While we’re always going to enjoy and champion the music of our favorite artists and bands, we’re also keen to check out new artists. There’s nothing quite like discovering a brand new band or songwriter for the first time, which is why we think you’re going to love Chris & Jenna. The married duo crafts alt-pop songs and are unafraid of vulnerability for the sake of telling the full truth. Doubt mixes with faith. Darkness wrestles with light. The music tells a story that should provide plenty of buzz for Chris & Jenna from here on out.
CCM: Did the two of you start making music together before you were married or did that come later?
Jenna: Music came first for us. We were friends in college, and a campus announcement went out that asked for live music at a coffeehouse event. I sang regularly and jumped on it, calling Chris’s room to ask his guitar-playing roommate to accompany me.
Chris: I refused to let her talk to him until she agreed to let me sing, too. We played together with other friends for a couple more years before we had any romantic inclinations. We were surprised when they came, but no one else seemed to be.
CCM: When did you officially decide to step out and make music under your own moniker?
Chris: We’ve been playing as Chris & Jenna since 2010. We started recording our first project before we were really playing shows as a duo. When it was time for album art to be made, the artist asked, “What’s your band name?” We hadn’t thought much about it, and I didn’t want to stress over it. We stuck with our first names, and once the album came out, we began playing exclusively as Chris & Jenna.
Jenna: It’s not something we set out to do from the start, but doors kept opening for us to be with people and play music. We got married the year after the record came out, and we’ve dug into playing together seriously since then.
CCM: For those new to your music, are there some musical touchpoints to reference?
Chris: We’re a duo who harmonizes, so it’s easy for people at our shows to draw quick comparisons to artists like The Civil Wars and Johnnyswim. While we take it as a compliment, we don’t aspire to simply do what they’ve already done. On our record Waiting to Begin, there’s a wide breadth of influence represented from lyricists like Jon Foreman and Sara Bareilles to storytellers like Billy Joel and Ben Folds.
Jenna: In Scripture, we’re struck by David’s raw honesty in both joy and pain in the psalms and Jesus’s use of parables to teach in a cultural context that made sense to the people. That’s what we seek to do in our songs and stories – to invite the listener in, regardless of their background, to a message of encouragement and truth.
CCM: It’s been a couple years since Waiting to Begin. Is it safe to assume a new album is in the works?
Chris: That’s the hope! Writing has been our focus for the last few months. We’ve been married for almost 5 years, and we were both songwriters individually before that. We’re refining our process of how we write together as a unit – it can be hard, but it’s yielding good fruit. Recording a full-length can be a long process, so we may track a Christmas EP along the way.
CCM: What’s on the horizon in 2016?
Jenna: We’re setting up lots of summer shows. We’ll travel in the Midwest as well as some East Coast locations. A highlight will be the Escape to the Lake festival put on by Under the Radar in Indiana this August. We’ll end the year with our second annual Christmas tour. We also hope to keep more video content coming out to our fans as we’re writing new songs.’