Her music has aired on national radio and television shows such as America’s Next Top Model and The Biggest Loser. She tours nationally, singing, speaking at conferences and leading worship. She’s just released her eighth CD, Everything You Love Comes Alive and is also a World Vision artist who speaks on behalf of children living in the world’s poorest regions. Staci makes her home in Northern California with her husband and two children.
A few months ago, I asked Staci to answer some questions for me about the intersection of faith and creativity. Let me encourage you to read the two-part interview (Part 1 and Part 2). Today, Staci is stopping by the blog to talk about her new album. You must absolutely get it.
Your new album is called “Everything You Love Comes Alive.” Where did the title come from?
It started with a song idea I had as I watched a man who lives near me grow a little garden all summer with his four small kids. I saw what light and water do to the seeds they planted— and I saw those seeds come to life, and the kids’ excitement sharing the experience of growing this little garden with their father. I thought about the spiritual world, how God loves us–his creation. Love is like water and air; we can’t help but grow from it, and thrive in it. In giving and receiving love, we come alive and what we love comes alive.
You’ve compared this new album to “a group of wildflowers” that sprang up in a rough season of your life. What do you mean by that?
In the three years since I’ve recorded my last album, Meteor Shower, life has been throwing some challenging curve balls at my family and me. We lost our dream house in the real estate market crash, everything, our savings drained, our 401Ks gone… it was horrific. During that same period, both of our teenaged children were experiencing life-changing crises—the kind that ruptures and breaks apart families. I was having some physical problems related to a shoulder injury. Just kind of everything that was good and beautiful in our lives seemed to crumble. I was depressed and fearful of an uncertain future. I couldn’t write; hardly talked about it. And I let my heart just kind of shut down; it was easier than dealing with the pain.
But somewhere in the middle of that season, I picked up a guitar to discover an alternative tuning, dissonant and beautiful, unlike the familiar chords in most of my writing. These chords began to stir my soul. I started thinking about the way God loves. How it’s like liquid, seeping into those places we think are air tight. The depth of those places where we’re hurting, or so frozen we can’t even feel anymore. And I knew I couldn’t keep from letting that love in. As I played those chord progressions, I felt myself come alive again. I wrote Everything You Love Comes Alive and that song—and every one after it—felt like a gift I brought home from a long and difficult journey.
Can you share about one particular song on the record that was inspired by some of those difficult times?
More Like Your Father might be my personal favorite. It began as a gift I wanted to give to some of my friends who, like me, were in a really dark season. I wanted to write a song that offered hope, a song that said, “I know you don’t see it right now, but you’re actually becoming a different person through this.”
But when I revisited the song a few months later with Nate, my producer, we both realized the song needed to be about my son, Zach. Watching him lose his way for a while, swallowed up in depression, struggling to find his way out, I could put a face to this song and say to him personally, “It’s a struggle right now, but something breathtaking is happening here. You are becoming who you’re supposed to be.” And he was. Little by little I saw him letting God’s love into the areas of his life that were broken and sick, and it changed him. Transformed him.
There’s a first on this record for you—a duet! “The Thief and the Lover” with Jason Gray. How did that come about, and what’s the idea behind the song?
Jason and I met several years ago through our mutual affiliation with World Vision, and we’ve been good friends ever since. When my producer, Nate, suggested doing this song as a duet, I asked Jason and he was totally into it. The song lends itself easily to two different “personas” singing the verses, and I thought Jason would be great as the thief. Haha! Sorry, Jason. Nothing personal.
The inspiration was that scripture in John 10:10: The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly
We find ourselves depleted of the things we need most when we let the thief into our thought life. Tenderness, forgiveness, mercy—all of those good gifts start to disappear, and we’re left with the emptiness. Jesus promises a life that’s not missing or lacking anything. He’s the Lover who comes with arms spilling over with all that we long for, ask for, hope for. When we let Him in, we find ourselves filled again with all that is good and hopeful and true. We laugh more. Thank more. Risk more. Give more.
I can’t help but smile whenever I sing this one! Truly, it is a much-needed reminder for ME every single day.
I noticed on your website you’re doing some conference and retreat speaking. Is this new music related to any of your speaking topics?
Absolutely. Many of the songs on this album explore the ways love transforms us, shapes us into who we’re meant to be. And I’ve been speaking lately about Cultivating a Creative Life-which is not so much a “how to” seminar about being creative as an encouragement to love others with the gifts and talents God has given us. A lot of the songs on this new album are rooted deeply in that idea, so I weave together music, stories and scriptures to share some insights on the subject. I love having the time to really dig into the truths and life experiences that this new album grew out of, and at the same time encourage people to develop and invest their own gifts. It’s been hugely rewarding.
Where can we buy your new album, or find out more about what you do?
Thanks for asking! Here are a few links that might be helpful.
My website www.stacifrenes.com
You can buy the new album here http://stacifrenes.bandcamp.com/
Or on iTunes www.itunes.com/stacifrenes
My Facebook page is www.facebook.com/stacifrenes and if you “like” my page you’ll get some free music!
For you Twitter peeps: www.twitter.com/stacifrenes