Seth & Nirva - Never Alone
Do not fear for I am with you, Do not look anxiously about for I am your God
I will strengthen you; I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Turn on the TV. Read your Twitter feed, and scroll through Facebook. Everywhere you look in our culture, it’s as if fear is in the water.
Bleak economic projections, terrorism, political drama, racial wars and a culture more and more entrenched in secularism have left believers feeling misunderstood and spiritually paralyzed.
As volunteers ministering to young adults in Tampa, Florida, Seth & Nirva Ready became all too aware of the powerlessness and fear felt among their people. “Whether in our educational institutions, the public square or in social media, they are feeling misrepresented and bullied out of speaking about and living out their core beliefs,” Nirva explains.
As she and Seth began to write songs for what would be their next record, this growing fear could not be ignored. “We felt strongly that the Lord wanted to remind us that He has not been dethroned. He is still Sovereign over history, and He has placed us here for such a time as this,” she adds. “We can take courage and stand against the tide because God has not, and will not, abandon us.”
This is the pulse of Never Alone, Seth & Nirva’s faith-empowering debut full-length album set for release on Integrity Music. Produced by Bryan Fowler (TobyMac, Aaron Shust) and featuring songwriting collaborations with Michael Farren (“Let It Rain”), Mia Fieldes (“Savior King”), Jacob Sooter, Israel Houghton, TobyMac, Victor Oquendo and BJ Putnam, Never Alone picks up where their 2014 EP I Need You left off.
“Colossians 2:3 says that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ,” shares Seth, whose vocal talent has supported the likes of Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, CeCe Winans and Chris Tomlin. “Our prayer is that He would draw us in and help us to walk closely with Him so we would know and express His heart in this broken world. As the grand designer, He knows and supplies what is needed to be whole and to live a flourishing life. But Never Alone isn’t simply a declaration of our need for God or a prayer for God’s provision and power, it’s also a reminder of the truth that He is with us. It might seem paradoxical, but part of the human experience is this back and forth between fear and doubt on the one hand, and confidence and conviction on the other.”
It’s a conundrum that finds both its essence and its answer throughout the album. A powerful collection of soulful worship anthems and ballads, Never Alone is sure to resonate with believers struggling to hold on to faith in the face of cultural chaos. Every track and every groove underscores the truth that God is fully present and in control.
“Pour It Out” is a full-on, dance-worthy worship experience and one of the highlights of the entire collection. For Nirva, who—in addition to her career as a background vocalist with TobyMac—has long made a habit of writing out her praises to God, it’s a natural expression.
“I think of the praise and worship experiences I’ve had, where in the middle of the preaching, people get so overwhelmed with the presence of God, they have to stand up and praise Him,” she says of this jubilant song of surrender. “When you start thinking about His blessings and begin to feel the emotion those thoughts bring, you will pour out your praise. And as Scripture says, God lives in the praises of His people.”
The death you died / Should have been mine / The crown of thorns / I should’ve worn…
By your death I’m raised to life…
I’m not bowing down to fear, Fear is bowing down to me!
“Should Have Been Mine,” written with Mia Fieldes and Jacob Sooter, finds its roots in Christ’s atonement for sin. Seth explains: “Jesus, Immanuel (God with us) as He is called by Matthew referring back to Isaiah, was the clearest and most tangible representation of God’s presence with us. And through His work on the cross we were reconciled to God, made part of His family. So, now God is with us in a whole new way. Therefore, we really don’t have anything to fear—even death.”
Sonically, Never Alone explores the veteran vocalists’ unique styles. From the solid R&B groove of “Pour It Out” to the modern pop anthem of “Unconditional,” to the ballads and calls to worship on the album, Seth & Nirva carve out a distinctive blend all their own. “Our sound—much like us as a couple and as individuals—doesn’t fit any traditional genre category very well,” says Seth. “It’s a bit more diverse stylistically than a lot of artists and difficult to categorize, but this is who we are.”
One of the most personal tracks on the record is “Brother,” written by Seth & Nirva’s labelmates, The Brilliance. As a bi-racial couple, Seth & Nirva have encountered cultural stigma more than most Christian artists. Only in encountering Jesus, in the study of Scripture, they say, can one begin to understand the love and forgiveness required to heal the great racial divide.
When I look into the face of my enemy, I see my brother, I see my brother
Forgiveness is the garment of our courage
The power to make the peace we long to know…
“‘Brother’ hit us really hard,” Seth admits. “Can we honestly sing those lyrics? It’s such a beautiful vision of what we want to be, directly rooted in Jesus’ teaching. …Hopefully, this song becomes an entry point for more discussion.” After all, he adds, “The kingdom of God, in all its diversity, is the biggest movement on Earth.”
In these, as in all the songs on Never Alone, Seth & Nirva drive home the eternal truth that God is present, on the move and that as believers, we are part of God’s story as He is part of ours. What theologian Dallas Willard calls ‘playing to an Audience of One,’ where He becomes our safe place, a refuge from lesser things, a place wherein our reverence for Him and dependence on Him becomes wisdom by which He empowers us to become all we are created to be.
“We want to be part of helping our brothers and sisters recover their courage,” Seth adds, “develop their character, grow in their understanding of the biblical worldview and connect with God on a daily basis through study and worship.
“We want to use the gifts and tools God has given us—in the context of singing and making music—to serve and encourage the Church as well as to take part in the renewal He is bringing,” continues Seth. “That renewal will enable us to stand firm and impact our spheres of influence with the Gospel in a day when culture is set against us.”