1 Jump Ahead
- Tuesday, July 20, 2004
It’s a story Nick Barré tells with understandable emotion in his voice. Any executive working for a Christian record label will tell you he or she hopes lives are being changed by the music being taken to the public. But for this EMI-CMG Label Group director of artist development, it couldn’t get any more personal. It was after a Jump5 show that his young son, Nicholas, accepted Christ.
"We pray with our children every night. We read Bible stories. We go to church and Sunday school,” Barré says of his family life, “But this past December, after a Jump5 concert, where one of the members really encouraged kids to have a personal relationship with Christ, my 6-year-old said, ‘Dad, I want to ask Jesus into my heart.’”
Jump5 may not be the most progressive modern rock outfit in Christian music or the most experienced worship leaders, but few acts in the Christian community are having the impact on the younger generation in mainstream culture or in the church that these five teens have had during the past few years.
Since emerging onto the scene four years ago, Jump5 — featuring siblings Brittany and Brandon Hargest, Chris Fedun, Lesley Moore and the recently departed Libby Hodges — has amassed album sales in excess of 800,000 copies via five albums, including a Christmas project and a collection of remixes. And 2002’s "All the Time in the World" has sold more than 320,000 copies alone, according to SoundScan.
It’s the combination of ministry and high-energy entertainment that fuels Jump5’s success. And it’s that high-energy entertainment that has made Jump5 a staple on Radio Disney, having already landed an astounding eight songs in rotation on the network. The group has performed on several “Radio Disney Live!” tours alongside popular teen acts, including Aaron Carter and has received exposure on The Disney Channel, as well as ABC Family television and Nickelodeon. Jump5 has also been featured on the soundtracks of "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" and "Kim Possible," recently recorded a song to be used in the upcoming Disney flick "Sleep Over" and has been showcased on the DVDs for "Lilo & Stitch" and "Beauty & the Beast." As if that weren’t enough, Jump5 has performed at the White House and the 2003 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Jump5’s formation was set in motion when several young friends began performing for local church functions. “At the beginning we called ourselves Fresh Start. That name kind of reminds me of kitty litter,” says Brandon with a laugh. “We started out doing Sunday school songs for other kids and Bible study things whenever they needed it.”
When Libby’s mother realized the potential for the kids to really reach other youngsters with the gospel, auditions were held; and the lineup of Chris, Brandon, Brittany, Lesley and Libby became Jump5. Libby recently announced her departure from Jump5 to return to high school. Though already working on its next album, the group is deciding whether to enlist a replacement for Libby or simply continue on as a four-piece act.
With Libby leaving to assume the life of a regular high school student, did any other Jump5 members consider jumping ship? “We didn’t want to quit,” says Brandon. “We still wanted to go on and make records and sing for people. It didn’t enter my mind.”
Lesley says she doesn’t want to quit but can empathize with Libby’s decision. “It wasn’t a bad breakup or anything like that,” explains the 17-year-old. “We just want her to be happy. We didn’t want her to keep going if she wasn’t going to be happy with it. She wanted to go back to high school. Not that she wasn’t happy, but she missed school so much. I think we all miss school. I went to public school, and I miss it. When I come back home, I’m with my friends and family 24/7.”
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