Christian Living


Plumb: Happy to Exhale


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Tenth Avenue North: Cathedrals Exhale (2015)



Did You Know?

Plumb began her Christian music career by working as a background singer for several notable artists including Bill Gaither and Amy Grant.

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

It’s not every day that a musical artist could care less about fame, fortune, and the dizzying heights a highly successful album can take them.  But that is exactly the attitude multi-genre recording artist Plumb had as the tour-de-force Need You Now reached a crescendo in early 2014.  For all its success, she found herself happy to be moving on.


While Plumb was certainly thrilled with all she had achieved, she couldn’t wait to get started on her seventh studio project, Exhale, a collection of songs brimming with gratitude and hope.

I recently sat down with Plumb to discuss God’s providence in leading her through a very dark period in her marriage, the ability to save a life thought to be lost, and why this is her most spiritual album to date.

You had great success with your last album, Need You Now. It spawned several hit singles. It was nominated for several awards. You went out on the Winter Jam tour. I imagine there was part of you that just wanted to keep riding that wave. Was it hard for you to get back into the studio to record Exhale after such amazing things happened?

Oddly enough, no, because the record Need You Now was finished in October of 2011; and by Christmas, my husband and I had separated unexpectedly and were headed for divorce, and so the record did not come out when it was supposed to.  It went on a shelf and at one point it was very likely that it would never even release. And so fast forward, we ended up reconciling and remarrying, and the record eventually came out. Then Need You Now had a whole new platform, a whole new base just simply because I went through something that gave new meaning to all of those songs. I had this new zeal for getting out there, and so I was out on the Winter Jam tour, and it would seem like I just wanted to keep going. But I was itching to start writing about what happened after this record was written and then tell the story of where I am now which is in a completely restored marriage and a redeemed life that from the world’s standards should not look the way it does. But because of how powerful and gracious, and redemptive God is, it looks very different. So, I actually couldn’t wait to get in the studio so I could tell this story in more detail and express out of my heart that overflow of thankfulness that was happening. That's what Exhale is; it’s me breathing that out.

Let’s unpack that a little bit.  The new album is built around the concept of gratitude and hope.  What can you tell me about that?

Well, when a bullet is coming right at your head and somebody steps out and grabs it and takes it for you, not only are you tremendously thankful to be alive when you feel like you deserve death, you’re really thankful to the person that did that for you. Although we’ve heard countless stories and have heard for hundreds of years about what Jesus did for us on the cross, He’s doing that for us all the time. He’s conquering death for us; He’s resurrecting all the time in the way that He redeems things that are dead. And so I’m so incredibly thankful to Him. It’s not just because we remarried each other. It’s not just because the marriage is better than it was, just because my children are growing up in a home of two loving parents that love each other as opposed to a broken home. I have a new heart. I have a new mindset. I have a new lease on life.

After listening to Exhale and based on everything we’ve just been talking about, my sense is this is probably your most overtly spiritual album to date. Would you agree with that?

One hundred percent. This life isn’t about money and fortune, but I actually cared more about that than I let on.  Earlier in my music career, I was in a pretty selfish place and so on a lot of my songs, I was trying for it to sound in such a way that the general market would pick it up, or someone in television would use it even more, and the EDM (electronic dance music) world would remix even more tracks. In my mind, it was like God’s going to use it to reach even more people. But the real reason in my heart was that I kind of thought that if that happens, think of how much more famous I would be, and how much money I would have. I don’t want that. If that happened on this record, I would pray to God that I would have the community around me that would help me say, wow, let’s help build that school in India.

Lets talk about some of your new songs on Exhale.  There are so many directions I could go here but lets start with the title track.  How did that song come into being?

That song is the basis for the whole record, which is why we titled the record after it. I actually hand wrote it on the cover as part of the artwork.  It says:

We do not exist for us; we exist to share the grace and love freely given to us all. We breathe it in and it changes us, and then we exist to breathe that out; to love other people, to serve other people, to exhale the grace that we’ve been given.

Those are words that my pastor spoke. One Sunday morning he simply said, “I’m Pete, one of the pastors here and this morning I just want you to know it’s okay not to be okay, and our motto here is everyone is welcome, nobody’s perfect and anything is possible. You can belong here before you believe.”  My husband, who had drifted away from God, just happened to be there that Sunday morning and heard this.  He didn’t really realize until that moment how far he had drifted away from Jesus.  He heard my pastor say, “It’s okay not to be okay. And my husband said, “I’m definitely not okay. It was the first time I felt like God might actually be talking to me, and all of this stuff that I have heard my whole life might actually be true. I’ve just been being a little too wrapped up in so many other things that I just couldn’t hear His voice.  And he said, “For a sinner like me, I really didn’t feel like it was possible to be okay. I truly did not feel like anything was possible, and I truly did feel like having grown up in the church the way I had, that I had to believe a certain way to actually belong.  It was just like I had permission to be broken. I didn’t realize at that time that in that brokenness, God was allowing me to just completely be pruned away.”  So, I thought that’s what this whole record needs to be. I need a focal point. I’ve got so many great things to say about what God did in our life, where do I start? And it was like, just go and breathe it out and He will show you.  We don’t exist for us; we exist to share what He’s done and who He is. 

The first single, “Lord, I’m Ready” Now has been released and is doing quite well. What can you tell me about this track?

That’s the girl that I was, dying and being redeemed to who I am now.  I have to die to that girl over, and over. But now I really know in a much more personal way the God of infinite chances, that lets you start over, as many times as you need to.  This lets you kind of taste what grace really feels like. Let’s not take it so for granted. And so I don’t want to be here anymore, I know what is true and I want to live for that. Because when I didn’t, I crashed and burned every time, over, and over, and over. There wasn’t peace and there wasn’t joy, and there wasn’t direction. And God’s not a God of confusion; God’s not a God of discourse. And it’s like this entire struggle we go through, you know what, I just want to live for You. And so every time I sing it, much less every day of my life, that’s kind of an anthem for me of, you know what? I might have to ask you to pick me up and brush me off again tomorrow, and I’m just thankful that you will. I’m just thankful that you will, no matter what I do today, there’s a new tomorrow. So obviously that’s relative today. He wants it to be new every split second, and I’m just really thankful for that. So “Lord, I’m Ready Now” is just an anthem to inspire people that do the same thing.

Exhale is such a byproduct of your life the last few years and is truly a testament to the power of second chances.  What is your greatest hope for this album?

Freedom. I want marriages that are in chains; I want those to be broken. And I want people with addictions that are in those chains to be broken. I want those people with a ton of regret and a very jaded past to just feel freed from it and to be able to let go and let His arms wrap around you and hold you. Breathe it in until your heart completely breaks, and then just breathe it out. Just get rescued from those chains, because the rescuer is right there waiting for you. So just reach out and take it, and then in your thankfulness for it just breathe out.

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