With only a few hours to go until she was to co-host the Dove Awards pre-show telecast with her husband Nic, Jaci Velasquez sat down with us to catch up about what she's been up to, what it's like to be raising her two little boys, and her new album, live DVD, and two upcoming movie projects (whew!). For an additional segment of this interview discussing her role as a mother, please visit our spin-off site, LittleJesusFreaks.com...
This interview took place on: 4/21/10.
JFH (John DiBiase): So what have you been up to since we last talked to you for your album Love Out Loud?
Well, raising Zealand. And getting pregnant again and then having Soren, my youngest. And then we recently finally got the writing and production and new tracks going. So that's happening, and those are gonna be finished [soon]. We're doing a live DVD recording in June and simultaneously we are recording the record at the same time. So the songs and everything are ready to go, but now we are doing the DVD and that's actually going to come out before the record, so it'll be something different. And I've never done a DVD and Nic [Gonzales] has. So it'll be my first time, so I'm very excited! And then I have two movies coming out. Those will be out in 2011. One is called The Encounter and the other's called Countdown To Jerusalem. And then, I'm actually working on a book right now and it's called Coffee and Concealer and it's basically the adventures of motherhood and all the things that brought me up to be ready to this point. It's basically a survival guide!
JFH (John): That's really cool!
Jaci: *laughs* Thank you! It starts off with - I think the first words are: "This is a story, although it may sound fiction, it's actually not. There was a time when drinking coffee was done out of leisure and pure enjoyment. Now it's done for survival. Wearing make-up was there to enhance what God gave me, make me look pretty. Now it's done so I don't look like, 'Hi, my name is Jaci and I'm a character straight out of the Night of the Living Dead.'" Like today, even my eyes are bloodshot. We didn't get much sleep last night, between my husband and the baby being sick, it's not good. But everyday's a new adventure, though! And it's okay. I don't mind. I don't mind going without sleep. I had twenty seven years to sleep in and I slept well during those twenty seven years! Now I am thirty and I'm going, "OK... this is good. This is easy. I can handle this." But it's fun! It is a lot of work, but it's the most rewarding and you'll have moments, possibly, when you'll feel unappreciated that you put on yourself, but it's not unappreciated. They're not old enough to tell you some things yet. They don't get it. You're "mommy" and you're there for them and not for yourself anymore. And it really does teach you a lot about selflessness, patience, and just being happy making things work. And simplify. I've learned to simplify things. I don't carry a purse anymore. I carry a diaper bag - which has my wallet and has my phone and that's all I need! *laughs* No time for make-up touch-ups!
JFH (John): So for the live DVD, will it be all new songs or a mix of old and new?
Jaci: A mix of both. A lot of new stuff and some old favorites from Salvador and/or me. And then the record is going to be all the new stuff. So you'll be able to hear probably half of the new stuff on the DVD. And then you'll hear the rest when you buy the record afterwards.
JFH (John): So the DVD is just the video? There won't be a live CD with it?
Jaci: I want to say it's just the live DVD. And then there's going to be behind-the-scenes, B-Roll, fun stuff. Kind of like a storyteller's in between everything.
JFH (Amy): When is the filming for that start?
Jaci: It's going to be in June. So that'll be June 5th. And we're going to shoot for a few days.
JFH (John): Do you have those days and certain locations picked out?
Jaci: We're actually going to shoot at a studio that is available for HD. We're going to shoot in HD and then the B-Roll stuff is going to be taken from home, the kids running around backstage, nap time... feeding.... us napping. No, it's just going to be real life stuff in between everything and the stories of where the songs came from.
JFH (John): It's going to be "A Day in the Life of Jaci" and most of it will be her sleeping with kids running around.
Jaci: *laughs* I know! Being a parent is a lot of work, but it's the best work. And it goes by so fast! Nic and I were just talking about that yesteday. We just flew in from Arizona and we were on the plane and he goes, "Man, I can't wait to see the guys!" And I was like, "I know! My babies... they're BIG boys now!" And he said, "Yeah, it's going by really fast, isn't it?" And I said, "Yeah! Zealand's almost two and a half and Soren's fourteen months. It's just so incredible!" I mean, just the other day we were talking to you guys! And Zealand was like, what? Five months? He was little! I was still holding him and nursing him and stuff. And now he's... it's just great. It's crazy. It goes by fast so enjoy every moment! Even the moments where you're frantic, cause you will be. Just enjoy it. And always calm yourself, remembering that this only happens once! Each time. Even with each kid, it only happens once. And each stage, you'll look at it... Like, when he's born, you'll go "Oh my gosh, this is my favorite time!" And then at three months, "Oh no, THIS is my favorite!" cause he starts to smile! And then six months, "No, this is my favorite stage!" And it keeps going. And each stage is your favorite! And they're all different.
JFH (John): Tell me more about your new music.
Jaci: I have a song called "Diamond" on the new record...
JFH (John): Do you have an album title yet?
Jaci: Well, it's to be determined... It's one of those Nic/Jaci husband/wife moments of I think it should be "this" and he thinks it should be "that." Y'know?
JFH (John): But it's your record.
Jaci: *laughter* Well, see, the thing is, the record that we're doing... we're doing a duet kind of a record. So the DVD is kind of the same thing. We have a duet song called "Come Undone." That'll be on the DVD. A song called "I Believe," which is a duo song - me and him. Both Salvador and me. And there's my solo songs. I have a song called "Diamond," and a song called "Stay." There's more, but I can't remember all of the names right now. So that's kind of the route we're going. The style is kind of like if you were to combine both sounds - what Salvador does and what I do. They're very different sounds. Although people always put us in the same category, we're not. He's very band - funk. They jam when they do what they do. For me, I'm pop and smile and fun or ballads and so it's different. Mine's vocally driven and his is musically driven, although he's a fantastic vocalist. So it's combining those two. It's going to be fun! It's going to be interesting. I can't wait to see what people think. It's going to be very new, but it's going to be fun though. I love working with my husband. I love living with him, I love hanging out with him. I love being with him. I love working with him. We have a pretty good little way that we balance things out. When we're on the road, we're still in love and we're still "us," but we consider each other when it comes to decisions. He goes, "Baby, where do you want the perk set up? Do you want it in the middle or on the side?" And I go, "Well, I dunno? What do you prefer?" And he goes, "I prefer it in the middle." And I'm like, "Well, can we just, maybe, split the difference?" *laughs* Y'know, we're able to work well together, which is nice!
JFH (John): What kind of lyrical themes are on the new record?
Jaci: It's about our life. It's about how God has blessed us and it's a lot about what God has brought each one of us from. On my song "Diamond," the lyrics are, "I know You're messing with me, doing things I can't believe and I like it / I like it / You take imperfect away, leave all that's good in place and it's sweet / How You take an ordinary life and fill it till it's full of light because of Your love." So, where God brought me from and how He prepared me for being married to Nic and having my two boys and turning into something beautiful. I mean, I feel beautiful again! For so long, I felt so ugly and so worthless after my relationship failed. And my parents' relationship prior to that failing. All of this, I felt like a failure. And then kind of what the healing process and where that brought me to and how this was such an important part of the journey. Even though I'd never want to go through it again, I'm so glad I did. Because I would not appreciate the love that Nic and I have for each other and love that our kids have brought into our world. God's love is so real and I would have missed out on these guys without His love for me. I know so much more about God now that I've been through that and these boys are here.
JFH (Amy): Is the writing process with you two together? Do you collaborate?
Jaci: Sometimes. Yes, we do. *smiling* But, sometimes, we find that because we're such strong personalities, that it's actually better sometimes to write with other people. And then also, when we do write together, there always has to be a third party. Because -
JFH (John): Mediator?
Jaci: Yes! It's like a therapy session! And Nic will be like, "Babe, I mean, are you sure you want to go there on the bridge? Y'know, why don't we go..." And then I feel like, "You don't like my ideas!" And then I'm like, "Well, I just don't think that..." and then he doesn't think I like his ideas and he's like, "OK fine! Do whatever you want!" So it's actually better to have a third party, because... it's good. Writing songs is therapy. It's therapeutic. It's probably like writing for you. Telling stories. Telling your stories. You probably do your own writing about what you're going through. It's therapy. So writing songs is our journey and it's our therapy.
JFH (John): Yeah, I wanted to ask you about where the new music is headed because Love Out Loud was coming out of that new chapter in your life and... I really liked Beauty Has Grace...
Jaci: I did too! I wish other people had heard it. I think the label just kind of... when the divorce came out, they were like, "OK, shelve this. Let's not spend money here."
JFH (John): And that's sad, because that was a cool record. And I liked the lyrical themes on that record and you can really tell the journey you've been through, so that's why I'm curious where the new stuff is going.
Jaci: Y'know, it's funny. [With] Beauty Has Grace, I went so far down the road of "cool"... Martin Terefe, he was such a fantastic producer! Y'know, he was responsible for the new Jason Mraz record, the Train record, Hey, Soul Sister. He produced that! So I kind of went to him ahead of his time. He was still "too cool" for the States. Then the States kind of started to follow along in that vein of British music. And [he] started producing American artists and now he's huge! So I love that record (Beauty Has Grace) and it was ahead of its time...
JFH (John): Re-release it.
Jaci: I wish I could! And then, Love Out Loud... y'know, I just couldn't tour with that record that much because of getting pregnant with Soren. I just couldn't work that hard! We didn't plan it -- I mean, I wouldn't give him back, though! He's so cute and innocent! And he's chubby and perfect! It's great!
JFH (John): To wrap up, what are the movie projects that you're working on like?
Jaci: Well, they're two different films. It's with the same company - PureFlix Entertainment. And both films are inspirational-based. And safe for the whole family! The Encounter
and Countdown To Jerusalem. Those come out next year, so be looking out for them! In Countdown, I play one of the characters' wives. And in The Encounter, I play a woman who picks up a runaway and is on her way to meet up with her boyfriend who she's hoping will ask her to marry him. And they basically encounter this diner in the middle of the road and some other characters show up into this and all basically get the opportunity to meet Jesus face-to-face without knowing whether He's really Jesus and kind of the adventures that take us to that point and what we learn in the process. It's gonna be great! It's kind of like a mixture of The Shack meets The Twilight Zone.
JFH (Amy): Thank you so much for talking with us!
Jaci: No, thank you so much for talking to me!
***For more of the interview featuring Jaci talking about being a mom, visit our spin-off site for parents, LittleJesusFreaks.com!***
Jaci Velasquez's new live DVD with Salvador releases this Fall!