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8/22/2011 - JJ Heller to Release Acoustic Project
Radio favorite JJ Heller is set to release her fourth CD in a most unique way.
Deeper, the seasoned songwriter’s acoustic project, was initially set to release on Thanksgiving of 2009, but when JJ’s song "Your Hands" found a life of its own on radio after showing up on the hit show So You Think You Can Dance?, the difficult decision was made to delay the release of the acoustic album.
Several of the songs from Deeper were re-tracked in a more polished style and became a part of JJ’s acclaimed CD When I’m With You, which appeared on many Best of 2010 lists, including the song "What Love Really Means" topping Amazon.com’s list of Best Christian Songs of 2010.
Now, on October 11, 2011, Deeper will finally be released, with five acoustic versions of songs from When I’m With You, four unreleased tracks from the original 2009 recording sessions, and three brand new songs that were recorded in May of this year. With a focus on JJ’s vocals, Deeper continues JJ’s trademark ability to be transparent and honest with her soft voice and introspective lyrics. She has a knack for embracing the simple moments of every day life.
“Deeper is a really special and intimate project,” Heller says. “As the title implies, it’s a record about the extremes of life’s emotions and experiences. I share deeply personal songs exploring the tragedies in my life and in the lives of friends, vulnerable and honest love songs, and a few songs of encouragement. It’s really a picture of this season of my life.”
The album begins with a beautiful picture of the love of an expectant mother for her unborn child called "I Get To Be The One." JJ’s second baby girl (named Nora), due in September 2011, was the inspiration for the touching composition. “Since the title track of When I’m With You was written to my daughter Lucy,” JJ says, “I wanted to make sure that Nora had a song too!”
Mitch Dane (Jars of Clay), a frequent collaborator with JJ, produced, mixed and engineered Deeper at Sputnik Sound in Nashville, TN. Additional instrumentation was added by a talented cast of studio musicians familiar with JJ’s music from several previous records: electric guitars by Andrew Osenga (Caedmon’s Call), keys by Ben Shive (Andrew Peterson), drums and percussion by Paul Ekberg, and acoustic guitars and background vocals by JJ’s husband David Heller.
JJ is known as a road-warrior, and this project is no different. Just over a month after the birth of her new child, JJ and her family will hit the road, kicking off a six-week tour with special guest Matt Brouwer.
“Playing music live is such a vital part of our ministry,” JJ says, "but we knew that with a growing family we needed to change up our touring model. In the past, Dave and I spent a lot of time flying out of town for a weekend, while leaving Lucy with family. It was really hard on me, but it was our best option at the time. This fall marks our first tour on our own bus, and I’m looking forward to having the girls on the road with us. It’s a huge step of faith to make an investment of this size, but we know that if the Lord wants our family to stay on the road that he’ll provide the means for us to do so.”
JJ Heller - Deeper, releasing to retail stores and digital outlets October 11, 2011 through New Day Distribution.
10/19/2010 - When I'm With You by JJ Heller In Stores Today
WHEN I’M WITH YOU, the third full-length CD by indie darling JJ Heller, is in digital and brick and mortar retail outlets today.
Leading up to the release, WHEN I’M WITH YOU has received early critical acclaim:
"This is one of those “gourmet” albums that only comes along every once in awhile…This is one of the freshest and most authentic albums of the year." – NewReleaseTuesday.com
"One thing that I like to do when reviewing a release is as I’m listening to it if a song really strikes my fancy I’ll put an asterisk on my writing paper by its title. Usually I’ll have 1 or 2 songs marked but on this release I marked every song because as they played the high quality of music just kept flowing out of my stereo’s speakers."
– CW Ross
"With transparency, grace, and evident humility, JJ Heller has given a beautiful offering of love to the listener's ears." – JesusFreakHideout.com
Leading up to the release, the song “What Love Really Means” has landed firmly on the radio charts, reaching #24 on the AC Monitored and #12 on the AC Indicator this week. In a surprising turn, the video for the song has seen unprecedented success, capturing over 100,000 views in it’s first week posted on YouTube. Filmed and edited by Nashville filmmaker John Moessner, the video reflects the simplicity of the song, which tells the story of normal people in their day-to-day struggle, asking to be loved just for who they are.
JJ and her band are currently half way through the Today Tour, playing alongside 33 Miles and Chris and Conrad.
10/7/2010 - JJ Heller to Release When I'm With You October 19, 2010
Independent artist and radio favorite JJ Heller is set to release her fourth full-length CD WHEN I’M WITH YOU to digital and retail outlets October 19, 2010 through New Day Christian Distribution. Produced by Mitch Dane and Ben Shive, When I’m With You takes a deep, introspective look at relationships, both person-to-person and person-to-God
“Since, this is the first project I've released after having our baby girl, Lucy, I had a chance to explore the love of a mother for her child in a few songs,” JJ shares. “The songs on this record also navigate the ups and downs of interactions with our friends, our family and with the Lord. Meaningful relationships are the source of some of the deepest joys we can experience in this life, but when we open up, we also make ourselves vulnerable to encounter a lot of suffering. In the end, a full life is not lived alone. It took two years to gather material for the record, and I think it's certainly the strongest group of songs I've ever had one album. I can safely say that it's my favorite.”
Leading up to the release of the CD, the song “What Love Really Means” has just begun to garner spins on radio stations across the country, and JJ continues her steady touring schedule on a two-month run on the Today Tour with 33 Miles and Chris and Conrad.
“My newest single, ‘What Love Really Means,’ is a very special song to me. It's actually a new version of a song that I wrote 5 years ago called ‘Love Me,’” JJ explains. “Out of all the songs I've written, this song came to me the fastest, and connects with my listeners on the deepest levels. I normally labor over my songs, but I know it's a song that God wanted me to share with others because of the way that it just fell onto the page.”
Heller achieved unexpected attention last year, when Diana Drexler chose JJ’s song “Your Hands” as her audition song on So You Think You Can Dance?. One of the 6.8 million viewers of the show was Jon Hull, station manager for the Houston-based radio station KSBJ. His station’s decision to add an independent artist to their playlist for the first time in 4 years sparked a wave that ended up growing to 60 stations, including the K-Love network, and landed the song on Billboard Magazine’s Christian Radio chart for 24 weeks.
During this time, JJ’s album Painted Red, which featured “Your Hands,” ended up charting on Billboard’s Folk Albums chart, peaking at the #12 position. More recently, Heller’s songs were heard on ABC Family’s show Make It Or Break It and on the CW’s One Tree Hill, and Plain Jane.
“I’m amazed to see the ways that God has used my music over the past year,” Heller says. “All this publicity wasn’t something I was intentionally pursuing, so it makes it that much more obvious to me that it’s what the Lord wanted. It’s been fun to watch Him work in my life and through my music, and I’m excited to see what He has in store for the future.”
JJ Heller - When I’m With You, releasing to stores and digital outlets October 19, 2010 through New Day Distribution.
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