Release Date: February 24th 2017
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Who You Are
- Hand of Heaven
- Because of Your Love
- Love is Alive
- Here Goes Nothing
‘…I wrote my new record Love Is Alive with Rusty Varenkamp, initially with motive to propel my career and keep the interest level of what I was doing to remain steady. It was my daily prayer, “God let this be the one.” It was the talking through of my stories with him, and digging deep that I realized I had so much more to share than my selfish desires. One afternoon in November, while sitting in Rusty’s studio, I decided I was done pretending I had it all together. I was no longer going to write what I thought was going to get signed, sung, or noticed; I was going to write exactly what I felt the Holy Spirit impressing upon me…’ What an inspiring quote from indie singer/songwriter/worship leader Lexi Elisha about her most recent EP, titled Love is Alive that released on Friday February 24th. While Lexi has quietly been releasing EPs ever since her first release in 2012 (Let Go), her passion and heart is undeniable, regardless that she is still relatively unknown, even within the CCM industry, 5 years after her debut EP release. Regardless of the unknown factor of Lexi throughout these last few years, her EP’s that have released at a steady pace have been nothing but poignant, heartfelt and encouraging. I Choose Love released in 2013 placed her on the map with a pop-country atmosphere, while Rope traded it all for acoustic/bluegrass and a whole lot of ballads. Her most recent EP that released in 2015, Drowning in Love, focused predominately on the worshipful vertical ‘genre’ if you will, as well as adding some EDM and pop just for good measure. While I hope that Lexi gets signed by a major CCM label in the future, just so that the industry knows how great she is vocally; I often think that her, and many of the other indie artists shouldn’t be signed at all- as I know, just like anyone else, that once anyone is signed to a label, restrictions are placed on the music you make. Still, many of my favourite bands/artists are signed, so I guess there are both benefits and drawbacks of a signed contract with a major label. With Lexi, her music, more so today within the CCM/worship scene compared to the pop/acoustic atmosphere she created back a few years ago, is nothing short of powerful and encouraging, and a must have for anyone who loves artists like Sarah Reeves, Moriah Peters and CCM/mainstream crossover artist Britt Nicole.
Released in March 2016, “Who You Are”, come to think of it, is perhaps one of my favourite songs of Lexi, ever- not because of its as grandiose as a song like “Atmosphere” or “I Choose Love”, or even as emotive and poignant as virtually any song on Rope EP, but rather, the song comes from a place of worship and praise, and a moment of realisation of who God is and who we are in light of this. A song that can be easily slotted in any Sunday morning worship set list of songs, Lexi presents this track with a strong keyboard musical undertone presence, as she imparts from the very start, that ‘…here are the burdens of my hurt and doubt, here are the things I can’t figure out, I surrender it all, I surrender it all now, so take this prayer, my heart will wait, not my will, so You have Your way, I am nothing without, I am nothing without You…’ – with a start like that, how can we not love this song? Honest and encouraging, it is a reminder that God encourages us all to present every request, be it daunting and huge or insignificant and small, over to Him, that what He can do with our insecurities and shortcomings are much more than we can even dream of imagining. As keyboards and strong pulsating drums highlight this track musically, Lexi continues to become one of my favourite indie artists of late- alongside others like LoveCollide, Erik Neider and Joy Lippard. A great start to the EP, “Who You Are” sets the groundwork musically and lyrically for the EP as a whole- dare I say that listening to the first track and that alone ought to encourage you all to listen to the whole album straight through? Because if listening to “Who You Are” doesn’t make you impressed and encouraged by this up and coming indie/worship artist, I don’t know what will!
It is the other two songs on the EP, “Here Goes Nothing” and “Hand of Heaven”, that seem to the most personal to Lexi as I hear it- “Here Goes Nothing” is a track that uses the phrase ‘here goes nothing’ frequently- a such phrase that is used in circumstances where we as humans are in the process of doing something difficult and challenging. It is when we have a mindset that what we’re undertaking, we’re going to be failing at. Or at least, we’re going to be trying real hard at succeeding…but then that’s about it. It’s funny how a song here on the EP can be titled ‘Here Goes Nothing’…but then again, I can see it. Because in fact, the Christian life can at times seem difficult. We as Christians were not made to have it all easy, and as Lexi reminds us amongst the light electronic keyboards and pop music atmosphere- ‘…here goes nothing for You, falling in deep for You, take a quick breath and I close my eyes, whatever comes next, only You decide…’, we’re quick to realise that in fact, life is a series of trust moments after trust moments. We don’t know the future…and that’s ok. This song shows us that as we trust the Lord and step out in faith in the small moments of our lives, we can find that He will work through every circumstance to show us what He longs for us to understand and grasp in that moment, be it of comfort or uncertainty.
“Hand of Heaven” is another personal track, written during the time when Lexi married and moved from Indiana to Chattanooga, Tennessee to be with her husband CJ. It is in the moment of uncertainty that Lexi decided to make a bold statement, declaring God’s hand over the situation, knowing that His provision will always come to fruition no matter the timing. As Lexi shares for herself, ‘…I made a declaration the day we wrote this song; I would trust my God more than I trusted what was “supposed” to happen in my life. I would lay every dream at His feet, not because that was the right thing to do, but because it was what I wanted to do. I wanted Jesus more than I understood. I still want Jesus more than I understand. This song is truly something I cannot wait to share with you…’ A song that allows us to proclaim God’s hand over a moment where we really need the Lord’s assistance, this is a must listen to anyone who may be having a ‘Job’ or ‘Jonah’ moment in their lives. Kudos to Lexi for such a vulnerable song, here’s hoping and praying this impacts a lot of people in the months to come!
With the underlying theme of the EP being that God’s love is alive and active, central to the life of a Christian, and that living the life that Christ wants and desires means surrendering into His love as He makes a way straight for us to delve deeper into His hopes and plans for our lives at that particular moment; this worship EP is one of Lexi’s best, and one of 2017’s best too, taking her pop roots and using that as a platform to give God the glory! Lexi has shown us in the past that you don’t need to talk about God to have a great and powerful album (see Rope EP), and in Love is Alive, she presents to us more of a vertical approach to singing about the Lord and His love…which is good if we want to hear more songs geared towards the church. With the topic of searching for love relevant in today’s society, this EP is needed for listeners to dwell on now more than ever, in this time of uncertainty here and around the world. Lexi’s integrity and creativity in this release cannot be denied, and she shines through in these songs. It’s definitely plausible and likely that Lexi will propel into stardom and popularity in the near future, maybe by signing to a record label… so, look out world, Lexi is coming! Well done Lexi for such a powerful EP, here’s to the next one whenever it releases…or is it a full length album release?
3 songs to listen to: Who You Are, Here Goes Nothing, Because of Your Love
RIYL: Sarah Reeves, Hannah Kerr, Britt Nicole, Moriah Peters, Rachel Platten