The Rest of Our Lives - Ethan Yates


Have you ever asked yourself where does motivation come from? Motivation comes in different sizes, shapes, and sources. Also, motivation keeps reinventing itself if you look closer. 

I invited my friend and fellow musician Ethan Yates, who recently released his first song to Spotify, a devoted husband and soon-to-be dad. Ethan shares with us how the creative process to release his song was driven by his heartfelt motivation and how it has been constantly reinventing itself in his career path of music. 

Join us, in this episode you will find inspiration, love, and lots of fun.

The number one thing to overcome fear is asking yourself “Can we be used by God?”

Ethan Yates

Ethan Yates is an American Christian singer/songwriter originating from deep East Texas. His love for music began when he was a kid, hearing his grandmother sing the harmonies to the most beloved hymns in the pew behind him at his small southern Baptist church.  

Questions I asked

  • How did the song itself actually come about?
  • What was your wife’s reaction to the song you wrote for her?
  • Is there a worship album coming up?

What we learned about how motivation keeps reinventing itself

  • How to overcome fear to an uncertain future
  • Where the inspiration comes from
  • How God should always be the number one in our projects

Connect with Ethan


Learn 10 simple and effective tips to Triumph Over Anxiety in my book here


Episode Transcript

WILL WOODS  

Hey everybody. Glad you’re joining me today. Today, we’re getting to sit down with my friend ETHAN YATES.

Ethan is a recording artist, a worship leader all around pretty great guy with let’s see, he’s recently just before COVID hit moved out to our Yeah, just before COVID hit moved up to Tennessee to follow his dream of recording and writing music and producing music, all this kind of stuff. And he has just written and released the first song.

It’s awesome. Tell me the name of it. I’m drawing a blank. It’s right on the edge of my tongue.

ETHAN YATES

Well, what a true fan.

WILL WOODS

The rest of our lives! Yeah, they’re good. Haha. All right. Well, um, he said, we could start in many different places. But let’s start here. Tell me about the song. Like, what was the inspiration behind this song? I woke up one day and I said, Man, I really just want to write a song. And that was it, huh? riveting story?

ETHAN YATES 

Yeah, no, it’s a song that I wrote. Obviously, it’s, it’s about my wife, it’s about the journey that she had been on together to get where we are. And I wrote it pretty soon after we got back from our honeymoon, just because of all the kind of stuff that we had to go through to get to that point, let people know our story that we were kind of off and on for a little bit through the dating process.

And finally just had to, you know, bypass a few things that we were being selfish about. And we got to the point where we decided to move past some of those things and a lot of things that we were talking about doing. As a married couple, we were actually living that out. So just the journey that we went on, and now the dreams that we have, we’re living out some of those dreams now. And we have dreams in the future, you know, that we have for the future. And we’re hoping to make sure that those become a reality as well. So that’s, that’s the inspiration behind the song.

WILL WOODS   

Okay, well, let’s, let’s talk about this journey a little bit more. Probably one of the things that I think is most admirable about what you’ve done in the last couple of years with your life, Ethan is the way you have confronted maybe a fear, just going someplace that you don’t know anybody. And pursuing this dream that you have, despite, you know, new being newly married, despite, you know, the job situation not being really certain. But still having this goal in your mind about what you wanted to do. And, and killing it and crushing it. Tell me about that.

ETHAN YATES   

Yeah, I think there’s always a fear anytime that you do anything in life, Job Change, or whatever, I think there’s always a fear, there’s a fear of, is this the right decision? Is this Are we going to be able to be financially stable? how’s this going to be with our families? You know, for, for me, I’m not, you know, I’m not a single guy. So, having a wife, you know, I’m not just dealing with me and my family, you know, I’m also dealing with her and her family. And so there’s always those obstacles that you, you know, you might run into.

And so there’s always those fears. I think I think overcoming that that type of fear, the first thing is just knowing that you can be used wherever you go, by the Lord. And no matter where you’re at, you know, a lot of times we think, well, we have to go, you know, overseas, or we have to go somewhere to do the Lord’s work, but a lot of times we can do it, you know, in our own neighborhoods. But I think I think the number one thing that is to overcome that fear, which is knowing, you know, Hey, can we be used by God? if we, if we move to somewhere else in Texas, or we moved to, you know, Nashville, Tennessee, is God still gonna be able to use of school?

Of course, he is. And so I think that was the first thing and the second thing was just having someone with me, says, you know, my wife and I were, you know, married. Just having someone who was supportive, and understanding that we’re in this together, no matter what happens that she supports me and what I do, she challenges me, she encourages me, and you know, never being at odds. It wasn’t one tug, you know, hey, let’s do this. And she just says, okay, that’s what we’re doing. You know, she’s very supportive. She wants to do it as well. And so there’s always those fears, but having a support system behind us was was very, very big and our families were very supportive in the process, so that, that has genuinely helped that process.

WILL WOODS   

Alright, Let’s talk again about the song. Obviously, it’s a personal song, it’s a personal story between you and your wife. How did the song come about? Did it? Did you start with writing the lyrics out? Did you have a chord progression in mind? Did it start with the chorus? Was it a team effort? How did the song itself actually come about?

ETHAN YATES   

I think there are a lot of different ways that people write music, some people start out with lyrics, you know, they just sit down and they say, I’m very inspired by the grass, and then they start writing about the grass, and then it transforms into, you know, something about a sloppy wet kiss or something. And so, and then there are other times where you sit down with a piano or a guitar and you start playing.

Usually, for me, it’s, it’s just you pick up a guitar, you, you start playing, and you want to write lyrics that fit the overall feel of the song, like, you don’t want to write a happy song to a sad tune. And so that would be very off-putting, obviously, this is, this is a song that’s very meaningful to me, and it’s very, you know, heartfelt. And so you want to write the, you write the right tune for it. But it starts with, for me this song, it started with a guitar, and you know, just playing some stuff here and there. And the melodies.

For me, they just kind of, they kind of come as is, I know, you did the other day where you were talking, you’re like, it’s very catchy. Well, I don’t, I don’t really necessarily right for something to be catchy. I write it because I enjoy what I’m writing, and I’m enjoying singing when I’m singing. And, you know, if I don’t like it, then there’s no sense in me singing it. So that’s kind of where it just starts, you know, you have, you have the idea in your head of what you want to write about. And then that kind of carries over on to your instrument.

You know, if I’m feeling sad, I want to go write a sad song. You know, if there’s something about my life going on, I’m happy about it and I’m gonna write, you know, I’m writing a song right now. It’s just it basically just starts out and says, you know, hallelujah, because I’m, I’m happy you know, Praise the Lord. And you know for what he’s done and what he’s done the cross that it’s not anything that I had to do, but it’s what he did. So yeah, you sit down You think I want to write a song about that? because no one’s ever written a song about that before

WILL WOODS   

you know the bridge of the song man that’s whatever you crank it up a notch. I do I crank it What did the bridge come the last of the whole song? I mean, you have a verse a chorus, I think there’s a couple verses and a chorus and then all of a sudden you throw in this bridge. With that the last piece that comes in, or,

ETHAN YATES   

um, I can’t remember on that song. If that was the last one to come in. Usually it usually it is. Sometimes it’s the first thing sometimes it’s like, because you’re the bridge is really, whenever you’re writing and songwriters will tell you the same thing. And that’s almost the crescendo. You know, that’s very, that’s the very, I mean, that’s where, you know, you’re kind of piecing everything together, you know, like, that’s where we’re, we’re at.

And so I can’t remember if that one came first or last and that because a lot of times you want to go back to the chorus and even change lyrics on the course to you know, let the let that kind of segue into what you really want to say all along, but But yeah, I think you know, that the lyrics snapbridge are, after all, that we’ve been through, I know, we can say it was well worth the weight.

That kind of talks about just, that’s the journey that we’ve been on, you know, like all this, this stuff. And like that’s the part where I’m really you know, I get louder. I get louder and, and, you know, the guitars are driven a little bit and yeah, you just you want certain parts of the song. I mean, it’s the same thing as a movie. You know, whenever you’re writing and, you know, you want certain parts to stand out. You know, like, Wow, that’s really meaningful. That part like you can tell, he really feels passionate about that. Those lines. So

WILL WOODS   

what did Christa think about the song when she heard it? 

ETHAN YATES   

He hated it. She wanted to leave me, it was no joke. So I have a funny story there. I came up with or released that song A while back, but it was a demo. And it was our I think it was her. I think I released it on her birthday. She was unaware that that was going to happen. And you know, remember CDs, remember those were? Oh, yeah, back back in the gap, you know when they had the CDs.

So I made it at our house and in Texas, and Alberto We made it, I mixed it, and then I put it in her CD player. And anytime that I’m mixing songs, I have to go out to the car and have to listen to it in the car to make sure it sounds okay. I mean, that’s, that’s kind of the ultimate test for me at that point anyway, now, now I get to send it to engineers, and they get to master it and everything else. I don’t have to worry about it. But then, so I went in, and it was late that night when I went to a car and I put it in, and I turned it up a little bit, and I was trying to kind of listen to it in her car. Well, she woke up. She had to go to work the next morning, earlier than I did. And so she came out there.

And she was like, livid. She’s like, why are you? Did you wake me up? And I’m like, I’m sorry, babe. You know, like, I try to listen to this and makes it’s very important. And so she was kind of upset when she woke up the next morning, and she came back and she was crying because she felt bad. Because she shared the song, like the first thing that she played on a birthday was those lyrics. It was, you know, Hey, sweetie, isn’t it a beautiful thing or whatever? In the first song where she’s like, Oh, that’s what he was doing. So yeah, she loves it. She does. So now

WILL WOODS   

what what has the response been from other folks who’ve heard the song,

ETHAN YATES    

it’s been, it’s been overwhelmingly good. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from people. A lot of other people that I’ve met here, have recommended it to other musicians and other artists have actually given me a platform with other musicians. When they hear it, they hear that it’s good quality and good content. It’s been good at it really good, a good friend of mine, here in Nashville. His name is Spence Shepherd.

And he did an incredible job, just doing a bunch of the behind-the-scenes work that I get a lot of credit for he did, he did a ton of it. And, you know, just finding the right people to play on the song he did that he played on it. Which, as I said, got me in contact with other good musicians. So anything you put out that’s really well produced well put together, you’re going to get good feedback. And so I’m really appreciative of that. It’s gotten to a ton of streams on Spotify, and YouTube, and other platforms, but overwhelmed overall, it’s been, it’s been, it’s been amazing. See how many people have listened to that.

WILL WOODS   

Awesome. Tell me who are the musicians that you work with? I mean, because you’re, you’re constantly writing stuff and recording and all of this kind of stuff. Who are the musicians that you work with? Right now are you in your kind of circle? Who are they’re like, what are their names are just too in general? Well, yeah, I’m just curious who these people are like, how did you find out? Yeah, I think there are,

ETHAN YATES   

I think there are a lot of people here that no one would ever have heard of, and, and understood, because some people are just, some people are just strictly songwriters, that’s all they’re doing. They’re just writing songs, and they’re sending them out. You know, like, like, the Gettys.

You know, like, now that I’ve worked with them, but, you know, they’re very big into the writing, but they have a lot of people that write with them. So again, like, for instance, whenever I was talking, whenever I was working with my buddy Spence, you know, he was able to recommend people and so it really just takes one person who knows another person who knows another person who knows another person. So you know, whenever Kristen and I moved here, I had already met with a few people from here.

And they were recommended me to move and say, the connections that you’re going to have here enlisted and so, um, I mean, people every day, you know, different musicians, different songwriters, different guitar players, you know, keyboard, whatever it is, I mean, it’s, the possibilities are endless. And so, you know, I’ve got a co-write next week with some people. And yeah, it’s just incredible. It’s incredible to just to see, you know, the different walks of life that people are in, and whenever they’re writing, they have, they have a song that they want to write about. And, you know, I can connect with that.

Or maybe I haven’t journeyed in that part of life yet, but I’m interested in what’s going on in their lives. And so they’re able to write some things and it’s, it’s cool too because that’s a community of believers that you have and so you do hold each other accountable, pray for one another, and to sit down and pray one of the things that I always make sure of whenever we’re co-writing is, you know, making sure that we have the Bible open you know, whenever I’m writing a song, you know about the Lord the Bible has to be there has to be open has to be present. I have my commentaries. You know everything is available there. So

WILL WOODS   

So what, what are you currently working on? Are you working on a worship album? what’s coming next?

ETHAN YATES   

I’m not working on a worship album. I’ve got several worship songs that I’m currently working on with other musicians and songwriters.

So we’re really working on that, right now got those, I’ve got some contemporary Christian songs that we might start looking at sending out to some radio stations.

But other than that, that’s what I have personally going on. I mean, I’m working on, I’m working on stuff for other people’s music as well. So, you know, for me, it’s not just I do my own, you know, I have, I have that element of what I do here, but I’m often working on other people’s stuff. So they may send me a track. And then I write something on like a guitar piece, or acoustic or put some keys on it or, or back, you know, BGV background vocals and, you know, things like that, whatever they need, I can do here, and then we’re able to send tracks back and forth. So I can record something here and send it to them. If they like it, they can say I love it. If they don’t like it, I’m not gonna use you anymore. That’s my work.

WILL WOODS   

I say, Okay, well, what worship song that you’re working on? Do you present them in the church that you’re serving at? Do you kind of throw it out there, play it on a Sunday morning and see how people connect to it? Or is that part of the process? Or how does that work?

ETHAN YATES   

Well, the church that I’m serving, or that I’m at right now, not necessarily, you know, a, you know, I’m on the worship team. And not necessarily the quote-unquote, a leader in that sense.

But the songs that I’m writing are certain songs that I am going to make available. I’m going to push for churches to sing if they so choose to, you know because one of the convictions and other things that I see in the church today is just that.

And I mean, I know you’re aware, too of it is just the, a lot of the content that’s out there. It’s very shallow. It’s not very rooted in truth. It’s very feelings-oriented. It’s very, you know, this is the way I view Jesus. It’s not the way that scripture views Jesus. And so, the goal is to write those types of songs that we can put in the church so that we’re seeing the truth, but it is very much to present those songs to the churches so that we can see

WILL WOODS    

that the whole purpose, I guess, what, what is the ultimate goal of what you’re trying to do? It is to write these worship songs and to provide the church with solid, biblical truth in their singing. Is that the goal?

ETHAN YATES   

Yeah, well, the goal, Billy Woods is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. But yes, the goal of doing that is to do exactly what you just said,

WILL WOODS  

Yes. Okay. So you’re not going to be like one of these young worship leaders who ultimately defect and go back and do their kind of their own thing and say that their God is maybe the almighty dollar or something like this.

ETHAN YATES   

I did that once. And then I came back and said, well, we’re gonna give this a shot. We’re gonna see how this works. And if this doesn’t work, then

WILL WOODS   

maybe he’ll the whole Jesus thing doesn’t work out. You could just see the dollar thing.

ETHAN YATES    

Now, what is saying this ain’t cutting it right now.

WILL WOODS

Well, if you had a message to get out to the whole world, what would the message be? Maybe you had a big billboard, some message that you could put on people’s smartphones, or something like that for an extended period of time. What message do you have about Ethan’s needs for the world?

ETHAN YATES  

You’re supposed to use separate utensils whenever you’re making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

Okay, yeah, either that one or either that one or you drive when passing you drive in the left lane. And obviously the gospel obviously we can look at for your added share that the true gospel and not the prosperity gospel, man, that’d be amazing.

WILL WOODS

Well, at this stage in your life, what are you most excited about?

ETHAN YATES  

Oh, man, I’m a baby on the way. I think that’s my goodness, what? Baby boy on the way in being in late August. So I think that’s the most exciting thing in my life. Really, all this stuff that’s going on in my life right now is fantastic. You know, I love doing music and I love all the people that I’ve met and all the work that I’m doing, but I don’t think it really compares, to this feeling right now. So I’m looking forward to that and just being a dad,

WILL WOODS

Ethan, we’re going to have some fun here. These are some rapid-fire questions. You just say whatever comes to your head. Okay. So is it sock-sock, shoe-shoe? Or sock-shoe? sock-shoe? 

ETHAN YATES   

sock-sock, shoe-shoe

WILL WOODS  

Okay, cuz you’re a decent human being. That’s right. Okay, what is the best worship song out there right now? 

ETHAN YATES   

Um, I think there are a few of the best ones out there. I know. I actually heard it’s not a new one but actually heard one that I’ve fallen in love with. It’s called. He will hold me fast. You ever heard that one? Yes. Yeah. That one Shane and Shane did a really good rendition of that. That one that I am falling in love with. So that’s, I think that one’s my favorite right now. That’s great content. It is.

WILL WOODS   

Yes. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? 

ETHAN YATES  

Keep it simple, stupid. KISS. 

WILL WOODS   

Okay, describe yourself as a teenager in three words.

ETHAN YATES   

Oh my Gosh! let’s say the same three words… Idiot! 

WILL WOODS   

Okay, what’s your biggest pet peeve? 

ETHAN YATES   

My biggest pet peeve? Gosh. I think probably whenever people stop in the middle of our there, they’re like camping out in the middle of the sidewalk or in the middle of the store or something in the middle of the night. Do you know? I mean, like, yeah, doing, what are you doing?

WILL WOODS  23:02  

Okay. What are you listening to? Do you listen to podcasts, audiobooks? Song albums. What are you listening to? 

ETHAN YATES  23:12  

all the above? I listened to Mr. Steve Lawson. Okay, he’s got some awesome. Awesome he has a pod… Yeah. 

WILL WOODS  23:25  

So he has a podcast now? I’m not getting What’s the name of it? Do you know?

ETHAN YATES  23:30  

It’s I think it’s called The Expositors Podcast or the Expositors Sermon. He’s got that but he’s also got a really awesome Romans. He’s going to look at Romans. Amen. That’s awesome you got about an hour which everybody should have at least an hour this has been done with God, but that’s pretty incredible. So that’s the podcast. I was also listening to. You know, what’s his name? Oh. Oh, Paul Washer. He’s got some as well. So yeah, if you really if you’re ready. If you’re ready for a good spiritual soul beaten. Here you go. brutal. 

WILL WOODS  24:12  

Can a vegetarian eat animal crackers?

ETHAN YATES  24:18  

Um, it might be against their religion. I don’t know. All right. 

WILL WOODS  24:32  

What’s your favorite day of the week? 

ETHAN YATES  24:35  

What are you rolling now, aren’t you Billy? 

WILL WOODS  24:38  

Well, this is rapid-fire. 

ETHAN YATES   

Yeah, you’re right. It’s just this is rapid-fire just like Yeah. My favorite day of the week is it’s Wednesday. 

WILL WOODS   

Okay. Why Wednesday?

ETHAN YATES  

I don’t know, this is rapid-fire…  it must be okay.

WILL WOODS  

All right. All right. It’s the middle of the week. Wednesday it is. Alright. super strength, or invisibility. Which one? Which one? Here’s your superpower.

ETHAN YATES  

I already have super strength so invisibility. 

WILL WOODS   

Dogs or cats? 

ETHAN YATES  

Well, dogs unless the dog is under 50 pounds and it’s basically a cat and cats are meaningless. So,

WILL WOODS   

name a word that starts with the letter Q. 

ETHAN YATES   

Quality. 

WILL WOODS  

I guess that’s, that’s all I have. Before I jump off here. How can people find you and find your music?

ETHAN YATES  

A Facebook, Instagram, my main, my main method, of sending out stuff? Instagram, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook. I’m on all streaming platforms. So you know, all the time. 

WILL WOODS  

All right. And do you have any other last final parting words of wisdom or requests for anybody who might be listening? 

ETHAN YATES  

The Lord is good. Amen. 

WILL WOODS   

Amen. 

ETHAN YATES  

Amen. 

WILL WOODS  

All right, dude. Well, thank you for doing this. I know we had tried to do it before and a storm knocked us out and but man, I wish you well in all of your endeavors and I am excited to see new stuff coming out from you man. 

ETHAN YATES  

Yes, sir 

WILL WOODS  

out of the work that you’re doing and know you’re doing a good thing so we’re doing what we can all right. Well, don’t be a stranger in Texas hit me up all right, 

ETHAN YATES  

when you’re in Nashville, come on in. 

WILL WOODS   

Okay, you know, cuz I’m always over there. Yeah. Okay. All right. We sake man, this or YouTube. Alright, I’ll see you

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