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Intersection of Life and Faith

Jump5 Is Jumpin'!

  • Sandra Bretting Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 23 Feb
Jump5 Is Jumpin'!
Starting in March, Jump5 will headline the Radio Disney Spring Thing Tour, with special guests Play and Stevie Brock. In April, they'll release their first remix album, Mix It Up (Sparrow). Their fourth CD, Accelerate (Sparrow), is doing well. They're mainstays on the Radio Disney charts. Not bad for a group of Christian teens barely old enough to drive. At the moment, though, they're Jump5 Minus One. Sixteen-year-old Libby Hodges recently left, returning to her old high school and some semblance of a normal life. The remaining members—Chris Fedun (17), Lesley Moore (16), and siblings Brandon (16) and Brittany Hargest (15)—are now seeking a fifth. (The following interview was conducted shortly before Libby announced her departure from the group.)You don't mix words at your concerts. You talk about God a lot. Have you ever been asked to tone down your message, maybe by the folks at Disney?LibbyNo. As a matter of fact, Radio Disney is struggling to find groups that have something positive to say. They know when they hear a Jump5 song that they don't have to worry about the lyrics.LesleyOur songs can be seen two ways. Someone might think we're singing about a friend or whatever, and other people say, "Oh, I get it. You're singing about God."You're on the main rotation at Radio Disney, you're doing soundtracks. You must make a ton of money, right?Libby (laughing)We really don't make that much. We're doing okay for kids, but everything goes back to the group, for stuff like microphones and touring.LesleyWhen we were practicing for our last tour, we didn't want to spend money on a rehearsal stage, so we practiced at Libby's church in Nashville. We saved a couple thousand dollars right there. We don't make like a hundred thousand dollars a year, or anything. Did you ever expect your first CD (2001's Jump5) to be so successful?BrandonWe sold 3,000 CDs in our first week, and that was considered amazing. We were only expecting to sell a couple hundred. If you put out your first CD and you sell 300 copies, that's considered good.A recent tour took you to 20 cities in two months. What was that like?BrittanyWe never knew what city we were in. Some days we'd wake up and someone would call us and ask, "Where are you?" And I honestly wouldn't know. I used to collect postcards from every city we were in on our first tour, but that got old.ChrisI used to send my grandmother a postcard from every city, but there's no way I could do that now. It'd get too expensive.You do a lot of gymnastics—flipflops, aerials—during your show. Do they treat the stage so you don't flop instead of flip?ChrisNope, it's just a stage. You never know what to expect. But we've been doing dance competitions for so long, we had to learn how to adapt to different stages, different things.BrandonOne time we were in Chicago on a stage no bigger that. (He points to an 8-foot stage.) And there were five of us on it. Somehow, we do it.Brittany (laughing)We may be tripping over each other, but we do it.LesleyWe just ad-lib. If we run into each other or the music cuts out, we just ad-lib. The audience doesn't know it happened, so we don't worry about it.What happens when you get older? Do you still see yourself singing to the same type of audience?LesleyThe nice thing is that a lot of our audience is growing up with us—they'll be facing different things, like we do. I can't imagine us singing "Jesus Loves You" to little kids when we're 25.ChrisWe won't have the same things to sing about when we're older, because we'll be going through different things, too.Brandon wrote a song for your new CD, but usually you have other people write your material. Do you plan to write more?LesleyYeah. Sometimes [songwriters] hear that we're a Christian group and they send over these little kid songs for us to listen to. That's one of the reasons we want to write together. Because we know what we like to sing. We know what's fun to dance to. We don't have to try and explain because we already know what we want.You used to compete against each other in Nashville. What's it like working together now, not competing?LesleyIt's weird. I remember the first time I sang with Chris and I thought, Oh, I used to dance against you. Now, here I am singing next to him.ChrisBut we all have our own style. No one's better than anyone else. We just all have a different style.Now that you're getting famous—touring with Aaron Carter and Radio Disney—can you go out on the street without getting recognized?LesleySometimes, kids will stare at you and you don't know if they're staring at you because they recognize you—they recognize you're in Jump5—or, if they're staring because they think your clothes are weird.BrandonI had to take my driver's test awhile ago and it was in this little room. It was packed and it was really quiet. And one person recognized me and asked for my autograph. Then the room was so quiet, and before you know it everyone's paying attention to what we're doing.LesleyWe get noticed more if we go out together. But we've only done five shows in Nashville, so we don't get recognized there very much.LibbyOf course, when someone recognizes me it's usually after I've been working out at the "Y," when I look really yucky.Are there some things—teenager things—you can't do because you could get injured?LesleySometimes, if it's really crazy stuff, we'll let our friends go ahead and we'll say, "That's okay, I'll just watch."BrandonYeah, Brittany and I went to my grandma's for Thanksgiving, and they were all going skiing the day before, but we couldn't go. That was kind of a bummer. But it's all worth it in the end.Sandra Bretting is a feature writer for the Houston Chronicle.For more about Jump5, visit our artist page, where you'll find past interviews and reviews, including our take on Accelerate. To listen to sound clips and buy Jump5's music, visit