It can be an easy path to seek comfort in the familiar and stay in the world of possibilities instead of striving for actualization.
For SHINEBRIGHT (formerly Shine Bright Baby), comprised of Emily Irene and husband Nathan, just the possibilities are no longer enough. With the launch of their sophomore album Only You, they are definitely not settling.
“I want to spend my life dreaming big God-sized, God-given dreams, not my own,” says Emily. “And instead of holding onto those dreams so tightly like secrets, to start speaking life into them. It's easy to be scared of rejection and failure, but imagine what God may do in our committing to those dreams out loud, investing in them through prayer, and leaning on God and His promises.”
Never ones for empty words, Emily and Nathan have put their convictions into action. Since the release of their 2013 debut album Dreamers, they have gone from four band members to two and changed the band’s name from Shine Bright Baby to simply SHINEBRIGHT.
“The change in our name to SHINEBRIGHT from Shine Bright Baby gets to the heart of the message that we are meant to be lights in the darkness. Many of our friends refer to us as "shinebright" already, so it's a very natural transition. We love the name and are excited about that message leading this next season of our lives and music”
The band name isn’t the only reflection of the band’s maturation. Musically and spiritually, SHINEBRIGHT is entering a new era of songwriting, production, performance and ministry. “We see this phase and project as a natural progression ” Emily says. “I feel like my songwriting expresses the experiences in my own life more authentically than ever.”
“I definitely don’t see this album as a departure. It's more of a progression from where we’ve been,” says Nathan. “We’re really coming into our own voice. Between the two of us, we have a really focused vision and are pretty much on the same page with things, especially with where we wanted the songs to land.”
With the contributions of elite songwriters and producers that include Jonathan Thulin, Andrew Fromm, Joshua Fink, John Cavallo, Adam Smith and David Thulin, who also produced the project, the duo has been able to craft each track more precisely and more attuned to their personal style than ever before, while elevating the message of dreaming big and living now.
It’s the juxtaposition of such empowering ideals against a very honest and transparent commentary on life that make these songs more than good listening. They are an invitation.
“I hope people feel a sense of belonging as they listen to these songs,” says Emily. “We are human and we want to be honest with God and with those listening. For me, it's like looking in a mirror. I don't have all of the answers in life, but I want to write about those things I see."
Emily poured herself into each song, allowing the truth of her life experiences—good and bad— to be the sonic landscape upon which each track would be built. “Limitless” (ft. Rapture Ruckus) comes straight from Philippians and Paul’s ardent message that in Christ anything is possible. Emily wrote “Closer to the Sun ” while on a plane looking down at a world of possibility and hope below. “Spectacle of Light” found its genesis in a season of struggle. “Only You” came from fear of rejection or failure.
“I wrote these while I was struggling with depression ” shares Emily. “Sometimes to deal with the pain, I would play my piano and sing worship songs alone. I had such a longing to burn for the Lord and not feel numb any longer.”
To tackle issues like rejection, pain and depression in public, even in Christian circles, can be risky. Some might even say "reckless." Emily and Nathan couldn’t agree more, though their take on recklessness is decidedly unconventional, evidenced on the first single “Reckless for Love.”
“This song is about living and loving recklessly because that’s what Christ did for us,” states SHINEBRIGHT co-founder/lead vocalist Emily Irene. “The kind of love Christ showed us is spontaneous and passionate. We don’t have to worry about consequences or whatever people think of us. We just need to live with a bold faith and let God lead us.”
For SHINEBRIGHT, their mission is clear. “We want to inspire and challenge people to dream, to invest in those dreams, and see God work in their lives” says Emily.
Proving that dreamers can be doers, SHINEBRIGHT is diligently pouring out their hearts, opening their hands and letting go of what’s safe.
“I’ve been really inspired by the idea that our dreams and our prayers are made of the same material.” Emily says. “God is calling out His dreamers to be bold for His purposes and for His glory.”