It was only one year ago that most of the world was introduced to the lovely and talented Audrey Assad. Her debut album “The House Your Building” received immediate critical attention as a refreshing and dynamic Christian album in an industry well known for keeping the status-quo than striving for uniqueness. While radio play may have been weak and overall record sales haven’t eclipsed those of other major Christian artists, Audrey has carved out a niche audience of her own that will undoubtedly grow as her songs begin to be shared by Christians and non-believers alike.
Given how little attention she’s received, it’s amazing that Apple picked her out amongst a crowded Christian music scene to record a “Live from SoHo” session, normally reserved big artists like as Adele, Taylor Swift, and John Legend & The Roots. And yet for loyal fans of Audrey, it’s no surprise that her uncommon talent would be recognized as some point. Her mesmerize-ingly melodic voice coupled with her honest and hopeful lyrics reveal a heart very much yearning for God, a tone which newcomers to the genre will immediately be attracted by.
Audrey’s confidence shines bright at the beginning of the set with a new song called Sparrow. It’s Audrey at her best: taking simple and beautiful melodies and coupling that with interesting rhythm sections and tones. She turns what sounds like an old church hymn into modern soul-food, something both young and old will feel equally at home listening to.
Next, Audrey could have kept For Love of You a crowd pleaser, copying the style laid down in the studio album, but she immediately plays a different synth track that seems awkward and dissident at first, but flows gracefully into the rest of the song. It’s a musical pairing that’s refreshing and cannot go unnoticed.
Perhaps my favorite song off the album, Breaking Through, is at first no different than that of the album version. But what lacks in the studio, shines live. The sonic openness gives the song a feel much like Coldplay’s “Fix You,” building to a point where both soul and body are overwhelmed by emotion. While not considered a corporate worship song, Audrey’s experience as a worship leader is evident as the listener cannot help but shout “Heaven is breaking through! And it’s You!”
Friends of Audrey might recognize a cover of a song she wrote with her friend, Matt Maher, called Garden. She does a good job giving the song a new feel, jazzing up the piece to fit her style and mood, while not destroying the lyrical meaning of the song.
In between songs, Audrey shares bits and pieces of her music, her journey to New York for the album, and her inner-life. Some listeners may not enjoy the small moments of levity or the praise of iTunes for inviting her, but people who know Audrey would recognize that it’s just her. Frankly, it’s her most endearing quality during the album. She’s just herself and she’s offering a moment into her often quirky, nerdy, honest and humble heart.
You hear that heart come to life when she covers the classic Bruce Springsteen song Hungry Heart. For this Jersey girl, Springsteen is undoubtably a legend and hero, but she seems to have so much fun singing that you sort of forget that it’s not her song. After that, you believe she could cover almost any song and make it her own.
The rest of album will sound familiar to those who’ve listened to studio record. But it seems appropriate to end on familiar footing, considering that Come Clean, Carry Me, and Restless are probably her most worshipful songs. Especially, Restless which ends the live session in a moment of prayer, not characteristic of secular artists, but perfectly executed by this faithful Catholic Christian sharing her gift of song with the world.
There’s no doubt that Audrey is going places. If this album is any indication, she’s going places fast.
You can find an exclusive content from Audrey on LifeTeen.com at http://www.lifeteen.com/audreyassad.
Click the link below to preview and purchase “Audrey Assad – iTunes Live from SoHo” from iTunes.