Eowyn is a Nashville – based Christian prog/heavy metal band that definitely rocks. Their album Beautiful Ashes was released in 2011, and it captures all of the power that redemption and a return to form brings with it. The album is full of fast – paced and amazing guitar licks, power drums, and Eowyn's beautiful voice. Sea of Tranquility Staff Writer Mark Johnson was able to catch up with the vocalist recently to talk about the creation of the album, a little history, and what the future holds for this exciting band.
Eowyn, welcome to the Sea of Tranquility. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule promoting your new album "Beautiful Ashes" and rehearsing, to take answer some questions for your fans.
SOT- Please describe your background as a musician, singer, and Christian.
Eowyn - I asked Jesus into my heart at the age of 4 years old. I know it seems young, but I remember that day like it was yesterday! My mom and I knelt beside my bed and said a simple prayer that changed my life. I started singing at church when I was around 6 years old. My first song was "What Child is This". My mom said she didn't even know I could sing, but the minute I stepped onto the stage I began belting out the song. From then on, I was hooked. I sang anywhere I could. I was even a worship leader for a year and a half at a Methodist Church in Auburn, AL. It was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about worship. Beyond the singing, I knew I wanted to be a part of some type of ministry for teens. At the time, I had no idea how that would work. When I was 19 however, I began writing my very first album, "One More Chance". Over the next 10 years I began touring part-time and eventually had the opportunity to do it full time for a year. I found a joy and confidence on the stage that I had never experienced anywhere else. I also realized people would listen to you if you were on the stage! The more I toured, the more I began to be drawn to hurting teens who were suffering with insecurities and depression. On and off the road I began to see people turn their lives over to Jesus! What a blessing! Through it all, I continued to write other albums which included "Shattered Illusions," "Identity," "Silent Screams" and my recent album "Beautiful Ashes." Each of them was written with these teens in mind.
SOT- Please describe the financial difficulties of 2008 and take us through the marvelous inspiration that brought about such a powerful album "Beautiful Ashes".
Eowyn - 2008 was one of the best years of my life and one of the worst. It was the year my husband and I jumped into full time ministry. We truly felt God was calling us to take a leap of faith and so we did. The leap at first brought many unexpected blessings! I had just released my album "Silent Screams" and it was already receiving great reviews. We were touring about 20 plus dates a month, gaining fans, people were coming to Christ, labels were putting offers on the table and then the unexpected happened. Our bus began having all kinds of problems. We kept putting everything on the credit card (which I don't recommend) until we had no more credit to use! We borrowed money left and right and in the end owed more money than most people would care to believe. The thing that completely put us to a halt was when our bus transmission went out and it was $13,000 for the rebuild. We borrowed enough to fix it but then realized we didn't have anything left. We couldn't even make it to the next show, let alone pay our players. We also couldn't take a label deal because we couldn't pay them back and our investors too. So in September 2008, my husband and I realized we couldn't continue. . We began to sell anything to do with the music to recoup what we owed to both investors and creditors. We honestly felt the Lord was allowing the ministry to shut down, but what I felt the most was depression.
I'll be honest, for about a year I retreated from any reminder of music. I grieved anytime I went to a show or saw someone sing at church. The problem was that I had wrapped my Identity into who I was as a music artist instead of whom I was as a child of God. Once I lost the music, I lost my hope and confidence. I truly believe God allowed my ministry to temporarily shut down so I would gain the correct perspective. Over time, God began to get a hold of me and remind me that I could minister anywhere I was. I didn't have to be on stage to reach hurting teens, so I began offering up prayer on my Facebook page and people started to write. The more my focus changed, the more the doors started to reopen. People began calling for shows, money began pouring in, lyrics and melodies for new songs began to fill my mind. Eventually, the concept of "Beautiful Ashes" was born. God showed me hope on the other side of tragedy. He began to show me that he wanted to rebuild and restore places long devastated and he started with my ministry!
SOT- "Beautiful Ashes" seems inspired by your fight to get back to writing and making powerful music. What are some of the elements of life that inspire you to write, going forward?
Eowyn - So many things inspire me! I get inspiration from people, struggles, triumphs, joys, and hardships. Usually anything that I'm going through can lead to writing a song. Mostly, I get inspiration from God through prayer and getting in the word.
SOT- Describe the musical elements to the cool opening of "You Had To".
Eowyn -The amazing writer I worked with, Rob Tate, is the one who came up with that unique intro. He knew I loved industrial and he made the music fit my style! I have always wanted the industrial influence because I love "weird noises" as I like to call them! Ha, ha I feel it helps separate me from some of the other bands.
SOT- "Beautiful Ashes", the video is fantastic. The song and video capture a lot of the angst you must have been feeling when you wrote this album.
Eowyn -Most definitely! When I wrote the concept for this video I knew I wanted to display a house in ruin which was to represent a life in ruin. The whole video was to focus on a woman who had lost everything, but found beauty and hope amidst the rubble. My sister played the leading role and she did an amazing job! My niece played in at well, so we were able to get the whole family involved. My hubby did a great job building the set and I sprayed a lot of furniture to make it look like a burned house. In the end, my hope was that people would be encouraged after watching it!
SOT- Who are your favorite singers? Who inspired you to sing?
Eowyn -I have never been a huge music listener! The only music I listened to when I was growing up was rap music. Even today I rarely have the radio on and I never go to concerts. It's sad I know. I'm not completely in the dark however and I am aware of some pretty awesome singers out there! I came out around the same time as Flyleaf years ago and I have always loved and respected Lacey as a singer. She is amazing. I have been compared to her and to be honest, I don't mind. Compare away!
SOT- From the review I did, you can tell I really like the song "Fail – Safe". How much fun was/is writing and performing this song?
Eowyn – "Fail-Safe" was the last song written for the album. My producer, Travis Wyrick, had told me to go home and work on one final song for the album. He said we didn't have a lot of time to work on it, so it needed to be acoustic. Needless to say, that didn't happen! Ha, ha. My music writer, Rob Tate, sent me Fail-Safe's music and I immediately began writing words and melody. I knew it had to go on the album! It's definitely one of my favorites! The meaning is to encourage the listener that God is our fail-safe. Even when all else fails, he never will!
SOT- "Dream" is an excellent song. What do you and the band dream about when you dream of a successful recording career?
Eowyn - I feel blessed to say that I feel I have lived my dream. I always dreamed to be on stage, on the radio, played overseas, given label offers, and most importantly to see others come to Christ, and I have experienced all of these! Do I wish for more?? I would be lying if I said I didn't, but I don't strive for it like I did before 2008. I am happy with whatever happens. I will say I would love to play overseas! I truly believe I have more fans over there than in the United States. I think they really understand my quirkiness as an artist. :) I was supposed to play in Germany in 08, but we stopped touring before we went. Now that we are back to touring part-time, I hope this can be possible again one day.
SOT- What are your least favorite clichés?
Eowyn -Ironically, I am the world's worst at using known phrases! I always mix my cliché's together. For instance, I said to my husband one day..."It's like I'm walking on thin egg shells." Obviously the phrase is "thin ice." That's why I ended up having to do a ton of research when I wrote the song, Cliché. I was unaware of what the correct sayings were so I had to look them up. Then I tried to fit as many cliché's in each verse as I could and believe me, there are a TON in this song! Go count them! Cliché has become my new favorite song since we began working on the Music Video. In fact, we just launched the new video last Friday so be sure to go check it out! It's has a little humor, some oddities, and some "mime" action. :) I know some people will think being mimes in the video is just too weird, but it was perfect for the meaning behind this song. Everyone should be sure to watch the video where I tell the meaning behind the song as well. Just look on You Tube and search for "Eowyn Cliché Video".
SOT- "Burning Pages" really does a good job of re-starting the fire that was building at the beginning of the album. Use this song or any other on the album, and describe the writing/creative process within the band.
Eowyn - Because I'm an artist who can't play a single instrument, I turn to music writers for my inspiration. As mentioned before, Rob Tate was the man who wrote most of the music on this album while I wrote all lyrics and melody. However, Travis Wyrick was actually the one who wrote Burning Pages and he did it in a unique way. I went to him with lyrics and melody already written, and he put the music around what I sang! He is a truly gifted man! When I write, I have to be alone. I don't know why, but I get really nervous to try to write with people on the spot. I like working out the songs on my own, that way I can sound as ridiculous as I want and no one will ever know! Trial and error, trial and error!
SOT- What is next for Eowyn the band?
Eowyn - You know, I honestly don't know. I use to try and plan it all out, but now I realize it's better to be flexible. God has his own plan and timing on things and I just want to do his will. I can tell you that I already have the "theme" for the next album in mind. I actually even have a title picked out. I just can't say when we will be able to afford to do it. I am hoping to start on it by the end of 2013. The one thing I do know is that I've been working on a secret project for the last 5 months and I should be announcing what it is within the next few weeks. So be sure to check back! I'm pretty excited about it!
SOT- It looks like you like showing fans your vision of your music. Will you release more videos for other tracks on the album?
Eowyn - Videos are very expensive! That's why we have only released one a year because we had to save up for them. I hope to do many more, because I have a lot of other ideas up my sleeve! I'll keep you posted!
SOT- Is there anything else I left out that you would like to discuss?
Eowyn - I always want to let people know that if they need any prayer they can write me on my Facebook page. Just search Eowyn Music. I would love to lift them up in prayer!
SOT- Eowyn, thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions. I and my colleagues wish you and the band success with "Beautiful Ashes" and all that you do in the future.
(Click here to read our review of Beautiful Ashes)