One of Christian music's leading folk/pop duos for more than a decade, Jenny & Tyler return with There Will Be A Song, the couple's first studio release in three years. The highly anticipated project was produced by Tyler Somers and offers 14 tracks exploring justice, love and beauty.
Building on the signature harmonies and introspective songwriting that has come to define the duo's sound, highlights of There Will Be A Song include album opener "Who I'm Not," an emphatic plea for both temporal and spiritual authenticity; "Lesser god," an exploration of human nature versus self-denial, featuring acclaimed folk singer/songwriter Adam Agin; and the anthemic "O Freedom (There Will Be A Song)," showcasing Togo, Africa-born singer/songwriter NoMaD.
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Q: Thanks for doing this interview with us. For the sake of some of our readers who may not be familiar with your music, can you briefly tell us about your journey?
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. We met at the University of Delaware back in 2004 and have been making music together in some capacity ever since. We met through the Baptist Student Ministry, where we led worship together and began writing songs. We started dating pretty quickly. In 2006 we took a trip to Nashville and made a record together. At that point Jenny & Tyler, the band, was formed. We got married right after we graduated and stayed in Delaware for a year. There isn't much of a scene for original music in Delaware and we loved Nashville, so we decided to make a go at music here. Ten years later we are still making music and touring and now have three little girls along for the ride.
Q: Congratulations on the release of "There Will Be a Song" which is also your first release in three years. Did you approach the making of this album any different compared to your previous album?
Thank you! It's been a long time coming. We did approach this differently. About a year-and-a-half ago we started a Patreon campaign. Patreon is essentially like an ongoing Kickstarter. Patrons give a certain amount of money each month and get exclusive content in return. We have been giving our patrons exclusive demos of new songs since we began the campaign. Almost all of the songs on this new record were released to our patrons as demos before we made the album. We gave them a collection of 30 songs and they actually got to vote and help us pick which songs would make the final cut for the record. It was so encouraging to make this record with a little group of our biggest supporters. They spoke into the record and essentially funded it as well.
We also tracked the majority of the record in our home studio. Years ago, Tyler produced our record, Faint Not, and we decided to go that route again. With the way the music industry has changed over the past three years, it no longer makes sense for us to spend lots of money to make a record when we can do it at home. We did enlist the talented Ben Shive to produce lead vocals and we're so glad we did.
Q: What were some of the joys in the making of this record?
Two primary joys come to mind. The first was string arranging. On "A Boy & a Girl" and "Lesser God [feat. Adam Agin]," Tyler especially had a lot of fun. The former song has an old country/western feel and the latter feels like something out of a thriller. The second joy was collaborating. Tracking drums with Spencer Ford at our studio was fun because many of his first takes were so solid. Having Aaron Fabbrini on bass and Sara Groves on background vocals on "Waters Roll" was amazing because it brought so much passion and energy. And having Jess Ray and Kyle Langdon sing on "Somewhere A Voice Is Calling" added such depth.
Q: Why did you name the album "There Will Be a Song"?
That title comes from track five, "O Freedom," which holds on to the hope of freedom for those who are oppressed. On an even broader scale, the record proclaims this idea of hope-really the hope of victory and deliverance from evil by way of love, justice, and the grace of God. We could elaborate on this for a long time!
Q: What I love about this new record is the diversity. You even had Togo, Africa-born singer/songwriter NoMaD on one of your songs. How did that come about?
NoMaD is a super talented artist. He came to Nashville last year to record a few songs in our home studio. He and Tyler became fast friends and he helped us put together a house show in Tampa later that year. NoMaD has been battling cancer for a long time while supporting his wife and three children. His story of perseverance in the face of this extreme trial is inspiring, and it was an honor to have him join us on the title track, "O Freedom (There Will Be A Song)."
Q: Sara Groves, who is one of my favorites, sang backing vocals on another track. How did you get to meet Sara? And what was it like working with Sara?
We met Sara and her husband Troy back in 2011. A mutual friend tweeted a video to our song, "Faint Not," and Sara and Troy took the time to watch it. They loved it and sent us an email inviting us to join them on Sara's upcoming tour. It was that simple. They took a chance on us and welcomed us onto their tour bus and took care of us throughout the whole tour. We've learned so much from Sara and Troy and they have become dear friends and mentors. Sara is a joy to work with because she is so passionate and truly puts her heart into her work.
Q: The album also addresses many issues in life and in the faith. What are some of the issues you address on this record? And why are they important to you?
We've been talking about the record as a collection of songs about identity, idolatry, justice, beauty, and reconciliation. I think a theme that really threads its way through the whole record is one of hope and a deep longing for all things to be made right.
Q: With co-writing and writing of these new songs, how has your faith grown?
The more that we write and sing about things that are true, it seems the more we trust the Truth. Jesus said He is the Truth, so really, the more we write about and sing Truth, the more we get to experience Jesus. To put it another way, songwriting assists us in the process of renewing our minds, so that we are transformed (Romans 12:1-2), knowing more of our true identity-that we have been crucified with Christ and no longer live, but Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20).