Didi Martinez | Digital Managing Editor
Christian singer-songwriter Kari Jobe is ready to come home. Jobe, who was born in Waco, will be performing her newest album, “The Garden”, at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Waco Hall. The Garden is inspired by a series of event that have impacted her life within the past two years, including the birth of her first child and fetal death of her sister’s daughter. The 14 tracks, she said, are a reflection of her own faith journey and “seeing beauty in the brokenness again.”
Q: How does it feel to be able to perform in the city where you were born?
It feels really special and this one just feels like the most special. I think I’ve only been in one other event there and it was a Christmas tour a couple years ago. And I know a lot of people there because I have family there and then I have people I grew up knowing. It’s just going to feel like a hometown show somehow. Even though I didn’t grow up [in Waco], you know I was born there and moved out pretty quickly, but I was there all time because of family. So yeah, I’m excited.
Q: You’re touring with your husband, Cody Carnes. How is that? Will your son Canyon also make an appearance?
Cody plays with me in my band still as well. But I’ve known him for so long and I’ve always known how talented and how ridiculously good at songwriting he is. And so I knew it was only a matter of time before he would do his own stuff and do this. So for him to open on this tour is like years of dreaming and years of even listening to him dreaming — of you know, coming and finally being time for it. It’s just been really fun. I stand on the side of the stage usually with Canyon and just dance and we sing along. And Canyon just wants to go up and see dad on the stage — he doesn’t understand why we he can’t go up there.
Q: Your album seems to be inspired by the various changes in your life. What is the writing process like when your songs are heavily drawn from personal experience?
Yeah, I mean there’s a lot of tears in the writing sessions. And thankfully, I was writing with a lot of my really good friends, which I think was really helpful because we were able to just really get very honest, very raw with where I was. So [with] every song I have really sweet memories of writing that song-just because it pulls everything out of you. When you’re trying to write about something that’s hard, it just pulls on all of those emotions.
emotions. You know, I think sometimes people can just gloss over something for the sake of just finishing a song. In all of these songs, I didn’t want any of it to sound like just a passing phrase. I wanted it to feel like a very intentional phrase or a very intentional comment about pain. So it was hard, you know, it’s hard to dig for those things instead of just writing something that’s easy. There were many times where we hit a wall in these songs because I wanted to be as raw as I could but I didn’t want to leave people extremely sad. A lot of these songs we would wait to finish, we would what you call “let them simmer”.
Q: What can young people learn about the “indescribable joy and unimaginable pain” that you talk about in your album?
I didn’t realize how many people and how many women have dealt with losing babies and even people dealing with really traumatic experiences. When you walk through something really traumatic though, I think you have two options: you can turn your back on God and get really bitter because you don’t understand Him or you can just really lean into knowing His character and asking Him to speak to you and show you what he’s up to in the midst of the really hard stuff — which is what I did. I know enough about the character of God and the things that I’ve walked though in my life to know that He is real, that His presence really does change lives. He’s a healing God, he’s a loving God even though sometimes we experience things that feel like it’s not love. We live in fallen world and we live in a world that Satan doesn’t want us to believe in God. He wants us to get bitter and turn out backs, but we have to use these things and really lean into God is and he’ll show himself to be real if we let Him.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about why you chose The Garden as the name of your newest project?
It was a visual picture of God going before us. I felt seen because we had just bought this house in Nashville when this whole thing happened. We bought a house kind of in a hurry because I was pregnant and didn’t know there was a flower garden in the backyard because it was still winter. So when Canyon was born, a few weeks after that spring came and all this ivy started budding and growing in my backyard and my niece’s name is James Ivy and so I just felt like it was literally this major massive picture of feeling seen by God. Like of all the houses we could buy, we would buy that one that had ivy growing. Someone planted that years ago for it to be as full and mature as it was too and it just felt like “Wow God, you knew I would move here. You knew that this was growing here,”. And it just did something that day to unlock my heart. So when the ivy was growing that day I just realized, “Woah, you are in this season with us and you do know what is going on and I need to trust you again.” And I just began to see beauty in the brokenness again and it’s just started healing me.
Q: What is your favorite song out of the album?
There’s a song called “The Garden,” that one. I love a song called “Speak to Me” and I love a song called “Closer to Your Heart.” Those are like my top three.
Q: What message would you like to leave with the Baylor community ahead of your concert?
I’m just excited to be there. I love college events and being with college students. My favorite thing about this generation is that everybody is so real and everybody is so honest. And so I just want to honor that and tell them I just think they’re the best. And I think if somebody is in a season that you’ve really been questioning God or in a season of brokenness, this night would be really powerful for you and it’ll be fun but it will be really impactful talking about God and talking about life.
* This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.