miércoles, 28 de julio de 2010



With a name like Prayer/Life, you might have some pre-conceived notions about what to expect in the music. Yes, there is religious connotations, and prayer worthy lyrics abounding, but on the flip-side there is life within these songs, meant to invoke inspiration, and maybe even a little faith into your everyday life. It may not be for everyone, but the music is well produced and executed with enough passion to carry the message of the song, so do not discount the beauty, even if the message isn’t necessarily universal.

Cody Blevins

What's the band's name meaning?
How we came up with the name for the group is a story that kind of reflects how we approach this whole music thing…..we could have chosen a name WE liked, but we knew we needed to find the name God had in mind for this project. So we prayed and waited. And waited. We had to advertise and perform our first two concerts without any name because we were still waiting. Then one of us, Myson, our bass player at the time, suggested Prayer/Life. And that night Myson and I both had a dream that Prayer/Life was the name of the group. (Understand, we were the least likely group members to have a spiritual dream, so this seemed like a divine joke and good confirmation.)

We knew that some people close to us didn’t like the name when they first heard it because it sounded too concrete or not mysterious/poetic enough. But others have gravitated to the music just because they liked the name when it popped up on Facebook sidebars, so the name is serving its purpose, to get the attention of those interested in a life based on conversation with God.

How did you guys started with the band?
We thank you, Rafa, so very much for choosing us from the SonicBids pool of great artists and then asking to find out more about our music! We are glad you asked about the formation of the group because that is the first “God-story” in a string of God-stories about this music.

I (Andrea) felt a spiritual call to share my voice with people beyond my local church to reach and this came to me at apparently the same time as faraway stranger, John Stallworth, felt a similar call. I didn’t know how to meet the right musicians for this project God had in mind, but I followed what I thought was silly advice and posted an ad online to find musicians interested in starting a band to play Christian music similar to the style of Chris Rice, Ginny Owens, Nichole Nordemann, Cindy Morgan, or Sara Groves. Well, the FIRST WEEK I posted the ad, I heard back from John Stallworth that he was interested even though he lives about 60 miles away. When we first played together to see how it would go, I couldn’t believe how beautifully he played and that he just had to HEAR a song and then could remember all the intricacies and play it without any written chords or sheet music! And he would make the song sound even better…. Amazing musician, amazing pianist. He really liked my voice as well, called it “special” – so we were good to go. And all along it has been a journey of miracles and also of spiritual lessons too.

The main miracle has been the recording of our album, “In Our Midst”. I had made my own little homemade laptop-recorded demos and put them on Myspace against the advice of music people I know who said, "don’t do that, wait until you have well-recorded music…." But it was on Myspace that a Christian independent music producer, Patrick Siegel, of New Artist Avenue, heard our home-made demos and said he loved the songs and wanted to help us get a professional recording made with his Grammy-winning and multi-Gold and Platinum record production team of Billy Whittington and Blair Masters in Nashville! These guys had worked with ALL the top Christian artists through the years from Amy Grant to Michael W. Smith to Mercy Me to Steven Curtis Chapman to Newsboys, Casting Crowns, etc. etc. What a complete and total answer to prayer. Since I am older, I knew that what we first produced had to be good as I don’t have years to wait to get to a place of a good recording……so this was exactly what we prayed for! But I’m a mom and a clinical psychologist, running a large practice and supervising many students in doctoral training, so I could only could be away for a week. Somehow God pulled together the whole 10-track high-quality album in a gorgeous way in a week…..It was really one of the best weeks of my life, making music and praying about 22/7 (couldn’t fall sleep hardly at all)!! The details came together so perfectly, even my own brother was able to at the last minute fly in from Illinois to add a significant contribution of male harmonies and guitar leads.

What's the message to transmit with your music??
To understand our message, you just have to look at our fairly straightforward name. But you have to remember the forward slash in the name, because just like in either/or, the forward slash means one or the other, or it can mean almost equivalent. You can think of it like this: Prayer/or/Life, prayer and life are almost equivalent for several reasons. First, because prayer is the first move people make to connect with the divine, so it is the start of our real (heavenly) life. So Prayer gives us life. And life worth living needs to be bathed in prayer. Our group came about and has had its success all based on prayer; everything we do for this band, we do by trusting God—so -even when we have the privilege of getting together across the miles to rehearse or record, we start with a significant time of scripture study and prayer. And apart we do this as well. And we have Facebook and Jango.com fans all over the world sending their blessings on us, its incredible, really.

What's your method at the time of writing a song??
This is cool because originally I thought we were just going to pull a band together to cover our favorite songs. But the story of our writing together starts the first time we actually met in person: John went home and had the music for two songs “given” to him by the Holy Spirit, all at once, just sat down and played/ recorded them He emailed the mp3’s to me and asked me if I wanted to write lyrics to them! I thought the world was being handed to me on a silver platter, because he had emailed me two of the most beautiful melodies I could ever remember hearing. Did I WANT to write lyrics for them??! So in trust, I prayed for God to guide me to the concepts that went with the music……then wrote the lyrics….then emailed my vocals and harmonies back to John to see what he thought of what had become of his instrumentals-turned-into-songs. He loved them, he said “that’s exactly what I was thinking of” The first song he sent me actually became our title track, In Our Midst, and is one of our best-loved songs.

That amazing process of inspiration and trust and common vision has continued with each song we develop together. A couple of the instrumentals have come about when I just listen to John free-form playing the piano and I say “record that: that’s a song!” One song like that we decided to ad lib the vocals and lyrics, or just sing together in the moment according to the Spirit’s lead and it became the beautiful worship song with spoken word, We Magnify. A little over half of the album tracks and a number of new songs for our next project I have written the words and music, as inspiration from the Spirit, written usually during morning devotions. John has liked each one of these as well, so we really see eye to eye.

In concert, its important to us to have every lyric projected on a screen so people can focus on the poetry of the songs (not on us!) and also see the scripture references. People are very enthusiastic about having the songs based in biblical texts because these are the fans who try to have their lives based in biblical texts, always searching for new understanding of those texts. I always encourage people to buy the physical CD at Bandcamp.com or Amazon rather than just the iTunes digital tracks because they get an 8-page art/lyrics/scripture reference booklet with the CD that helps them understand the biblical background for the concepts. And to go further with that, I am writing an In Our Midst Daily Devotional Guide to go with the lyrics of the songs on the debut album. It will have explanations of each section of scripture to study each day along with reflection or journaling exercises to explore the personal application of the concepts.

Which is your music influences??
Both John and I played a lot of classical music in our youth and John plays a lot of worship and gospel music as a music director at his church. Personally, I grew up listening to what we now call singer-songwriters such as James Taylor, Livingston Taylor, Carole King, Karla Bonoff, as well as some more alternative music such as Yes, Jethro Tull. But in my new songwriting venture, I would have to cite most of all the influences of wordcrafters Sara Groves, Ginny Owens, Chris Rice, Cindy Morgan, Nichole Nordemann. And in my singing I have to credit Colbie Caillat, Addison Road, Rachael Lampa, and new rising stars in Lara Landon, Jess Turner, and Omega. And it is Debra Byrd, my vocal coach (vocal coach on American Idol, Canadian Idol, and Idols on Tour), who maybe influenced me the most directly by insisting I stop looking out for my instrumentalists too much and just re-key my songs lower to avoid too much time in the voice“break” or no-man’s-land, and for saying things like “Sing that G in your chest voice, please. THANK you!” – is that “influence“ or something a little stronger?

What plans do you have for the future??
We don’t have a goal beyond obedience, John and I both felt called to this out of what we were already doing. We are actively always praying for God’s will or design to be achieved through our efforts and for God’s help to spread the Word through our music. We would love to have broad impact by playing some festivals and eventually touring internationally to have a special ministry to overseas missionaries.

Which has been the funniest prank you have been or took part while on tour or after a show??
Well, a sort of inadvertent prank happened where we were booked for a festival headline concert by accident. They meant to book Andrea Hamilton and instead booked Andrea Davis (my work name] and they figured this out too late, so we still got to play the concert. In fact, the only way we found out that they hadn’t meant to book us was someone in the audience oversaw the concert organizer texting about this and posted the news as a comment on the other Andrea’s Myspace! Ever heard of God working in “mysterious ways” ??

If you guys were stranded in the middle of nowhere after a show or while on tour. The help is 65 miles away from where you guys are, ¿Who would you guys send to look for help? And if while the rest wait, there's no food and the only way to feed yourself is by eating each other, ¿Who would you eat first?
Well, you guys are creative--that’s not a typical interview question. We’d definitely not send John to look for help because its likely he’d get lost finding his way back…..no, we’d tell John to pray for sure, and pretty soon there’d be manna or quail showing up on the ground for us to eat.

Which country you guys would love to play?
I think we’d love to play any countries where we have a bunch of fans, like Rwanda where a number of fans have been generated by one super-fan, William Adams; we’d also love to play in Haiti to support the New Testament Mission in the village of La Croix and the medical clinic there my sister-in-law helps to staff and my son visited earlier this summer.

With which bands you guys would love to share stage??
As we are just starting out, we are not picky about who to share a stage! We’d love to share a stage with any artist we respect and there are just so many – Sara Groves or Ginny Owens way up there, but if we were to share a stage with Jeremy Camp, Cece Winans, or Casting Crowns, there’d be a lot more people in the audience!

Are you OK, with the direction the band is going actually?
It’s nice of you to ask us this, Rafa, and yes, this is a very exciting time to see our influence spreading, with more fans on Facebook and Jango.com every day and more magazine interviews last month and this month, cowriting with Lara Landon in July, and our chance to play for television’s Time Warner Faith On Demand channel last month. Most exciting is being inspired to write a bunch of new songs lately. Nothing better than writing beautiful music to become pearls in strangers’ lives.

Check out more from Prayer/Life by going to: http://www.myspace.com/prayerlifemusic

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