Interview: Sixpence None the Richer's Leigh Nash on 'Hymns and Sacred Songs'

Sixpence None the Richer lead singer Leigh Nash feels less-is-more for getting near God's love.

Her new album, “Hymns and Sacred Songs”, comes out tomorrow and finds the platinum-selling singer dropping Sixpence's pop sound for simplistic, vulnerable praise music. The end result is earnest but bare-bones, a worship album in awe of God's majesty and grace.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Nash speaks about Sixpence's status, breathing new life into old hymns and why her faith is just what the doctor ordered.

CP: You write music as both a solo artist and a member of Sixpence None the Richer. Which do you prefer and why?

Nash: It's hard for me to compare them. Sixpence has definitely been the thing that has taken up most of my time. I enjoy the camaraderie and friendship that comes with it. There's nothing like performing live with your friends. It's a great experience. I've been playing with them since I was 14 and those are relationships that are very important to me.

CP: Sixpence None the Richer reformed in 2007 after a hiatus. What's the band's status?

Nash: We're hoping to have a new album out in March of next year. We have been delayed for a while because of business negotiations with our old record label EMI. We're moving ahead with it and putting it out ourselves instead.

CP: You've achieved success in both the Christian and secular music communities. How do these two worlds differ and how are they similar?

Nash: I always try approaching music as just music. I tend to see it as one thing. Different kinds of music appeal to different kinds of people at different times in their life. It just depends on where that person is at that one time.

CP: Your upcoming album “Hymns and Sacred Songs” is a collection of worship cover songs. Why did you want to record a praise album?

Nash: I've done single praise songs for compilations before but this gave me a chance to rewrite a whole album of melodies for all these old songs. I was really inspired by the challenge of that.

I'm so glad I did. These words written so long ago are still so relevant. Putting new melodies to them brought the words to life again.

They're very beautiful and continue to have an impact on me as I go throughout my life. It's almost been like medicine for me. I'm really thankful I had the chance to do this.

CP: “Hymns and Sacred Songs” is a collection of your renditions of praise music classics. How did you take these musical standards and update them for contemporary audiences?

Nash: I grew up as a Southern Baptist. Some of the songs I re-recorded I had heard in church and not recognized simply as it's been so long.

Overall the music is real simple and there's little orchestration. It's very tasteful and minimalistic. I try to serve the mood and sweetness of the lyric and try to write something that serves the power of the words. It's not barebones, but it's humble and doesn't have a lot to distract from the words I'm speaking about the beauty and awe of God.

CP: Do you have a favorite song on your upcoming record? Why or why not?

Nash: My favorite is "O Heart, Bereaved and Lonely." The words to me are the most beautiful on the record. They hit me really hard. I think it describes the way people at one time or another feel alone and have to look up and realize God is in control. It's such a sweet and poetic message I never get sick of it.

CP: How important is Christianity to you?

Nash: Christianity is such a huge part of my life and something I want other people who don't believe to hear about or be touched by through this music. I want to make people realize that there may be something out there.

My faith helps in the everyday trials of my life, the big things and the little things. I lost my father five years ago. I have my own struggles that I have come with as a human and I've found that God is so patient and never gives up on me, even if I'm tired or complacent. I've seen that he loves me so many times and that's huge. When you get on the other side of hard times, you see the hand he had in the details. It's miraculous.

CP: What's next for you and your music?

Nash: I'd like the Sixpence record to come out and then work on another one.

I'd also love to make another solo record in a few years or so. I'd like to do an old country record. That style is very true in the way it's sung. It's straightforward and simple, not unlike hymns.

I aspire to be that kind of singer. I want to be a great storyteller and I want people to know there's a straight line from my heart to their ear when they listen to me.

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