Looking Toward The Future
When Sarah Kelly began
the process of writing her latest album, Where the Past Meets Today, anyone would
have believed she lived a charmed life. Her debut, Take Me Away, had received
a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Gospel Performance and she was traveling the
world singing to adoring fans whom she gave hope, support, and unwavering love.
However, Kelly had
been clinging to a life that was smothering her glowing spirit. She reflects,
When I look back at this album, I wasnt even able to admit to myself
at the time that I was in an abusive relationship. A lot of these songs, I thought
I was writing to other people, but my own feelings were coming through. When I
listen back to them, I now realize they were about my experience and I didnt
even know it at the time.
Fortunately, a glimmer of hope came in an unlikely source. One of her new fans
was important within the music industry and made a professional connection that
would ultimately help release her from an abusive relationship. Dave Weiderman,
Guitar Centers Director of Artist Relations, thought Kellys emotional
voice had the same incendiary passion as Janis Joplins. Weiderman introduced
her to producer Mike Clink, who is known for working with bands such as: Guns
N Roses, Motley Crue, and Megadeth.
On the unlikely pairing of a Christian singer with a hard rock producer, Kelly
breams, When I met him, I could tell he was going to see the project through
and wasnt going to let it be half of what it could be. My intuition was
right because we spent a year and a half on this project and to have a man of
his caliber whos been involved in so many revolutionary albums working on
your album is very humbling. Mike made me write nearly 60 songs. I was at a plateau
and he gave me a lot of guidance, which I needed. I have grown as a songwriter,
I have grown as an artist, and I have grown as a person under the direction of
Mike Clink. Its been an honor to work with him.
Unlike many amazing vocalists who are unable to write their own ideas, Kelly has
an amazing sense of self-expression that penetrates and connects immediately.
It is no surprise people often break down in tears at her shows or speak about
the overpowering experience of her performances. She reveals, A lot of this
record was me closing the door on that past and getting to a place where I wasnt
OK with that anymore. Ive made the changes I needed to make to have a healthy
tomorrow. That experience comes through in the music and Mike walked me through
a lot of these issues as a friend and as a producer. My music seeps with heart.
You can definitely trace whats going on in my life with each song.
Each of the 11 tracks is a testimonial to a persons strength and courage.
An impressive cast of musical giants lends a hand in the recording: Slash plays
a few guitar solos and Janes Addictions Chris Chaney plays bass throughout
the album. From the opening moments of The Beauty of It All, Kellys
first words are questions, Do I disappoint you? / Was I not enough to please
you after all? As the story unfolds, she gradually finds answers to some
of the difficult questions within her challenging life. The music captures the
vicissitudes of her life. Still Breathing is a raucous rocker while
About Midnight is a serene piano ballad that gradually rises and soars
to ecstatic joy. When Kelly sings, Here in this valley / Where the shadows,
they lead my way / Yes, I know that youre with me now / Where the past meets
today, one cannot help but feel the overwhelming rapture of the expression.
By the albums close, her final statement is Remember Me Well,
an attempt to say goodbye with a forgiving smile. She has no intention of glossing
over any painful details. Reflecting about the themes of Where the Past Meets
Today, Sarah Kelly muses, Its an album about freedom and honesty.
I think those words a really synonyms. When youre able to be honest, thats
half the battle to becoming free.
Where The Past Meets Today