When Lacey Sturm walked away from Flyleaf four years ago, the band she helped create, no one knew if she would return to music, not even Lacey. Over the course of her time out of the spotlight, Sturm penned her memoir, The Reason: How I Discovered a Life Worth Living, and she had two children with her husband, Josh Sturm. While these things have fed her soul, the call to make music continued to motivate her spirit. This winter, the acclaimed singer returned with her debut solo album, Life Screams. The album quickly earned rave reviews from fans and critics alike while also topping the Billboard Hard Rock charts. Lacey immediately hit the road in support of Life Screams with her husband performing guitar duties and close friends Ben Hull and Tom Gascon handling bass and drums, respectively. Metalholic recently caught up with Lacey as the band wound down the final dates of its 2016 tour schedule, to chat about her solo record, her new book, and much more.
You debut solo album, Life Screams, is one of the year’s best records: fans and critics alike have responded so favorably. Were you nervous when you were making it about how people would respond to your return to music?
“I didn’t have any expectations, really. I didn’t think I would ever make music again actually. When we decided it would be a good thing to put music out, we did it because we love it. If people liked it that would have been cool, but if they didn’t it would have been okay too because we were just doing what we loved, and that’s okay. So it was amazing when we got such a great reception.”
Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be anyway? You do it for yourself first, and if others love it, that’s the bonus.
“Yes. I wish I understood that a little better back in my Flyleaf days, because there was a lot more pressure in what we did. We had a lot more people to make sure they were happy about it. This is just us: Me and my family working on stuff we love, and it’s cool.”
In that vein, did you feel more freedom to open yourself up with this record than you did previously?
“In a sense I did because the process was more about trying to pull out what was in my heart rather than to figure out how we can bring all these different visions together and see what comes out of it. For me, this whole project, I can stand behind every part of it. I can answer questions about it. Before, it was a compromise of different visions. I still believe in Flyleaf’s music and what we did, but it was my own interpretation of things and my own perspective mixed with a lot of different people. So it was a little different, but it’s more freeing and easy when it’s just your own vision that other people are trying to come along and support.”
Tell us about Life Screams from your perspective.
‘There’s a track on the album, the title track, ‘Life Screams’, and when we wrote the song it really captured, lyrically, what I was thinking and why I wanted to do a record. There are moments when life really speaks to you, and it really teaches you, and unless you stop and pay attention, you might have to go through the same lessons over and over. So my desire was to capture those moments and put them together on a CD; what life was teaching me.’
There has to be an amazing satisfaction in creating this record with your husband, Josh.
“Yes. It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s challenging at the same time [laughs]. I’ve heard lots of people say that about working with your spouse in any capacity, but especially artistically we do things differently and we figure out a way that works best when we’re writing music. When we’re playing and touring and working together daily it’s interesting because when you don’t work with your spouse you can sort of pick your battles, but when you work with them every day you really have to sort through everything. You have to get right with each other. It makes it more honest in some ways, and you really learn to embrace and compromise and honor each other in deeper ways.”
You penned with the first single, ‘Impossible’ with Korey Cooper from Skillet. Can you share the story and message behind this song?
“I was in Wisconsin hanging out and I went and visited Korey and she was working on a song and she asked if I could sing and put a melody on it. I was on my way to the airport but I said, sure, and it worked out so well…like in 5 minutes we laid down this song and it was just powerful. So we said, we should do this again, and so when I came back the next time she had the idea for ‘Impossible’. It was a lot more pop when I first got a hold of it, but the message was so uplifting. I said this is exactly what I’ve been singing about lately, how every day there’s some miracle that we can pay attention to. Even just the fact that we have another day is a gift, and we’re not guaranteed that. That was a really loud message to me.”
Your second book, The Mystery: Finding Love in a World of Broken Lovers comes out next month. What can you share with us?
“Well, I was married when I was 19 and I was divorced when I was 21. My first book was about my journey through depression, suicide, and finding faith as an Atheist who hated Christians and hated God. I had an encounter with God and it saved my life. Then I think the second thing that derails us is how we respond to romance in relationships. It can be really great or really destructive, and for me it was really destructive. So I wrote about that. We’re in a culture where we celebrate destructive romance so often. I remember back when Twilight was really popular and I read some of the books, and I think I got to the end of the second book and I was like, I don’t think this message is healthy at all. This girl wants to commit suicide because she can’t be with this guy and she has no idea who she is without him, and she wants to die. And it paints this picture like this is true love that you want to die if you’re not with them, and it’s just not healthy.”
Lacey Sturm and company will take some down time for the remainder of the year and head back out on the road in early 2017.