How do you feel like this record is different than you past releases?
Musically I’ve grown a lot. I’ve kind of honed in on what it is that I love to sing, and that is a pop/soul kind of feel. I grew up on soul music, soul singers, just anything with a little bit of soul. I also went through a lot of phases of “Am I a rock singer? Funk? Indie folk?” I just realized, you know what, I think I just have to deal with the fact that I’m a pop girl (laughs). I just like pop music, that’s the other thing that I grew up on. So musically that’s kind of where this record landed and obviously in my writing too. I grew, but I wouldn’t say that I changed too much. I listen to it and I think “You know, it’s me.” For older fans I feel like it’s not this whole 360, it’s more growth.
I know you said you’re a pop girl, who are your specific musical influences?
I guess the first things that I ever listened to were Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, and Eric Clapton. That’s where the soul stuff started, and then I moved into the Mariahs and the Whitneys of the world. I didn’t actually know any Christian music until I started singing it. I thought Christian music was Whitney Houston’s Preacher’s Wife, I didn’t really know much about it so when I started listening to that I started listening to Sixpence None the Richer, Mute Math, and Plum. I loved all of those artists. Now I’m on the Adele train (laughs). I know everybody’s listening to Adele and I love her music, I also love Natasha Bedingfield, they’re just great singers with great songs.
How do you think that Christian music has changed since you started out?
People’s minds are opening, I think, on what exactly Christian music is. If it really is a formula or is it something that moves you to worship. For me, that’s the definition of Christian music. I turn on the radio now and I hear the Fray or Switchfoot and I’m moved to worship, and it’s especially cool when you can hear that on a mainstream radio station and the whole rest of the world doesn’t know what’s hitting them. Christian music is embracing that more and the fan base is becoming younger too which is allowing for the newer sounds and newer style of music. It sounds like everything else on the radio but it’s coming from a heart that loves Jesus. It’s a cool thing to watch happen in people’s ministries. I think that’s what we are called to do, to meet people where they are. Music is probably one of the most powerful things in our culture so I think that’s really cool.
So I know that you toured with Jordin Sparks, and one of those tours was with Britney Spears, did you get to meet her?
You know it’s funny, I was around her all the time and we would acknowledge each other, but there was never a proper introduction on that tour. I had met her before that, you know I doubt she put it together (laughs). She was pretty protected on that tour, she’s always running somewhere and there were always a lot of people around her so I never really got the chance to sit down with her.
What was that tour like?
Man, it was exactly what it was called, it was called the circus tour (laughs) and it felt like a circus. We basically had a circus traveling with us. We had fire throwers and guys on stilts, all these crazy acrobats. It was a really entertaining show every night. Every night everyone was blown away by the show that we put on. It was cool because I was friends with some of the dancers before we got on the tour and I knew that they were Christians. I asked them “what is this like? Playing along with the show? It’s not necessarily the most wholesome show, how is it trying to balance that?” My one friend answered in the coolest way, he just said “It’s my job to love these people, and I’m a sinner too, and we all need to just love each other as hard as we can and pray as hard as we can and really just know that God is a big God and He is doing work 24 hours a day, not just when we’re on stage. When we have our off time God is still working and we are still His people. We have to always be doing His work.” It was a really cool time to actually minister in that situation.