Christian-Rock Artist Jodi Essex will be releasing her brand new six-track EP, Fearless, on July 8. The record is a call to build the Kingdom with the strength of a warrior. Having survived cancer at 25, Essex's courageous perspective on life is powered by an innate sense of mission and belief all people have immeasurable worth.
In the face of turbulence and adversity, especially when it comes to sharing the Gospel, "Fearless" is about learning to fear less, conquering fear with unshakable faith. The single "Fearless," with its accompanying music video, will be out June 24, 2022.
Q: Jodi, it is good to catch up with you again. Why did you title your new EP "Fearless"?
Hello, hello! Awesome catching up with you again as well! Thank you so much for the privilege of this interview. Always a joy and pleasure!
So the EP comes from the title track "Fearless," which will be released as the final single off the EP!
My story behind "Fearless" is a call to action of individuals from all walks of life - some inspired but fearful of next steps; some down-trodden by life's oftentimes turbulent storms just trying to get by, and some on a ledge debating whether they matter. I'm here to tell everyone through my messages of song, that they matter. That they are all worth it. Every single moment. By the grace of God, every human deserves a place in His heaven.
When I look at the word "Fearless," I see a simple message in that very powerful word: "Fear less." Literally. By fearing less, we're capable of so much more. Being rooted in fearlessness can make life a bit easier to traverse. Being FEARLESS allows us to let go of things we hold so tight to that add little to no value in who we are and will become . HOWEVER, fear is not without power, as it keeps us either focused on the past or worried for the future. That's a huge stake of distraction in our heads that we sometimes find impossible to escape. I think if we truly understand the power that fear can have over us, the desire and drive to disentangle ourselves from FEAR becomes even more imperative and even palatable.
In the beginning of the title track "Fearless" and throughout the song, there is a tribal chant that bellows out, "Warrior, lift up your face, be a warrior in His race, warrior!" We cannot lose suiting up in the armor of God and going forth to do what we are meant to do. Warriors are not passive followers. WE are His soldiers. Has he not done enough for us that we might in return, be the warriors in His race to make the world aware of our fearless leader?
At the heart and foundation of it all, we need resilience, a fearlessness to get through and to get by - not just to survive, THRIVE. This is what FEARLESS is about. Lean into God and be equipped!
The entire EP was written without knowing whether or not it would all tie up in a nice, neat little bow at the end. Was there a common thread at the beginning? Not really. But it wasn't necessary and that's not what mattered to me most. What mattered most was the assurance of absolute and total clarity in my messages through song. I left little to no room for any major swings in interpretation of the messages behind the music. Obviously, when it comes to music, listeners will always have their own interpretations. However, if one really spends time with the songs and their lyrics, the messages are pretty straight forward. As usual and as reflected in my own personal voice, I wanted blatantly obvious and direct messages conveyed with this EP.
All of that being said, once all the songs were written and recorded, I did see an inherent theme of "fearlessness" throughout and the light bulb snapped on! It all made sense in one fell swoop, starting with:
Offend - standing up and speaking boldly for what you believe in regardless of the cost or outcome, even if inadvertently someone is offended takes guts. Takes grit. Takes resilience. One must be fearless.
Fearless - the epitome of courage, action, confidence, and boldness. Turn the cheek when it comes to the naysayers, to the opposing. Let go of being attached to an outcome. Rise up when Jesus calls on you with a mission. Go forth in His strength and be fearless.
Unravel - vulnerability is no easy task. Baring our souls and crying out to God, who already knows our hearts better than anyone, makes it no less easier. Dwelling in a timespace and allowing the unraveling to happen within, as we focus on a wide open transparency with God, requires courage. Let go, let it happen, be fearless.
Lean - going against the flow despite who and what surrounds us, takes willpower and fortitude. In the wake of fear, ever-evolving chaos, nation rising up against nation, brother against brother, we need to separate and LEAN IN to God and His word. We're called to be faithful and fearless.
Bandaid - postponing the inevitable only prolongs pain, disappointment, and growth. Living a fear-based life keeps us living on a ledge and unable to move from it. Looking fear in the face equips us with strength, courage, and confidence. Each subsequent time we have to rip the bandaid, WILL become easier. You will become bold and fearless.
Shine - it's the end...and so my friends, breathe Him in, let His spirit wash over you; rest easy and confident at your utmost for His highest and SHINE your light BRIGHT. Fear has no home when you dwell with Jesus. Fear has no home in your heart when you give it to Him. Weightless in His love, fearless in His spirit...
And that sums up the EP. The best cure for fear is action and walking the path Jesus walked.
Q: Being a survivor of cancer, you must be quite acquainted with fear. Tell us about your ordeal with cancer and how you became fearless.
My cancer journey was riddled with both fear and anger. Believe it or not, it was anger I felt the most because I was seen by four physicians before I was even diagnosed. I started showing signs and symptoms at around age 23, but no one would do anything about it for two years. It was after my 25th birthday that I finally found a doctor who would correctly diagnose and treat me. My guess was that I was so young at the time of my initial explorations, that all of the physicians I saw, simply dismissed the possibility of my signs and symptoms as cancer. Regardless, that was dangerous. It was irresponsible. It made me angry after it was all said and done.
My moment of fear came on the day I had a biopsy done, but only because I also got "the call" on the same day. When my doctor called me just hours after the biopsy to tell me I had cancer and that he had me scheduled for surgery the very next morning at 6am, that's when it hit me. The fear, the curiosity, the "why is this happening to me?" But then I transitioned straight to anger. I was so mad that it had taken so long for me to be diagnosed. So mad that none of the doctors prior to the one who finally removed the cancerous masses from my body, chose to look into things a bit deeper. I was mad that they hadn't demanded biopsies. The anger coursed through me. But I prayed and stayed faithful and hope-filled that maybe I did have age on my side still; that God would heal my body and calm my heart and mind.
Long story short, a year of treatment and five years from the date of my surgery, I was considered in remission. AMEN.
Now, did going through that make me fearless? Not exactly. I've had countless nature vs. nurture discussions and I believe that we come into this world wired up a certain way. Everything that happens after that helps to influence the person we become. Further, those influences - both people and experiences, impact how we govern ourselves, how we form decisions, and our overall development and evolution of self.
I think I generally was born a strong, willful person, not afraid of much. Even as a young child.
My experience with the "C" word and all it came with, exponentially magnified my fearlessness. Not that I'm inferring one must experience any type of illness like that to gain some perspective, but an experience like that will inevitably point you in a very different direction and, with a whole new perspective on life. Now, what one does with that new perspective may vary, but in my case, it just grew my fearlessness, ambition, and motivation even more. I felt like I had a whole new lease on life. I saw and felt the world in an entirely new way. My voracious desire to experience anything and everything that I possibly could become my life map for solid decades after that.
Q: Why do you think many Christians are fearful, especially when it comes to sharing about our faith? How do you think fear can be conquered?
I can't speak for everyone, but my basic observation has been rooted in one thing: confidence. And lack thereof. Confidence feeds fearlessness. It leads to self-esteem. You need confidence to speak your mind, seek the truth; confidence keeps us moving forward, it helps our decision-making processes, it builds resilience, it helps to facilitate good relationships and communication. Confidence is also a great motivator. It helps earn trust and respect.
Because it is such a key skill and tool in the way we move about life, if it's amiss in one's mission arsenal then I think sharing about faith and being able to speak up and stand boldly for Jesus may be difficult at times. I think it may be most difficult when one is met with resistance, a real verbal smack-down or confrontation, so to speak. That is where having confidence would help in knowing that no matter how you're treated, no matter what is spewed at you, you'll come through victorious because you are confident and believe that with Jesus by your side, nothing is going to take you down.
For the second part of your question, I'm no psychologist but I might suggest a few starting points. First things first LEAN INTO GOD and then:
Start with learning about your fear. When did it start? Where do you think it came from? We have to dig deep and dust off all the parts of our subconscious that may be contributing to our fear(s).
Face your fear(s). Stare it down. You are bigger than the fear that is making you a slave to it. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Sit with your fear(s). The more you look at it, the more familiar it becomes and also easier to handle the way it needs to be handled.
Develop a huge vocabulary that you can use for positive self-talk. You would be surprised at how much and how often our subconscious negative self-talk impacts us. Replace it with *conscious* positive self-talk!
Find a great therapist. This can take a bit of trial and error to find a good fit, but don't quit the search!
Q: On this new record, you got to work with Disciple's Josiah Prince. How did the two of you meet? Tell us more about working with him.
Yes, good guy! We connected via a mutual industry contact through my publicist. It was pretty effortless, a few email exchanges and we were on our way to some epic music!
Working with Josiah has been nothing short of amazing. Musical chemistry doesn't always happen, but I've been fortunate in that with my last two producers and Josiah is no exception. He really helped to raise the bar for myself with respect to my sound on this EP. He is wicked talented - as a musician and producer. I found that our methods of operation in a studio setting were very complimentary so that made for a very easy ebb and flow of production time. He also exercises a great balance between encouraging and challenging the artists he works with.
Oh, and don't let his introvertedness fool you. He has a wicked sense of humor! You don't get to experience it right away, but after a few sessions, the comic starts to rear his head!
Q: What were some of the highlights for you in the making of this record?
One of the main highlights was the evolution of my rock sound on this EP. On my last album, I was seeking a more "classic rock" sound and I achieved that with my last producer, Sean Hill. This time around, and because of Josiah's deeply rooted rock background, I got to really move the goalposts and experiment with a more industrial and modern rock feel. I'm
The other highlight was working with a new creative team, Endeavor Space, also introduced to me through my awesome publicist through The Marketing Mixtape. My folks behind my new creative content team are INSANELY talented and energizing to work with!
I think as a whole, I feel that "Fearless," the EP is a solid body of work that I'm extremely proud of. It's packed from top to bottom with bold and truth-seeking messages that I pray will resonate with people. I am radically excited about getting into the hands and ears of my faithful listeners!
Q: How can these new songs encourage us in our witness for the Lord?
Regardless of where anyone is in their life journey, my hope for everyone when listening to my music and/or reading through the lyrics, is that they are either reminded or inspired to live a fearless life. Fear-based living is debilitating and can just steal one's joy. Just know that anchoring in Christ will give you the steady, stable, and calm existence that only He can offer. I want everyone to feel strengthened and hopeful as they think on the work they want to do and the changes they want to make in their lives. I want people to feel unafraid as they venture forward and take action towards things that will only fortify their hearts and minds.
Again, living fearlessly for Jesus is no easy task but it's reality and I want them to know that they will have to do some really hard work at times. I hope my music not only inspires action, but I also hope listeners feel challenged in a positive way. At the same time, we have to remember to grant ourselves patience and grace. No victory comes easy. Doing what is right and not just what's easy takes discipline, faith and perseverance. But we, as warriors of God, have the best chance at survival in life, here on Earth. All things are possible with Him. Remember the parable of the mustard seed. Remember all that He has committed to us. Being a disciple of God opens us up to all things transformative and all things that seem an impossibility. Fear less. A lot less.
Suit up, God is calling...
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