Release Day for “Fearless” EP by Jodi Essex & The Jodi Essex Interview

Hello Jodi, it’s a pleasure to discuss your album and single title release “Fearless”. Before we get into the album, though, I’d like to know a little more about you. I’ve read that you’ve accomplished many things in your life. You’ve acted in T.V. and film, and you’ve done producing and film-making as well. You also became a licensed airplane pilot and a model. You are also a cancer survivor.

So, how would you answer the question, who is Jodi Essex?

First, hello to you! Thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview, appreciate it tremendously…and wow, looks like you’ve done your research! I really appreciate that as well.

Good lead-off question. I have indeed gone after many pursuits in my lifetime. We only have so much time on this planet and I’ve always thought it wise to make the best use of it. Of all the things I’ve done, experienced, or amassed, nothing compares to my mission at hand… being a fearless warrior for Christ and speaking truth through my music. 

Your music is Christian Rock and your songs have strong messages? Do you write all of your own songs?

Yes, definitely a Christian rocker! Though I started out singing adult contemporary and worship songs as a child, ending up singing music of a rock genre was a pure evolution of how my personality would develop; how I was shaped by life experiences. The messages in my songs are also indicative of that. I believe that we all come out of the womb wired a certain way. I think I came into this world wired as a generally strong person. How we develop from that point into our adult lives is an amalgamation of how we are raised, people that may influence us (negatively or positively), adversity or hardship we experience, and the decisions we make along the way—the good, the bad, the ugly. 

One thing I try to remember is that our beginnings don’t always define our endings. I dealt with a lot of dysfunction growing up that could’ve steered me straight into a spiral of drugs, misdirection, and maybe even death if I had let it. But during those times, my faith in Jesus held me together. My emotional and mental strength, working in tandem with hope and prayer, helped me make good decisions. No matter how bad things were at their beginnings, I clung to hope that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel and here I stand today (praise God!) writing and singing Christian rock music.

I do write all my own songs. From time to time, I may perform a cover song of another artist but most of the time it is all original material—both autobiographical and biographical.  I also love the synergistic energy of collaborating with other people as well!

Why did you choose Christian Rock over other music genres?

I like to think we, as humans, have layers. As I mentioned above, I started out singing adult contemporary and worship music, but rock music became an identity for me. I have an older sister who used to listen to Stryper and Petra back in the day. I instantly loved the dichotomy of both the energetic rock sound, in contrast to a ballad like “Don’t Let Your Heart Be Hardened” (Petra). I was drawn to the feel of that sound. There was a holy irreverence to it!

Rock music, being a bold style, usually carries a strong message along with it. It sometimes reflects an outspoken, willful, and fearless warrior behind the mic. It’s energetic and spirited; a liberating and let-it-all-out style with no holding back in one’s delivery. The style is definitely reflective of my personality.

The layers I mentioned make us multi-dimensional. Music is part of my soul and how I connect most in my times with God. “Layers” refers to the love of singing other styles as well…nothing like a heartfelt hymn, a maranatha-era worship song, an oldie from The Imperials or a classic by Amy Grant. And Lord knows I love Sandi Patty! Perhaps there will be an iteration of one of her songs in the near future….hmmm…BUT I am a rocker at heart!

How did you become a Christian and what does being a Christian mean to you?

I was born into a Christian household.  I’m half Filipino and half Irish. Though my dad, who is Filipino, was raised Catholic, I grew up attending a non-denominational Christian church as my mom did throughout her life. I don’t think, as children, we actually grasp the true concept and meaning of Christianity and what a true walk with Jesus looks and feels like until we’re a bit older. So, though baptized as a child, I didn’t start that deeper process to my faith journey until I was about 12 and baptized again as a teenager around age 13.

My walk since then looks like the peaks and valleys of an EKG screen! (laughs)

There have been awesome moments, filled with the highest highs, the lowest lows, the greatest happiness, the deepest sadness and incredible disappointments. There were a good many battles between being “in” the world versus “of” the world. I also spent some time really mad at God for various reasons, including trauma that occurred within my family.

To sum it all up, I was human, born of free will, and made some good decisions and bad decisions. But my faith was always embedded deep inside me somewhere.

To me, being a Christian starts with commitment. An acknowledgment to accept Jesus into your heart as Lord & Savior, followed by the action of doing just that—living in a way that reflects the commitment you have solemnly made to Him. Living heart-in-hand to God and allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable to Him, and the change only He can inspire in our lives.

Is this transformation an easy road? No. Remember I mentioned my life looking like an EKG read-out? Following Jesus is hard at times. It takes discipline, consistent stewardship, and being irreverent to the world for the sake of the path that God has carved out for us. We also have to be bold enough to stand up to the naysayers for what we believe in. We need to suit up in our armor, go out, and truly spread the word no matter the cost. Would you go the lengths and do what Jesus did for us? Think about that. What we are called to do is an incredibly small price to pay for what He had to endure here on Earth. Forget all that you think you’d lose by following Jesus and living a life “of” the world, along with all its trappings and treasures. 

It’s nothing compared to all you would gain for being His warrior! 

I read an interview Dan Locke did with you for Unrated Magazine on December 27, 2019. In the introduction, Dan wrote, “After years of casually ignoring God’s prompting to write faith-based music, Christian-rock artist Jodi Essex is ready to answer it boldly, and he goes on to talk about the title song from your first album, “Irreverent”, which was released in January 2020. What made you decide to answer God’s call and start writing faith-based music, and how do you feel about that decision now?

There were many times as I traversed my life phases, mad at God and all, I was prompted to write and record faith-based music. Years ago I founded and participated in a couple of secular rock bands. I was receiving those promptings even then, but I chose to ignore them and kept doing what I thought was right for my life. Now, I’m not judging those who listen to secular music—I listen to secular music, but my heart is not rooted in it. I believe a lot of people are blessed with the gift of music and it’s up to them how they decide to use it. There’s nothing like a ballad from the “voice,” Whitney Houston, or a ray of sunshine melody from The Beach Boys. You can’t deny their gifts or influence, but it comes down to one’s own personal convictions and heeding those convictions.

I was receiving very heavy-hearted prompts to turn the bus around and go a different direction. I am stubborn, so naturally I kept doing what I was doing at the time, until I hit an emotional rock-bottom. Life is good at that—beating us down to the point we literally feel that we own the biggest piece of real estate in the pit of despair! Sometimes we decide to call upon God only when we’ve truly reached the very bottom. So ironic that so many people call on God only in a crisis (me included). I’ve since learned to call on God even when things are going well in pure gratitude. 

Anyway, after feeling like Moses in the wilderness for 40 years, I finally decided to heed the call. I will always recall the very moment I deem the “turning point.” I gave up everything in my mind and heart that I had built up as an identity for myself. I made the decision to shed all the things the world made me think I needed over the years. I made the decision. I made the commitment. God broke me wide open once again and let all the light shine in. I felt like a huge burden had been lifted, though it would look to “the world” like I was giving in and giving up. 

It was a major reset for me and without realizing it at the time, I had loads of songs ready to write themselves and float through the sound waves into the ears of today’s culture.

I can’t imagine life happening any other way. It happened as it should and, in God’s time. I should say that one of the most frustrating things about being a believer is that things don’t necessarily happen when we want them to. God’s plan and timing for our lives is better than we could ever plan. He is the master architect!

It’s been said that “you’re not afraid to speak your mind and/or offend people to spread Your message”. Who do you see as your target audience and what message do you want them to get from your music?

For me, doing Christian music has the word “mission” attached to it. It comes with a specific purpose and I am committed to that. I hope to inspire and influence people for God through the messages woven in my songs. Therefore, I think my target audience is anyone who will listen, believer or not. If you’re a believer, I hope to inspire you to keep fighting the fight. I hope to equip like-minded listeners with the courage, boldness, and tenacity to speak truth into others’ lives. If you’re thinking about needing a change in your life…if you feel lost…if you feel you need something in your life to help you find your way out of your own pit of despair—I hope my music speaks to those people, as well as those who are curious about God. If you’re curious about Jesus or you’ve wandered away from Jesus, let’s rock it all out together and move toward action and fearlessness to move ahead! The awesome thing about being inspired to make a change is that you can start now. Immediately. God doesn’t get caught up with your past, nor should you. He wants your present and your future. NOW. Forever. Remember where I stated that your beginning will not define your ending. Make it so. Let’s do this!

Your upcoming single from your upcoming album, is the title release, “Fearless”. In the song there is a line that says “Speak the good, expect the wrath. I wanna say ‘I knew you’,” and the chorus says, “You’re gonna be fearless. I can see you now. You’re gonna be fearless. I can show you how.” Since the Covid Pandemic began in 2020, fear has become prevalent in the everyday life of many people. Was that the inspiration for this song and what are you hoping people will get from its message?

While I think the pandemic is great cause for the seemingly massive increase in fear-driven living, I think fear en mass was already bubbling below the surface. I feel like the unfolding of it all also served as a vehicle for fear-based actions and behaviors as well. It did magnify everything that already existed. I think we have been existing in a culture of fear for decades now, fueled by political action and inaction; the woes of internet-based activity, and major shifts in cultural platforms and societal systems.

My story behind “Fearless” is a call to action of individuals from all walks of life—some inspired but fearful of next steps; some down-trodden by life’s, oftentimes turbulent storms just trying to get by, and some on a ledge debating whether they matter. I’m here to tell everyone that they matter. That they are all worth it. Every single moment. By the grace of God, every human deserves a place in His heaven.

When I look at the word “Fearless,” I see a simple message in that very powerful word: “Fear less.” Literally. By fearing less, we’re capable of so much more. Being rooted in fearlessness can make life a bit easier to traverse. Being FEARLESS allows us to let go of things we hold so tight that add little to no value in who we are and will become. HOWEVER, fear is not without power, as it keeps us either focused on the past or worried for the future. That’s a huge stake of distraction in our heads that we sometimes find impossible to escape. I think if we truly understand the power that fear can have over us, the desire and drive to disentangle ourselves from FEAR becomes even more imperative and even palatable. 

In the beginning of the song and throughout the song, there is a tribal chant that bellows out, “Warrior, lift up your face, be a warrior in His race, warrior!” We cannot lose when we suit up in the armor of God and go forth to do what we are meant to do. Warriors are not passive followers. WE are His soldiers. Has he not done enough for us that we might, in return, be the warriors in His race to make the world aware of our fearless leader?

At the heart and foundation of it all, we need resilience, a fearlessness to get through, to get by—not just to survive—THRIVE. This is what FEARLESS is about. Lean into God and be equipped!

There’s a song on the upcoming “Fearless” album that was already released as a single on September 10, 2021—“Offend”. It’s a great song with a great message. It seems to be a challenge for your listeners. Will you share what that challenge is?

 (Laughs) Oh yes. A similar challenge happened with the song “Irreverent” from my first album as well. I’m more than happy to clear that up. It’s as simple as this: I am not saying to go out and offend people for the sake of the gospel. What I am saying is that while we are called to go out and speak truth, there will be people who will naturally be offended by what you have to say. Some people are innately offended by religion as a whole. No matter what you say to them, they will be offended no matter what. 

I will reinforce that—regardless of how strong their rebuttal is to the truth of the gospel, we must stand firm and resilient in our beliefs and not let the opinions of others derail our hearts and mission. Stay the path. Know your truth and you will not be swayed or influenced by all the un-truth out there. People will try to wreak havoc on your spirit, but stand strong and, if it means you have created an “unsettling” in someone, then you have done your job. You have them thinking. But be confident in your mission and as a Christian soldier, always deliver and share your truth in bold love. 

Do you have a Bible verse that you lean on when you face struggles and challenges? If so, would you please share it here? 

Ah yes! My all-time favorite is Isaiah 40:31. 

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

All I have to do is say this to myself and imagine the incredibly beautiful visualization of it all!

Would you share links where readers who want to hear your music can purchase or access your upcoming “Fearless” album, as well as links to your other music?

Of course!

Here is the link to pre-save the “Fearless” single:

If you’re feeling really brave, here is the pre-save for the “Fearless” EP:

This link will lead you to everything you’d like to know!

Thank you so much for your time. May God bless your upcoming song and album, “Fearless” and use it to reach and encourage listeners.

Thank you so much! Appreciate your kind words! It has been an absolute privilege being able to share my faith and music journey with your readers. Go forth and be FEARLESS!

A New Novella

Check out this new novella by Abigail Kay Harris!

It is a Memorial Day story and will release on May 31, 2021!

Here is a blurb about the story:

In the cause of freedom, some will give their all.

When Matt Renicker joins the Army, he’s determined to give his best for his country and his Lord, even if it means risking everything he loves most. But when tragedy strikes on a routine patrol, more than one heart is left shattered and lamenting.

In the wake of a terrible loss, will those left behind find the strength to go on? Or will the faith, family, and freedom Matt fought to preserve be broken beyond repair?

Available for pre-order on Amazon for just 99 cents! Don’t miss it!

Just the Boost I Needed

Ever since Covid started, I have had many days where I struggled to be able to write here on the blog, on my novel, a short story, a flash fiction story. It didn’t matter, I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t find my creativity. My idea bank seemed to be depleted. I was easily distracted.

Today I saw someone had liked my last Book Review and I became curious about this person, so I clicked on his icon, which led me to his blog, and WOW! This guy has liked some of my past posts, but I never bothered to take the time to see what he was doing. Today I am so glad that I found his blog.

His name is Christian Mihai. He’s a young man whose blog is loaded with wisdom and talent. I read a couple of his posts today, but one, in particular, seemed to be exactly what I needed to read.

If you are a writer or an artist, or anyone who has a dream, I highly recommend you visit Christian Mihai’s blog and read this post.

I don’t often read too many other blogs. I just don’t have the time, but I will definitely be reading more of Mr. Mihai’s blog posts. He has inspired me and I greatly appreciate what he does on

The Waiting is Difficult

Photo by Christian Chen on Unsplash

If you are like me, you feel like you’re sitting on pins and needles or waiting for the ball to drop as we wait to see what will happen in our country tomorrow on inauguration day. Our country is divided and many are still looking for something to happen that would keep President Trump in the White House while others think Joe Biden will make everything better.

And, of course, the question remains–will there be riots and violence on Wednesday because of those who will be unhappy, frustrated, and angry at the results. We thought 2020 was tumultuous and hoped things would go back to “normal” by the end of the year. Then the election was a farce and a fiasco. Then President Trump spoke outside the Capital on January 6th and a group of people broke into the White House, and once again, emotions are running high and divisions have been driven deeper.

I try not to post anything political here or anywhere on social media for the most part, but whatever happens on Wednesday will affect every single person in this country, and we are wondering if the United States will remain a free and great country or if it will fall and become a Communist country. People are angry, worried, frightened, and many other emotions are running rampant.

I, too, have my concerns and fears of what Wednesday’s inauguration will bring, and I sincerely hope our country will somehow rise from the ashes like a phoenix and become reunited and healed stronger than ever. However, I believe the only way this can or will happen is in the hands of Almighty God. This country was founded on the principles of people who believed in God and wanted to live in the freedoms granted by God.

Over the years, the United States has turned its back on God and sinful behaviors have become accepted behaviors–many have even become accepted in churches. So, dare we hope and pray that God will renew our nation to the Christian free nation that it used to be? Many no longer want to hear the word “Christian” in this nation, and there are those who want to end Christianity in this country.

As a believer, I have been praying and continue praying for this nation — praying for God’s forgiveness and mercy–for another chance. For I believe that God is in control and every leader this country has ever had or will have has been allowed to lead by Almighty God.

Despite my prayers, and the prayers of others like me, God may decide to let our country fall to teach us a lesson, for in the midst of a pandemic, many continue to turn a blind eye to the Lord. Many mock God and mock anyone who claims to be a believer and tries to live obediently to Him, just like the people in the days of Noah.

I don’t doubt some will read this post and scoff at it, mock it, ignore it, or want to argue with me, and I’m okay with that. I’m not trying to tell anyone what they should think or believe. I am simply sharing my thoughts and hoping this post might help someone, or cause someone to pick up a Bible and begin reading, or just think about where their hope comes from. We all need hope, but placing our hope in the wrong thing can eventually lead us to hopelessness, and hopelessness is a dangerous and lonely place to be.

As I wait with both concern and anticipation, I will continue to pray for God’s forgiveness and mercy. But, whether or not, He chooses to grant forgiveness and mercy, I will continue to put my faith and trust in Him above all men, for I have seen and experienced God’s power at work many times in my life.

A Spark of Light

Photo by Leonard von Bibra on Unsplash

For those of you who follow this blog, you may have read my last post, in which stated I would be taking this blog in another direction for awhile instead of posting about writing. However, I received a wonderful spark of light in an email that has given me encouragement for this blog and for continuing to focus on writing here on this blog.

I still haven’t been able to settle into a regular writing schedule to post as often as I did before, but for now, I will do my very best to continue posting book reviews as I have many requests for those, and I will also do my very best to continue posting my “Thursday’s Thoughts, Questions, and Comments About Writing” posts, and I want to take the rest of this post to explain why I have been inspired to keep writing the Thursdays’ posts.

Last night I found an email in my inbox that was dated December 10th. I am sorry that I didn’t see this email sooner and sorry that I disappointed a little girl named Anna. I hope Anna will still be happy to find that not only will her suggested writing resource be posted here on my blog, but to find that she has been mentioned here because she and her writing teacher have offered me encouragement in a time where I have been struggling with the things that are happening in our world and with the loss of my father, as well as struggling to find my desire to write anything.

The email was from a woman named Carol, who, at the time of the email, was teaching a fun writing class for students ages 12-15. She wrote to me to let me know that she used things I posted on my “Thursday’s Thoughts, Questions, and Comments About Writing” posts for the class. She also told me about Anna and how Anna wanted to share an article she and her mom had found about writing for film and theater. Carol told me that Anna thought I might like to share the article on one of my Thursday posts to help young writers, who may come across the information on my blog, who might want to become a script or screenwriter someday, like Anna.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much that email means to me — first, because it has inspired me and encouraged me to begin writing again, not just here on my blog, but to finish my current novel and begin the next one; second, because I never dreamed that anyone would use what I share to teach others, and I have been teaching writing to students from first through twelfth grades, in the homeschool community, for sixteen years because I love teaching and encouraging young people who love stories and want to write stories, to do so and to do it well; and finally, because it touched my heart to know that a young girl wanted to share something with me that she thought I might want to share here on my blog.

So, thank you Carol, for the email, and thank you Anna for liking my blog and wanting to share something with me. Anna, I wish you the best on your writing and know that if you work hard and continue to learn how to write well, you will be a great script or screenwriter one day! And Anna, be sure to check tomorrow’s “Thursday’s Thoughts, Questions, and Comments About Writing” post.

Special Saturday Post: The Falcon and the Stag by C.J.R. Isley

The Falcon and The Stag: A Tale of Alamore by [C. J. R. Isely]

The Falcon and the Stag by C.J.R. Isley is a short story that introduces her “William of Alamore” series. It is a story of kingdoms and knights, and two brothers, the oldest who had been prepared to take the throne, and the youngest who wanted it.

This short story is filled with tension, suspense, conspiracy, and sibling rivalry. C.J.R. Isley does a fine job introducing the characters and showing their personalities and character, drawing the reader into the story and encouraging them to choose sides.

C.J.R. Isley captures and holds the reader’s attention from the first to last page, writing strong dialogue and tense scenes of confrontation and sword-fighting. C.J.R. even manages to throw in an unexpected twist or two.

This story is acceptable for young adults and adults. It may also be acceptable for middle grade readers, though there is some violence — nothing too graphic.

This short story is well worth the read, but be warned — after reading it, you’ll want to pick up the first book in the series, Ranger of Kings, which is exactly what I plan to do.

I give The Falcon and the Stag by C.J.R. Isley 5 stars.