Simple but profound faith in God, a life that reflects that, and music that celebrates it are the heart of Jeni Varnadeau’s second and latest album, No Hesitation.
“The deeper you go spiritually, the less complex things become,” says Jeni. “I’ve been trying hard to simplify my life, and focus on the things that are really important. Faith in the Lord and absolute dependence on Him in everything we say and do has become a recurrent theme of my ministry. I have a zeal to communicate that, because I’ve experienced both the fruits of that faith, as well the consequences of my lack of it.
Songs on the new album reflect that focus including “I need you,” “Free to be free,” and “If I believed.”
As the child of a church-going family, Jeni was only seven when she dedicated her life to Christ. By the time she was a teenager, she was well-known among her peers as someone who knew what she believed, and wasn’t shy about sharing her faith.
Through years in church and school choirs, while living outside Houston, Texas, Jeni realized her love for music, and the gifts for singing that God had given her. She moved to Nashville, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to attend Belmont University. In 1994, she graduated from Belmont with a degree in commercial music, with an emphasis on vocal performance, and a minor in music business. With training in both the creative and corporate aspects of music, she recorded a six-song EP and started marketing herself and her songs in and around Nashville. That mini-album found its way to producers John and Dino Elefante, and Pamplin Music, with whom she signed in December of 1995.
As she looks at the future, Jeni remains optimistic, “I really don’t think that [God has] led me this far to say, ‘See ya!’.”
“I feel like God has taken me through a very natural, ordered sequence of events,” says Jeni. “His goal is not for me to be famous. That could be part of His plan, but He’s looking at a much bigger picture in all of our lives. The key is to not get lost in all the earthly, day-to-day things that happen along the way.”
As she simplifies – and intensifies – her own journey of faith, Jeni’s feels a sense of purpose about her ministry. “I would hope that I could be a role model… that my life and how I live it would be of some benefit to someone else in their own walk,” says Jeni. “That sounds funny to say, because who am I to be a role model for anybody? Still, God is capable of using me to be salt and light to the people around me.”
Salt in the form of a musical kaleidoscope. Jeni has found a home at Christian rock radio with her song “Why would you go back?”. The single was her first Rock number one and the first number one single for her record label. Her albums also include some songs with a Celtic feel, others a slow contempory feel.
Just back from a tour with Petra, Jeni is excited to be back with the home crowd. “We’ll be doing a band thing; it’s nice to have a wonderful band,” Jeni says about her upcoming night at Bellevue Station. “I am really excited about playing in Nashville. We travel a lot so we don’t get to play Nashville often. It will be nice to be able to share the evening with our friends and fans.”
Jeni will also be performing at Jammin’ Java on February 6 at 7:30pm with a $6 (615/591-4888). Jeni hits Bellevue Station on February 21 at 7:30PM. $4 cover charge (615/646-4667).
Jeni Varnadeau at Bluefield College
Barbie Goes to the Doves (featuring Jeni Varnadeau)