Earlier this year, in preparation for her new album release, Little Bird, Misty sat for an interview with the music press. Here’s an excerpt:
With Misty’s new album Little Bird (which comes on the heels of last year’s critically lauded Only a Shadow), there’s a decidedly different slant towards the singer/songwriter side of this immensely talented artist, and for the first time thus far in her ministry, exposes several shades of deeper reflection.
“I didn’t intend to be an artist, but I originally started writing in the prayer room where I led two or three sessions a day,” she recounts of a multi-faceted role that dates back to her days as an intern at the International House of Prayer. “The songs that came out of those seasons had a very repetitive chorus type of feel to them and a lot of corporate singing off very scripturally-based themes. Not only have a lot of my past albums been centered around corporate worship songs, but the last record was recorded in the corporate live setting. I never want to walk away from that, but worship and creativity under God is bigger than just corporate expression exclusively, and in my heart, I’ve always had a singer/songwriter side. This project focuses more on lyrics than choruses and is not as repetitive as I may have been in the past, which has been a really fun process for me as a writer. The fact is I became an artist very accidentally and it all just evolved naturally, but because the Lord gave me a chance, I’m going to strive to do it with excellence.”
“Another reason I went in this direction on Little Bird is to encourage others in the worship movement to think outside the box and not be limited to corporate expression,” she adds. “A lot of worship leaders feel limited and frustrated creatively, but we’re called to so much more as Christians, even when it comes to our typical definition of worship. I also wanted to channel the kind of music I personally listen to, so it’s also a case of being authentic to what I like. I strongly believe there’s a whole group of listeners who won’t gravitate towards worship music because they have a taste for a different kind of creativity, and it was in my heart to reach those people.”
Little Bird has the ability to take flight towards the spiritually thirsty of varying backgrounds that converge at the crossroads of musical and lyrical authenticity. From strictly a sonic perspective, listeners are likely to pick up on noted, independently-minded influences. Add in all-star production from the legendary, 14 Grammy Award-winning / 25 Dove Award-winning Brown Bannister, plus co-production from the Grammy-nominated Paul Moak (The Blind Boys of Alabama, Mat Kearney), and the blend of earthy innovation with analogue experimentation, alongside a vast myriad of subject matter, is nothing short of masterful.
“Personally, I don’t think there is a line between the sacred and the secular,” she suggests. “If a person is living before God’s eyes, everything is sacred. All of life is sacred, as opposed to trying to make church songs in one box and love songs in another box. I think we need to get rid of the separation. I hope these songs will land somewhere between encouraging people and leading them to ask questions about what they really believe. I hope to stir up conversations in their soul. I love the mysterious elements of God, and again, not to separate the sacred from the secular, but see the story of God in our lives and in the dirt of humanity.”
Once again, Edwards undersells herself, because Little Bird is eons beyond simply the latest companion to any music aficionado’s collection, but more accurately a record of lifelong investment overflowing with multiple layers for ongoing dissection, analysis, and the tipping point for provocative spiritual probing. Even the seemingly innocuous title builds off immersive concepts like the fragility of life, the pursuit of living it to the fullest, and pondering eschatological themes, all culminating in spending eternity with the Lord.
“I’m tying together the transcendent and the earthy—the mystery and holiness of who God is, but also the brokenness of our lives and how those two worlds come together,” muses Misty. “Mercy is a huge theme expressed through some of these songs and mercy is part of His glory and His majesty—the fact that He’s so merciful, kind, and generous to those who are sincere. The majority of these songs are experiential rather than observations, and I’m mostly writing from where I am, which makes it a very personal album.”
Though the tunes more than speak for themselves, some definite highlights include the xylophone and marimba-flanked title track, which comes from the clever, wisdom-bearing perspective of Misty as a young adult writing a letter to herself as a little girl. The multiple layers of guitars throughout “Sound of a Heart” dig even further into themes of forgiveness as it applies King David’s disastrous decisions and eventual redemption to our less publicly magnified struggles, while the pleading “Center of the Universe” traces Scripture’s prophetic promise of the Lord’s eventual return and examples of how we should strive to perpetually serve Him on the journey. Yet the organic “Audience of One” perhaps best summarizes Misty’s most pertinent thoughts that regularly replay throughout her pensive mind.
“I’m definitely an introvert with a philosophical heart,” she concedes. “The frailty and purpose of life are what drives me the most, and I’ve always been so aware of both. I’m captivated by thoughts of eternity, who God is, and I’m very consumed with serving an audience of one. What does He want from me? Living that question leads to so many more, and I’m driven to fulfill His purpose.”
Little Bird releases December 29.
1. Womb of the Morning
2. Invisible One
3. Little Bird
6. Audience of One
7. Killing Me with Mercy
8. Sound of a Heart
9. Summer Girl
10. Mary, Mary
11. Center of the Universe