Release Date: March 19th 2015
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Average Jane
- My Heart is Your Home
- Defined By You
‘…[my internship] was a season full of growth for me. I can’t even describe how much I learned! I grew in knowledge as well as in my spiritual walk as the Lord took me from the familiar to the unfamiliar. I went from a time of insecurity and doubt about the gifts the Lord had given me to a season of allowing Him to give me confidence and bravery as I find my identity in Him…’ Kristen Dunn, worship leader and indie CCM artist, released her debut EP in March this year, after her internship at Word Records in early 2014. With her voice and musical style similar to that of Francesca Battistelli and Meredith Andrews (ironically, both of these artists are under the Word Label Group umbrella…who knows, maybe Kristen can become part of the Word Label Group family in the future?); Kristen’s first EP of 4 songs is one to enjoy if you are a fan of CCM-pop in a similar vein to artists on the Word Label Group artist roster (Francesca, Meredith, Dara MacLean, Sidewalk Prophets, Chris August etc.).
Reminding us all about our identity in Christ, it is when we realise that we are not defined by our mistakes or triumphs but rather by what Christ did that we can live a full and enriched life. While a tad short (I probably would’ve wanted a few more songs to make it a good well-rounded EP), what it lacks in length it makes up for in enjoyableness and down-to-earth relatability. From the powerful and poignant title track to the piano led “My Heart is Your Home”, this an EP you don’t want to miss if you enjoy easy listening pop that focuses on bringing in listeners into God’s presence on a more regular basis.
Starting off the EP with the fun-filled pop melody “Average Jane”, the song, though appropriately directed at women regarding self-esteem and how they see themselves in relation to what God sees, can be appreciated by any listener- myself included. While I am not of the female species, I too relate sometimes to feeling average and ordinary- we all have those moments where we sometimes ponder whether God can do what He does through us because we believe in that moment that we’re “ordinary”. With a strong keyboard presence, Kristen reminds us all that we’re ‘…more than an average Jane [or Joe]…’, something we all need to believe if we want to move out of normalcy and into a state of believing we can do more we can imagine with Christ in us and moving through us.
Bringing down the pace in “My Heart is Your Home”, we see Kristen’s moving tribute to God, and that ‘…You’re hearing me, and You notice me, I am never alone, cause my heart is Your home…’ amidst all the hand claps, the poignancy and the heartfelt nature of what I reckon is the most vulnerable song on the EP. Allowing someone to make their home in your heart, whether it’s God or anyone else, is a big deal, and to declare for Christ to make His dwelling in us is something not to be taken lightly. This song gives us impetus as we seek inside ourselves to see if God has truly made His home in us or not.
With Kristen also delving into themes of identity and who we’re defined by in life in the piano pop “Defined By You” (something that an artist like Francesca Battistelli would place on her album), as well as the album ender “Identity”, again speaking about who we are as we wrestle to believe what God says we are amidst who we’re told we are by everyone around us; calling the EP Defined By You is aptly titled, because it brings about a theme so crucial to society. As I reflect upon the lyrics of “Identity” and what Kristen declares of how ‘…you are, fearfully and wonderfully made, He has ordained your names, so walk in His ways…’, it is a great reminder for us all to step into that truth that we are wonderfully made, and believe it with our hearts. This EP is a great reminder of who we are in Christ, and an EP worth purchasing, especially if we need something timely to encourage us with that fact. For fans of Francesca, Meredith Andrews, or Natalie Grant; well-done Kristen for such a powerful and encouraging EP, and one of 2015’s best! Can’t wait for the full length album whenever it arises!
3 songs to listen to: Identity, Defined By You, My Heart is Your Home
RIYL: Nichole Nordeman, Natalie Grant, Meredith Andrews, Francesca Battistelli