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#1089 - "Brand New" by Coby James
The emerging singer shares the inspiration behind his latest single

Posted: September 28, 2021 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Chart-topping singer, songwriter, and guitarist Coby James is making his name known in Christian music circles. Recently, the artist released his radio single, “Brand New.” 
Coby's website bio describes him “as an accomplished 19-year-old musician. The Nashville transplant and North Carolina native’s rare talent has already notched a number one song on Billboard’s Christian Hot AC/CHR chart as a contributing writer on contemporary artist Courtnie Ramirez’s track, 'Who We Are.' Writing ‘Brand New’ with Paul Duncan and Christian Hale, with whom he also co-wrote his top 5 hit ‘Born Ready,’ Coby shares a brash statement of belief in the song alongside his smooth falsetto that slides effortlessly over a sonic landscape with bright horns, celebratory gang vocals, and an unmistakable R&B groove.”
Coby James is an artist to watch. Throughout his songs, I love the confessional and biblical lyrics. If you've been desperately waiting for a fresh filling of Christ-focused catchy music about relying completely on God's grace, then don't miss out on this up-and-coming new artist. 
His music expresses the deep love Jesus has for us and how His mercy and grace are something we don't deserve, which causes our hearts to overflow with gratitude. His songs are great expressions of our thankfulness to God. I had the opportunity to interview Coby about his radio single, “Brand New.”

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
I wrote this song in November 2020, during the craziness of the pandemic. I used to struggle with writing happy songs. It wasn’t something I was necessarily good at, which is funny because I’m joyful, not really negative in any way. 
It goes back to the first happy song I ever wrote: “Golden” from my debut mixtape album. The song brought me a lot of joy. 
For “Brand New,” I came into the studio with a piano loop and some drums mapped out. For the lyrics, I wanted to skip over the “I was broken and now I’m not”-type language. Instead, I wanted to focus on the positive of what God has done, “Traded all my dark for the light,” as He deserves all the glory.
“Brand New” came out when I was singing a melody, and the lyrics for this song fell into place, flowing from very specific inspiration. 
As believers, we talk about salvation, we talk about how there’s such a big change when becoming a Christian: coming from death into life. This transformation is an amazing thing, and there are a lot of songs about that. But we forget that every single day is a new beginning. And God’s mercies are new every single morning. 
What Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
John 3:1-8 (NKJV): “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV): "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV): “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV): “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-—it is by grace you have been saved.”
What is the takeaway message?
What I have found in writing music and living as a believer is that I don’t necessarily choose to write Christian songs. But because of what the Lord has done in my life, my creativity pours out in my music. I think my creativity should pour out in my life as well. 
I have so much gratitude. I’m so thankful that I’m not held accountable for being a jerk the day before. I’m thankful that we have forgiveness, and that God is so good in that way. I’m thankful that we have something better than this life.
God’s given me a second chance at life. He’s made me brand new and made me the person I am so that I can write songs that come from my heart. I hope this song lets people see that I’m carefree, excited for the future, and living every single day in a joyful spirit. I feel like that’s what I’m called to do—to just bring joy into people’s lives. 
As a society, we hold a lot of guilt and shame. I don’t know why, since we have this amazing gift of God’s grace and mercy. We’re made brand new in His image. And we can live freely. Joy can come in the darkest places. So, embrace your blessings—even when life is hard.

Traded all my dark for the light
Traded all my blindness for sight
Traded all my pain for the gain
Got my key to the gate
And a seat at Your table, yeah

I look up and I can see
You got me where I wanna be
Every single part of me
Becoming something heavenly

You make me brand new
It’s like I’m rising up
From the water
Living in the light
You’ve called me into
Every day’s a new beginning
My heart is like
A church choir singing
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Said goodbye to all of my stains
Like my soul got
A fresh coat of paint
And I know I won’t be the same
Won’t go back again
No, never, no way

I look up and I can see
You got me where I wanna be
Every day You’re working
And You’re doing
Something good in me

You make me brand new
It’s like I’m rising up
From the water
Living in the light
You’ve called me into
Every day’s a new beginning
My heart is like
A church choir singing
Hallelujah, hallelujah

I look up and I can see
You got me where I wanna be
Every single part of me
Becoming something heavenly

You make me brand new
It’s like I’m rising up
From the water
Living in the light
You’ve called me into
Every day’s a new beginning
My heart is like
A church choir singing

You make me brand new
It’s like I’m rising up
From the water
Living in the light
You’ve called me into
Every day’s a new beginning
My heart is like
A church choir singing
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Closing Thoughts
For the Pharisee, Nicodemus, the concept of not being part of God’s kingdom unless he was personally “born again” was a revolutionary idea. In today’s culture, it is radical for people to accept that the entrance requirements for heaven are repentance and spiritual rebirth. 
“Brand New” challenges me to live for Jesus. He’s looking for spiritual growth from His followers. So, are you allowing Him to help you grow spiritually? The key takeaway for the song is found in these lyrics: “You make me brand new/It’s like I’m rising up/From the water/Living in the light/You’ve called me into." You don't have to strive anymore.
This song celebrates the day that we were saved from our sins. It also causes listeners to reflect on and celebrate their salvation experience. My story of the grace of when I was lost and then found by Jesus happened in 1999. 
I was in my car listening to a Christian music album. And just before the record ended, the artist shared his personal testimony. His story was my story. I admitted to myself and God that I’m a sinner and that I can't save myself. 
I pulled to the side of the road and just sobbed as I was invited to join in to say the sinner's prayer. I confessed my sins, begged for forgiveness, and accepted Jesus as my personal savior. I felt the presence of God there with me in my car, and I've never been the same.
This song has become my personal anthem. I sing along at the top of my lungs the sincere and emotive lyrics of submission. 
You can't earn your way into heaven; Jesus already paid that price for us. God's mercy and grace is new each day. It’s not based on our performance or what we can do for God. He pours out His mercy despite what we've done. There's nothing we can do except trust in His son, Jesus. 
This song does an excellent job of explaining what grace is about. My pastor uses the acronym "God's Riches at Christ's Expense" to define grace. The "irrefutable argument" we have as believers is to share our story of grace. This song celebrates the day that we were saved from our sins and causes listeners to reflect on and celebrate their salvation experience. 
As believers, it would be powerful if we show our witness of God not only in our times of hardship but also in celebration. So, celebrate God and His blessings with joy. Joy isn't just a happy emotion. It's also a deep peace and understanding, knowing that we are loved by God—beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Don't be ashamed to sing of your dependence on God. And, don't be afraid to show Him reverence. What circumstances in your life, beyond your control, can you turn over to God? Allow Him and His supernatural ability to take you to places that you can't handle on your own.
When you listen to Coby’s song, allow the thought of “I look up and I can see/You got me where I wanna be/Every single part of me/Becoming something heavenly,” to bring you to a place of worship. 
This song is ultimately about Jesus, the savior who overcame the grave. It's about submitting to Him and His goodness and allowing His blood to cover you and run through your veins. 
By stepping into the Lord's ability instead of relying on yourself, you’re empowered by God’s supernatural ability. When you’re feeling alone or confused about the world. When you feel that your life is overwhelming, lean into him and ask for help. Things change. Life changes. But Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. 
His love for us will never change, and nothing can separate us from it. We were dead in our sins and by grace. We were also saved and made alive in Christ. That is a great reason to celebrate and sing, “Every day’s a new beginning/My heart is like a church choir singing/Hallelujah, hallelujah.” Amen to that.

NRT lead contributor Kevin Davis is a long-time fan of Christian music, an avid music collector, and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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