It’s funny to say that Bethany Dillon’s all grown up because she’s only 21. Still, when listening to her latest album, Stop and Listen, Dillon’s maturation as a singer/songwriter is obvious since singing her first record deal at the tender age of 14. Now married to Shane Barnard of Shane & Shane fame, Dillon presents an album that she says is deeper than anything prior. Yet it is every bit as beautiful as her previous work.
In this Take 5, Bethany Dillon talks about marriage, growing up in the music industry, and her new album, Stop and Listen. For more information on Bethany Dillon, visit her online at bethanydillon.com.
You’re a singer/song writer married to singer/song writer Shane Barnard of Shane & Shane, which makes for a unique marriage. How are your lives affected by tour schedules, recording schedules and the like? How do you find ways to connect?
Honestly, it works out really well for the most part! It probably seems like we’d never see each other, but since our jobs book things far out in advance, we can block out time to be home together or on the road together. I’ve been opening for them, and will be this winter on their Christmas tour along with Phil Wickham. We’ve also been getting really involved with our local church, which has been awesome! That’s a new thing for the both of us, and it’s made it possible for us to be home more and get plugged in.
It amazing that you’re only 21 and you’re releasing your fourth album, Stop and Listen! I love that God has put such a powerful call on your life. Was it difficult to “grow up” in the record industry?
You know, I’ve really loved my journey… It’s been abnormal to be sure, but I am so grateful for it. I never really felt cheated out of my childhood or anything like that- life was always normal and not about music, you know? When I was signed at 14, I was really excited about it, but at the same time I had to go home and baby-sit my little brothers, unload the dishwasher, clean my room, all of that. So, my growing up was different, because I spent a lot of my time in airports and tour buses, but nothing really dramatically changed about who I was or what life looked like. I credit a lot of that to my parents! They are very wise people and helped keep me grounded and level-headed through the transition to doing music.
You cited Get Up and Walk as your “most confessional” albums to date. What makes the album so raw?
I think by “confessional”, I just mean its the most honest group of songs I’ve ever written. I think it has a lot to do with being newly married while I was writing for this record. Everyone says that you see an accurate picture of who you are once you get married; the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s very true! Especially as a believer, once I began to notice a ton of pride, selfishness, and insecurity in my heart, the Gospel became sweeter and sweeter to me. I feel like the songs all come from that place, whether it’s about spending time in His presence even in busyness, or humbling myself, or considering others more important than myself, it all flowed from that place of realizing my depraved, human heart has been redeemed and changed by Jesus. And that’s about as raw as it gets!
“Reach Out” is my fave song on the album, maybe because I love the Bible story it is based upon. How did you come to write this song?
Thank you! I love that story, too. The story is found in Mark 5, about a woman who’d had an issue of bleeding for twelve years. Because of the culture of that time, she was an outcast, living alone outside of town, with really no hope for a cure. One day, Jesus was in her town and she snuck into the crowd to see Him. He was on His way to a man’s house to go heal his daughter, and in the chaos of the moment, the woman with the disease reached out in hopes that she’d even touch the hem of His garment and be healed. It’s such a stunning picture of Jesus’ power and His compassion, and of course she does get healed, but her heart has always challenged me. Her story paints a picture of what it means to have an urgency for Him, a willingness to risk everything, and taking advantage of His nearness. I want to have a heart like hers!
Usually on the last question, I ask something silly. What is something that happened recently that made you laugh so hard you cried?
Wow! I’m trying to think… Well, I did marry the funniest person I’ve ever met! Shane does a ton of voices, silly faces, tells stories like nobody else. I think one of the funniest things about him though is that he’s funny when he’s just being himself. For instance, I’ll catch him looking at himself in the rearview mirror in the car making faces. I’m not sure if he really realizes it most of the time, but it’s a pretty common pastime for him. I should just record a day in the life of being Shane Barnard’s wife, and you’d understand how funny my life is! I love it!