Melanie Penn wants to know, “What do we do with all the bad things that happen in life?” On her fifth studio album, More Alive, Penn tries to answer this through 14 tracks that tell the story of change and transformation.
The New York-based singer, songwriter and worship leader, had early roots on Broadway during her 20s, at one time starring in Grease. After years touring around the theater circuit, she returned to songwriting and began a long-term working relationship with Nashville-based producer and songwriter Ben Shive, who has worked with Penn all along the way—from debut, 2010’s Wake Up Love, follow up Hope Tonight (2015), and Immanuel in 2017. In December 2019, she also released a more festive, folk album, Immanuel: The Folk Sessions.
Called the More Alive Project, the album, produced by Shive and Cason Cooley, shifts through uplifting songs, unearthing some pops of hope in uplifting tracks. Penn says they’re melodies and lyrics are for anyone who stands at the edge of change, and holds the listener’s hand through fear, trial, hope and arrival at the other side.
“The trials and sufferings, so much threatens to drain life out from us and make us less alive,” says Penn. “But we have a choice in the matter. We can choose to be more alive.”
“More Alive” follows first single “Don’t Worry,” with Penn’s infectious vocals emitting some small doses of hope in hard times in each track. Throughout the More Alive Project, Penn hopes to motivate people and bring them out of their darkness and tribulations.
“I hope that everyone who feels a little older, a little more worn out or weary, can be encouraged today,” she says. “Your scars and struggles make you more alive.”