It started back in the fall of 2004 freshman year at the University of Delaware, UD for short. It was my first weekend at school and my roommate invited me to take a bus with her to a local church on a Sunday morning. I remember the morning vividly. We approached the bus stop and there was Tyler, standing in the center of a small group of students, wearing khaki shorts and an olive green t-shirt. He was all-smiles and it seemed like the other students were naturally drawn to him. I was anyway. I picked a seat behind him on the bus and he turned around and introduced himself. We talked a little and then went our separate ways at church. I saw him around campus from time to time after that; he never remembered my name, at least for those first few weeks.
I ended up getting involved in the Baptist Student Ministry at UD. Tyler was the worship coordinator and I told him I liked to sing. We started leading worship together, writing songs, and performing a bit around town. He helped me record a little EP in our dorm. It was the beginning of our musical partnership and eventually, after months of hanging out, we had a DTR (define-the-relationship) and said we were dating.
In the summer of 2006, we traveled to Nashville and made a record together. I slept on an air mattress in a friend’s walk-in closet for 3 months and Tyler crashed on another friend’s couch across town. We were young enough for it to feel risky and romantic. We loved it. We don’t sell that record anymore, but it will always be special to us as it marks the beginning of our adventure pursuing music. We returned to school in the fall of 2006 and Tyler asked me to marry him. We all know how that turned out.
Fast forward 11 years and we’re living in Nashville with our 3 daughters. We’ve lived a lot of life in the 10 years we’ve been in Nashville. We’ve released a slew of records and one of those, Faint Not, actually did a little something, making it possible for us to tour with bigger artists and catch the attention of a few record labels. That was pretty cool.
Along the way, we’ve discovered – and leaned into – things we are passionate about, specifically the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery. We use our small platform to raise awareness and finances for International Justice Mission, IJM for short. Making records to benefit IJM (For Freedom & For Freedom II) and speaking about their work at nearly every show has helped us love others better. Being part of something bigger than the two of us has strengthened our marriage. The folks who buy those records and come to the shows have made an impact in the fight against slavery and it’s an honor to have played some role in that.
There have been many highs and lows over the past decade. We’ve fought, forgiven each other, had babies, walked with family and friends through hard places, and relied on those same family and friends to bring us through stretches of our own trial and darkness. The road can be lonely and put cracks in a marriage. We’ve come out the other side, able to see some of the fruit of those struggles and confusion.
And that’s what this new record, There Will Be A Song, is about. It’s about real life. About young love turning into something much deeper and stronger when life isn’t perfect. About parenthood and wondering if we’re doing anything right at all. About our longing for the brokenness and injustice of this world to be made right. It’s about the calling of the Divine and the freedom that can be found in being still and allowing ourselves to believe that we are truly loved, cared for, and of priceless worth – made in God’s image. That we’re enough.
A few years ago, we signed a record deal and released our last full-length record, Of This I’m Sure. We love that record and the people at the label and the way they supported us and fought for us to succeed. It was released with all the bells and whistles. There was a crazy awesome photo shoot complete with professional styling, funding for PR, radio promotion, wardrobe support, interviews in NYC, you get the idea. It felt like we were getting somewhere.
But it didn’t work out. Here we are back where we were all those years ago, an independent artist duo. And the thing is, we’re stoked. Our goal has always been to tell our own story and for that story to be honest and true. Hopefully that transparency will inspire hope in others and remind them that they’re not alone. We see you. God sees you. You are enough.
And so, it only feels natural for me to write the biography to go along with this record. We’ve hired professional writers in the past and they’ve been amazing and surely more eloquent than I am, but this feels right (and I would love for my parents to know that I am using my English degree from time to time). Should you take the time to listen to There Will Be A Song, thank you.
Visit jennyandtyler.com/tour for a schedule of appearances.