For everything there is a season. The darkest hour is just before the dawn. All things come to he who waits.
It’s difficult to ignore the truth in such timeless adages, wisdom that often bears repeating, especially for those in the midst of that “season,” “dark hour,” or “time of waiting.” Such is the case with GRAMMY Award nominated, female-fronted rock act Fireflight, whose preceding 2010 album, For Those Who Wait, left listeners patiently anticipating the band’s next move.
Fireflight, too, awaited its new direction. The group’s third studio project laid bare its vulnerability, with songs echoing a cry for divine comfort, guidance, and understanding. As the title suggests, members Dawn Michele (lead vocals), Justin Cox (guitar, keys, vocals), Wendy Drennen (bass, vocals), Glenn Drennen (guitar), and Adam McMillion (drums) were in a holding pattern, a season of uncertainty, trusting God to make known His plan and purpose.
“At that time, we had been through a lot of hurt and disappointment,” says Dawn. “Although we knew that God was shaping our character through life’s unexpected twists and turns, we didn’t know how or where to go from there.”
It was in the waiting; however, when God seemed silent, that He began stirring a call to action, one that would serve as the heart of Fireflight’s fourth record, NOW.
“NOW is a call to move beyond your circumstances,” explains Glenn. “To not accept the way things are because life is difficult or you have been hurt in the past. It points to God as your refuge who not only provides a place of safety and comfort, but who also challenges you to get outside your comfort zone...to join with something greater than yourself.”
Producer Jasen Rauch's open, experiment-friendly mindset meshed snugly into NOW's in-the-moment vibe. His knack for marrying creativity and aggression helped Fireflight develop a new sonic focus as well, built on lush electronic textures, futuristic moods and a more finely honed grasp of tender-to-titanic dynamics.
Lead CHR single and CD opener “Stay Close” provides a techno beat backdrop for lyrics that address calling on God when our hearts and minds are stuck in dark times. Dawn explains, “Sometimes we become a prisoner to our thoughts. We actually believe that our past pain controls our future...that our choices have been taken away from us. It is important to realize that our only hope is to move forward, trusting that God’s power will heal those things we cannot change.”
Similarly, second AC/CHR radio song “He Weeps” pulses electric effects while asking the age-old question “Where is God when bad things happen? What is He doing?” The chorus offers a poignant response...“He weeps/ He weeps with you/He weeps with me/ When I'm on my knees, and I taste defeat, He weeps.”
It reiterates the theme that we are not to be frozen in fear, tricked into believing that God is distant and doesn’t care. “God is bigger than our circumstances,” says Dawn. “And we must allow Him to work through them, through us.”
Another cut that stresses our need to fight the things that have been eating at us and take hold of God’s promises is “Now.” This fist-pumping anthem encourages listeners to quit making excuses, hiding in the shadows of previous pain, and to choose the path to freedom.
In the same vein, melodic ballad “Rise Above” urges us to stop the cycle of victimization, overcome those things that have entangled us, and work toward a new tomorrow.
“In addition to writing about our own experiences, we also develop songs based on our conversations with fans,” says Dawn. “In talking with fans, you begin to collect all these stories, and suddenly they are bursting out of you. You’re asking God to help you figure out how to express their feelings, to offer them peace in their suffering.”
The band mates keep in touch with their family of thousands of die-hard fans at shows and online, answering all the messages they receive through Facebook and MySpace, many of them extremely personal, focused on deep struggles. Fireflight believes the essence of its ministry lies in these intimate fan relationships.
“The best way to spread Christianity is through relationships,” says Dawn. “We see how God works in those relationships, how He uses our music to empower them in their daily lives, and we want to provide the soundtrack to their victory.”
And that victory is one that’s there for the taking, no more need to wait. “That’s why the concept of NOW is so powerful,” explains Justin. “It demands that in this moment, you are going to take the best and worst situations in your life and make them work for you and for God’s glory.”
Fireflight’s message through NOW is crystal clear: There is no greater time than the present to make a difference. So raise your fist, start the fire and live like you mean it. This is your time - NOW!