I pulled in to the recording studio at the same time as Jessica Joy and her mom. Before we walked in, Jessica’s mom handed me a hot pomegranate tea. I’m not typically a hot beverage drinker, but let me tell you, that tea certainly set the tone for one of the most incredible afternoons of my life.
It was March 26, 2014. And I’d been blessed with the opportunity to join Jessica Joy in studio while she recorded one of the songs on her new CD, Nothing Wasted.
Once we were inside, Jessica introduced me to her producer, Luke Fredrickson, who’s also guitarist for Christian recording artist, Natalie Grant.
After a short trip down the stairs, we landed in the studio. I had no idea what to expect before I’d arrived, but the place was super chill, way more relaxed than you’d ever imagine. Jessica’s mom and I made ourselves comfortable on a couch facing the sound booth while Jessica and Luke chatted about the plan for the day.
Before I knew it, Jessica was headed for the sound booth where it was just her and the microphone. Jessica’s mom and I sat on the other side of a two-way mirror along with Luke, who was at the sound panel.
Jessica’s voice was piped into the room where we sat, and when discussion was necessary in between recording, Luke’s voice was piped into the sound booth.
They got to business right away.
Instrumentals for the album had been recorded during previous studio sessions, so the day’s task was to record Jessica’s angelic vocals for one song, “Run.”
The song was dark, deep, and a little mysterious. It was the kind of song I knew I’d play on repeat a thousand times in my car. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. Jessica’s mom shared that this song is unique to the CD, artsy and somewhat open to interpretation. Perfect. Just what I like, I told her.
The process was smooth. Professional. Flawless as far as I was concerned.
As Jessica and her producer ran through phrases and portions of the song again and again, until they felt just right, my attention turned towards the lyrics…
You stare at your past in the face, ashamed of your masquerade.
You’re searching for hope to hold onto.
You won’t take the truth that’s been given to you.
You just run, run, run away…
from the voices that taunt you each day.
Who you gunna turn to now, when everything else fails?
Don’t just run, run, run away.
Love is chasing you.
Those words. They were incredible.
Tears welled in my eyes as I sat quietly, sipping hot pomegranate tea.
When the lyrics became comfortable and familiar, my attention drifted towards other elements of the experience.
For example, I couldn’t get over the fact that Jessica and her producer, Luke, had landed such tailor-made jobs. As I watched them, I couldn’t help but wonder. Who in the world tells their child they could consider becoming a music producer someday? And who would ever guess their child would record an album when they’re 17 years old? What I loved most was that these two were tucked away in a recording studio, quietly, but powerfully using their God-given gifts. What a divine appointment this was. I couldn’t get over it. This was beautiful, purposeful living at its best. And it was ridiculously inspiring.
With that, I began to take special note of Luke. He clearly knew and loved what he was doing. There was no hesitancy in his words or actions at the sound panel. It was fascinating to watch his fingers work. One adjustment here, another there. He knew exactly when to start and when to stop recording. He knew what still needed tweaking and what was good to go. His skill as a producer was beyond evident. The peace and professionalism with which he executed his work was admirable.
Jessica and Luke had a recording studio language of their own. I was most fascinated by all of the starts and stops throughout the process. When they determined a portion of the song needed to be re-recorded, they quickly agreed on the exact place they’d start recording again, and before I knew it, Jessica kicked in with vocals and Luke was back working that sound panel. If it had been me in that sound booth, I’m pretty sure I’d have been a fumbling, bumbling mess trying to figure out where Luke wanted me to start singing again. But Jessica pulled it off like a pro.
As the recording process proceeded, Luke said a couple things to Jessica that captured my attention.
“Don’t think too much,” he said at one point. “Just sing.”
I wondered how many times I’ve overthought my life, my work, my mothering ability, my writing ability. I wondered how many times you’ve overthought your life. And I realized. We should all just forget the overthinking.
Sometimes all we need is a reminder.
Just be in the moment.
Later in the recording session, when Jessica and Luke were discussing different ways they could end the song, Luke said this to Jessica…
“If we wanted to be really indie, we’d just end it there.”
These words captured my attention. It’s important to note that there’s room for great freedom and creativity, even while we’re actively seeking and engaging in God’s will for our lives.
I remembered wise counsel I’d recently received on this topic. God leads us to green pastures, gives us free will, allows us to make choices within our lives. He doesn’t dictate. Go here. Do That. Or else. There’s freedom to live boldly, beautifully, and courageously, all while staying within His parameters and plan for our lives.
As the recording session wrapped, I knew the absolute miracle this afternoon had been. God had blessed me with an experience of a lifetime. I’d watched a just-turned 17-year-old singer and songwriter professionally record her original song.
Every bit of the experience was miraculous, beautiful, incredibly amazing.
I wished everyone could see. This is what it looks like to live like anything is possible.
Sometimes we need to witness others living their purpose in order to realize our own purpose. When you discover and walk boldly in the purpose of your life, your heart beats one with the Living God. Life makes sense. It feels right. And you know…this is why I was made.
Right then and there, I knew. I’d been assigned this afternoon for a reason. To witness it myself, and then share with everyone I could. This story of living beautifully, right in the heart of your purpose? This discovering, uncovering who you are, who God created you to be? It’s phenomenal. Important. Noteworthy.
Jessica Joy was made to sing.
And you were made to fulfill a beautiful purpose, too.
So take the truth that’s been given to you.
Live in freedom. Walk boldly in the truth of your life. Embrace what’s already yours.
Love is chasing you.
This is the second of a three-post series featuring Jessica Joy. Last week, we looked back and dug deep into the call on Jessica’s life to become a singer and songwriter. Today, I shared my experience with Jessica Joy in the recording studio. And on September 29th, I’m going to share insights and photographs from Jessica’s CD release concert. Learn more about Jessica Joy and purchase her new CD, Nothing Wasted, at www.jessicajoymusic.com. She’d also love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!