I wrote this song as a question-answer exploration of embracing human frailty within ourselves and others. The lyrics are rooted in a search for the real truth and the “why?” behind the difficulty of living authentically every day. Truth is defined by a source as “sincerity in action, character, and utterance.” That’s only part of it, an Earthly responsibility that belongs to us as the human race, as we choose how to govern ourselves. It’s also defined as, “the body of real things, events, facts, and statements,” to which I will reference John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” As Christians, Jesus is truth and the Word; this is the foundation upon which we live our lives. Without Him at the center, we leave endless opportunities for other doctrine, principles and beliefs to take up that space in our minds and hearts. However, Jesus wants us to do the hard work and take responsibility for who we are. He wills us to be discerning over the decision-making in our lives. In becoming more Christ-like, we have to fine-tune our minds and dig deep into our hearts to work on overcoming our issues as children of God.
“What Is Your Truth?” starts out with the issue of “accountability” and someone who lives the narrative that nothing is ever their fault. They consistently displace blame onto others. While we’ve all had moments in our lives where we found it difficult to accept responsibility in something, we knew deep down there was an alternate truth to bear. The song also depicts a person with “chameleon” tendencies; someone who spends most of their energy putting on different faces for different people, all in the name of placating and pleasing others, whether or not what they speak is the truth. The damaging result of first not being true to oneself, is a behavioral cycle that starts to feel “like feeding you freedom” as I write in the chorus. Which by that, I mean when placing blame we should be owning up to, we’re creating relief (“freedom”) in ourselves of any guilt we may have, which also falsely preserves our sense of self-esteem by avoiding awareness of our own flaws or failings. That’s not true freedom. As I continue in the chorus, “the curse of your blame feels like bondage forever,” because the truth is as Jesus says in John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Living and being stuck in a type of emotional bondage from a life lacking real truth can feel like a curse. We are not free.
In both of the character examples in the song, honesty rarely exists, they don’t yet know what freedom feels like or the value of living a life of complete and pure truth. They live on a “stage” for all to see, yet nothing we see is often driven by truth. Every decision they make may be based on others’ acceptance of them. At the end of it all, “What Is Your Truth?” is an up front and forthright question we can all use to measure who we are and who we’ll become, to ourselves and in Christ.
I hope this song inspires people to really stop and look at themselves. Is there something about ourselves we want to change? Is that finger in the mirror pointing back at you? Do we need help facilitating change? We need truth in ourselves through Jesus. Whether it’s mending a struggle with self-love or turning inward to introspectively find a pattern or incident in our past keeping us in emotional bondage, “What Is Your Truth” is intended to bring light into our dark, and with a little tough love & honesty, set us on a path to emotional freedom by standing firm in truth.
RELEASE DATE: April 24, 2020
“Fighter” fearlessly declares itself a pre-battle anthem as we put on the armor of God to stand and deliver. We are to be bold in our actions, our voices, and our declaration that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,“ (Phil. 4:13). It calls us to rise up as a warrior in God’s army – without excuse. Fighter urges us to live a no-holds-barred, faith-filled existence, willing to venture into the den of the lions, go out into all the world and “take down the Giant.”
This song is without a doubt, an autobiographical piece and anthem, imploring others to be a warrior over his/her life. This is the fearless, bold person that we all strive or desire to be. This is the person that just doesn’t quit at anything, no matter how insurmountable life becomes and no matter the seemingly impossible obstacles staring them in the face; the person who speaks up for what they believe in even if they are socially persecuted for it. Forget failures, doubts, and tribulations. Fighter also talks about how failure and weakness can make you stronger with, “I’m stronger because I’ve been weak.” As followers, we are backed with the power of Jesus, just as Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It’s to declare that God’s army is a powerful and strong, though being called a soldier for Him comes with adversity in following the path created for us. But we stand strong in defending his honor in the battle of spiritual warfare. Like everything we are blessed with and given by Him, we’ve made the decision to stand and deliver, put our hearts out there and fight. No excuses, no denying his presence. We’ve all been given free will to choose how we’re going to live our lives. Will it be meek and shameful? Will it be bold and fearless? The lyric, “I’ll take down the giant” leaves no debate here. He gives us everything we need to be the strongest warrior – for Him, for ourselves, and for our loved ones. With an unswayable faith, there is nothing we can’t do. Fighter. For all I believe in.
RELEASE DATE: March 27, 2020
Symphony is a beautiful & introspective ballad, with beckoning lyrics, and a peaceful orchestral arrangement. The music ebbs and flows throughout, winding up into soaring stringed instruments through to the end. It’s a storytelling experience mixed with autobiographical elements, scriptural references, & beautiful, fantasy-like visuals. The title is figurative and metaphorical. “Symphony” alludes to perfection and beauty in sound, sight, color, experience, time space, and love – God’s love.
My hope for people when they hear Symphony, is that the peacefulness and enveloping nature of it truly allows them to “hear” the beautiful and everlasting message of unconditional love woven throughout. I want people to feel at peace with their past, grateful for their present, and hopeful for their future. We all sometimes forget just how miraculous our lives are given to us by God! It’s the ability to see things through fresh eyes, not a biased conditioning over time; looking upon something or someone for the first, awe-inspiring time. There are discoveries being made! Babies being born! Accomplishments to celebrate! The first blossoms of Spring! People coming to Christ on fire for the first time! It sings out of renewal, of God’s spirit washing us white as snow. I want this song to bring a focused centering of love to people – first to Jesus as their highest; then to themselves and to all their relationship with others. We all need reminding of how to live and love in a Christ-like manner. This song is a prompting to discover and re-discover the beauty in all the questions and answers…for as long as it takes.
RELEASE DATE: February 21, 2020
“Stand Up” acknowledges and empathizes that life is full of immeasurable disappointments. Yet somehow in the midst of it all, the song affirms we all have something valuable inside ourselves to reach for planted by God. It speaks of a rough-and-tumble existence but reminds us when we call upon Him to lift us up and out of our worst despair, we take ownership of where we are, there will be salvation and the most amazing diehard example of grace. Be moved to “get up, stand up, and RISE.”
When people hear Stand Up, I want them to feel like they’ve won! It doesn’t matter at what, but just that they are winners. They conquered by their own hand and the grace of God! I want people to feel inspired to keep moving forward in their lives no matter what their past looks like, or how intimidating their future may seem. I want this song to be a driving force for them, when they feel like they’re weary and running on empty; a reminder that everything we need, everything we have to be our best, strongest, formidable selves lies within, through Him. I feel like this song could also serve as a catalyst for real, authentic change in someone’s life. Maybe someone has been debating about a change they want or need to make. Maybe someone has found themselves in a stagnant rut, rendering them hopeless with no direction. Remember: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” That’s as good a reason as any, so I want everyone to feel like they can, know they can, and then just do it – STAND UP!
RELEASE DATE: January 24, 2020
You know the feeling of refusing to do something you feel like you’re supposed to do? It is from this place of resistance the song, “Irreverent,” came to be. After years of casually ignoring God’s prompting to write faith-based music, Christian-rock artist Jodi Essex is ready to answer it boldly with her breakout single, “Irreverent,” set to release January 24, 2020. A fearless declaration, this song invites listeners not to rebel against God’s calling, but rather to live for Christ in an authentic way that is unapologetic to the world.
”Irreverent is the spirit in which this album was written and put out there for all to hear,” Jodi says. “It’s reveling in a rebel spirit, being fearless, courageous and bold enough to die to yourself every day, furthering the purposes of God.”
Written and recorded at Uphill Studios in Atlanta, GA alongside Studio Owner, Producer and Drummer Sean Hill (Jamie Grace, Clay Crosse, Landry Cantrell), “Irreverent” is part of a 10-song record that is both guitar-driven and melodic with lyrics that are forthright, yet introspective. Backed by an experienced team of musicians, the single features guitarist and bassist Jadan Sorenson (Angie Stone, Montell Jordan, Crystal Nicole, Sounds of Blackness, Bucky Covington), Pablo Melgar – Keys (touring with FRVR FREE; previously with New Song, Passion, Jesus Culture), Josh Smith (Strings), Jon-Paul Keller – Background Vocals (David and Nicole Binion, BJ Putnam). It was mixed by Sean Hill and mastered by Bob Boyd (Ambient Digital, LLC).
Although Jodi has been a Christian her entire life, “Irreverent” highlights something she has experienced for years; through her work in entertainment, which included television, film and the pursuit of a more-secular music career, Jodi has felt like her heart and purpose weren’t always in the right place. As doors have opened and closed, Jodi’s music journey has been marked by moments she’s felt God saying, “It doesn’t matter; trust me and my plan for your life.”
With continued confidence in what God is capable of doing in and through her, Jodi wants listeners to share a sense of empowerment for who they are in Christ through “Irreverent.” By rejecting the fear of what others might say, she hopes this song will be a rockin’ way to worship, whether you’re dressed-up in your Sunday best or a leather jacket with ripped jeans.
“There are NO rules about how worship should look, sound or inspire!” Jodi exclaims. “Not everyone will accept, like, or love you. You have to get beyond that with self-acceptance and focus on purposeful importance. You’ve gotta do what’s in your heart…be you, be your authentic self…the way Christ intended you to be.”