Widely-known for lending their acclaimed vocals on projects and tours by multi-platinum, GRAMMY, Dove and Stellar Award winning artists, husband and wife Seth and Nirva Ready announce the global release of their long-awaited full-length debut album, Never Alone, May 27 on Integrity Music.
Q: Thank you for doing this interview with us. To start the ball rolling, tell us a little bit about yourselves. How did the two of you meet? And how did you first feel called to Christian music?
SETH: Well, there is a bit of a discrepancy in our accounts, but we both agree that we first met at a Billy Graham crusade at Qualcomm Stadium a number of years ago, although Nirva doesn't actually remember meeting me. I obviously made a big impression on her. J She was singing background for tobyMac and I was singing for Kirk Franklin. We bumped into each other on the road from time to time after that, but it wasn't until a mutual friend of ours hired us to do BGV's that we got to know each other. A couple years (and rejections) later, she agreed to be my wife. And we've been happily married now for just under 10 years.
NIRVA: Yeah, the "rejections" are where the discrepancies lie, but anyways... J I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Chicago. My parents are Haitian immigrants who came to America in order to seek better opportunities. I'm the first person in my family to be born in America. We were churchgoers, but living in an urban community can bring lots of distractions and bad influences. I had some vague notions and beliefs about Christ in my teenage years, but it was in college that I became a true follower of Christ. That shifted my whole paradigm for my life and my love of music and singing. I guess that's when I decided that Christian music would be my path.
SETH: Mine was something of a slow realization. I grew up in pre-American Idol days when the music industry seemed like a fantasy world in some distant realm-especially being raised in a small town in central Florida. I always felt a call to ministry and had an intense love for music, but I never thought I could make a living doing either of those. In fact, I was a math major in college looking at becoming an engineer when I first met someone that was a couple degrees away from the music industry. I made a demo with that person that got passed to Kirk Franklin, and suddenly after my Junior year, I found myself on the road travelling the world doing something I loved. It was during that season and some years after that God began to show me the assignment on my life for music ministry. And now many years later, I'm seeing those dreams become reality as I am getting to travel with my wife spreading the good news of the Kingdom through music.
Q: How would you describe your sound?
SETH: The easiest label we can think to put on our sound is "urban contemporary worship." It is a blend of pop, gospel, soul, r&b, and contemporary worship with a dash of hip hop.
Q: Congratulations on the release of your new Integrity Music release "Never Alone." Why did you choose to work with Integrity Music? What do they bring to this record that you particularly appreciate?
NIRVA: Thanks so much! We were very honored when Integrity gave us a call and said they were interested in signing us to their label. We love their heart for worship and for the Church. After meeting with them and seeing them up close we were even more impressed with the Kingdom focus. We really felt at home. They have years of experience in furnishing the church with great worship anthems and praise songs, and we love that.
Q: I believe you have collaborated with some of Christian music's biggest and best writers in penning these new songs. Who are some of your co-writers? How did you get to work with them?
SETH: Yeah, we had the privilege of collaborating with some amazing writers on this project. When we began, the label asked us for sort of a "wish list" of writers we would like to work with. From there, they began to set us up with folks from that list as well as people they thought we would vibe well with. They did such a good job putting us with the right individuals to help us craft songs that are congregational, yet uniquely "us." We got to work with Michael Farren, Mia Fields, Jacob Sooter, Israel Houghton, TobyMac, Victor Oquendo and BJ Putnam, among many others. We learned so much from these folks, and are so thankful for their incredible gifts and how they helped this project come to life.
Q: Not only do you have some of Christian music's hottest writers on the record, but you have some great artists singing with you on various songs. Who were some of the artists who got to sing with you on this record?
NIRVA: My Diverse City family really came through for us on this album. DJ Maj added this really fun dance part on "Pour It Out" that helped take that song to another level. Shonlock, a longtime member of DVC and a great artist in his own right, rapped on the song "Never Alone" and smashed it! And last but not least, Mr. tobyMac sang and rapped on "Brother," and it added so much to an already great song. I'm so thankful to these guys and how they have been there for me over the years. They are so gifted, and they were the perfect fit for the songs they are featured on.
Q: One song that means alot to me is your take of The Brillance's "Brother." Why did you choose to cover "Brother"? What does this song mean to you?
SETH: The minute we heard it, we were drawn to it. What a lyric and melody, and how appropro for a time like this when everywhere you look there is so much division and hatred. In the realm of politics, religion, and public policy, there is so much anger and even violence being perpetrated toward others. We are even seeing race issues come to a head like we haven't in years. As an interracial couple we've experienced our share of hurtful comments and stares, but to see it to the scale it has grown lately is disheartening to say the least. It is in the midst of this cultural turmoil that Jesus' command to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us breaks through our cultural norms and natural inclinations. This song is an expression of that command. It reminds us to see even our enemies as first of all made in God's image, and therefore worthy of respect even if we strongly disagree with them. This message is needed right now and we feel honored to carry it.
Q: Of the countless worship albums out there, what makes "Never Alone" stand out? What is the message you wish to convey through this album?
SETH: For one, the musical style is a bit unique for a worship album. There aren't a ton of worship albums that blend R&B, Gospel, Pop, and Contemporary worship. And we didn't necessarily set out to do something "different," but this is what naturally comes out of us when we write and sing. Also, being a married couple, especially an interracial married couple and duo, adds some uniqueness to it, I think. Something special happens when we work together that doesn't happen when we work individually.
We really want people to walk away from this album with a fresh dose of courage and confidence that, no matter what we go through, we are never alone. We don't have to give in to fear. We can continue the work of advancing God's Kingdom agenda knowing that He is with us every step of the way.