I would like to introduce "The Phenomenal Guys from Sidewalk Prophets" as our "Artist of the Month" for the month of April. Here is the personal interview that we were blessed with.
Candie and Michelle: When did you all start singing and playing?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: Sidewalk Prophets began in October of 2001 in Anderson, Indiana, at Anderson University. My buddy Ben McDonald and I started songwriting and recording together out of our dorm room, playing all over campus, and eventually hitting the road to the lead worship at local camps, churches and events. Our first recordings were made using a microphone taped to our ceiling. We would invite our friends to come into the room and record our songs live. It was a lot of fun.
Candie and Michelle: That does sound like a lot of fun and a lot of good memories. Were there other names in the mix before you decided on Sidewalk Prophets? How did you make your decision?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: Our band’s first name was “4 Floorz II Heaven.” It was kind of a joke since we started on the 4th floor of our dorm, the top floor closest to heaven. We realized this name was terrible when we got offered to play chapel. We needed a new name and spent all night trying to discover the perfect name. I settled on “Sidewalk” from a Jars of Clay song called, “Art in Me.” It’s one of my favorite songs and the opening line mentions “images on the sidewalk.” The song reminds me that God is always speaking, and we long to be a band that listens closely to His voice, however that may come. “Prophet” was the word of the day from Ben’s dictionary calendar. It is defined as “someone that tells the truth about life.” That simple definition spoke volumes. The two together remind us to listen to God and speak the truth about life, which is His love.
Candie and Michelle: Wow. I really love the meaning behind your band name. What do you like most about living in TN? What do you miss most about where you used to live?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: I love Nashville. It is a big city that feels small. It’s full of music and events and great churches and amazing people. I do miss Terre Haute, Indiana. It will always be my hometown, but my folks still live there, so I visit as often as possible and see friends when I head back. I miss all the Colts football fans when away from Indiana. Here in Nashville I refuse to root for the Titans, and I sometimes catch flack for that.
Candie and Michelle: I would love to visit Nashville one of these days. How do you balance your career with your family?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: The road is tough. It always will be. There is always something inside each of us that longs for home. But I know I am called to do what I do all over this country and even the world. I am not married, but I am constantly amazed by my band-mates that are, and their ability to balance what God has called us to do with spending time with their family.
Candie and Michelle: I understand what you are saying. Did each of you grow up in a musical family?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: My dad was an organ player in a band when I was very young. My mom actually went into labor at one of my dad’s shows. Mom said I was born into music. She was the one that taught me my first guitar chords. She played and inspired the first graders she taught.
Candie and Michelle: Awww, what a sweet memory you have there. Can y’all play any other instruments besides the ones you play now?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: I played the Bass Clarinet in middle school and high school, along with the Tenor Saxophone in Jazz Band. I play enough guitar to get by. Our bass player Cal can play just about any stringed instrument you set in front of him.
Candie and Michelle: Y'all are all really talented. Who are your biggest supporters?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: Our families. They are the ones that provide constant encouragement and believed in us enough to allow us to go across the world worshiping Christ. Our fans also have been incredibly supportive all through our careers. From heartfelt stories told after the show to a kick starter campaign to help us fund our first bus, our fans show up in amazing ways to keep us traveling on this great journey.
Candie and Michelle: So glad you have such an amazing support system. What was the first tune(s) you learned?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: The first song I ever sang in front of people was Larry Norman’s, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.” It was recorded by DC Talk in the 90’s, and after my dad encouraged me and sang alongside me, I found the courage to sing in front of my home church. It’s an incredible song.
Candie and Michelle: We will have to listen to it. :) What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets :I loved listening to records. I doubt many people even remember turntables and record players, but I had a Fisher Price one that I played all the time. My favorite record was anything Disney. I also loved Michael Jackson.
As far as my favorite concerts go, one of my fondest memories was gong in high school to a Newsboys concert. It rained and even hailed that day at the festival, so their show was canceled. We were in tents spending the night. Around, 11pm we hear a voice from the stage that says that anyone that is still up for a show should come to the barn out behind the stage. The Newsboys rocked that barn until cops came because of noise complaints. It was fun, exciting and true worship that night.
Candie and Michelle: Dave, I can totally see you rocking out on that record player. Lol. The concert sounds like it would have been totally fun. Besides being musically inclined do you feel you have any other talents?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: I love to read and write stories. I actually was an English Education major in college. I also memorized all the countries of the world and can touch my toes to the top of my head. Lol.
Candie and Michelle: That's what I called talented Dave. Ha ha.. What do you do in your downtime?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: I read, play basketball, watch cartoons and play video games with my band-mates. My favorite video game is Super Mario Bros. 3, but I usually play sports games (FIFA, Madden, NBA 2K) with my buddies.
Candie and Michelle: Alright then. Next time y'all come to Rome we are playing Super Mario Bros. Ha ha. Which artist(s) or band(s) do you feel has influenced you the most? Who do you admire?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: I love so many artists from the Beatles to DC Talk, from Counting Crows to Stevie Wonder. I love the musicianship of the band Nickel Creek, the voice of Mariah Carey, and the melodies and whimsy of the Sherman Brothers. I think all of them have influenced my writing. I greatly admire Audio Adrenaline. They were a band that gave us a chance when we were starting out. They called me up on stage and had me sing, and it was a catalyst in realizing my calling and dedicating my life to a reckless faith.
Candie and Michelle: All of those are great musicians. Where has been your favorite place to perform on past tours so far? I’m sure you Guys are excited about the “Great Big Family Room Tour”.
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: We got to perform at Disney World, which was a dream come true for me. This last tour we played with Casting Crowns at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. That place is gorgeous. Seeing 9,000 people outside among God’s creation singing and praising Him is a memory I’ll always hold dear.
The family room tour is gonna be great. We want to break down the wall of audience and performer. We hope the night feels like one big party with us in the family room even if we are at theaters and churches. There will be pizza parties and all sorts of fun surprises. I’m truly excited.
Candie and Michelle: Sounds like a lot of fun. Hope y'all can come to Rome, Ga one day. Do you have any pre-show rituals to prepare for a performance?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: I have some vocal warm-ups which usually take about 20-30 minutes. We also make sure and pray as a band before every show just to make sure we remember why we do what we do.
Candie and Michelle: What is your favorite song to perform? Why?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: I will always love playing “You Love Me Anyway.” It was the song that we moved from Indiana to Nashville with 8 years ago. Even after singing it all these years, I get emotional singing it. If you mean what you say, which I attempt to do everyday, then singing “I am the thorn in Your crown” is not easy. But He does love us anyway.
Candie and Michelle: Amen to that. Love that song. Makes me cry. How do you unwind after a show?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: We always sign autographs after the show, and that is usually where people get a chance to share their hearts and stories. That always encourages me. It’s a perfect reminder that this journey isn’t about music, it’s about watching God change lives.
Candie and Michelle: Amen. That's so sweet that y'all take that time out for your fans. Is there anywhere that you haven’t performed at yet that you would really like to?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: I would love to play at Wrigley Field! I’m a huge Chicago Cubs fan and dreamed of playing baseball when I was a kid. To play at Wrigley would be a dream come true.
Candie and Michelle: I pray that happens for you. Is there any other artist(s) or band(s) that you would like to play with?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: We have toured with so many of my favorite bands that I grew up listening to: Newsboys, all the members of DC Talk, Third Day, Audio Adrenaline. The only one we haven’t toured with that I absolutely loved was Jars of Clay. Half our band’s name was inspired by one of their songs. Their songs resonate in my heart for over a decade. I’d love to at least have coffee with Dan Hasletine someday, but to tour with them would be awesome.
Candie and Michelle: It could happen. :) How do you feel like your sound has changed during the course of your career?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: I think every band strives to grow and change in the lives and in their sound. I feel like since our first release, we have been given more opportunity to broaden our musical horizon. It is such an eclectic work. There are up-tempo rock songs, raw and emotional ballads, sweeping epic anthems, and heartfelt pop tunes. As we grow deeper in our songwriting, or sound grows alongside it. I am so excited for everybody to hear our new album.
Candie and Michelle: I can't wait for it. What Song of yours are you guys the most proud of?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: I think I am most proud of our song “Keep Making Me.” It is a very heavy emotional track, and we were a little afraid to release it to radio. But when we did, it resonated with thousands of people. I love hearing their stories. “Keep Making Me” is an unbiased look at some of the fears in my life. Brokenness and loneliness can sometimes haunt me, but if I can allow God to use those things to bring me closer to Him, it is a beautiful thing indeed. He continues to make us into the children of God we are everyday.
Candie and Michelle: Yes he does. That truly is a beautiful song. What has been your most memorable fan moment?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: We have the best fans ever! We consider them family. One of the coolest stories is from my buddy Evan Meade. I met his mom, Patty, after a show we were doing. It was a huge event and I was nervous. I looked out into the crowd before we went on stage and saw Patty’s shirt. On the shirt was the Superman logo with an “E” inside it, on the back was printed “Be strong for Evan.” It help calm my nerves that night. I decided to Superman-up, prayed and had a blast. After the show she came by, and I mentioned that her shirt helped me. She said the “E” stood for her son, Evan. He wasn’t at the show because he was battling leukemia at a local hospital. I prayed then and there for Evan. Years later, I am honored to say Evan beat cancer. He is a brother and a true inspiration. He still goes and serves in the Riley Children’s Hospital whenever possible, and he is currently a scholarship student at Butler University.
Candie and Michelle: Praise God! Are there new songs or albums in the horizon for Sidewalk Prophets?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: Yes, we are in the studio right now working on an amazing assortment of songs! It’s been a while, and we are ready to rock.
Candie and Michelle: Can't Wait! If you weren’t a musician what would you see yourself doing as a career?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: I would be an English Teacher. I loved the time I spent in the classroom.
Candie and Michelle: Candie and I both have many years of teaching under our belt. What advice would you give to your younger selves?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: Enjoy the journey and pray as much as possible. From sleepless nights in the van all across the country, to the unrequited joy of hearing a fan’s heart and life-changing story, it is all a beautiful journey.
Candie and Michelle: Great advice. What advice would you give to an artist or band starting out?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: The same as mentioned above. Honestly, remembering how blessed you are daily to get to go out and praise Jesus is so important. People want to hear your songs? That’s such an honor and a privilege. Be grateful, serve hard, and love a lot.
Candie and Michelle: Also good advice. Are there any new artist(s) or band(s) that have grasped your interest?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: I love so many new artists. About a Mile are rocking brothers with incredible hearts. All Sons and Daughters make incredible music that leads me to worship. Love and the Outcome and City Harbor have toured with us and made the bus a much more fun place, not to mention their extraordinary songs. I love hearing new bands, and love it even more when they are genuine people.
Candie and Michelle: I love all those bands too. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your fans?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: Come on out to the Great Big Family Room tour this spring! We literally are going to travel the country with our couches and lamps and have pizza parties and worship Jesus! Can’t wait to see everybody again. See you real soon.
Candie and Michelle: How can fans discover more about you and your music?
David Frey of Sidewalk Prophets: All they have to do is go to sidewalkprophets.com, our facebook page, or our twitter (@swprophets, @swpdave).
Thank y'all so much for taking the time to sit down with us. We both feel really blessed to be featuring y'all this month.
-Candie and Michelle