REACH THE SKY is Marlene’s highly anticipated album on Dream Records. Opening up her soul and sharing from the deepest points of her life, her music gives you an open invitation into her heart and her lyrics give you insight into who she is. With rock and pop influences her album will get you singing along at the top of your lungs, and will also inspire you to wanna keep fighting. Her love for Christ is why she is so excited to share this album with the world and can’t wait to see what happens next.
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Uplifting and Promising Debut| Posted June 25, 2012
It has taken her longer than she might have planned, but with the upcoming release of her debut album Reach the Sky, Marlene Brehm is realizing her dream. A Texas native, Brehm moved to LA to pursue opportunities in pop music, TV, and film. After a life-changing trip to India where she learned about human trafficking, she came home and found a new church family, where she began serving as a worship leader. While leading worship, Brehm was discovered by a Universal Music/Dream Records executive, and her desire to sing about her faith was one step closer to fruition. For Reach the Sky, Marlene worked with Dove Award-winning producer Rusty Varenkamp as well as Aaron Rice. The result is an encouraging, uplifting, and energizing set of songs that is sure to connect with youthful audiences.
Brehm begins Reach the Sky with “Who You Are,” a song about pursuing a meaningful relationship with God. Her voice has a gentle tone which sounds appropriately vulnerable and trusting. It’s a nice start to the album and a hint that there will be depth and a guiding purpose to the project.
Indeed, with title track “Reach the Sky” Brehm encourages her listener that with faith and prayer, struggle and adversity can be overcome. Bright and optimistic, the song recalls Point of Grace, and Brehm’s voice sounds a bit like Denise Jones. On the hopeful chorus, she sings, “But the storm can never keep you down / If you hold on, you can overcome it now / On your knees is where it turns around / Cause the shell must break before a bird can fly / You can reach the sky.”
“Second Chances” is a thoughtful piece that speaks about the redeeming power of new beginnings. Inspired by her work with International Princess Project in India, the song reaches a bit further to include a call to action asking listeners to speak out and take a stand against human trafficking. On her website, Brehm pledges to donate a portion of the proceeds to International Princess Project.
From its opening bars, “Only You” is infectious and catchy. It’s bouncy, feel-good, and refreshing with energetic drums and synth. You’ll not be able to resist singing along as Brehm declares, “Everywhere I go You are with me / Nobody like You / You prove it’s You, and only You / I can feel the way that You love me / I’ve fallen for You / It’s true / It’s You, and only You.” This is a standout track, and with a voice that sounds as innocent as it does exuberant, Brehm seems poised to be a voice for her generation.
Life doesn’t become magically easier when we believe. Bumps in the road are inevitable, and Brehm acknowledges this reality with “Faithful to You,” pledging devotion and promising fidelity to God no matter how her faith might be tested.
“Love Like You” sounds like a worship song that’s been injected with an infusion of pop sensibility. Don’t let the shiny wrappings fool you, though. There’s a nice message inside. In the first verse, Brehm reflects on things she can’t do - miracles performed by Jesus. However, she concludes that she can love like Jesus. And the second verse mentions different things she can do by translating that love into actions.
“Forever Yours” is another immediately accessible tune. You’ll find yourself smiling and singing along with Brehm this love song to God. It’s a musical counting of blessings with a chorus brimming with thanksgiving: “Thanks for the good friends / Thanks for the good times / You fill all my heart’s desires / I’m so happy I’m alive / Thanks for the music / Thanks for the love You give to me / I’m so grateful that I’ll be / Forever Yours.”
Brehm shifts gears once again for “Be There For Me.” Two different storylines deliver the song’s message: a soldier leaving his baby and loved ones, and a mother and child facing possible foreclosure and loss of their home. Each character in the song has an “I can’t do this on my own” moment that finds them reaching a point of surrender and reaching out to God for the first time, asking for help and protection.
“Right Here Right Now” is a straight-ahead romantic love song. Brehm is joyful to have found love and confidently sings to her companion about their ability to weather the tough times together.
“Beautiful Life” centers around waiting for love and trusting that God knows exactly what and who we need. The song has a confessional quality as Brehm sings: “I thought I wanted someone to hold onto / Just to fill this empty space / Now I know that perfect love is out there / Cause I found it in Your grace / And I know You’ll find the one You plan forever to be mine / And it’s gonna be a beautiful life.” The album effectively comes full circle. Where the opening track found Brehm voicing her desire for deeper relationship, the concluding piece reveals a resolved and trusting follower grateful for God’s provision and certain of blue skies ahead.
Thematically, Reach the Sky centers around relationship with God, surrender, faith, and trust. While mostly bright and happy, there are thoughtful songs that run a little deeper to help provide a good balance. The album instantly establishes and maintains throughout a hopeful and positive outlook. And it’s precisely this easy, breezy feel that makes Marlene Brehm so appealing. Some of the biggest praise I can give this project is that I hear shades of Point of Grace and Amy Grant in the production and in Brehm’s effervescent appeal. This is a strong, promising debut, and I look forward to watching Marlene Brehm grow!
“Reach The Sky,” “Only You,” “Faithful to You,” “Love Like You,” “Forever Yours” and “Beautiful Life.”
Reach the Sky!| Posted September 05, 2012
Marlene Brehm has enjoyed much success prior to her signing with DREAM Records. Though originally from Texas, Marlene moved to California a few years back, where her dreams of acting and singing were largely fulfilled. From talent shows, to popular television programs and magazines, Marlene had it all – but not really. Marlene especially wanted to sing for the Lord the songs He had given her. Once she surrendered her desires the Lord, God gave her the desire of her heart. She became the worship leader at a church in California, where DREAM Records found her and signed her. Now, Marlene offers her debut project Reach the Sky, full of ten songs of worship, encouragement, challenges, and fun.
Half of the songs off Reach the Sky were co-written by the polished producer Rusty Varenkamp, including the opening track “Who You Are.” At first, it is a little on the mellow side, and though it is a slower contemporary track, it has a powerful message of intense hunger to know God for who He is. It also builds as it goes, especially by the chorus: “Show me the things I need to know, cause I want to see more of who You are…” The title track follows, slow, but powerful. Marlene’s angelic vocals push her right up to the top of my list of Christian female vocalists, along the likes of Darlene Zschech, Francesca Battistelli, or Britt Nicole, and some of her songs certainly take on that pop sound. With “Reach the Sky,” Marlene taps into her poetic lyrics, encouraging the listener to never give up: “But the storm can never keep you down/ if you hold on, you can overcome it now/ on your knees is where it turns around/ cause a shell must break before a bird can fly/ you can reach the sky!” Both of these two opening tracks are very worshipful and beautiful.
With “Second Chances,” Marlene focuses more on her soaring vocals that drive the track home, as she offers a powerful track of forgiveness and redemption, in the perspective of human trafficking: “Right now, say goodbye to yesterday/ and let love lead our hearts away/ it’s not too late for us tonight.” I’m really glad that Marlene tackled such a topic on her album. “Only You” follows as the first contagious pop track, and definitely my personal favorite off the Reach the Sky album, next to the title track. Marlene’s vocals sound so happy, complimented perfectly by the nice bass and lyrics that remind us of God’s faithfulness. It’s not surprising that a music video for this single is in the works!
Along the lines of the opening two tracks, “Faithful To You” speaks of the choice to remain faithful to God throughout all the hard times of life. I love Marlene’s vocal repetition in this track as well, as it makes for a great sing-along! “Love Like You” follows, a slower pop track still, but very melodious with pounding drums, as it contemplates how we are ambassadors for Christ while we are here on this earth.
“Forever Yours” is the kind of song you want to wake up to in the morning! It’s another happy song like “Only You,” where Marlene expresses thankfulness for the beautiful days and many things that God has given us to enjoy – friends, the sun, music, and His never-ending love. In addition, her background fill-ins are very catchy. On the opposite side of the spectrum, “Be There For Me” is a very emotional song, telling the story of a solider and a single mom who cannot get by any longer and must rely on the support of the Lord. The song is heavenly for this aspect of surrender, but I do wish there had been more of a remedy – more of a buildup or something. It is a fantastic song, nevertheless.
In the powerful “Right Here, Right Now,” Marlene speaks of our wonderful God and never wanting to leave His presence, while the album closes with “Beautiful Life,” another reminder that God has given us many things to be thankful for and to enjoy in life.
Marlene Brehm’s Reach the Sky is a solid release. It’s melodic, beautiful, sometimes fun and sometimes emotional – but altogether an amazing effort. Marlene definitely deserves to be classified with Christian music’s up and rising female vocalists for this project!