Singer-songwriter Ellie Holcomb has just released her brand new solo debut "As Sure As the Sun" (Full Heart Music). Produced by Brown Bannister and Ben Hive, the album is choke full of songs that Holcoomb has written that connect us deeply with the Word of God. The album has since topped iTunes Christian album chart and the current radio single "The Broken Beautiful" currently sits at no. 3 New & Active on the National Audience chart. We are so privileged to be able to catch up with Ellie Holcomb for this exclusive interview as she shares with us her thoughts about her new album, song writing and worship:
Hallels: Thank you Ellie for doing this interview with us. For some of our readers who have not yet heard of your music, can you describe for us what your sound is like?
I'm a singer-songwriter at heart, but I've heard I sound like a combination of Sara Bareilles & Norah Jones with a little bit of folk mixed in. : )
Hallels: For years you have been singing with your husband and his band, what prompted you to record a solo album?
My husband is really the one who encouraged me to record solo the most. He kept hearing the songs I was writing and basically said, "Babe, I think the world might need to hear these songs. It's time for you to make a record." I can't tell you how sweet it's been to be so supported and so encouraged by my best friend, who also happens to be my husband.
Hallels: In the process of listening and reviewing your new record, I can't help but notice how closely tied to Scripture your songs are. Why is it important for songwriters to utilize Scripture?
I don't know if I can answer for other songwriters, but I write scripture into songs to help myself remember what is true. I actually started to memorize scripture with a friend of mine who struggles with depression. We were both wanting to push back at the shadows with truth and light. We were amazed at the hope that resulted from trying to memorize God's promises, but oh my..it is hard! I can remember 1,000 songs though, so I started trying to weave God's word into songs with the hope that they would point me back to the truth. It's been so encouraging to watch them point others to the truth as well...that's like icing on the cake.
Hallels: I am particularly fond of "The Valley," frankly it's my most played song on my iTunes this week. Tell our readers what the song is about and how you came about in writing it?
So glad you like it. I actually wrote that song for a few friends of mine who struggle with depression pretty severely. It's full of phrases from the Psalms, mainly cries out to God for rescue. As I started playing the song more and more though, I realized it carries so much of my own story as well. It feels like a song that's about coming to the end of my rope and asking God to intervene. That happens ALL the time for me, so I love singing it.
Hallels: What are two songs from this album you are most proud of? And why?
I wrote "As Sure As the Sun" when we were hoping to start a family. I wanted to write a song that carried the truth that I hope our children will know in the very depths of their being. As it turns out, it's really what I need to know in depths of my being too!
It comes out of Hosea 6:3. "Let us acknowledge the Lord, let us press on to acknowledge Him, for as surely as the sun rises, He will appear..." I NEVER fall asleep wondering whether or not the sun is going to come up. It's a sure bet. And yet, I doubt God's love and His mercy and His presence all the time, so I love the metaphor this song carries. It's one that has brought a lot of life to my doubting heart, and I pray it will be a song that reminds weary souls of the hope and mercy and love that Jesus offers every morning.
I really love "The Valley" as well. It's the first song I wrote weaving scripture throughout melody, and it came from this place of earnest and desperate prayer for my friends. It's the song that helped me stumble into sitting in God's word and letting music come out.
Hallels: Tell us a little about your song writing process, do you usually start with the melody or a Bible passage or a phrase? And what instrument do you use to compose?
My songs usually start with a promise in God's word that I'm really wanting to believe. I'll sit in that promise or that text and pray and try to listen and eventually a melody will spill out of me. Then I try to flesh out the lyrics as honestly as possible, weaving in God's word and the promises I'm hoping and praying are true.
There are other times though, that I'll have a melody in my head, and start flipping through scripture or my journals to see what truth I can work into the tune. It's one of my favorite things I've ever done...like I said before, sitting in God's word and letting songs come out. Usually there's a guitar or a piano along for the ride as well, but a lot of times I'll get better players to help figure out the parts. I'm a melody and lyrics girl at heart. I love doing the same thing with other writers as well, and I've been blessed to get to do this with some amazing writers along the way.
Hallels: Many of your songs have a leaning towards being sung in churches. Do you lead worship in church? Any inclinations of doing a live worship record down the road?
I love it when that happens! Usually I'm not thinking about writing a song specifically for people to sing in church, because a lot of the songs that come out of me these days are more like personal prayers or heart cries to God, but it's such a beautiful thing when that somehow resonates with a group of people.
We get to sing "The Valley" a lot of times when we volunteer with Young Life camps in the summers, and it is so sweet to see a group of people sing a song that you wrote that is some how ringing true in their own souls. What an honor!
Hallels: With the release of this new album, where can our readers go to purchase it and find out more about you?
You can purchase the album on iTunes at www.assureasthesun.com .You can get physical CDs and other merchandise as well as all the info you'd ever want to know, including chord charts and lyrics for the songs at www.ellieholcomb.com . Thanks for sending these questions along. Many blessings and cheers to remembering what's true.