Two years after the release of her Sandy Hook shooting-inspired album Need You Now, acclaimed Christian singer Plumb is back with what could possibly be her most raw and compelling project yet and she's not afraid to let it be known that she's been through some things.
Exhale, which debuted at No. 1 on iTunes earlier this month, marks the Nashville-based singer's seventh studio album and she recently shared with The Christian Post how overcoming a number of life's hurdles, including the near demise of her marriage, inspired the new album.
"...I just made it with a completely new heart, a different head space, a different agenda," Plumb, 40, told CP about Exhale.
"I feel like God has given me a second chance at a lot of things, including my marriage and being an artist and so I just have kind of a cup overflowing with thankfulness," she said. "So this record lent itself more to worship … this is a typical Plumb record which is a response to where I've been and it's like a journal coming to life being put to music … I'm just in a really worshipful, thankful place and so the record reflects that."
The singer-songwriter, otherwise known as Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, said previously that "evil" was to blame for her separation from her husband Jeremy, with whom she shares three children. The couple, married for 15 years, was able to reconcile with the help of a licensed Christian marriage and family therapist and by leaning on their faith.
"God did a miracle in our marriage and brought us back to each other, but before He did that He made us better as individuals ... I feel like now we're sort of a force to be reckoned with against evil," she said. "… We were headed for divorce and God took his gloves off and told Satan where he could stick it. He fought for me, but I learned that you have to give God that permission."
Since launching her music career in 1997, Plumb has sold more than 500,000 albums and over two million singles worldwide.
She is often praised for her pensive lyrics and angelic voice, which are exceptional and brought to a whole new level on Exhale. The album, she says, is a testament to how following Jesus enabled her to triumph over evil.
"The record as a whole is just this one huge exhale of breathing out what God's allowed me to breathe in, however; smoke, as we all know, is not breathable and when God redeems that though it becomes oxygen," she said also noting that "Smoke" is the name of her favorite song on the 12-track album.
"And so smoke leaves ash and sit which is worthless but when God redeems that it becomes beauty. So I feel like that song represents my existing story of just crash and burn and redemption and rebuild so well. So on top of the fact that it does that, it's also just sonically, artistically it's my favorite song on the record. It's my favorite song to play live."
Last week the Dove award-winning artist debuted the music video for the album's title track "Exhale" and within its first week it received more than 40,000 YouTube views and garnered over 500 likes. The clip has been hailed for its minimalist vision and creative imagery.
"We just wanted something clean so that the music could speak for itself and it not be too distracted by a storyline," said Plum. "The aerial dancers in it I think give it a definite texture of beauty, but if you listen to the lyric of "just let go, let His love wrap around you and hold you close" and there's just a freedom of [the aerial dancers] falling from the fabric. The freedom in their dancing, it just kind of … it's kind of a reflection of the energy of the song but there's no spiritual meaning to the aerial dancers it was just beautiful. A clean, live band."
For years, Plumb has been praised for her ability to reach broad audiences and propel them closer to faith through her music, which in the past has successfully crossed over from Contemporary Christian music into dance. While for many fans, her songs are a testament of the gospel, the singer admits that staying grounded in her faith is not always easy.
"It can be difficult, I think I used to answer that kind of flippantly and just be like 'oh it's just who you are' but I got really off track [in the past] and so I take that a lot more seriously and a lot more intentionally about that," she shared. "But I think community is probably the most important, having people in your corner that are going to fight for you even if that means they're going to fight you. And that they know who you are, with or without your artistry, music, money or fame…people who don't care about that stuff, who just love you. So for me having a really tremendous community that knows me before I was ever an artist and they're still active and living this journey with me helps to keep me grounded because it reminds me who I really am and who I've been and who I wanna be."
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