Essential Records' I AM THEY has released a new single, "Crown Him," along with the lyric video featuring the new voice of Jon McConnell. This single is the follow-up to the band's 2015 self-titled debut that features the band's unique three-part vocal harmonies.
I AM THEY is made up of Abbie Parker (vocals/harmonium), Jon McConnell (vocals/guitar/keys), Matt Hein (vocals/guitar/mandolin), Justin Shinn (keys/banjo) and Sara Palmer (drums) represent I AM THEY.
The inspiration for the band's name comes from John 17. "In that chapter," shares Sara Palmer. "Jesus is praying for his disciples and refers to them as 'they.' He's praying and saying things like, 'Sanctify them. Make them holy. They are not of the world because I am not of the world.' He's really interceding for his disciples. We are disciples of Christ and being disciples is just as important today as it was back then. We're still here for the same purpose on the same mission with the same calling, bringing people to the Lord and spreading the news of the Gospel to people. We really wanted to incorporate that into our mission as a band, saying that anybody who is a believer in Christ is a 'They.' They are a disciple as well so we can stand together in that and really bring people into the 'I AM THEY' family because we are all family in Christ."
Q: It has been more than 2 years since your last album and the last time we interviewed you. To date, your interview article is one of our most read pieces on our site. I know many things havetranspired over the last couple of years, what is one thing you have been most thankful of that has happened?
So crazy how time flies! We've been extremely humbled by the response and encouragement we've received since our debut a couple years back. The people we have met, the stories we have heard, the love and songs we've shared with people from all over the world since - I don't think we could have prepared ourselves for it really, but it has been life changing for each of us. I think we could say with confidence that the thing we're most thankful for is the constant and consistent love and faithfulness of our God. It has truly been like running in fast forward through life and without Him lighting a path for our feet we'd probably be stuck in a large bush somewhere.
Q: Were you happy at how the first record was received? Would you change anything about the album in hindsight?
We often hear and are blessed to know that people connected with the album as a whole, not just a song or two. That was a goal in writing and putting the album together. So no, I don't think we would change a thing. That time in our lives,what those songs mean and represent to us, the way everything came together ...alot of good memories shared and a lot of testimonies inside and outside the band that are related to those songs.
Q: You have also received a Dove Award nomination, how does that feel?
Again, we're just humbled for the opportunity to serve. We didn't intend on being a band; we were just a worship team that came together in our hometown of Carson City, Nevada to serve a small community of believers in the area. We feel honored by all of the opportunities we've been given since to share the love of Christ through music. Whether that's the Dove's or in small little communitychurch in Tom Bean, Texas - it all feels really special to be a part of.
Q: You just released "Crown Him" with new vocalist Jon McConnell. What do you guys appreciate about Jon's contribution to this track and to the team?
Yeah! Jon just joined the group and we couldn't be more excited about it! He's a great dude who loves Jesus and feels called to worship. His voice brings a fresh sound for the group, and we all feel He's a great addition.Jon leads this song so well. I think that comes from the heart behind it. I know his personal life testimony connects with this song and you can definitely feel and hear that when you listen to the track.
Q: Tell us more about "Crown Him." For our readers who have not heard it, what's the song about and why are you excited about it?
There's a scripture in Colossians 3:17 that says, "Whatever you do - no matter what it is - in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and independence on Him, giving thanks and glory to God the Father through Him." I think it's easy sometimes to go about living our lives in our own strength and for our own well-being without much thought of Who gave us that strength or really what greater purpose our lives hold. This song is a reminder that we were bought at a precious price and for a precious purpose. That Jesus gave His life for us so that we could live in His victory and for His glory. Because of that, now everything we have and everything we are belongs to Him. Our prayer is that when people hear this song that they would be reminded that whatever we do - whatever we pour our lives into, that it is meant to magnify and glorify our God and Crown Him as King of our lives.
Q: Are you working on your new album now? If you are, could you give us a glimpse of it? Do you have a title for it yet? When will it be released?
No title yet! No sneak peeks yet either, besides what you're hearing from the newtrack ("Crown Him"). We're still currently just writing a bunch, pulling more songs and demos together, with plans to release some new tunes later in 2017. We've got a bunch of songs written - a handful that we are super excited about. We want to make this album as special front to back as the last.
Q: What's the direction of the new record? Is it more worship centered? What are the types of songs you are looking for?
These past couple of years have made our calling more clear than ever. I AM THEY is a collective of the church. It represents an identity. We're disciples, we're children of God, we're the church, we're the bride of Christ. We want to emphasize that. The last album had elements of folk, pop, and worship throughout. I'd say, while we're still an acoustic band, the next record will highlight and put emphasis on worship. That is a direction we're excited about -for the future of our group, but also for the church at large.
Q: How has your faith in Christ over the last couple of years?
As disciples and followers of Christ (speaking for the band and for believers in general), we don't always get to choose where we go or how we're going to get there. Life sometimes feels like the boat ride across the Red Sea in Mark chapter 4. You're asking yourself, "Can I trust You, God? Will I see the other side?" But as we see in that passage, Jesus knew exactly where they were going and was confident that they would make it there. He saw through the storm. God is continually strengthening our faith and he does so through the elements of life that feel least natural to us. I am thankful to say, again, that we have seen the faithfulness of God to carry us forward, to confirm and establish the calling He has for us as a band, and to strengthen and unify us around that calling. We can't wait to find out where the next couple of years might take us!