It’s been three years since 21:03, the Grammy-nominated, Stellar Award-winning gospel threesome, has released an album. As they return with their third album, Evolved, it’s clear that life has turned these boys into men.
Almost 10 years have passed since Evin Martin, Torrence Greene and Jor’el Quinn first began their journey as a group, which was formed on Jan. 21, 2003(hence the band’s name). With this new album, they’ve proven to be more than a teenage fad, but men who stand on solid foundation.
Gaining more than the average maturity that comes along with growing into manhood, they’ve become businessmen, better musicians and have captured a deeper walk with God. That strong faith has comes through the pressures of life, especially for Martin, who shares his testimony of “still standing” after losing his both his parents less than two years apart.
In a BREATHEcast interview, 21:03 spoke about the evolution they experienced with the makings of their new album.
BC: It’s been almost 10 years since you entered the music industry. What do you know now that you wish you would have known in the beginning?
Greene: I wish I would have [known] that this was going to consume my entire life or at least try to take over my life. I wish I would have known that, because … when I first got into it, I was like, 16, so it was all fun and then you get to do something that you always wanted to do your whole life. You love to sing. It’s your passion and then over time, you still maintain the passion for it, but it kind of becomes a little bit of work and a little frustrating sometimes, somewhat of [an] uphill climb. …It can take control over everything.
Martin: I wish I would have known that it was less about just singing or less about the music. There are so many other factors and so many other components that come with being a successful artist, no matter what the genre is. I wish I would have known that it was more components than just getting on stage and singing or recording an album.
Quinn: You know, I would have to say in a perfect world, it would have been nice to have known that certain decisions that wouldn’t work or certain decisions that would be less successful than others because a lot of the things you do, it’s so time-consuming … [then] having hindsight and … you know that there’s a different street you could have went down, another route you could have taken to get the same thing accomplished. Not only in the industry – that’s a life lesson as well. You know, you wish you could have had hindsight on different situations, to see how to go about them differently, or who to work with differently on a certain album artwork campaign … just different ways to accomplish the same goal.
BC: What’s the story behind your single “Still Here”?
Martin: It actually is a personal testimony of mine. I wrote that song after a very devastating and tragic point in my life. Not too long ago, my father passed of brain cancer and my mother, 18 months before that, passed of MS, which is multiple sclerosis. So that song is just a testimony song to encourage myself, and encouraging the body that we’re still here by the grace of God, because of His blood. And it’s a song that speaks to every illness or every trial we may go through. We’re still here. It’s because He died our death for us. Jesus, He took our sin on to the cross. Every sickness, disease or infirmity, it’s already covered under the blood of Jesus and that’s really what that song speaks to.
…There were days where, if I can be quite honest, days that I didn’t want to be here because my parents weren't here and I just thank Him for the Holy Spirit. He’s such a great comforter that He would give me a song. Like He said, He’ll give us songs, He’ll give us spiritual songs to help us encourage one another and He gave me a song to encourage myself.
BC: What word can you offer other young people that have lost their parents so they don’t fall into bitterness and backslide in their relationship with God?
Martin: Well actually, I have to be honest. I can’t say that I didn’t fall into a place of bitterness.