After spending half a decade touring as core members of the Esther Melody Band, siblings Esther and Caleb Smith responded to God calling them to the nations, won Greencards in a lottery, relocated to Nashville, TN, with their parents, started Megamorphic Church in the basement of their house, and took hold of God leading them to focus on worship music.
Combining their love for EDM, rock, hip-hop, grunge and pop, the brother/sister duo are quickly creating a catalog of tunes that are both a catalyst for generating unity with a purpose in the body of Christ, along with bringing a fresh perspective on the sonic possibilities of Christian music. With Caleb at the production helm and Esther's bent for songcrafting, a wild ride of collaboration was inevitable.
We spent some time getting to know this independent duo who are passionate about the music they are creating and the messages they want to share.
First, please introduce yourself. What is Embassy about?
Esther: We are Esther Melody Smith & Caleb Ernest Eversmith. We're siblings and New Zealanders inhabiting Nashville, TN. Caleb's role includes drums, guitars, BGV's, programming & production. I sing and play piano with songwriting/arranging being more my forte on the production front. We grew up in a Christian home, both of us gave our lives to Jesus at three and music has always been an important part of God's reality in our lives! It was at one of the Christian concerts dad put on that I encountered God at 5 years old. I got home and went to bed, but woke up in the middle of the night crying. Dad came to check what was wrong and I said, "Nothing is wrong, they're tears of joy! God spoke to me and told me he wants me to make music for Him and to bless people!" So now even though Caleb got married and combined his last name with his wife's, we're carrying on the Smith family legacy of our parents with the music we make.
Caleb: Our vision is "Music That Empowers Eternal Stardom" which comes from Daniel 12:3. Part of the vision for our music stems from the encounter with Jesus I had that brought me back to Him in 2007. I was at a secular music festival with over 40,000 people. Muse, one of my favorite bands, was playing and in the middle of their set I had an out of body experience. I saw myself at the feet of Jesus. I had been living away from God for a few years and to be at His feet was very humbling for me. I was so afraid that I was about to suffer some serious rebuking from Christ! Instead, he spoke right to my heart. His perfect love cast out all my fear. Growing up in the church I had developed a concern that even though we as Christians tell the world that we have a personal relationship with the creator, we so often fall short of representing that incredible creativity. Jesus affirmed that this burden on my heart was a good one. He wanted His church to represent His wondrous creativity to the world! But he told me not to be like the Israelites who wandered in the desert for 40 years complaining. He wanted me to be part of the answer. So with Embassy, we seek to make Praise and Worship music that glorifies God lyrically, represents His awesome creativity sonically and imparts His love supernaturally.
After being around Christian music your entire lives, what are some of your favorite artists you listen to in this space?
Caleb: Our parents had an eclectic taste with a vast range of music happening in our house.
Esther: We also grew up in a pretty diverse area where most of our friends at school were Maori or Polynesian. We were both involved in performing as part of Kapa Haka and Poly Club, so that stuff had a big impact on our lives. We were also involved in the various entrepreneurial musical exploits of our father over the years, where I even got to sing with NZ's leading big band, which was one of many experiences that got me passionate about being part of a band myself. With our band Embassy, I'm keen to show the world there are no limitations to what a band can do. As a Samoan friend of ours back home says, "With God, there is no box."
Caleb: We kind of lived a dual existence as teenagers where, amongst our school friends, we mainly listened to hip-hop/r&b/pop, and amongst our church friends, we mainly listened to rock, but a standout artist for both of us from that time is Muse. Our sound is what some have called "pop fusion," and this comes from having a pretty wide spanning musical and cultural background.
Esther: Nowadays I mostly listen to Praise and Worship. I love Bright City, Hillsong Young & Free, Jesus Culture and Mosaic MSC, to name a few. I don't actually listen to a lot of music, so when I do, I want to be filling my spirit with glory.
Caleb: Pretty much same here! Although when we're making music, we reference a ton of different music and also God's creation. For example, we've got a song where the hi-hat was created with crunching leaves, as well as a synth line which is literally a bird song transcribed.
What are you wanting to communicate with your music?
Caleb: Like I was sharing earlier, Jesus gave me a mission to be part of the answer of representing His creativity to the world in, through and as the church. The strategy of this mission was given to us through Daniel 12:3. "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." We find in 1 Corinthians 1:30 "It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." Therefore when you look at these together, being an Eternal star in the eyes of God is as simple as believing in Jesus and leading people to Jesus, which is something anyone can do!
Esther: Stars in God's sight are very different from what the world perceives. God is not against stars on earth. He gives us gifts! If we genuinely acknowledge that our gifting is from Him, then our platform on earth can have eternal rewards. If we don't, then our star will fade. Furthermore, eternal stardom is not limited to God given talent, it is for anyone who does anything that enhances people's relationship with God and each other. We want to show the world that God's purpose for all is to be an eternal star in His kingdom
Caleb: We believe one of the reasons God invented music is music's power to unite people. We call it being "partners with answers." One of our keynote "partners with answers" relationships has been our 11 year partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators NZ, where we function as Next Generation Ambassadors. We toured with them throughout NZ in April, and are now working on a plan to expand that partnership for the next 10 years and beyond!
You recently had an opportunity to work with artist and painter Jeremy Kyle. Tell us about him and how he came to serve your group.
Esther: We met Jeremy at a show that we played at his church. A couple of the guys in our band were staying with Him and he came to us afterward and offered to do some work for us. We checked out his stuff, realized he was amazing and started talking about working together. He ended up spending the final year of his degree designing/drawing the album art for our Esther Melody Band album Edge of Time, where he did a piece of artwork for each song. He's since been commissioned by the Chicago Bulls for their 50th anniversary art series that included Michael Jordan, who was Jeremy's personal hero and is now a personal friend. That led to work with Under Armor, the United Nations, and continued work around the globe! It has also enabled Jeremy to focus on his heart's desire, which is to be a renowned illustrative artist and not to be dependent on an office job.
You were part of starting Megamorphic Church. Explain the meaning behind the name and how is it doing.
Caleb: Megamorphic means transformation. In 2012 God gave me the word "megamorphic" and I had absolutely no idea what It meant. I've always been a big pun guy, and usually, when a pun comes out, I have the full reasoning behind it. This time, I had nothing. I shared the word with the family and they thought it was super interesting, but I couldn't tell them what it meant. Dad told me to go to God and God gave me the scripture 2 Corinthians 3:18. "But we all, with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." Through this scripture, God showed me that while metamorphic is transformation in the physical, like a caterpillar changing into a magnificent butterfly, megamorphic is transformation in the spiritual and is even greater! Megamorphic transformation is what happens when we give our lives to Jesus, become born again, and as we behold Jesus Christ, get changed into His image from glory to glory.
Esther: People ask us a lot what kind of church Megamorphic is. Our answer is that we are an interdependent church. Our calling does involve the local community where we have begun, but mostly we believe our church is to be a part of seeing the Church worldwide transformed into greater unity! An important part of that is helping to empower bands like ours who want to use their creativity for God's kingdom purposes.
Caleb: It's going great and God continues to expand our connections with others! Like any church plant, there are many challenges, but we are seeing a growing number of people's lives impacted.
If you could co-write with some other artists, who would you want to work with?
Esther: We'd love to work with a symphony and any incredible musicians/songwriters who are into the vision we're going for, into discipleship and who can challenge us to grow! We want our music to be anointed and inspired by the Holy Spirit, so our preference is to work with people who live in that realm. A lot of our songs actually come out of what we call "prayer jams," where we just set up a groove and sing in the spirit unto God and He often quickens songs to us on the spot, so it would be really rad to do that with other artists and see what came of it! We'd love to hear from anyone who may be interested!
As siblings, what are some of the biggest issues you come against on a regular basis?
Esther: We've definitely had some fights in our time, but our parents created a really affirming home environment, we call it an "affirmation zone," so we've always got along really well. Although one time he jumped full force on my stomach and another time I tried to shut his head in a cupboard. I also think when you grow up with the Spice Girls self-proclaimed number one fan who would put on concerts from the balcony of your house to the soft toys and passers by, it's a little hard to take that person seriously when they decide they're into bands. So, I had to convince Caleb that I had musical clout. But these days the biggest issues we come up against are generally when we're tired or rushing a deadline, having to get back into the collaborative zone we've cultivated where we're for each other, it's a "no-free" zone and we're going for excellence.
Caleb: Yeah, thankfully mum and dad cultivated an awesome environment and even at elementary school age we would regularly sit around the dinner table and talk about real life, including the hard things together. Esther and I have long been best friends, and every now and again we get passionate in our tone when our ideas clash, but that's not really an issue-- it's part of the creative fun. We've come to love intensity and believe it's an important part of having the composure to function with true excellence! We really do enjoy a deep friendship where we have committed to serving God together! I guess the most regular issue is that I get a little tired of having to console Esther whenever we play games. If she won a little more often I wouldn't need to do that so much.
What are you working on right now? What's next?
Caleb: Christmas EP titled Emmanuel will be released on November 30th! It has a track called "Get Down and Dance This Christmas," where I get to unleash on the drums. It was the first studio recording of a drum solo I've ever done, so that's exciting! The EP has 5 songs, 4 which are seriously fun upbeat tracks, because there's tons of songs about the holiday season, but not a lot of throw downs about God coming to earth in person-- what better way to celebrate? Hwoever, the title track "Emmanuel" is a real tear jerker. Esther's done a really inspired job with that one. God has already used the song to touch the hearts of people when we've played it live. A Syrian refugee responded publicly to give his life to Christ the first time we did it! He told us afterward God spoke to him through that song. We're believing for more testimonies like that! After that, we have some more singles coming out. Keep your ears peeled for "Jehovah Jireh" and "Holy Matrimony," which is a live fan favorite that's coming soon. We're also working on an album called Behold A Galaxy of Hope - the title track "Galaxy of Hope" is my favorite song we've ever made.
Esther: Me too! Also, we're believing for 100 locations in the U.S. and 100 nations. In other words, we want to come to your place! We're looking to build on our network of "partners with answers" (churches, likeminded entities and individuals) so we can reach the world with our music, fulfill Wycliffe Bible Translator's "Vision 2025" to get God's word to every people group and be the answer to Jesus' prayer for unity!
How can we be praying for you?
Caleb: My wife and I are having our first baby in March 2019, so please be praying for that! We're very pro-life, so we see ourselves as already being Mum and Dad and are working hard to make sure we're the best parents we can be. We'd also love everyone's prayers for our shows. We want to see decisions for Christ and miracles at every event we play. Please also be praying over us as we work on new music! We're almost always developing new stuff and we want all our music to be flowing with the presence of God from beginning to end.
Esther: Please pray for the vision and the provision that will free up our time so we can make it happen!
Kevin McNeese started NRT in 2002 and has worked in the industry since 1999 in one form or another. He has been a fan of Christian music since 1991.
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