10 Questions with ... Sons & Daughters
June 6, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- David Leonard
- Leslie Jordan
- Brokenness Aside EP (2011)
1. Tell us briefly about your musical journey, and how you came to be Sons & Daughters?
We both began playing, singing and writing at an early age. David has been in bands his whole life and I began leading worship in the church at 14. I think we would both say that our musical journeys led us to the moment when Sons & Daughters was formed. But most importantly, it was the things we learned through our musical journeys. God had brought both David and myself to a place where our focus was the Church. We had both spent time writing songs for ourselves, for the public or for our friends and family. This was different but very easy. Our church family is who we spend the most time with, so it was an easy transition to begin writing from the stories and heart of our people. We never set out to become "Sons & Daughters," but simply to write songs for our congregation from our congregation.
2. And what's the meaning behind your group's name, Sons & Daughters?
At first, it was just a really cool idea! But the more we thought about it, the more it made sense. If what we do is really about the worship of Jesus, then it is way bigger than David and me. The nature of the songs we write is contemplative, personal and authentic. We write from the perspective of the church, from the perspective of the lives of those we encounter every day. These songs have a larger voice, so we found that the name Sons & Daughters helps elaborate that for us.
3. What is the story behind the debut single "Let It Shine"?
Journey, our church family, has come through a season of brokenness. A lot of people that ended up at our church have been wounded by religion or the church. So for several years, there was this collective feeling that everyone needed to heal up. We wrote "Let it Shine" when we felt that we were finally heading into a season of wholeness, and Christ calls us to be "salt & light." There are times when we forget that call because of our wounds. "Let it Shine" is a song that gives permission to move beyond the wounds and embrace God's wholeness in our lives by taking that to other people.
4. Is there a message to the songs on "Brokenness Aside"? Did you craft the album so that the songs work toward a singular theme?
We think so. However, even though we wrote them all relatively around the same time, they aren't all directly connected thematically. We wrote them based on our observations of the needs of our people. We needed to admit acknowledge that we are broken, recognize the goodness and perfection of Jesus Christ in our lives, live out true community with other believers, and share truth with those who don't. We hope that people see love at the root of these songs.
5. What do you think is one of the most pressing issues the church community is facing today? And how does music (and your music) work towards that end?
We feel that one of the most pressing issues that the church is facing is the tension to live authentically. It's easy to walk in to a church and never have a conversation, to never share your struggles and to never have a true encounter with Jesus. We are aware that it is tough to live a vulnerable life and to feel the permission to fail. Our society is not built that way, and unfortunately, neither are our churches. We feel that people need the permission to worship freely (not just through music), to give freely and to experience true community that can only come through sharing our struggles and humanity. It may not come natural (in church) to sing "I am a sinner if it's not one thing, it's another." This acknowledges our imperfections and unfortunately, some churches don't give their people permission to do this. These songs we write for Journey have life because they have a face. The true community we live in provokes authentic music and we hope that the music, in turn, will provoke a more authentic way of living.
6. Do you have a favorite song that you've written together?
"All the Poor and Powerless" was the first song we wrote together after David came off the road. He had desperately wanted to write while he was gone but was having trouble finishing anything. He had written this idea: "Shout it, go on and scream it from the mountains. Go on and tell it to the masses, that He is God." We sat down one day and I played through a verse idea that I had written while we were going through a series in Psalms: "All the poor and powerless, and all the lost and lonely. All the thieves will come confess, and know that you are holy." We both started laughing as we tried meshing the two ideas together; it became an anthem so quickly, even as we were writing it. It had power beyond our imagination. It was one of my favorite writing experiences.
7. Who inspires you personally, spiritually and/or musically?
Leslie: My family is inspirational. Each of them have persevered through their own struggles and have come out with stronger faith and understanding of the life we are called to live. Spiritually, I tend to find inspiration in books by Richard Rohr and Henri Nouwen. They have given language to some of the most trivial times in life. Musically, it's a wide range! From Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Coldplay, Sandra McCracken, just to name a few.
David: My father has inspired me both personally and spiritually. Personally by the way he lives out the love of Jesus Christ. Spiritually because he is 50-years-old and still reads the word as if he's reading it for the first time. I want that excitement. Musically I'm all over the board, from Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers to Tom Petty and The Wallflowers.
8. What song do you wish you had written?
Leslie: Coldplay, "Fix You"
David: Ray Charles, "Georgia"
9. Fill in the blank: I can't start the day without:
Leslie: Coffee [smile]
David: Diet Dr. K
10. Do you have much time to check out other artists' music? What are you listening to right now?
Leslie: Adele, Mumford & Sons, Brooke Fraser, Us & Our Daughters (Philip LaRue's new record with his wife)
David: Robert Francis, Joshua James and Brandon Flowers