Jodi Essex is an actress, producer and singer/songwriter from Carmel in Northern California. She took great interest in the performing arts as a youth and regularly performed as a soloist in her church as well as leading worship for her youth group. She began to segue into commercial acting and landed her first episodic role on Candid Camera. While pursuing her act icing career, Jodi continued to develop her vocal and performance skills which led to an interest in writing her own music. Eventually, she began focusing solely on a music career, playing and touring in two mainstream rock bands she helped form. Years later, finally heeding strong promptings from God and feeling led to share some hard-learned life lessons and poignant, transformational experiences, she finds herself back to her faith-filled roots and the debut of her first Christian rock single, “Irreverent.”
Hobbies/Interests Apart from Music:
Acting, filmmaking, piloting, endurance athlete, cooking, wine collecting.
Last Netflix Binge:
There are many! Please see “biggest musical influences below.” 🙂
Very First Musical Purchase:
CCM: If you had only five words to describe your new album, it would be…?
Jodi Essex: Energizing, Melodic, Bold, Anthemic, Unapologetic
CCM: Do you have a favorite song from the new album? Why?
Jodi: Great question! I often hear artists mention their favorite song on their album and what typically is chosen, is a song that never gets released as a single and is dubbed as a B-Side song. That is true for me! I actually love track #10 “Rearview Mirror.” That song wraps up the story of the entire album, almost like a reprise.
CCM: What led you to pursue a career or ministry in music?
Jodi: It started back to a specific moment when I was a youth. I was 12 to be exact and at a very soul-stirring point in my faith journey where I was truly understanding what being born-again in Jesus meant. I was attending a worship retreat and in a deep moment of singing and praise, I felt a prompting to open my bible. I sat down in my chair, grabbed my bible and started randomly thumbing through it. I kept feeling like I needed to be in Psalms. I turned to Psalm 40:3 and there my eyes went: “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.” I knew even then that I was being prompted to pursue ministry in music. However, I did not heed that prompting then, which was one obvious example of growing in faith, but not yet mature enough to pursue the prompting. I soon ended up pursuing a secular music career and although I had a lot of great opportunities and experiences, but were never truly fulfilling. Decades later I am here. Heeding the call. Listening. Doing. Writing this album I hadn’t planned for but with the deepest belief that it is God’s will 100%.
CCM: What was the last song you listened to on your playlist or stereo?
Jodi: I listened to a song by Disciple called, “Dear X, You Don’t Own Me.”
CCM: What can listeners expect in terms of the sound, style and lyrics?
Jodi: It’s unabashedly guitar-driven rock; definitely melodic with some unique turnarounds. I’d describe it as bold, energetic and anthemic but with some laid-back, straight ahead tunes reminiscent of a classic rock vibe. I also wrote a couple introspective and empathetic ballads that make you take pause on life. The lyrics are very open and truthful; at times, very “in your face,” meaning they evoke an entire range of emotions that we all have as humans. Emotions that we may be afraid to feel or admit to. I put it all out there. From Track #1 to Track #10, there is an entire story of how life ebbs and flows and how we deal with the highs and lows. It almost reads like a theatrical production, in that it begins with Act 1 scenes, then Act 2 and so on ending with the Finale. As I mentioned previously regarding my favorite song on the album, Track #10 is the Finale and Reprise, wrapping it all up with lessons learned so, “Stay out of your rearview mirror…”
Obviously, most of it has an autobiographical slant to it. I should note that Track #8 on the album is a cover I did of Amy Grant’s, “All Right” of her Lead Me On album from back in the day. That song—actually, the entire album—came at a very poignant time in my life and I was listening to it constantly.
CCM: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Jodi: Well, it’s interesting because my parents divorced when I was really young and they both had very different music tastes; one was also more religious than the other. I’d be listening to bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Journey, Def Leppard, and Aerosmith at my dad’s house, but then at my Mom’s house with my sister, I’d be listening to Christian artists like Stryper, Petra, Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, Bebe & Cece Winans, dcTalk, and The Imperials! That was only a fraction on both sides. I listened to and studied a long list of artists. As I got older, I began listening to Jars of Clay, Switchfoot, Pat Benatar, Sheryl Crow, Stone Temple Pilots, and Soundgarden.
CCM: What was the songwriting process like on this record?
Jodi: Once I had found and connected with producer, Sean Hill of Uphill Studios in Atlanta, GA, we had planned several songwriting sessions to see what we could conjure up as a team. For the first session, I walked into the studio with a few song ideas, including lyrics and a couple short melodies. That was back on a Monday in January 2019. By Friday of that same week, we had written the entire album—in just five days! We ended up having a great writing dynamic and the songs just came. After that, we then took one week to track each instrument, two weeks for lead vocals, and one week for background vocals. About 7-8 weeks to knock it all out before it was mixed. Then it was sent off to Bob Boyd at Ambient Digital, LLC for mastering magic.
CCM: How important is your faith or spirituality within your music?
Jodi: Extremely important and an utmost priority to maintain that. My faith journey and relationship with Jesus is why I’m doing this. I have many stories to share, listeners to empathize with, and a mission to deliver on!
CCM: What message do you hope listeners will take away from your music, regardless of what they believe?
Jodi: Making an impact & inspiring others to live their best authentic lives, navigating a broader reach and continuing God’s mission. I hope that my songs speak truth to my listeners and encourage them to take pause in introspect, then take action to live a life of truth in their faith journeys. I’ve lived a pretty fearless life, good or bad but always at 100%. I encourage everyone to live boldly, know your truth and speak your truth; be empowered in hopes to empower others; be intentional and purposeful. Be on fire for Jesus. Do it fearlessly.