Josh Blakesley releases his latest single "Alleluia! Sing to Jesus" today. This marks the third single released by Blakesley for his upcoming new album Outpoured that will be available in early 2023. The first single was "Come to the Banquet," and the second song was "Jesus, I Trust in You." The series of new singles will culminate with Blakesley's seventh album and Outpoured Tour in 2023.
Blakesley's music talent and his strong faith has led to him becoming a major contemporary Catholic/Christian artist, while appearing with his band at faith events around the country. He believes that he has a calling to make music that will move people into prayer and action. At the same time as a Christian songwriter, he wants to create songs that honor traditions while still speaking to the modern Church.
Q: Josh, thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself: I believe you came to know Christ after a close friend died in a car accident. What happened there?
"Thanks for asking. It was a difficult time for sure. I was 15 years old, Jenny was 16. She had been instrumental in bringing me into the faith, introducing me to authentic prayer, and stirring a sort of metanoia in my mind and heart. We had known each other for a few years, but really got close in the year leading up to the accident. Then, she was gone. I remember feeling the fragility of life for the first time. We lived in a small town, but there were hundreds and hundreds of people at her funeral. It was in that moment that God showed me how His light shines through people who are willing to answer the call."
Q: When and how did you become involved in music?
"I think I became a musician out of my first grade teacher's complete annoyance at the kid in the front row tapping out rhythms on his text books. I've never been very good at staying still. So my mom suggested I take music lessons to get the ants outta my pants. I think my parents were hoping that the Smurf drum set they bought me for Christmas and a decent drum teacher would settle me down. It didn't work. But I did get bitten by the music bug in the process! By junior high school, I had a small band. We practiced weekly and tried to learn one another's instruments when we got bored with our own."
Q: In your press release, you said that you wanted to create music that honors the traditions while speaking to the modern church today. What do you mean by that?
"The church has such a rich history of music. Believers have been singing praise to God since the earliest books in the Bible. I think it's imperative that we look to some of the most popular songs of praise that have resonated with the faithful over the years, while at the same time honoring the new songs that God is revealing to writers and composers every day. It's no secret that music can be one of the most divisive subjects in a church. However, throughout human history, music and art have arguably been the greatest bridges to unity. That makes musicians the bridge builders."
Q: How is such a belief reflected in your music?
"I love to create. I feel most connected to God, the Creator, whenever I'm being creative- like I'm truly living the idea of being made in His image and likeness. When I'm writing something new, there's melodies flying around my head and lyric ideas that sound like babble and nonsense. Then, from all of those strange notions and weirdness, something starts to take root, like a seed sprouting and growing. That whole process is exhilarating to me. In much the same way, though, once in a while a fresh take on a seasoned hymn pops into existence in my mind. All of a sudden, a song that seemed tired and stale from overuse is reinvented and has new life."
Q: Talk to us about your new single "Alleluia! Sing to Jesus."
"I've had a few songs along the way that have resonated with folks, like 'Our God is Good,' and 'Hope Comes Alive,' modern, up tempo songs with a pop/rock feel. But 'Alleluia! Sing to Jesus' is a great example of a long known hymn, with text that is very familiar and a melody (Hyfrydol) that's even more common. There's this beautiful lyric with imagery like, "scepter and throne" and "songs of peaceful Zion," but we've maybe been singing it the same way since the early 1800s. In an effort to bring it to life for my own church family, and to draw attention back to the amazing content in the text, I slowed it down and added a chorus with big harmonies for a choir. I also enlisted the help of my friend, Tim Lienhard, to arrange a powerful orchestration, making it very different from anything I've ever done before."
Q: Can you give us a little preview of what we can expect from your new upcoming album?
"Outpoured is really a little bit experimental. We're releasing it one song at a time to really give listeners the ability to digest them as individual pieces. When the entire collection comes out in early 2023, I think the comprehensive idea will come through-which is the outpouring of Jesus's divine mercy ('Jesus I Trust In You'), His abundant goodness ('Come to the Banquet'), and the list goes on. Stylistically, there's some songs that long time JB listeners will expect, and I think some that will surprise. Spiritually and emotionally, I may be closest to 'Alleluia! Sing to Jesus' just because I really poured so much of myself into the production of that one."
Q: How do you hope your songs would impact the lives of your listeners?
"From the beginning, my prayer has been the same for all the music. That is for the listener to be drawn intimately into deeper worship of the Lord."