"Zoe means 'life.' Not just life in general, but the kind of life attained through living according to the will of God in Christ Jesus. We want our lives to be examples of that - being a 'ZOEgirl.'" - Kristin Swinford, ZOEgirl
If ZOEgirl was a movie rather than a high-octane pop act, their theater posters would probably say something like "Different Pasts…Brought Together In The Present...To Touch The Future…" While they come off personally as much too sincere to really go in for that kind of hype, the women of Sparrow Records newest signing, ZOEgirl, do indeed share a strong sense of purpose and a recognition that something more than mere coincidence brought their lives and artistry together.
Offering an upbeat, energetic mix of dance beats, R&B flavors, choreographed stage moves and pristine layered vocals, Chrissy Conway, Alisa Girard, and Kristin Swinford seem to be the genuine article, perfectly fitted to present the gospel to a young demographic weaned on MTV's fast cut images.
"We all come from really different backgrounds culturally and spiritually," Alisa says. "But the first time the three of us sat down and talked, we were amazed at how we all had the same goals and the same vision for ministering through music," Kristin adds. "There are so many kids out there who aren't hearing any messages of hope from the pop culture that influences them so heavily. We wanted to be the ones to bring them the message of Jesus, but we knew it had to be presented in a way they could connect with."
From the self-titled project's opening cut, "I Believe," the strong message of hope - as well as a strong sense of connection to the musical tastes of the rising generation - are obvious. With an anthemic wash of triumphant vocal interplay, sonic texturing, and unstoppable dance rhythms, "I Believe" serves as both a musical and lyrical centerpiece for ZOEgirl's debut.
"'I Believe' really spells out in black and white what we're all about," says Alisa Girard (whose father Chuck is sure to be familiar to many in CCM circles). "In a world where it's becoming less acceptable to talk openly about Jesus Christ, we want people to know we're not ashamed, and we want to encourage kids who are believers to take a stand with us."
Entering the studio shortly after joining forces, Chrissy, Kristin and Alisa, faced the unique challenge of not only melding their diverse musical backgrounds, but of writing and co-writing during the recording process.
"The three of us wrote most of the album in the studio writing for hours at a stretch," Chrissy explains. "One of us would be in the booth recording a vocal while the other two would be out working on the next song, and then we'd swap. That was the atmosphere we found we could be creative in together - a lot of pressure and a lot of laughter."
Intentionally aiming their songwriting at a young audience, the early twenty- something members of ZOEgirl gravitated towards issues that effect the lives of teens today. Abstinence, temptation, and the search for identity, became topics addressed alongside more vertical tunes, such as the hooky, R&B-laced "Anything Is Possible," that simply praises God for his enduring faithfulness and his ability to change hearts and lives.
"It's so important for kids, even those who have grown up in the church, to know that God is alive and working in people's lives," Kristin comments. "They need to know that he's personal for them, and that he's not only a God of mercy, but a God of miracles and changed lives."
Though their history together stretches back only a matter of months, ZOEgirl will take their powerful message, infectious harmonies, and dazzling roadshow to more people than any other CCM artist in the next twelve months. Touring with Carman, Clay Crosse, and Nichole Nordeman, ZOEgirl will build on the already overwhelming response they've received from teens, preteens, and enthusiastic parents alike. "We don't want to be a group that just gets up there and does their show and then goes home and watches TV all night," says Chrissy. "We really have a heart for the ministry and for the kids that we're singing to. So many parents have already thanked us for the positive alternative we're presenting. That's encouraging. Our purpose as ZOEgirl is just to minister to kids however we can."