BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Anthony Evans: The Art of Letting Go
By Jennifer E. Jones
Jennifer E. Jones: I was particularly moved by the title track, “Letting Go,” having gone through losing a loved one myself. You wrote many of the songs for this album. What were the themes going around in your head at the time?
Anthony Evans: What was going on in my mind with this record was understanding the hope that I have and the concept of understanding that God’s faithful. Even when I’m faithless, He’s faithful because He cannot deny Himself. The record’s just real hopeful because of that understanding that He’s not letting go of us. In that particular song, I mention not being able to have the answers for you. But the only thing we need to know is that He’s not letting go. That’s it.
Jones: You co-wrote how many of the songs?
Evans: Nine of the ten.
Jones: Was that a new experience to be writing that many?
Evans: On the first record, I wrote 11 of the 13 so that was a new experience – walking into a room with some folks and figuring it out. Over time we dwindled it down to people I really get along with. It was great.
Jones: Did they challenge you in the studio and push you to do better?
Evans: Absolutely. They pushed me so much. The producers push me a lot more. But writing-wise, I wrote the first song on the record with Matthew West. He pushes me to think outside of the box. We’d be thinking or in conversation, and he’d say, “Let’s make this conversation into a song.” That’s how “Good Enough” came about.
Jones: Is that how a lot of the songs come about?
Evans: Yeah, a lot of them are straight conversations, journal stuff – 60% to 70% is from journaling. The other ones are just sitting in the room and talking. There’s a song on the record called “Whatever I Can’t Erase.” It actually started with us talking about how sometimes, as African-Americans in this Anglo industry, it can be tough. We talked about that, and [West] asked me how it was. He said that in our lives, we have so many things that we can’t change. This is who I am and God made me this way. He said, “There are some things we can’t erase.” Then he was like, “Wait a second.” We just started thinking beyond that – how some of us have things in our life that we cannot erase that we regret. It turned into a song about how God’s grace can cover all those things that we can’t erase.
Jones: Have you ever had people confused by the fact that you’re Black and you sing adult contemporary music?
Evans: I’ve gotten that a little bit. That’s just how the people look to identify you. It kinda gets down to – come on guys, let’s get over it. Secular pop music has gotten over it. Can we please just try? I’m not asking you to adapt to a different style of music. My music is straight-ahead CCM/adult contemporary music especially this record. I’m just saying it can be at times interesting.
Jones: There were moments listening to this record where I thought, ‘He’s rockin’ out here a little bit.’ Were you trying to branch out?
Evans: I was trying to make a focused record. There’s a producer named Matt Bronleewe who does a lot of rock stuff. I was trying to make this big bowl of gumbo and mix up my styles with theirs. I grew up listening to dcTalk. I had tons of those influences in my life – Jars of Clay. I wanted to make a focused effort that allowed me to be me vocally and let me sing my stuff over tracks that were a little bit more raw.
Jones: Did you feel more vulnerable – like you were really taking a leap?
Evans: Yeah, I was coming into the record with new sounds and wondering what my audience would think about me doing this kinda stuff. But at the end of the day, I felt that it was the right thing for me. It’s another scenario where He’s not letting go. If you just do what you’re called to do, He’s got it.
Letting Go (2006)
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