getty for some musical advice. After dating for two years, the couple married on 16 June 2004. In 2011, the Gettys welcomed their first child Eliza Joy. In 2013, they welcomed their second daughter, Charlotte Juliana. In 2015, their third child, Grace Alexandra was born. In 2018, their fourth daughter, Tahlia Lennox, was born.

In 2009, Keith & Kristyn traveled to Ecuador with Compassion International. While there, they visited Compassion International project sites, and were able to meet their sponsored child.

Getty and his wife live between Portstewart, Northern Ireland and Nashville, Tennessee with their four daughters.

Compositions

See List of songs by Keith Getty

Discography

Orchestrator

  • Jack: A Musical Portrait of C. S. Lewis (1998)
    Performed by the New Irish Choir and Orchestra
  • Healing Rain (2004)
    Performed by Michael W. Smith (Reunion Records)
  • Music from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2004)
    Performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra with the Crouch End Festival Chorus (Silva Screen FILMXCD 372)
  • Once upon a Time: The Essential Ennio Morricone (2004)
    Performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra with the Crouch End Festival Chorus (Silva Screen SILCD1165)

Composer/Producer/Performer

  • New Irish Hymns (2002) with Moya Brennan, Joanne Hogg, Margaret Becker
  • Tapestry (2002) with Kristyn Lennox (Getty)
  • New Irish Hymns 2: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (2003) with Margaret Becker, Joanne Hogg and Kristyn Lennox (Getty)
  • New Irish Hymns 3: Incarnation (2004) with Margaret Becker, Joanne Hogg, and Kristyn Getty
  • New Irish Hymns 4: Hymns for the Life of the Church (2005) with Margaret Becker and Kristyn Getty
  • Songs That Jesus Said (2005) with Kristyn Getty, a collection of songs for children
    (Review in Reformed Worship | Audio lecture featuring Kristyn Getty, 6 October 2005)
  • An Evening in Prague (2005)
  • The Apostles’ Creed (2006)
  • Modern Hymns Live (2006)
  • In Christ Alone [1] (2006)
  • Prom Praise (2008) featured guest with the All Souls Orchestra; recorded live at Royal Albert Hall
  • Keswick Live (2008) with Stuart Townend and Steve James, recorded at the 2008 Keswick Convention.
  • Awaken the Dawn [2] (2009)
  • Joy – An Irish Christmas (2011)
  • Hymns for the Christian Life [3] (2012)
  • Modern and Traditional Hymns: Live at the Gospel Coalition (2013)
  • Facing A Task Unfinished (2016)
  • The North Coast Sessions (2018)