Revisiting Ellie Holcomb’s “As Sure As The Sun”
Nominated for Two Dove Awards!
My first interview — ever — was with a new artist by the name of Ellie Holcomb. She was wonderfully earnest in her answers; I could tell she thought deeply about each question and poured her heart into her answers. The conversation stuck with me. God still reminds me of it — and of the powerful Biblical topics that were discussed — and He uses it to encourage my heart during difficult seasons. So when I heard the news a few days ago that she had been nominated for two Dove awards (New Artist of the Year and Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year) I rejoiced.
If you haven’t heard her debut album yet, I urge you to listen to it. In my review, which I wrote shortly after my interview with Ellie, I wrote the following:
Ellie’s new album is a beautifully rendered musical portrait of a soul desperately pursuing God, and then running headlong into Him, face-to-face, in the pages of His Word. The imagery of light triumphing over darkness also has a constant presence: besides the title track, for example, the celebratory song “Marvelous Light” shakes the earth with pure joy…
Sometimes the trials that shape a person — the hurdles that they must overcome before they reach that “pure joy” in God — aren’t always immediately evident. But in my interview with Ellie, she opened up about some of these behind-the-scenes challenges that shaped her album:
“Many of [the songs] are tied to walking either through seasons of drought or doubt in my own life or walking with dear friends of mine who have faced some unbelievably intense trials over the past few years. So I would say almost all of them are sort of like what David does in the psalms; he kind of bosses his soul around [laughs]. Be still my soul, awake my soul, remember who God is, remember what He’s done — that’s really the reason I started writing music was to remind myself of these truths that sometimes are really hard to believe, whether you’re facing a season of doubt or a season that just feels dry and where God’s voice feels silent.”
What I loved about the album was the range of emotion, very much like the wide spectrum you might find in one of the psalms. There’s joy and deep, palpable sorrow — all of it expressed with great power (in terms of songwriting craft) and all of it presented to God with transparency, as I mentioned in the review:
The opening track “As Sure as the Sun” — a solo piano prayer that haunts and swells with brokenness and child-like trust — expresses that tipping point, that moment of breakthrough in the “dark, in the doubting, when you can’t feel anything” when suddenly a light breaks through and your heart finally realizes that “Oh His love remains the same, as sure as the sun will rise” — as the song says.
One of my favorite answers that she gave in the interview was her reason for naming the album As Sure as the Sun:
There’s a reason I named the record “As Sure as the Sun” because I sat down to write that song during a time when my husband and I were hoping to start a family. And I was thinking about what I would want this little kid that we were dreaming of to know more than anything else, to know in the depths of their being. And as I sang, what I found was this is really the truth that I need to know in the depths of my being too! [laughs] And that song is inspired from Hosea 6:3: “let us acknowledge the Lord, let us press on to acknowledge Him, for as surely as the sun rises He will appear, He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Congratulations, Ellie, on your Dove award nominations!