Plumb aka Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, who released her comeback album Need You Now in 2012, unveils her latest album Exhale next week on May 4th. Full of heartfelt, poignant, emotional, explosive and impacting pop/rock/worship anthems, as well as captivating ballads, this album is one of the most musically diverse and lyrically creative and impacting albums of 2015! I had the privilege of interviewing Tiffany via email, about the new album. We discussed the album, which songs mean the most to her, what Plumb hopes listeners will experience when hearing the new songs, as well as her goals and dreams for the year ahead. Check out the interview below.
- First of all, for those of you who do not know your story or your testimony, or how you decided to pursue music ministry full time; can you tell us a bit about yourself, and how Exhale came to fruition? What has God been teaching you over the past few years, as you were creating these new songs?
Music really found me. IT wasn’t anything I had planned to do. I sang my whole life more as a past time or hobby and a label saw/heard me singing backup and approached me and fastforward here we are. It was the path God wanted for me, I know, because I couldn’t have orchestrated the story if I tried.
Exhale was born out of the last couple of years of my life, God resurrected my very broken life of a dead marriage and selfish heart into a redeemed and reconciled life and Exhale is an album full of love letters to my one true love, my champion, my Jesus who did that. I have breathed in a life changing grace and this record is my opportunity to breathe that out, to share it, to exhale.
God has taught me what true redemption is. That no matter what we have done or do, He can use anything and wastes nothing and make true beauty from our ash. That although He doesn’t need us, He wants us. So His plan will be carried out no matter what, that it’s us that misses out, not the Kingdom, when we aren’t living in relationship with Him. So there is freedom to be human and not be okay and trust the God of infinite chances to brush off the dust of the messes we make, and let us begin again as many times as we need.
- You have been immersed in and actively participating in the music industry since the late 1990s. Is there anything you have learnt over the years that God has been teaching you about himself or yourself?
It’s not about me. And when I lose sight of that, it’s me that suffers the most for it.
- How have you decided to keep your music fresh, unique, different and current, yet also distinctive and set apart from other singers and writers today? What has stayed the same throughout all your albums and what has changed?
I don’t do anything to ‘intentionally’ set it apart. I think we’re all unique and by being true to that uniqueness, it can be distinctive by that alone. The work is in discovering what that ‘thing’ is about yourself that makes you…you. But once you do, just don’t look back. That ‘thing’ is true, and truth is never irrelevant. One thing that is unique I guess to me is that there I don’t see ‘rules’ in how I write or produce. If I like it, I like it. I try something and if it works for me, then to me it works. And it’s been rewarding for that to connect with others who feel the same.
- It’s been 2 years since Need You Now and as we all know there have been plenty of new changes occurring, including releasing a book and a deluxe edition of Need You Now. How has your song writing matured and God spoken to you during this time, and how have the changes in your life been reflected in your new music on Exhale?
I’m not really sure how to answer how it’s matured. That might be more of a decision the listener must make. But I know I have grown. I love Jesus in a new way. I trust Him more than I ever have. And I feel freer that I ever imagined. I think that’s something you’ll hear and notice in my book and on the new album…and really every area of my life I hope. I’ve been rescue and made new. All the credit to that goes to the One I can trust completely. So if I’m truly offering my talents to Him for Him to use, I trust He will and I feel free from worrying about how. I just know that He will. And that feels good.
- Can you describe the process of recording in the studio for this album with Matt Bronlewee, and what God has been teaching you during your time in the studio?
I wrote with more people that I usually do. Which gave me the chance to tell my story more often and for fresh ears to hear it and respond in unique ways. Then we started with just vocals and a click, and the chords before building the tracks. They were very bare to start and we built around them which was incredibly hard for me. But it turned out beautiful. Almost like how God built me back up after I was broken. I learned some patience because of that and that hard work is worth it. Again only reiterating that redemption story I am telling. It too was hard and took longer than I wanted. But it too was worth every bit of it.
- I love, love, love the album cover and the handwritten message- how did that design and message come to fruition?
It was the first shot of the day. I had brought the feather jacket to the short because it was a gift from my husband, and so we tried it first to sort of appease me…and then went on to carry out the rest of the shoot, and it turned out to be the most incredible shot, which surprised all of us. The song “Exhale” spoke to the album as a whole, and I decided one day that instead of trying to explain to each and every person what it meant, because it meant so much to me and for others to know its truth; that writing its meaning on the front of the album cover would only reiterate that much more. So I did it, and it worked. Thanks for loving it! I think it’s my favourite cover of my entire career!
- The lead single “Resurrection” (at least I think it’s the single… there was a video posted about a performance at Air1 Radio…), is a slow paced, contemplative worship ballad speaking about how God can make broken things whole and new, and that we don’t have to be perfect to come to him with our troubles; what does the song mean to you and what do you think listeners will gain from it?
It’s not the lead single, just fyi. We released it over the Easter weekend to coincide with Easter, however the lead single is “Exhale”. However “resurrection” will likely be one down the road.
When my husband and I were separated, someone told me at a coffee shop after discovering what a dark place I was in, to believe in resurrection. And I never for one minute forgot that. I kept hoping and praying for what was dead to be brought back to life and made new, not knowing how or when but in the black place of darkness and devastation over my marriage ending, He was faithful, and He restored. He made better than before. He resurrected. His promises were true, promises I knew and said I believe, but when tested, were proven. I believe in resurrection.
- Which song on the new album means the most to you? What was your favourite song to record? Can you tell us how these 12 songs came to be?
Inspired by James 1:19- “Be slow to speak and quick to listen”. My life had crashed and burned. My marriage was dead. My life seemed to have gone up in flames, and in the smoke and ash of what was left, God redeemed. Unbreathable smoke was turned into oxygen, and that worthless ash, God made beauty from it. In that verse, I heard God so tenderly in the nicest way tell me to just shut up and listen. And what I heard was that there was hope, and it was in Him. And in all of the brokenness of my life, He was my shelter when it all went up in smoke, and proved Himself true.
I wrote with a lot of people telling each of them my story and there were highlights in my story that I felt like needed captured so I had them written down and wanted to be certain that those specific experiences were captured in song. And we nailed it. I couldn’t be happier!
- Both musically and lyrically, how does the new album capture the experiences of you throughout the last few years of your musical journey? As you move into your next step in your Christian music career, is there anything you hold onto that God has spoken into your life?
The literal experienced mixed with the emotions of how I felt in those experiences. Again I hold tightly to the belief that it’s not about me. Yet, if and when I forget that, God is redemptive.
- Are there any artists/writers/producers you would like to collaborate and compose music with in the future, either on future records or other artists’ albums?
Robert Smith of The Cure…he’s been on my bucket list most of my life. Not sure it will ever happen though. Ha!
- Who were your favourite artists you admired and looked up to musically in your earlier years, and is there any artist or band that you admire within the music industry currently, as a fellow artist, a spiritual mentor, or someone you ask advice from?
I loved Alanis, Garbage, Poe, The Cure, U2, Patty Griffin, Stevie Nicks, Amy Grant…I listen to a vast array now of things, and am a bit more awestruck by authors now more than artists. Meeting and becoming friends with Bob Goff and Jon Acuff have been career highlights. I think they are absolutely brilliant and look up to them in their creative yet honest and direct and funny way of speaking truth and inspiring others. I feel the same way about my pastor in the way he communicates. He’s absolutely a mentor to me.
- Has there been a recent song that has been ministering to people on the road, and what are some of the encouraging stories you have heard from the impact of your songs on this upcoming album?
“Lord I’m Ready Now” has been impacting people in incredible ways. Freeing them from the bondage of guilt and shame- it’s such a powerful sight to look out into the audience and see freedom happening in front of your face. To be a part of that is unlike anything else. It’s an honor to be used in this way. The stories are nightly one after the other. A lady coming in full of bondage and leaving with a tear stained face, free. It’s amazing!
- You are embarking on the Ready Now tour with JJ Heller and Everfound to promote the new album, are you excited for that? Can you tell us about what to expect at one of your live shows?
It’s been a blast so far! We’re about halfway in an every night has been a truly divine experience. Both artists and their team share a love for honesty and truth and it’s been fantastic to share the journey with others you believe in. and are believed in by. It’s been incredible. I hope those that come leave different than they were when they arrive. I have always wanted the show to be an experience however now I want it to be with Jesus. Not just an interaction with us- we’re just the hands and feet of a grace He is breathing out. It’s church every night!
- Is there anything in your life that places things in perspective as you travel and create music? Is there any song, or Bible verse, or even famous quote that reminds you about why you do what you do and why you chose music as a career and ministry?
“Preach a sermon every day of your life. If necessary, use words”- St Francis Of Assisi. I fail at that so often still it’s a truth I cling to and believe in. God send me, use me.
- Is there anything else that you would like to add that hasn’t been covered in this interview yet? Any parting words, and encouragements that will impact the readers of this interview, either from your own life or from others around you? How can fans stay connected with you via social media?
Twitter, FB and Instagram: plumbmusic
Be sure to check out Plumb’s new album Exhale in stores May 4th! Also, check out Plumb’s lyric videos of the songs ‘Lord I’m Ready Now’, ‘Smoke’ and ‘Great Is Our God’! You can also preorder the album on iTunes here!