Jen Ledger of Skillet just dropped her first single as solo project LEDGER off her EP that will be released on April 13. The exclusive single ‘Not Dead Yet’ captures an edgy, powerful, and ground-breaking step claiming her life, and place in defense of any struggles Ledger has encountered. Throughout the past decade, she’s kept the place in Skillet as their drummer, and throughout that time also acclaimed a spot as a vocalist with the band. The uplifting track consists of everything Ledger has shown us she is, whether it be through her dignified lyrical talent, or the breath-taking presence of her vocals in ‘Not Dead Yet’.
Ledger stated “It was probably about six years ago that I first started talking to John and Korey about the idea that I’d like to start writing my own music. But right then it was very much a bit of a dream because I didn’t know anything about writing songs and I’d only been pretty much a drummer. But it was Korey that took me aside and she started writing with me. It was probably about six years ago that we wrote our first batch of songs, a good ten or eleven that year, and it was awesome. It was really an exciting time, cause I’d never really dived into that stuff, but there’s only one of those songs that made it onto the EP. I’m still super proud of it. You know how when you start writing it’s a bunch of beginner songs and you know they’re not going to make it, but it’s pretty exciting when one of ‘em actually does. It’s a song called “Ruins” and I’m super pumped and proud and it’s one of the few from six years ago that actually made it this far.”
Throughout the last month since the project was announced, we’ve also seen several instances with Korey Cooper adamantly by Ledger’s side throughout the process; whether it be through her Instagram stories in regards to the interviews, Ledger has had no issues giving Korey a wide range of credit for where she is with this EP today. When asked how she felt about not only having the chance to not only be in one of the best selling Christian rock bands, but also gain a family situation out of it Ledger replied “Honestly, we have such a unique situation and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I auditioned for Skillet when I was 17 years old and my first ever show with them was just when I turned 18. I’d only ever gone from playing in church with 200 people and my first ever show was on a tour called Winter Jam and at the time it was one of the biggest arena tours in the world. My first ever show for Skillet was like this sold out arena of 15,000 people so you can imagine how intimidating that was walking into a situation like that. But the thing that’s so wonderful is, you know how a lot of good bands dissolve. Well, I think that having good relationships on the road is the key to a successful band because no matter how talented you are, at the end of the day if you don’t like living in your 8 by 20 feet with someone, it’s just gonna wreck you. So what’s awesome about this is they not only took me under their wing as a drummer and they’ve really helped me stretch there. Honestly, I’ve become the drummer I am today because they worked with me and they’ve written stuff that helped me with my strengths. They’ve pulled things out of me that I didn’t know I was capable of playing. And on top of it, they’ve taken me under their wing and it is very much like a family. I learned “How do I pay my bills?” I’ve learned everything from the Coopers, not only from playing drums but also from a life standpoint. They are also some of the most generous and powerful people off stage too. You’re never going to meet anyone kinder or with more integrity and I’ve learned a lot from watching how they do business also. So I think in some ways it’s the most amazing apprenticeship that I could have had. But it is a family setting. I wake up in the morning and their kids are doing school and I’ve known them since they were 2 and 5 and now they’re 12 and 15 and it feels like they’re my little brother and sister. And it’s something I really cherish about being in a band. I don’t think I could’ve done it for 10 years if I didn’t love the environment so much. It’s just a really uplifting and encouraging environment to be in and playing music is almost a bonus on the side.
Additionally when asked what the song was about, Ledger’s reply was “Not Dead Yet” is incredibly dear to me because something that I’ve been dealing with for the last few years, and I’ve never experienced it before in my life, but I’ve had I guess you could call them attacks of anxiety or panic. I had never really experienced anything like that but a couple of years ago it started happening really intensely and it was a hard time in my life where, the truth is, I just wanted to give up.
But it was about a year later and I fought through it and I really felt I’d overcome. It was like, ‘Oh I think that was a seizure and that’s dead and gone and I’m doing okay now,’ but when we went back on tour, I was onstage and I started panicking onstage and it was like a fear that made me want to give up. But it was like, “I’ve been doing this for nine years. Why am I panicking onstage and if I’m still panicking now, why would I ever want to continue with it?” It was just such a defeating moment, but I got offstage and I was sitting in a room with Korey and I just unloaded.
I told her that I was just really struggling and I wasn’t sure why these feelings had come back and I was just panicking so much onstage that it made me want to give up and I just hate that feeling so much. And I said, “What is this feeling and what if this is something that I always have to fight?” And Korey just looked and me and said, “Then you never give up, Jen. You fight until the very last breath of your life. You don’t let it mess with your destiny.” It was one of the most powerful conversations I’ve ever had and it was just so freeing. Yes, maybe I will have to fight and maybe these things won’t go away, but you’ve got to resolve in your heart that you will never let them defeat you and you will fight until your very last breath.
I think I just needed to hear that. Maybe I will overcome fear and maybe I will overcome anxiety. Even in five years from now, and maybe it will always come back up, but I have to resolve in my heart that I will never let it take me out or rob me of the opportunity or rob me of living my life.
So that’s the story of “Not Dead Yet.” I went home the next day and was sitting in my room and the lyrics and the chorus came to me. I wrote a lot of the lyrics that night and I took the song to Seth Moseley and we finished the song together.”
In regards to where she would like to see things go further down the road, she stated “Truthfully I haven’t had the chance to wrap my head around that. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, but right now I do not want to leave Skillet and I feel great to be a part of that. If this does take off, what I’d love is if this just gives more opportunities for Ledger and Skillet to play together.
I’m really hoping that the Skillet fanbase really likes this music and embraces it, cause they’re just the most incredible people and the most passionate fans that you’re ever going to meet. If I can just continue to be part of this team and this group that is already existing but also be another expression with a slightly different take on music, I just don’t think I could ask for much more than that. It’d be thrilling. And the fact that it has kind of worked out the way it has – I’ve signed a deal here now through John and Korey’s label here at Atlantic and it really feels more like a team than it does my breakout. If we can continue just embracing the team aspect and doing this as a unit, we’ll just do this together and I’d just love it if we can continue in the direction it’s going. But right now, I’ve just got to learn the songs and play with my band.”
It’s safe to say we’re ecstatic about the rest of this EP dropping on April 13. LEDGER has managed to blow us away with her lyrical talent, and we can’t even begin to imagine what could possibly happen next, to make this even more magnificent. To say we’re loving Jen’s content is quite the understatement. The songs included on the EP will be “Not Dead Yet”, “Warrior” ft. John Cooper, “Bold”, “Foreigner”, “Ruins”, and “Iconic”. You can preorder this starting tomorrow (4/6/2018) and receive an automatic download of “Not Dead Yet” through Loudwire.com. The rest of the Ep will be available April 13, 2018.
You can catch LEDGER opening for Skillet and for KING & COUNTRY during the joy.UNLEASHED tour for the dates listed at https://www.skillet.com/news/joyunleashed-tour-tickets-sale-now-114821