Singer / Songwriter Chloe Reynolds has just come off tour with Anastacia, but before she went off on that trip we managed to catch up with her. We talked about her number 1 UK Christian Chart hit "Broken Beautiful" and how a bacon sandwich led this now vegetarian onto the path of Christianity.
Chloe also had some big news brewing that she couldn't tell us at the time of the interview that has just been released so make sure you watch the video below.
So with your album how did how did recording an album come about for you?
First of all the single happened. "Broken Beautiful" and as soon as I'd written that I knew that it was going to be the title of the album as well. And that song came after 18 months of writer's block and of me going through a particularly difficult time in life wondering if I was going to write songs again ever, because as a Christian artist I didn't want to write songs that say 'I'm having a really hard time'. I wanted to write songs that are going to give people hope and motivate them to keep going, and to share this good news that I believe in. The writers block became a fear for me that, was I going to write just miserable songs or would I ever be able to make hopeful songs again? And then out of that fear came this song "Broken Beautiful" which I hope brings hope to a lot of people from there the rest of the album just flows.
And you released that, it went straight to number one in the AStepFwd charts didn't it?
It did yes it went to number in the UK Christian chart in September last year.
The video is interesting isn't it. You have a lot of different people holding up cards. It's quite a powerful video, it's also one of those Internet meme things where people pass cards to each other. How did that all come about?
Well when I wrote the song, as I said I wanted to write songs that make a difference to other people, and that means these songs can't just be about my story. Whether they have come from my own difficult time or not, they have to be about more than just me.
I thought the easiest way for me to portray it in a video is to invite other people to come and share their stories too. So I just asked people if they would be brave enough to come and share a bit of their story. And I'm just amazed at how many people said yes, because there are some incredible stories in that video of really hard times. And just the fact that they were willing to say "yes we acknowledge that you want to do something good and we want to be a part of that", it's just amazing!
How did it then flesh out from "Broken Beautiful" to fill out the rest of the album? Did that single when you wrote that break the writers block, did the floodgates suddenly spring open?
For sure that broke the writer's block. There's two songs on the album that are older than "Broken Beatuiful" I hadn't recorded them before. Whenever I gig so many people request them that I thought I have to put the on the album. The rest is about that journey from writing "Broken Beautiful", kind of the journey of healing the journey and sharing that with other people really.
So before "Broken Beautiful" you were writing and you had other albums?
I've got 2 EPs, this is my debut album.
And what kind of life experiences are in those two EPs?
The thing is you can ask what life experience and if I share that, if I say specifically what each song is about then it stops other people being able to see their story in the song. So I like to just share a tiny bit when I introduce the songs but not say this song is all about me. It's got to be about more than just my story.
I wondered if that was the right decision when I started gigging, but actually the amount of people that come back to me and say "That song's so powerful because in that I heard that I could be free from this situation, a situation that I've never been through but that song has spoken to them because it's more than just my own stamp on it.
It allows people to apply their own life experience itself into something and finding synchronicity.
So tell me a little bit about Chloe as a person and as a child. Did you have a normal school life and home life?
Normal school life, but I grew up in a non-Christians family. So for me becoming a Christian was my teenage rebellion really. Coming from a non-Christian household, for me to go to church was quite scandalous.
How did that happen then? Not many people coming from a non-Christian background go "Oh I think I will go to church this week."
Sure, this is the comedy story of how a now vegetarian gets converted by a bacon sandwich! When I was 15 I ran away from home at 6:00 in the morning and found myself at a local Park on top of a hill and a just sat on a bench wondering what I was going to do with life because I hadn't made a plan, hadn't brought any money or a coat and just said OK then God who I have been told doesn't exist, if you do exist then you'd better come and sort me out because I don't know what I'm going to do now!
Sure enough He did! To be honest I thought I was going crazy because I prayed that little prayer, that angry prayer, and then I heard trumpets. I thought I was going insane until I turned around and saw people walking up the hill playing wind instruments. They were getting ready for Easter Sunday sunrise service, it was just the local church coming up the Hill and they saw me there in a bit of a mess and took me in and fed me a bacon sandwich and showed me love. I just thought "if these people who love God are telling me that they love me and willing to take me in, to feed me breakfast and give me hugs and all that because they know God who loves me then I need to find out more about that God."
The rest is history!
So moving on from "Broken Beautiful" if the floodgates are still open, are the songs still coming? Are you writing towards another project?
I am hoping to release another album before the end of the year. No writing at the moment because in just a few weeks time I'm going on tour as Anastacia's support (woohoo!) so I am getting ready for that at the moment.
How do you find those tours, I have spoken to Philippa Hanna a few times and she does these opening acts. Things with Marti Pellow and Anastacia a couple of years ago. How do you find those? How does it feel for you going into something that's a more secular kind of environment and taking those songs that you are your heart into that kind of environment?
That's been really powerful reminder to me as a Christian, if I do what God wants me to do, which I believe is now what I am doing, then He's going to open the doors to let me do it.
I was standing on stage with 2000 people in the audience saying this is a song for anyone who needs to know that God loves them. And then thinking I'm standing on a stage at a non Christian event and I just told 2000 people that God loves them why is no-one shutting this down? Why am I allowed to do this? When you step out and you're brave with what you think God has told you that you should be doing with your life then he's going to help you to do that.
Yes so you kind of got this idea boiling away at the moment for or have you written all the songs?
No I haven't written any of the songs.
So this project is proposed. There's nothing concrete for it yet?
It is more than proposed project, the project has to happen, that's what I need to tell myself in order for it to happen. Yes there will be a new album before the end of the year.
And so with that pressure, is that how do you get yourself to write? I want to have this album, I need to have this out by this particular date so I have to write something...
I never want to write songs just because I've got it write. I want to write songs because I've got a message that's worth sharing. So althought I do need to be structured and say to myself right you need to write songs now, it's not OK I'll just chuck a song out because I have to. I want to share something that's real, so I need to be real in what I write.