COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP)–The three sisters who make up the Christian R&B trio Out of Eden have faced their share of obstacles. They had some rough years growing up, and the girls have fought since the early 1990s to have their music heard. Despite some great successes, including performances on MTV, HBO, and appearances with people like Billy Graham and dcTalk, the girls still feel they are battling stereotypes as they break through the boundaries.
“It’s still such a struggle because we are one of the only urban groups that Christian radio stations will play,” said Andrea Kimmey, the middle sister. “We’re glad for that but we wish they were doing more. There are a lot people out there who don’t listen to Christian music because they don’t hear what they like.”
Besides the sound of their music, Out of Eden often faces the stereotypes of Christian musicians that exist. “There are churches who see Christian music as something totally separate — as a glamour industry that doesn’t minister and doesn’t have any relevance,” said Danielle, the youngest. “We work hard to bridge that gap and let people know that we’re out there ministering and a lot of other Christian artists are doing the same.”
One of the more recent obstacles they faced was the making of their new album. After their last release, No Turning Back in 1999, they struggled to know what was next. As they searched for what they should be doing and what message their music should hold, they received some great advice from their pastor. At his encouragement they simply got involved in the lives of people around them and drew their inspiration for their songs from real life. The result is “This Is Your Life,” which speaks directly to the struggles of teens all across America.
“We talked to youth groups and youth pastors across the country and whether we were in the inner city or in the suburbs, we found that pretty much everybody’s problems were the same,” said Lisa.
“We kind of expected that most of the questions would be about sex or dating and that would be the biggest issue, but when you really start listening to people, it’s clear that, while those things are on their minds, they are only the symptoms of much deeper questions. They want deeper answers to those questions,” Danielle said.
So what themes will you find in their music?
“The teens we talked with were dealing with not having a father figure, how to know there is a destiny for their lives, how to know if God’s forgiven them, and self-esteem issues including eating disorders,” Lisa said. “Basically we put that list on the wall and wrote the record.”
The sisters of Out of Eden point out the amazing ways they have seen God work through each opportunity they’ve been given. The chance they’ve had to work with secular artists and producers has been one of those areas.
“We have worked with people who don’t know Christ and the biggest challenge is just maintaining such a high level of integrity. But that is also the best part because there are so many people who’ve been saved as a result,” said Lisa Kimmey Bragg, the oldest of the trio. “It’s so cool because God calls us to go into the world and preach the gospel-and that’s not just with your words, it’s with your life.”
Andrea adds that the best thing about doing concerts with secular artists is “just going in there and doing exactly what we would do at our own concerts — we don’t water it down at all. And sometimes people look at us strange but every time we’ve done that, people have really been ministered to — to the point where it shocks us.”
One of the keys to living a life that allows them opportunities to share the gospel is accountability — both with each other and through their local church.
“We are definitely working more and more on our accountability,” said Danielle.
“It’s been so good for us because it has helped us to grow so much — we’re seeing things that we didn’t even recognize in our lives,” Lisa added. “We thought, We’re fine. But someone else looking into your life can really help define you.”
Out of Eden realizes that God has called them not only to reach the people who listen to their music, but also the people they meet at Starbucks. “Accountability,” said Andrea, “is helping us work on our skills, just as normal people who want to share the gospel.”
Used by permission from Go! magazine, North American Mission Board.