For Jodi Essex, rock and roll is the only genre unapologetic enough to capture the confident passion of her mission.
“Rock music is loud, it’s energetic, it’s liberating,” Jodi states. “It’s about the ability and confidence to go your way and not care about all the naysayers. That fits my personality. I’ve always been outspoken.”
That outspoken nature is the perfect fuel for Jodi’s brand-new rock single “Offend.” Picking up where 2020’s song “Irreverent” left off, “Offend” uses crunchy guitars and a powerful melodic throughline to issue the challenge voiced by the chorus: “Will you offend for the gospel?”
“‘Offend’ is where I’m challenging faith leaders,
‘will you offend for the gospel, or will you bend for mankind?’” Jodi further explains. “Let’s focus on why you existed in the first place, why you felt called to ministry. What are you teaching? What message are you sending? The Bible is offensive to some people. Christianity is offensive for some people. But we have to be willing to stand up for something, and inevitably, you’re going to offend somebody.”
It’s an unabashed message delivered well by Jodi’s powerhouse voice, a grand musical scope that shows the influence of 80s and 90s arena rock giants like Def Leppard, Guns N Roses, and Bon Jovi. Following in the footsteps of those arena rock legends, Jodi Essex can effortlessly switch musical stances to launch into ballad territory. Her ethereal ballad “Unravel” displays that range. Musically and lyrically vulnerable, the song is a gentle prayer, asking God for the unraveling and rebuilding only He can provide.
“We’re constantly learning things about ourselves, allowing ourselves to peel back the layers,”
Jodi shares. “In this song, I’m surrendering. It’s about being before God and just letting Him in. Letting Him see our hurts, our baggage, our victories– everything about who we are and how we’re made up as people.”
“Offend” and “Unravel” are the first of four songs that Jodi has written and recorded with Josiah Prince of Disciple, a collaboration that has drawn out and solidified her innate hard rock instincts. Jodi, who has always had a passion for rock songwriting, explained: “Josiah comes from distinct, deep rock roots, which felt like a natural fit for the vision I had in mind— the evolution and progression of my musical sound. There were no stumbling blocks, which isn’t always the case with new writing partners. It’s been a symbiotic process with an easy give and take. Most importantly, he’s got great ears as a producer.”
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The sonic and spiritual maturity that Jodi Essex
brings to these new songs is the fruit borne of hard-won experience and growth. Ever since her early days singing as a church soloist on Sunday mornings, Jodi has known that she wanted to sing. But the path that took her from there to today’s genuine, unapologetic rock has been one of frequent challenges and learning experiences.
Jodi’s studio experience began at just 15, when she recorded a collection of covers of her favorite contemporary Christian songs. “Love was always a central theme in all of my music,” she remembers.
That beginning would launch her into two secular rock bands in her early 20s, a short-lived record deal, and eventually laying down music entirely to work in the film and television sector. “I’ve had a strong sense of self, staying true to myself, staying authentic,” she says when reflecting on her choices to walk away from requests that did not feel true to her vision or sound.
“You’ve gotta believe what’s coming out of your mouth and walk the walk so to speak.”
For Jodi, there is nothing she believes in as strongly as the gospel of Jesus Christ. At just 12 years old, she began asking big questions about God’s purpose for her life, making her faith her own. Those questions were met by a call to music ministry while at a women’s conference, where Psalm 40:3 was shared with her: “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many people will see this and worship him.” Something stirred inside Jodi in that moment, and she felt a true calling on her life.
Throughout her life, it wasn’t always clear how that calling would take shape. All the loose threads started to come together in 2018 when she started working on the album that would become Irreverent (released in 2020). The 10-song record introduced a sound that is both guitar-driven and melodic, with lyrics that are both forthright and introspective. The creation of Irreverent brought together a creative team that included producer Sean Hill (Jamie Grace, Clay Crosse, Landry Cantrell), guitarist/bassist Jadan Sorenson (Angie Stone, Montell Jordan), Pablo Melgar on keys (NewSong, Passion, Jesus Culture), Josh Smith on strings, and Jon-Paul Keller offering background vocals (David and Nicole Binion, BJ Putnam).
Listeners instantly resonated with the powerful songs,
especially the bold single and title cut “Irreverent,” which became a top 20 charting song. Outlets like NewReleaseToday, CCM Magazine, JesusFreakHideout, and Worship Leader Magazine offered rave reviews. Jodi’s debut album quickly racked up over 70k streams on Spotify, where its songs landed on several prominent playlists, including “New Music Friday Christian.” Jodi knew she wanted to continue offering that kind of impact, singing purposeful songs that she wholeheartedly believes represent her life’s mission.
“I think songs are the most impactful when they make somebody feel something,”
the singer and songwriter concludes. “If my songs touch somebody and they feel more empowered or emboldened, if they feel more equipped to tackle life’s challenges – I want to keep sharing that intentional message with them. I want them to be moved to be their truest and strongest selves through Christ. I want them to seek for their lives, eternal truths that my music is centered on, to encourage them to rediscover an authentic voice that they once had and maybe lost. That’s the voice I want them to live from and go deep in!”
You can find Jodi’s music on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon.