When other little girls were taking ballet classes or playing with dolls, Shelley was singing. From the time she was little, her house was filled with music of every kind - from gospel to pop. Artists from Evie to Elton John inspired this young performer. She started focusing her efforts on her God-given gifts as early as middle school, when she began taking voice lessons. She continued her studies all the way through her schooling, including earning her degree in vocal performance at Baylor University.
"There has always been music in my house. Every time the family was together, we would all - grandparents to grandkids - sit around and sing together. I think music is important to everyone, whether they realize it or not. It's about expression and emotion. A song can help someone understand something they may be experiencing or feeling but have never been able to put into words. Music is important to me personally because I love it so much. That was God's choice, to put musical gifts in me, to give me the joy that I get from doing it."
In 1990, when Generation X was making their disgruntled mark on our society and grunge was the sound of the moment, Shelley found peace from the uneasy world by immersing herself in praising God. She began leading music with Sam Perry and the team at Choice Bible Study, which then evolved into Passion, alongside the preaching of Louie Giglio. As is His tendency, God turned this one opportunity into many. She went on to travel with Soul's Desire for five years, leading worship all over the southeast.
As part of Choice, Shelley's vocals can be heard on uplifting praise and worship albums, including Isn't He, Worship His Majesty, Grace, Goodness & Mercy, and You're Worthy of My Praise. When Choice became Passion, she continued to make her contributions to their yearly albums in 1998 and 1999, and then to Passion: The Road to One Day. She is also featured on the CD and DVD of One Day Live.
As much as she loved being part of such an amazing group of people and part of projects that she was extremely proud of, she felt God leading her to Nashville in 2000. "I didn't really know what that meant or what I would do," she says of the move, but now she has logged hundreds of hours as a Nashville session singer, including BGV's for artists like Big Daddy Weave, Sandi Patty, Susan Ashton, and David Phelps.
Although the working was incredibly satisfying and she was thankful for being able to do what she loved, she felt that God had more in store for her. Shelley suffered for several years with marital anxiety, wondering if God would ever provide the husband that she longed for. After going through something of an identity crisis, she met the man that would become her husband in 2002. John and Shelley have been married since May 2003.
"Being single was a great source of stress and insecurity for me. I felt abnormal. Sometime after I moved to Nashville, God started counseling me and I didn't know it. I already had a great family and close friends who knew me well and loved me anyway. The kind of marriage I wanted would take all that to some next level - or I didn't want it at all. The next year, I met John. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God makes everything beautiful in its time. Sometimes God loves us with His delays."
In 2004, Shelley joined the Women of Faith worship team, performing with Natalie Grant, Babbie Mason, Sheila Walsh, and Sandi Patty.
With the anticipated album, Redeemed, Shelley is able to draw from everything she has learned through her variety of musical experiences. Her maturity is reflected in the lyrics, all of which she penned, and her heartfelt desire to serve her Provider can be heard in the ethereal but powerful sound of her voice.
"It feels amazing to be making this record. It seems like a long time in coming, but nothing is wasted with God, including time. I have never considered myself a songwriter and it's scary to be this vulnerable but these songs have come from my heart. It's interesting how you gain experience and influence over the course of time, without realizing it or intending to. My musical influences seem vastly different- David Foster, Vince Gill, Debussy- but for me it comes down to beautiful music. I like to think there is a little bit of a lot of different sounds in the stuff I do. I was raised in a Godly family (hymns and church music), with young parents (pop and rock), which led me into a classical music education at a campus where one of the most gifted Christian communicators of our time [Louie Giglio] was teaching a little Bible study that changed my life."
Fifteen years after she joined Choice, the world is no more at peace than it was then, but Shelley is now excited about being able to share the peace that she has in Christ Jesus through song.
"I want people to know who God is - who HE says He is, not who we say He is; and to help them come to know that He loves them. That's what I want and need for myself, so sharing is like reinforcement for my own soul. I hope this record reflects all of that, in some way."
Most of my concerts are done with a combination of tracks and live keys. Charts are available for all songs to accommodate a small band or full orchestra.
Redeemed (2006) - more contemporary collection of original songs
Numberless Blessings (2005) - covers of hymns and church anthems
WOMEN OF FAITH:
Contagious Joy (2006)
Faith for a Lifetime (2005)
The Best of Passion (so far) (2006)
One Day Live (CD/DVD) (2000)
The Road to One Day (2000)
Do You See What I See? - Todd Agnew (2006)
Review of Redeemed
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It is one thing to have a gift. It is yet another to have a gift from God. And finally, it is even...It is one thing to have a gift. It is yet another to have a gift from God. And finally, it is even a greater achievement to be a good steward of those gifts. Shelley Jennings has accomplished all of these things in her CD project "Redeemed."
As I listen to "Come Back" - to the wanderer and the ones they left behind, I am struck by the line in the chorus, "My friend His love's enough to cover you." Even though many of us have known the love and the peace of our Lord, we stray. Satan distracts us, tempts us, fools us with false promises. He creates ways to make us question God and His Truth. We need to know that God is on our side and His Truth is infallible, reliable, and never falters. Whereas, the liar makes promises and tells us things that are not worth the paper they are written on. Come back! His love is sufficient. I would only wish someone would pray that song to me, when I feel alone and separated from God.
What a beautiful, sincere voice, we hear in Shelley. She sings of truth, the depth of our fears. It is as if she placed her hands on us, and was able to transform our darkest fears into into music. She then prays over us with "Change This Heart" and disolves our pain into victory in our surrender to Christ. I hear my trials, my struggles and my spiritual battles in her music. She sings about me, she sings about you. She sings about the simple truth that we are resolved from these conflicts by the Blood of Christ. It is really that simple. It really is.
Although there are many beautiful, and talented Indie artists, many seem to confine their entire project to one style. Most of the songs, as well as the lyrics, have a certain "sameness" to them. That is not to be critical at all. However, "Redeemed" displays a musical diversity that borders on complete. From the tender, peacful "Invitation To The Thirsty", to the powerful strength of "Change This Heart" and gutsy "Redeemed".
You need to get a copy of Shelley Jennings CD "Redeemed". If I had a way to guarantee your satisfaction, I would. But it really would not be necessary. Buy it, not only for the spiritual content, but the range of talent that shines on every track. I challenge you to find a cut that you will not listen to in it's entirety. In one listen, you will be singing along with "I want to be more like you Jesus", and isn't that what we all want?
Finally, a personal note to you, Shelley. "My Prayer For You" should be a love song that is prayed every night to each other in a marriage. If every marriage were based on the lyrics of this song there would be no divorces. There would be no inhuman expectations from each other that only end up in dissapointment. The strength of a marriage would come from the place that it was intended. The cornerstone of life, in our Lord Jesus Christ.
'Cause when the night takes over day
Jesus will always be your only way
His hand will calm the fears
that cloud your soul....
That you'll bring honor to his name
That you will know Him well
and make Him known
This is His plan - this is my prayer for you
This is His plan - this is my prayer for you
This is my prayer for you
Sets are typically 50-60 min, approximately 8 songs, give or take a couple. Consists usually of equal parts original material and more recognizable hymns and worship songs.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.