BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Plumb: Finding Hope Again
By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director
It has been nearly six years since Plumb released her last full length album, the Dove Award nominated Blink. Her time away from Christian music has been marked by raising three small children, an unexpected rise to the top of the charts in the electronic dance music world, and a failing marriage that was restored by the grace of God.
With the release of her latest offering Need You Now, Plumb hopes the success of the title track (No. 1 for six weeks on the Billboard Christians Hits chart) will help reintroduce her to Christian music audiences near and far.
I recently sat down with Plumb to discuss how God worked a miracle in her marriage, her heart for those who struggle with finding hope, and her new mission field in the electronic dance music arena.
Even though you haven’t really been away from music there is a perception that you have because you haven’t released a full length album since 2007. During that period you have been raising three children. But you also have gone through a difficult time in your marriage. It is wonderful to hear that everything has worked out and you’re back together. What do you think the key was to bring you through that?
It’s a very easy answer for me and it’s getting out of God’s way. I think sometimes, we think because He’s God and He can do anything, He also give us this incredible gift of choice. I think we’ve misused that. I know my husband and I both made some choices that over-extended us. We were too busy. Like the stewardship of our finances, the stewardship of our bodies, the stewardship of our time, the stewardship of our gifts, of our earth, of just all of that. We were sort of being educated on that during that time, but yet not fully living that out, and I think it’s because we were taking on too much, trying to do too much at one time. There is something about our culture that makes you feel like you have to seize the day, seize the moment right now.
I think the biggest, most important ministry I have in my life is being a really honorable Christian wife and a really attentive, good mother. There’s nothing really more important than that. Then, when there’s time for my music career, too, it’s like, wow. But it’s me having to find that balance.
God has something so huge that He wants to do, and sometimes it involves sorrows, sometimes it involves crisis, and I think God gives us the choice to let those moments be used to be closer with Him. So often, people use those moments to be angry with Him and turn their back on Him. And it’s like, wait a minute. I am thankful for the choice that I was inclined to make, and use that moment as a chance to know Him better and heal our marriage, and now there’s a record out that I have a lot more attachment to, and a lot more hope to share with.
Thank you for opening up and sharing from your heart. “Need You Now” is the name of your new album. I absolutely love the transparency in your music. You aren’t afraid to tell us exactly how you feel on a given subject. The new record isn’t any different. There are stories of heartache but ultimately, as in all of your music, there is the common thread of hope. What were you hoping to accomplish with Need You Now?
I just smiled when you said that because I want people to hear real life. I want them to hear heartache and sorrow. I want them to hear joy and I want them to hear pain, and laughter. I want them to hear all of that, but at the end of the day I hope they smile and they have some hope. With life, there’s always something new and exciting. With Need You Now, I want someone to literally be able to hit stop and say, ‘I have more hope than I did 58 minutes ago.’ I recently tweeted, “Hope is oxygen, and we all need to breathe.” My pastor re-tweeted that. I wasn’t even trying to be poignant or make some amazing comment but I felt like that’s what this record should be. Sometimes you just can’t even breathe, you can’t even think about what the next minute, or the next day, or the next week, or month, or year is going to be like because of what you’re going through, or what someone else is going through that you love. It’s okay to need God right now and always, and He’ll never leave. He’ll never give you more than you can bear, and He doesn’t grow tired of your need for Him, no matter how many times you cry out. The song “Need You Now” represents that, but that statement as a whole represents the whole project. He’s right there, no matter what that circumstance is, no matter how great or how low you may become.
I’m glad you mentioned the title track, “Need You Now”. You co-wrote it with a friend of mine (Luke Sheets) and I am happy to report it went to number one on the charts. As a songwriter, what message were you folks trying to convey?
I was very tapped into the inspiration behind it, where I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks as a teenager. I still struggle with some of that today, and just crying out over and over, day after day and week after week, just wondering is God getting sick of hearing from me, or am I doing something wrong that this just keeps happening, and I have to continue to cry out? It just doesn’t work that way. God isn’t like that. To say that bad stuff happens to you because you’ve done something wrong and He punishes you, that’s not His loving kindness. I really, really struggled with that, and how many times literally just sitting in a bathroom stall in high school and just praying. I quoted Isaiah 41:10 a whole lot, which is, “Fear not for I am with you, do not dismay on your God, I’ll strengthen you, and help you and uphold you with my righteous right-hand.” I’d say it over and over with this sense of peace that, okay, He’s with me, He’s promising to be good to me, I’ve got to get through this. He’s not going to give me more than I can bear. And feeling like I was going to die. There were times when I was like, if this is going to be my every day, I don’t really want to live here. This song is really an anthem of hope.
On Need You Now you have tapped into some of your electronic dance music (EDM) success from the last few years. I find it fascinating that while you were between projects you developed a substantial following in the electronic dance music world. Is this something you planned for or it did just come out of the blue?
I didn’t plan that at all. I probably single-handedly almost shut it down, much less planned it. I don’t want to make too blanket of a statement about the dance community, but that format of music is predominantly absent in the Church. I have to believe that there’s this thread of hope through my art that connects there that they’re (EDM fans) drawn to. God’s just using the way that I write and the sound of my voice to kind of capture their ears, and yet I’m working with artists that are blatantly open about not being a Christian. They are being asked, why would you want to work with a Christian artist? I remember being in an interview together with Paul Van Dyk, when they (the media) asked him very bluntly, “Are you a Christian?” And he said, “No.” He was just very comfortable saying it, “No, I’m not.” And then he was asked, “What’s the draw to work with a Christian? She’s a Christian. She’s blatantly a Christian.” And I don’t know if they were trying to make us uncomfortable, but he just put his arm around me, and he says, “I respect good art, and she’s a great artist.”
I was just very thankful for that, because I thought that they’re trying to make it look like me being a Christian is, “Not acceptable.” He’s this legend and he’s this amazing talent, and you know, why would you want to reduce yourself to working with a Christian, and he shook his head, and he was just like, “I have a respect for really great art, and I think she’s a great artist. I love how she writes, I love her voice, I love her heart, and she’s become a good friend, and so I don’t feel like I have to be a Christian to work with her.” Any Christian out there knows that when you really feel a connection to someone who doesn’t share the hope that you have, this is an opportunity to do that. I’m very open in my faith with Paul among other artists that I’ve worked with that aren’t, in hopes that they can see God’s hope in me, and not me.
Final question for you, after someone has listened to Need You Now, what do you want listeners to take away from that experience? What is your greatest hope for them?
I want them to push play, and I want them to keep listening, and when it stops I want them to want to hit play again. I want them to have more hope than they had when they hit play the first time, for whatever reason that is, for whatever situation that’s going on in their lives. They could have multiple situations going on in life, and then you could just have one big one. They may not have anything major going on, but when the music stops, they’re encouraged, they’re inspired, they’re challenged in some way. They have more hope about something. And if they do, then I feel like I’ve been faithful to do what God’s asked me to
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