AJ Michalka, 22-year-old singer and actress known for Disney-promoted teen pop songs with her sister Aly, released a new song about returning to faith in Jesus after living a prodigal life.
"All I've Ever Needed," a preview song for the upcoming film "Grace Unplugged," tells the story of a "prodigal girl" who leaves her home, family, and faith to seek her fame and fortune in the music industry. At the pinnacle of her "success," she realizes how much she needs God.
The upcoming film, set to release on October 4, will portray the story in detail. But the music video that was released last Tuesday gives a preview, featuring clips from the film.
Grace Trey, an 18-year-old worship guitarist and singer, leaves her family to pursue a music career. Her father, Johnny Trey, is a one-time pop star who surrendered secular music fame when he became a Christian.
"You've always wanted your life to be about God, and these days you're just all about you," Johnny tells Grace. The girl yells at her father, signs a record contract, and leaves for Los Angeles.
The song's pop-rock feel gives expression both to Grace's rebellion and to her heart-felt remorse, while the film clips tell the story. The lyrics deepen the ensemble, unleashing the story of this prodigal daughter and the satisfaction she seeks in God.
"I chased a million things, bright lights and empty dreams. Now here I am, right where I thought I wanted to be," she sings. But immediately, she adds "I'd trade it all right now…to get back to where I belong."
The empty enticements of the world fail to satisfy her, and she turns back to the Lord, who had always been her refuge. "Lord, All I've ever needed was your love."
Besides being a Disney star, AJ is also known her 2011 performance in the film "Super 8" and her return to music with the new band 78Violet. After 5 years hiatus from the music industry, Aly and AJ reintroduced their band with a song called "Hothouse."
Their song, co-written with Incubus' Mike Einziger, introduces a psychedelic sound foreign to their original band's pop/rock roots. "When you hear it, it kind of takes you a little bit back to the '60s, '70s and has that throwback sound as well as the female strength," Aly, 24, said in an interview with MTV News.
In the song, the female narrator rebuffs the advances of a man, whom she "can't handle."
"In the beginning you succeed / but the way you move, it terrifies me / and you remind me of the things / that I don't need," Aly and AJ sing together. Their unique sound, with breathy vocals and exotic instruments, comes out clear. So, it seems, does their message – these girls are not for messing around.
The band needs a label to release their unnamed album, which they describe as "alternative indie pop" set to a movie soundtrack, EuroNews reported.
Both Aly and AJ are Christian, and have publicly denied the theory of evolution. "I think that's kind of disrespectful, anything that has to do with anybody's beliefs on religion, that should stay out of the classroom," Aly reportedly said in an interview with Blender magazine. She expressed support for prayer in school, so long as it's voluntary. "Evolution is silly. Monkeys? Um, no," AJ said.
While AJ is set to hit the big screen in October with "Grace Unplugged," Aly recently held a minor role in "Grown Ups 2," released last month. The pair are reportedly working on a yet-untitled film project, which the status is currently unknown.