Greg: You waited quite a while between your last release and This Is Your Life. Was it a conscious decision to wait a while before going back into the recording process, or did it just happen that way?
Lisa: Well, we were on the road constantly. We did two tours and then went to Brazil three times, Macedonia, Kosovo, sang for the soldiers and the U.S.O. in Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia. So, we were just working and then it was like ‘we have to make a record!’ When we sat down to make the record, we had been giving so much and working that we didn’t know what we wanted to sing about and our pastors were like “well, just get in the church... just serve in the church.” So, we just started working in the youth group, working in the nursery, being on the ministry team, and just kind of re-focused.
Danielle: Went to Bible school.
Yeah, and we went to Bible school.
We were on the ministry team and we were helping some girls and leading them to the Lord and doing altar ministry. One of the girls that gave her life to the Lord was part of Mercy Ministries and I started calling, she didn’t know who I was, it was just kind of as a mentor thing, and they found out that I was in Out of Eden and that I was calling her. Then the leader of that branch of Mercy Ministries called and said “Hey, will you come talk to all the girls?” So, what that led to was us sitting down and first ministering to them and then we just sat down and said, “what would help you guys on a record, what could we sing about that could really bless you and would be relevant to your life?”
We got so many topics, ranging from self-esteem issues, insecurities, how to deal with rape and abuse. How do you know if God’s really forgiven you after you’ve fallen? You know, restoration issues. One girl asked us “How do I tell my friends that now that I know God, I’m different now, I can’t do the same things that I used to.” Obviously, that’s where “Different Now” came from.
Other issues were things like, “What’s my destiny, what’s my purpose, and why am I here?” Those kind of questions. We took that same meeting to youth groups all around the country, youth pastors, inner city missions, troubled teen homes, all these people and found that people are struggling with the same things, no matter what race or age. So, we pretty much wrote the album from those requests.
It definitely shows. One of the main things that I’ve been very excited to talk to you guys about is Christian pop radio and the fact that it is nothing like mainstream pop radio. There are few urban sounds or alternative bands, etc. What do you think needs to happen to get more urban music on Christian pop radio?
Andrea: Education. I think people really need to educate their audience. You know, the argument often is, and it’s a valid argument, but it’s that maybe the people who listen to Christian radio wouldn’t like it, but I’ve been in cars with teens and their moms and their moms are singing along with Destiny’s Child or JaRule or whoever these people are, regardless of the lyrics. Sometimes, what happens too, is that a person who maybe doesn’t like rap listens to a station that plays rock and rap, where as the rap fans may start to like a rock song. So, I think if you will give your audience the chance to become educated and just take a chance.
I agree very much with that. Okay, what would each of you say is a Scripture that is important to your life right now.
Right now, Romans 12, I think starting in verse 9 or 12, (laughs) I can’t remember which one, but it says that love must be sincere. And, we all like to say, “you know I love everybody” or, “I love them like a brother in Christ,” but I’ve really just been saying to myself, "what does that mean?" I think love means serving. Love means esteeming oneself over someone else, and not just loving my sister or loving my best friend, but everybody. That’s definitely what God is teaching me right now.
For me, it’s either I or II Corinthians, but its 6:1, and it says not to put any kind of a stumbling block in anyone’s way, lest your ministry be discredited. That’s really taught me to really, really, really, really be strict in my walk with the Lord, and even in my private time, that I am taking that time with the Lord, so that our ministry will be as effective as it can.
Mine is more personal, Jeremiah 29:11. I was praying to God just the other day for direction and I read that. “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future that will not be cut off.” So many times we want to go ahead of God, and God’s like, “No! I know what I’ve got for you, so just chill out!”
A big topic of discussion right now among Christian circles, of course, is mainstream impact. If the door were open, would you be comfortable having your music exposed to the mainstream?
In a lot of ways, the door has been opened. You know, we had a song on the Doctor Dolittle movie, and our songs are always on MTV and BET.
Every show that MTV has. (Laughs.)
Yeah, I’m always hearing “Lookin’ For Love” in the background of shows on MTV.
Everyone: Yes! (Laughs.)
When we first started, before everyone really started crossing over, you know, it was really only Amy Grant [who had crossover success] to that point. We sat down with Gotee and told them we want to impact the world. We don’t want to just sing for the church and that’s it, we want to go wherever God is taking us, and when He takes us in that direction we will go.
I also think that mainstream impact has very little to do with radio play or your video being on something. We are going out and singing to people who don’t know Christ, not just people who do. We aren’t just always singing in churches, although, yes, sometimes we are, obviously. I think when your music is touching people who don’t know Christ, that’s what mainstream impact really is.
It’s interesting to see mainstream labels that are now reaching into the Christian community and signing artists to their labels.
That’s what you want. You want them wanting what you have, and of course when you go, you have to be prepared and prayed up so that you don’t compromise.
We, as Out of Eden just really want people to find out when we get out there, we can make a difference and everyone will know that we believe in God. I love that P.O.D. has done that so well. They are labeled as God-chasers, and what a great title to be labeled right on MTV and that’s how we want to be.
Who are some artists in the mainstream or Christian market that you are really into?
I love Mary Mary’s record. Jon Gibson has a new record.
I just saw Souljahz perform, we’ve been friends for a long time, and their album is just awesome. And the new Grits album, too!
And the John Reuben album... all the Gotee albums! (Laughs.)
Kirk Franklin’s new album is awesome! We got to watch Toby perform every night (during their tour last year) and that’s just always fun, even though it’s been 8 years of watching him, it never gets old. I love this emo band called Further Seems Forever. I’m into like all emo and Brit-rock, and I’m not sure about the full record, because I’m sure it’s not censored, but “One Mic” from Nas is a great song.
Incredible video, too.
Where would you like to see Out of Eden in 10 years?
I wouldn’t want to be performing as a group, or performing at all. (Laughs.)
Yeah, I think in 10 years, people will be coming up to me saying, “Weren’t you in Out of Eden?” (Laughs.)
None of us have to be in the spotlight, so it’s not like we would keep making records to stay in the spotlight. We feel like our ministry would not stop when we get off stage and will not stop when Out of Eden is over and we’ll take it into whatever arena that God has us in.
Not to say that Out of Eden won’t be around in 10 years, we just won’t be touring.
But then you look at like dc Talk and they are still just as dope as when they started. So, you just never really know. It’s one of those never say never kind of things.
But then again, they didn’t start when they were 12, 15, and 17!
And, also, singing was never really our goal. God sort of placed that desire in our hearts [as we went along].
Any other topics on your mind? Favorite cartoon characters, movies, cereal brands?
Cereal... not Lucky Charms, but the non-brand, the generic brand of Lucky Charms.
Like the Wal-Mart brand...
The Kroger brand!
Yeah, the Kroger brand, especially; Magic Stars, Marshmallow Treasures. I’m hungry now!
By Greg Webb