Maryland-based husband/wife duo Wild Harbors is set to bow their highly anticipated full-length debut, Monument, March 15. Produced by Andrew Osenga (Laura Story, Caedmon's Call), the alt-pop singer/songwriter collection features 10 story-driven tracks wrapped in memorable melodies and warm harmonies.
Monument is highlighted by the title-cut, a deeply personal anthem for Wild Harbors' Chris and Jenna Badeker, reminding them of God's guiding hand in every step of their journey. The project also features two poignant selections addressing marriage-the passionate "House On Fire" grapples with Chris' perspective on relational tensions, while "Alone Together" explores Jenna's fear of isolation.
Additionally, a showcase of the couple's storytelling style, "Ballad of Wallace and Jessie" was inspired by a musician on the Titanic who played his violin as passengers boarded lifeboats. A story of great sacrifice, Wallace Hartley used his talent in a most profound way to comfort those around him.
Q: Thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourselves: who is Wild Harbors? Why did you pick the name Wild Harbors?
Chris: Thanks for having us! We're Chris & Jenna Badeker; we're songwriters, we're married to each other, and we recently started Wild Harbors as a new project. We liked the name Wild Harbors because of how open it felt in terms of what it could encompass. It evoked a lot of ideas that felt true to our story-things like adventure and excitement, but also security and belonging.
Q: Tell us briefly about your journey of how God first called you into music ministry until now.
Jenna: I've been singing and writing as long as I can remember, and Chris grew up around music, too. We've had other careers before this, but God kept opening doors for us to sing and to share songs with new audiences. Our journey with music is, in a way, returning to our roots. We think the things people love to do when they're young are good indicators for the gifts and talents God has given them. After a decade of working other jobs, and through a lot of prayer and conversation, we realized that the way we could best love people through our passions and talents was through pouring ourselves fully into music through Wild Harbors.
Q: How would you describe your own music? And do you write your own music?
C: Yes, we do write all of our own music. We primarily write pop songs with an emphasis on lyric and harmony. That said, there's a lot of room to move around within that label. Some songs can drift towards folk while others have a more alternative/rock vibe.
Q: You have a new album coming out. Why do you call the album "Monument"?
J: The album is named for its title track. We wrote the song about the need to set physical, visual reminders of how God has moved in our life. It's exciting to set out on a new path, but it doesn't take long for circumstances to get harder and to wonder if you're doing the right thing after all. God had the Israelites build monuments for that very reason. In a lot of ways, the album itself has become a monument for us. It keeps pointing us in the direction God is leading and helping us remember why we set out in the first place.
Q: I must say that I love your story songs. Tell us more about the song "The Ballad of Wallace and Jessie."
C: Thank you! That song started when I was reading about different legends surrounding the Titanic. One tells the story of a Scottish orphan named Jessie who woke in the middle of the night saying she dreamed about a man named Wally playing his violin on a large, sinking ship. Jessie passed away later that night, and the orphanage staff became aware of her dream's meaning as news of the Titanic tragedy spread across the world. The story stuck in my memory because of the mysterious circumstances surrounding the girl's visions, but it wasn't until I started reading about the ship's band leader, Wallace Hartley, that I was inspired to put pen to page. The idea of a musician using his talent to keep peace and sacrifice himself was hugely inspiring. I've heard people talk about a certain song and use phrases like, "That song saved my life." This was a scenario where the band's music was literally saving people's lives, at great cost to the performers.
Q: What about the song "Abigail"?
J: It tells the story of dear friends of ours. We love their children like family, and one day their mother told me about how one of the twins, Abigail, was not expected to survive after she was born prematurely. She recounted the story in such moving detail that when we sat down to write that night, all we could do was retell their story. Today, Abby is a thriving teenager, but the story made us so aware that we might never have gotten the chance to meet her, which is where the idea for the line "I can't believe that I might not get to know" came from. It made us want to be careful not to take all the people we love for granted.
Q: One song that really moved me is "Alone Together." What's the story behind this song?
J: That song is a big one for me, too. When I was younger and thought about marriage, what scared me most was the idea of being with another person forever but living separate lives and feeling lonely in that marriage. Chris remembered that, and he suggested we write about it. When he showed me the second verse lyrics, "I'm not scared that you're gonna leave me/ I'm scared that you're gonna stay/ You'll be alone in your memories/ And I'll be alone in my mind," it hit me, and I started to cry. We want better than that for our marriage. We want better than that for all of our relationships, really. In the social media age, it's easy to subsist on an artificial community of online interactions and miss out on real, deep connections. We don't want to succumb to that.
Q: How do you wish your songs would impact the lives of your listeners?
C: In a lot of ways, the process of making this record has pulled us out of our comfort zone and into something that feels joyful, risky, and meaningful. If our music can help someone approach his or her own life with a renewed sense of purpose, or an ounce more courage, I think that's an awesome thing.