's unique vocals and powerful stage presence have given her a distinct role in Skillet
since joining as the band's drummer when she was just 18. Ledger has had the privilege of being a part of Skillet as they have cemented their place as one of the 21st century's most successful rock bands, selling more than 11 million units worldwide, receiving two GRAMMY® Award nominations and winning a Billboard Music Award for the multi-platinum-certified Awake
. With an engaged and ever-growing social media presence, the latest signee for Atlantic Records and Hear It Loud released her debut solo endeavor, LEDGER, in April of 2018.
Here, Jen breaks down the inspirations behind the six new songs on her debut EP
I wrote this song to describe getting wrecked by love. I wanted to put a positive twist on what initially sounds like another breakup song. I've been wrecked before in the sense that I've had my heart broken, but I've also been wrecked in the sense that I've been "ruined" or "spoiled" by a love so great that I can never go back to how life was before. I wanted to include the tension of wanting to be vulnerable but also being afraid because of previous damage. When you're healing, the hardest thing to do is trust. But when you do, and you lean into a love that's actually trustworthy, it's one of the most beautiful and freeing things in the world, and it will ruin you forever.
- "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."
This passage talks about being a foreigner in this world because we're actually destined for something more than just this life. It inspired me to remember what matters and where my hope is. I want to stand against what the world screams is success and focus on things that actually matter.
Reality TV stars and musicians with drug addictions, eating disorders, broken relationships, and emotional instabilities are screaming with loud voices that being rich, beautiful, and famous are the ultimate goals of life. We have a culture constantly perpetuating a goal that's dangerous, always out of reach, and actually unhealthy...and it creates the most empty and dysfunctional people in the world. And so, I wanted to write a song that said no. That's never what my life will be about and that's not what I will live for or spend my life seeking. I don't care if I don't fit in with you, because that's not where I'm meant to belong anyway.
"Not Dead Yet"
It was all sparked by a conversation I had with Korey Cooper one night in the bus after a show. I felt really defeated, because despite feeling like fear was something I had overcome, I was really struggling that day with feelings of anxiety and fear that made me want to give up.
I turned to Korey after the show and asked her "what if this is something that ALWAYS comes back and I always have to fight?" and she looked up at me and told me, "Then you fight, Jen. With every moment there's life left in you, you fight and you never give up. Even if it lasts until you take your last breath here on earth, you never give up fighting."
It was one of the most impactful conversations of my life. And so, I wrote this song as a declaration that, even though fear and anxiety can come and try to rob me of peace, I will never give up fighting against it every step of the way. I've wasted too much time being afraid, I won't let it stop me or hold me back anymore, and I won't let it rob me of my own life, even if I have to fight it until my dying breath.
2 Timothy 1:7
) - "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
) - "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
This is a song that declares who we are in relation to God! Even though we are weak, and feel small and afraid, it's not the identity He's given us. He makes us bold, He makes us a brand-new creation, and when He speaks something over us it is our true identity. We can be bold and courageous because of Him, because everything we aren't sufficient in, He is! He calls us HIS and tells us He is for us. He calls the weak and makes them strong. He calls the foolish, and the lowly to bring Him glory. That is what makes me bold. If God is for me, who can be against me?!
1 Corinthians 1:27-28
) - "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things --and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are,"
"Warrior" is a declaration song. A song that we will not back down, be quiet or be afraid. There is a real enemy, looking for opportunities to steal, kill and destroy us. We are made to be a display of God's grace and glory throughout the earth, and he hates it. He wants to do whatever it takes to take us out. To isolate us, make us feel unworthy, remind us of our flaws, remind us of our shortcomings, wrap us in lies, defeat us, and to do whatever it takes to steal our freedom and ultimately our lives from us. He will never give up trying to make us feel like we are the only ones who can't be reached by God, or that "God can't really love or forgive ME like that". This song is a song of rearing up an army of warriors, who won't be passive, but instead will be bold, brave, courageous, and unashamed. They will stand in truth and hold fast to the power of the gospel and walk in faith of the power and awesomeness of their God.
"Iconic" describes the feeling when you see or meet someone who is truly free, who doesn't care what people think or how they "should" act. I have watched the Coopers (Skillet) not care what people have thought and have seen them stand up for what they believe, even despite people telling them they could be more successful and more liked if they just shut up about their faith and their beliefs. But they never have and have always stayed true to who they are. I've always thought they were iconic and brave, and it shakes people up and makes such a statement. It's a powerful and unstoppable force when people are unfettered by others' opinions. It's magnetic. These are the people who stand out to me and who I want to be like. Obviously, my biggest hero, Jesus, completely changed history in just 33 years of walking the earth over 2000 years ago. His life shook up everything. He wasn't what people expected, and He didn't care what people wanted Him to be. He upset the religious and He loved the unlovable and made the biggest impact on history than anybody has ever made.
Get the new EP here