Former FLYLEAF vocalist Lacey Sturm recently spoke with Brandon Woolum of CCM Magazine. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On filling in for SKILLET drummer/vocalist Jen Ledger during the band's recent tour with BREAKING BENJAMIN:
Lacey: "It was weird. I have a 14-month-old baby, and I haven't really been touring since I had him. The guys in SKILLET, me and Korey [Cooper] have written a lot together. We've toured a couple times. We're really good friends behind the scenes. I think they're really cool people, and we have a lot in common that not a lot of people do, like touring with children and being Christians in the mainstream and playing heavy rock festivals. Jen started her band LEDGER and booked some dates, and there came this opportunity to tour with BREAKING BENJAMIN for SKILLET. Jen was, like, 'I would never think they would do those dates without me, but if anybody's going to do it, I'm so happy it's you.' I'm just so thankful that I get to be a part of what they're doing. I love SKILLET as people. I love their music. My kids listen to their music all the time in the house. They're huge SKILLET fans. They don't even think I'm that cool, but when they found out I was playing with John 'Doggy' [Cooper], they're like, 'What?' They became fans of me after that. [Laughs]"
On her ongoing devotional series:
Lacey: "It was burning in my soul to address some things that are so simple about what it means to walk out your Christian life. So many people would tell me the story of how when they were at a show or a concert, something came over them without me talking directly and giving an altar call or anything like that. They would just say, 'Something came over me, and I just knew there was a God and I knew I needed to give my life to Jesus.' That's exactly what we prayed for before the show – people that don't know which way is up or that feel that lost sense and that are anxious or struggling with depression or suicide, things that I walked through, that they would have an encounter with God like I had an encounter with God... As I see these people and see them online and wrote 'The Reason' and a couple books about stuff, I just remember thinking, 'There's a lot of stuff out there about how much God loves us, but there's not a lot out there about what does it mean [and] to look like to love God back.' For the audience that we have, they need to know that God loves them, but they also need to know that there's actually a response that happens that can change your life. The thing that got through me depression even after I became a Christian, and suicidal moments even after I became a Christian, was learning how to read the Bible every day, in the morning and at night. It changed my life. I was hungry for it, because I was such a smart-aleck atheist before... I was like, 'How can I show people that this will change your life?' I thought, 'We'll make a devotional that's a video,' so you can just push play, and then they can have the Bible word for word — somebody looking you in the eye and saying it to you. We look in the camera and say it like somebody's telling you a story, or like somebody's talking to you. That was really important to me, because I seem to remember things better when somebody's looking me in the eye... It's less about me and what I have to say. It's more about you learning how to have a time with God every day, and how that changes your life."
On the challenges of playing to audiences featuring a mix of believers and secular fans:
Lacey: "I just remember who I am. I guess I try to just be myself. I have this philosophy when I look at anyone, anywhere in their life journey and I ask God to help me see them the way He sees them. A lot of times, I think when you ask for that, you start to see something more than even what the person sees in themselves. Just talking to them as if they're that person makes you free to not have to try to tiptoe around anything. You just get to be free to be yourself and free to honor them for God sees them as — this person for whom Christ died. To be able to just come with honor and connection over the things we struggle with, that's just fascinating – looking at them as fascinating works of God's art. It makes it easy."
On her future plans:
Lacey: "There's definitely things we're thinking about, like a new album. There's been talk about starting a band with the singer from BREAKING BENJAMIN, Ben Burnley. That's exciting... I saw Ben and his wife on the road, and we had a conversation. I actually showed him 'Reflect Love Back', the soundtrack, the acoustic album, and he loved it. Then he talked with me about singing on his acoustic album, which just came out — singing on 'Dear Agony', which I think is one of their best songs... when I listened to the lyrics, I just was like, 'This is Jesus in the Garden,' and I just started crying. That's how I knew I should do it. When I was in the studio with Ben, I was like, 'Let me tell you about your song.' He goes, 'Are you going to preach to me?' I'm like, 'Do you want me to preach to you?' He's, like, 'Yeah.' I'm like, 'No, I'm not going to preach to you. You preached to me. Let me show you the lyrics in your song,' and I went through the lyrics and showed him what it said to me. He goes, 'How'd you turn my rock song into a Jesus song?'"
Sturm left FLYLEAF — a group with which she recorded three albums — in 2012. Since then, she has released two solo albums — 2016's "Life Screams" and this year's "Reflect Love Back: Soundtrack Vol. 1" (written and recorded by Lacey and Josh Sturm as a soundtrack for a 12-week video series, "Reflect Love Back") — and authored three books.