Interview: Fireflight’s Unbreakable Emergence

January 11th, 2010

By Melissa Brown There are times when a song comes out of the blue to capture your attention, and it's nearly impossible to predict from what source that new epic favorite will emerge.    For those discovering Fireflight, that surprise may have come on a casual evening of television as a promo spot for CBS' “Bionic Woman” launched the band's song “Unbreakable” into millions of homes.  From there, “Unbreakable” quickly gained popularity with listeners, achieving the number one spot on Christian Rock Radio, even before the buzz surrounding Fireflight's latest album, titled Unbreakable, released.

Unbreakable is Fireflight's second release, and has a solid alternative rock sound featuring the vocals of Dawn Richardson singing songs that speak to those who are struggling and hurting. The title track, “Unbreakable” is a rocking guitar anthem of conviction. Inspiration for the song came from the Biblical story of the adulteress who going to be stoned until Jesus stood up for her, and the songs takes a look through her eyes as she leaves that scene, forgiven and moving forward. “Stand Up” calls us to acknowledge when we are broken, ashamed, and in need of love because (you don’t have to hide/there’s no need to run/everything will be ok), acknowledging that God loves us where we are.

Dawn along with bandmates Justin Cox (guitar), Phee Shorb (drums), Wendy Drennen (bass), and Glenn Drennen (guitar) do not stop at making songs that touch people’s hearts, they have taken things a step further and have created an online support community YMX recently connected with Dawn to learn more about the band and their passions:

Tell us how Fireflight became a band.

Glenn (guitar) decided after many failed attempts that God was prompting him to give the band thing one more try. He shared this with his wife Wendy (bass) and they both started looking for the rest of us. Justin (guitar) happened to walk into the music store where Glenn was working and Glenn, remembering having seen Justin play in the talent show at our High school, asked him to be a part. Soon, I sang at my baccalaureate graduation service. Glenn and Wendy happened to be there to see his brother graduate, and they approached me afterwards to see if I would be interested. Phee, joined us two years later.

How do you describe your sound?

We are guitar driven rock and roll, with female lead vocals.

What is your songwriting process?

When we write songs, Glenn and Justin develop song structures, then Wendy and Phee flesh out their parts. All the while I’m working on melodies and lyrics. Then I work to fit what I have within the songs they give me, and then Justin and I refine them.

What are you looking forward to most about playing at summer music festivals?

Summer festivals are awesome for two reasons. Number one, no where else can you hang with so many fans, and meet a ton of new ones all in one day. Secondly, festivals are great because you get to see all of your friends from other bands that you otherwise see only in passing as we tour throughout the year. It’s like a huge music family reunion.

What is the Unbreakable message?

With this new album, Unbreakable, we really want to leave people with an all powerful sense of hope. As we were writing these new songs, we really made it a point to not just focus on the difficulties of this life, but the victory we can achieve against any odds when we rely on God for our strength.

You are passionate about a couple of organizations, To Write Love on Her Arms and The Legacy of Hope International. What got you involved with them?

The band really admires the genuine work that To Write Love on Her Arms is doing to help hurting people. We talk to kids who are struggling day in and day out and it give us so much strength to help them identify with an organization like TWLOHA. We want to help encourage them to lean on this type of rescue community for guidance.

We are really excited about working with Legacy of Hope International. It’s a young organization that works to bring aid and opportunities to both the poor and the victims of the sex slave trade in Cambodia. We believe strongly that there is a lot that the people of our country can do to help, and we are excited to be in a position to be able to help increase awareness for this organization and their cause.

What is your favorite song to play live?

My favorite song to play live is “Unbreakable.” It’s so amazing to me how many people already know the words! It’s unreal to know that our songs have impacted people personally, and I feel so energized when we play that song because we have heard from so many people on about how it has helped them find hope. It’s incredible.

What is it like to hear “Unbreakable”, your first single off the new album, on tv?

When we first heard “Unbreakable” on national TV in the NBC network’s “Bionic Woman” promo spots, it was literally a dream come true. We have been working for eight years to try and share the message of God’s love with as many people as possible. It is phenomenal to know that so many people tuning into prime time television were able to simultaneously hear our music.

Is there one thing you wish you knew in high school that you want to share with teenagers now?

I didn’t grow up in church and I didn’t get saved until I was a sophomore in high school. I felt so guilty about my life up until then and I got caught up in trying to be perfect and lost sight of what it really means to be a follower of Christ. I wish that I had understood back then that people are drawn to Jesus because they know that He really loves them. Not because they are perfect, or always right.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to read! I am currently reading a book by Bob George called Classic Christianity. It’s not exciting to look at, and the title isn’t groundbreaking, but I assure you, the words inside are changing my life, and the way I understand salvation. I recommend it to every Christian.

Unbreakable is the perfect album to get into the hands of those going through a rough time. The edgy sound is just what is needed for those days when you want to blast your music, while at the same time Fireflight’s songs will direct you back to the one we hope in, Jesus Christ.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.