10 Questions with ... Jeff Owen
November 10, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2008 Over And Underneath
- 2010 The Light Meets The Dark
- 2012 The Struggle
- 2014 Cathedrals
1. Brief History / Synopsis
I grew up in the small town of Anderson, IN. It's mostly known for the University there which the likes of Steven Curtis Chapman, Sandi Patti, and the Gaithers hail from. It was a pretty quiet upbringing. My mom was a nurse, my dad worked at the local GM plant. My first job was at McDonalds. I got hired two weeks before I turned 15. Is that legal? I think I've held about 14 jobs my whole life. My parents put me to work early. I sang a little in church choir as a kid, but didn't get into singing until high school when my friends urged me to join the show choir with them. It was like GLEE without the auto-tune and production budget. I started my first band in high school where I basically learned to play the guitar. We won the talent show senior year. Hopes were high. Eventually I went to college and then left for an internship. I tried to go back to school and that's where I met the band in FL. We all live in Nashville now. Most of us have kids, and I've been doing this band thing for about 9 years.
2. What does a normal day at home look like for you?
Ever seen Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? Kidding, it's nothing like that. Basically my wife and I put our two kids together and drive our son Simon to school in the morning. We try to go have a coffee with our 1 1/2 yr old daughter Penny quietly occupied to try and enjoy the half-peace we have with Simon in school. Penny naps at noon and so we'll grab a lunch or just eat at home when she's asleep. When Penny wakes up we have a few moments before we go and get Simon. Simon's school is sort of in the same direction as our chiropractor's office so we'll all go get adjusted. We're not crazy, it's really quite beneficial. After that it's close to dinner time, so we'll do that routine (prepping and eating it). At night we're either rowdy and we'll play with the kids like we're a small football team or we're exhausted and just want to crowd the couch and watch a movie. Pretty rock 'n roll lifestyle, right?
3. What's the song that you just can't get out of your head right now?
For the last month I've had "Chandelier" stuck in my head. It's really quite the opposite of what we sing about, but the melody is unlike anything I've ever heard before.
4. How much do you travel, what are the challenges? How do you juggle life on the road with wanting to be home?
We're gone on average most weekends. Sometimes we have stuff in the middle of the week or benefit shows we support. The challenge is that my kids don't have the understanding like my wife does for why I leave home to do what I do. My kids just understand that I leave and it has something to do with Jesus, and something to do with music, and something to do with a bus. I don't think they'll fully understand it until they're late teenagers. The technological marvels of FaceTime, cell phones, and the internet certainly help.
5. What's the biggest "God moment" that you've ever experienced, personal or professional?
Yeah, the night before I had planned to propose to my wife we were playing at Fort Jackson in South Carolina for some new recruits. We played for a chapel type thing in a gym. They had us under a basket ball goal on one end and girls and guys split in half sitting on the bleachers with MP and officers strolling the sidelines. We played a couple of songs with quiet the stoic response and then all of a sudden one guy came down to the floor and started break dancing. All of a sudden all the recruits came pouring down to the front of the stage. By the end of the set they were on their knees crying and embracing each other and worshiping. That was about 6 years ago so it was in the midst of the war in the middle east. Half of those kids were being shipped out not knowing if they would die over there or not.
6. What's the last book you read?
Hey, you asked. It was a book called the Supernatural Worldview by Chris Putnam. It's a book about how supernatural, paranormal, and spiritual world events can be seen through a Christian lens. These types of phenomena can prove that life on this earth isn't all there is to the story and that Christ reigns and is the ultimate power. Quite a unique read.
7. Tell me how & when you became a believer. What caused you to want to serve God in full time ministry?
I grew up in the church but didn't fully understand why I believed what I did until I was 21. Up until that point I was trying to launch a solo career. It wasn't very satisfying because I just wanted people to like everything I was doing and when that didn't happen I felt empty and so I eventually stopped. When the band asked me to join I finally found a reason to make music and not feel empty.
8. Take us thru a couple songs on your latest project.
The title is "CATHEDRALS." The current radio single "No Man Is An Island" is a call to community. We tend to separate ourselves rather than actively engaging into each other's lives. The lyric we can build a shelter for the weak was written to help people realize we can become a safe place for others, and also the lyric I am for you is something people may have never been told before. We want people to understand that we can't do this life alone.
One of our favorites is the title track "Cathedrals." We wanted to communicate that after we realize that we're not an island, we should be a cathedral of community. We should be a house of safety for others. The song is a prayer for God to eliminate our "lesser loves" and to satisfy us. The lyric let joy take temptation's place is the lyric that really resonates with us. When we find a greater pleasure, all else in this world can no longer tempt us.
9. What organization/service group are you affiliated with?
We've been with Compassion ever since the band started. Mike and Jason formed the band and had been sponsoring kids so they got some info brochures about compassion and had them at their merch table long before we ever met anyone from the organization. We love Compassion because they truly are Christ centered. We had the fortune of visiting a Compassion location in Honduras and got to see them work exactly as they do. They work with the local church and don't promote themselves on site. When you sponsor a child, pretty much most of the money goes to the project and to the child. They are super open about their finances/budgets and refuse to take off the name of Jesus in their slogan.
10. Person you'd most like to have a discussion with, living or dead.....Deities are excused from this question
Wow, I'd have to say that I'd love to have a discussion with Fridtjof Nansen. He was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In his youth a champion skier and ice skater. Pretty awesome.