Melanie Penn – Immanuel
IMPACTING CHRISTIAN RADIO NOVEMBER 24TH!
Introducing Melanie Penn, NYC-based singer-songwriter
and worship leader at Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church
"In December 2016, I unexpectedly wrote a song from the perspective of one of the wise men who journeys to Bethlehem. I named the song ‘Follow the Star’ and sang it at a Christmas show in New York City.
In the weeks that followed, I wrote more songs from the Christmas story. The perspectives were all in the rst-person, about the angels and people who were there when Christ was born: a shepherd, Gabriel, Mary, the innkeeper, others. I sent the first demos to my long-time collaborator Ben Shive and said, ‘I think I’m writing a Christmas record?’ The album came to life. We started recording in March 2017 and worked throughout the spring and summer. I wrote the last song of the collection in August.
These songs are about the first ones to hear the good news. They saw signs, had dreams, heard from angels, watched the stars, and they sang. Before these songs, I never thought about how the souls in the Christmas story were just ordinary people, living ‘normal’ lives — a young girl, a carpenter, a shepherd. Then they encountered the supernatural and their lives changed forever.
I didn’t plan to make a Christmas album. Even as I wrestled this project to the ground, and labored over these songs, I knew the project had come as a gift. May this collection be a part of your Christmas season. And may you know the miracle of a person called Immanuel, who is God with us." – Melanie Penn
Hailing from New York City, singer/songwriter Melanie Penn reveals her new Christmas project Immanuel, set to release Nov. 3rd. Her third studio album, Immanuel is a winsome collection of folk-pop songs, with nine originals and one classic carol retelling the Christmas story through the perspective of the angels and people who lived through it — Mary, Joseph, The Wise Men, The Innkeeper, and even The Star of Bethlehem — in a compelling and deeply human way.
"As a songwriter, you typically draw from your experiences and observations, and your songs invite people into your personal narrative," says Penn. "But this project is so different because this is our story. The Christmas story belongs to us all. I’m just humbly trying to shine a light on a little piece of it."
Penn teamed up with longtime collaborator, Nashville producer Ben Shive (Brandon Heath, Andrew Peterson, JJ Heller) for the project, which took close to a year to write.
After battling a serious illness in 2016 which left Penn unable to bear children, the singer/songwriter felt an even deeper calling to leave an impact through her songs, and part of her healing came through the writing process of delving into the greatest birth story ever told.
Songs like "Great Things," inspired by Mary’s story, came to Penn through the process of an arduous week-long writing retreat, while others like "Follow the Star," from the perspective of The Wise Men, popped into Penn’s head like a gift.
"There’s something about the ‘normalness’ of the Christmas story I’d never thought of before. These people were so ‘regular,’ living their lives as a shepherd, a young girl, or a carpenter, and yet they encountered the supernatural and their lives changed forever. I have to believe that’s still happening every day. Especially in the telling and retelling of the Christmas story."
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