Brooke Ligertwood on her Calling to Worship Music and her new Signature Martin Guitar

Photo provided by Management
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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 19 – Spring 2022

Following the release of her new live album SEVEN this February, New Zealand-born singer-songwriter Brooke Ligertwood expressed that she was a bit reluctant to release new music under her name. While she’s built an impressive—and separate—solo career under her maiden name, Fraser, using “Ligertwood,” her married name, felt more personal and apart from what she’d been doing as a solo artist. But it just sort of came to be—developing out of a collaboration with her husband Scott and her peers—and she felt it was something she was called to do.

That sense of calling has permeated Ligertwood’s art throughout her career. Aside from her solo career, she’s been writing and performing with Hillsong Worship since 2005, and it’s clear when listening to her speak that worship is not just central but intrinsic to her way of being as both a person and an artist. Many artists use songwriting as a personal outlet, but with Ligertwood—who won a GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song for her song “What a Beautiful Name” in 2018—her art does that and more. It contains a message of praise and faith that’s meant to be shared, intently.

The album offers a powerful collection of songs that not only highlight this message but share it in a way that is accessible to both spiritual and secular audiences. Tracks like “Nineveh” and “A Thousand Hallelujahs” feature Ligertwood’s calming, gentle vocal, along with vocal harmonies, piano, and acoustic and electric guitar in a way that conveys the emotional depth behind her sound. Her passion for her beliefs can be felt through her music.

Along with the release of SEVEN comes a new vehicle through which Ligertwood can share that passion—the Martin 000-28 Brooke Ligertwood, a new signature model designed by her in collaboration with Martin Guitar. The 14-fret auditorium guitar was inspired by the models she’s been playing her whole life—the Martin Paul Simon 2 and Eric Clapton Custom Artist—and as she shares, feels deeply personal to her. Sold with and without a sunburst finish, it also features Ligertwood’s name inlaid at the 12th fret.

We spoke to Ligertwood about these exciting new developments in her career—how she feels about the new album, as well as guitars in general, and how worship relates to her sound. In our conversation, she shared insights into who she is as a songwriter, collaborator, and multi-faceted artist.

Tell me about the making of SEVEN. What’s the difference between your work as Brooke Fraser and Brooke Ligertwood?
Brooke Fraser is my mainstream solo career that I’m 20 years into at this stage—my first album came out in 2003. Brooke Ligertwood is my married name, my personal name, and I’ve been very honored to have been contributing songs of worship to the wider Church through my own church Hillsong since 2005 (under my married name since I got married in 2008). I’ve been contributing songwriting-wise since 2005 and co-producing the albums since 2017.

The album SEVEN is not a Brooke Fraser record. I’ve struggled immensely with the idea of having a project under my personal married name, but in the end, that was what it had to be because it didn’t fit anywhere else. 

In the end, I want to be able to bring art into the world without agenda. I’m going to make the art and then figure out later where it goes. Not the other way around, because then, to some extent, you’re inherently compromising or influencing what you create, rather than being completely free to create. I’ve always rejected the notion that I have to choose one genre or write one type of song. Why should I—or any of us—have to be limited? The idea that any of us should have to limit or box our creative output simply because society and/or industry insist it’s more convenient that we exist under a single label or category is ridiculous and antiquated, don’t you think?

What song are you the most proud of on the album?
I love them all for different reasons and believe they all perform different and diverse functions in the mind/soul/heart, which I’m so thankful for.

Is there anything that you did differently in the creative approach in the making of this album?
Well, for a start, I had no idea I was writing an album. It was the last thing I saw coming, or even wanted. I was just writing with friends because I’d been cooped up for a year on Zoom meetings and needed to stretch my creative and geographical legs.

Because everyone involved in this project (including myself) has other jobs, the actual process had to be very concise once it began—we did it in three spurts. Six days of musical pre-production in August, five days of choir pre-production (I finally got to indulge my inner choir nerd to the full on this project) in October, and then in November, three days of rehearsal, and then the live recording night. 

What’s it like collaborating with your husband? Do you each contribute different elements, or does it all blur together?
Scott is the most prolific ideator I know in an array of creative disciplines. So not only is he a co-writer on four of these songs, but he’s also the creative director, so everything you see visually (which is a lot!) has his touch on it. He’s one of the most diligent and creative illustrators, designers, and visual storytellers I’ve ever known, so to see him let loose on this project has been thrilling.

How did the idea to make your signature guitar come about?
Martin Guitar approached me in 2019 about collaborating on a signature edition, and I truly thought I was being pranked. Even when physically standing in the Martin factory in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, knowing I was there to spend the day designing my guitar with the design team, I had difficulty staying in my body and comprehending what was happening. I have been playing Martin guitars since I was 16 years old—so for over two decades at this point—and it was/is a surreal moment to have a signature edition Martin with my name on it. Wild. 

Tell me about what makes this guitar personal to you.
Everything about this guitar is personal to me. The two Martin models I’ve played around the world for the past 20 years are the Eric Clapton signature edition and the PS2 (Paul Simon) signature edition. I have a lot of history with those guitars, and on stage and in writing rooms, they become an extension of me. I know them intimately. The Brooke Ligertwood Signature Edition is essentially a combination of these two beloved models, so when I held it for the first time, it felt completely familiar to me. 

What makes a “good guitar”?
In my opinion, a good guitar is the guitar that brings the best out of you as a player and helps you articulate your musical voice in its highest and most authentic form. 

What are your preferences in regard to guitar tone?
I love clarity and enough sparkle/chime on the top end with a significant amount of warmth and resonance through the mids and bass. When I hit those bottom strings, I want to feel and hear low-end power. 

Outside of the new guitar, tell me about your main guitar(s).
The first guitar I owned was a gift—a base model Martin 000XM auditorium. The first guitar I bought was my Martin PS2—that was an investment I’ve never regretted. This was followed by an Eric Clapton Signature Edition Martin, and then an additional one in sunburst that was a gift from my husband. The two Eric Claptons became my workhorses the past decade or so, and I retired my PS2 from the road as he’s a little too precious at this stage, so he stays home. Electric-wise, I play a Fender Telecaster and a Gretsch Tennessee Rose; those it’s been a couple of years since I’ve actively played those.

Photo provided by Management

Where did you begin with music? How did you get into doing it professionally?
I started playing piano when I was 7, started writing when I was 12, guitar when I was 15, then signed at 18 to Sony Music, my first album was out at 19, and the rest is history!

Tell me about your calling to worship music.
If I was a furniture mover, I’d probably volunteer to put out the chairs at church on Sunday. If I was a barista, I’d probably volunteer to make coffees in the church foyer on Sunday. Music is what I have in my hand, so it’s how I can serve. I just want to help.

Is there anything about your creative process that makes it unique?
I’ve never paused too long to consider it, but I suppose my process is different from many other writers I know in that I’m a very visual writer—I need to see the words written down—and that’s probably because reading is such a huge part of my process. I don’t think I’ve ever been inspired to write a song by listening to music (that I can remember anyway), but I have countless songs inspired by books I’ve read. 

Is there anything that you specifically tend to draw inspiration from?
Books, stories, and people.

What is your recommended process when it comes to writing songs?
I think everyone’s process will be unique to them, but there are practical tools you can gain and sharpen that will help you as you discover the process for yourself. I’d really suggest people consider taking my CREATR course to get a handle on some of those. Otherwise, there are a ton of blogs, articles, and books out there to help you. I’d just suggest resourcing yourself in any part of your life that is meaningful to you and you want to see growth in—whether that’s friendships, faith, songwriting, cooking, mental health—anything!

Do you have any rules of thumb when it comes to editing your own songs?
Be willing to “shoot the unicorn.”

In light of its recent 15th anniversary, how has the impact of Albertine inspired you?
It inspires me to remember that the best art will always be the art that is totally committed to telling the truth.

How have you changed as a musician/person since its release?
Immensely, I would hope.

SEVEN Tracklist:

  1. Ancient Gates
  2. Banner
  3. A Thousand Hallelujahs
  4. Communion
  5. Nineveh
  6. Burn for You
  7. Honey in the Rock
  8. I Belong to Jesus
  9. King Jesus


Martin Guitar 000-28 Brooke Ligertwood

Platinum recording artist Brooke Ligertwood has seen wide-ranging global success across various genres. Brooke has a long-standing and deep personal connection with Martin guitars, and Martin was thrilled to team up with Brooke to design her dream Custom Artist model. This auditorium-style guitar is tastefully designed with a clean aesthetic and is available with and without a sunburst top. The model was inspired by a combination of Brooke’s favorite aspects of Martin’s Paul Simon and Eric Clapton Custom Artist models that are part of Brooke’s collection. Personalized features on this model include a simple wreath pattern inlay on the headstock and Brooke’s signature inlaid on the twentieth fret. It also includes a signed paper label that is numbered in sequence.


BODY SIZE: 000-14 Fret


CONSTRUCTION: Dovetail Neck Joint




BRACE SHAPE: Scalloped


TOP MATERIAL:Sitka Spruce with VTS

NECK SHAPE: Modified V

BACK MATERIAL: East Indian Rosewood

NECK TAPER: Standard Taper

SIDE MATERIAL: East Indian Rosewood



Fishman Gold Plus Natural I
Fishman Infinity Matrix
Fishman Presys Plus
Fishman Ellipse Matrix Blend
LR Baggs Anthem


Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 Light MA540T

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Kate Koenig is a songwriter, music journalist, and music teacher based in Brooklyn, New York. From 2016 to 2018, she was the editor of Music Alive!, a music education magazine for middle schoolers, and associate editor for its sister publication, In Tune Monthly. Since her time at In Tune, she has been a regular contributor to Guitar Girl, Acoustic Guitar, and Premier Guitar magazines, as well as the annual Martin Journal. As a songwriter, she's released two albums—Haircuts for Barbers (2018) and Etemenanki (2021), both of which are available on all streaming platforms.