Singer-songwriter Melanie Penn releases her new record More Alive Vol. 2 and debuts her music video for "Follow You" today. The video shoot took place for two days in Iceland, as Penn thought the location would really give the right vibe for the video and song.
More Alive Vol. 2 features 10 original songs and new videos. It's been a long and difficult journey for Melanie, as the songs for Vol. 2 were written during 2020 and 2021. Besides dealing with Covid issues, she was caring for her sick father who passed away from cancer last year. However, Melanie's faith led her to write some of the most powerful songs of her career. Or as Melanie puts it, "as usual God brought beauty from ashes!
We are honored to be able to catch up with Melanie to talk about her new record.
Q: Melanie, thanks for doing this interview with us. We are so sorry to hear about the passing of your dad. What kind of a dad was he?
"Roger Penn was a wonderful father!! He had a very quiet, fierce spirit and he was also very warm and affectionate towards me. I never felt he was too busy with his career or emotionally unavailable. Relating to God as a loving Father has always been very natural to me, and I know this is because my dad modeled those qualities of God so well."
Q: Your dad's passing and the pandemic have influenced you in the writing of your new record. How have they affected your writing?
"It's taken awhile for the experience with my dad's death to filter through to the songs. There are some new songs that will come out in late 2022-23 that delve into the experience with illness, healing and the fleeting nature of this life. Nursing my father through his death - especially during Covid when 99% of his care fell on mom and me - is something I'm still processing and will be for a long, long time."
Q: If you could sum up the message you want to convey through this new record, what would it be?
"I'm very interested in aging and the concept of 'getting older.' There's an undertone in our culture that as you age you become a little 'less' - less vibrant, active, attractive, whatever. But the opposite is true. As we get older we actually become MORE vibrant and also wiser. With each passing year we get closer to true eternal life, so in light of the gospel, we really do become more alive. The thesis statement of the entire album project comes across in one of the lyrics, Every year and the next/it's like a reverse effect/The older we get/we become more alive."
Q: What were some of your highlights in the making of "More Alive Vol. 2"?
"My producer Ben Shive and I, recorded a lot of More Alive Vol. 2 during the most intense part of Covid and the quarantine. During that time, the only people I really saw were my mom, dad and Ben. So there is something about being in that airlock making music that I will never forget."
Q: I have read that you have filmed your new video "Follow You" in Iceland. Why Iceland? Share with us what the song and video are about.
"The filmmaker for 'Follow You' knows Iceland very well and has worked there a lot. We went back and forth for a few months about the concept for 'Follow You,' and how we could really make an epic journey kind of video that communicates a journey of wandering in the wilderness. Everything we discussed kind of fell short and then in one phone conversation he was like, 'Hey, what if we went to Iceland?!" Done!!!"
Q: How do you hope these new songs would impact the lives of your listeners?
"Listeners deserve songs that they can remember and sing - with jaunty melodies and rhymes. Sometimes, I like to think of songs like food. We spend a lot of time discussing wholesome ingredients in food without anything that is fake or processed. I think listeners deserve wholesome, nutritious songs that are 'heart-healthy,' so I hope the songs have that impact."