Out Of Eden: Three sisters from Nashville making dance R&B

Saturday 1st April 1995

A hot new R&B and dance trio OUT OF EDEN are making waves for new label, Gotee. Karl Allison reports.

Out Of Eden
Out Of Eden

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden..." Genesis 2v10 (RSV)

"I'd given up trying to think of a name," says elder sister Lisa Kimmey, "and then Toby came up with all these Eden ideas and we just stuck with Out Of Eden. We didn't realise the implications of the name until we were looking through the Scriptures and found it in Genesis. It fits the idea of us as a group; like the river that waters the garden, we want to bring life to the people around us."

Out Of Eden are a hot property right now. The three sisters from Nashville have made a storming debut album, attracted favourable comparisons with mainstream acts like SWV and sold over 10,000 copies of their "Lovely Day" single before it had a distribution deal! Lisa is 19, Andrea 16 and Joy is just 14. And then, of course, there's Toby...

Toby McKeehan is, as you probably know, one third of CCM superstars dc Talk. Together with Todd Collins (dc Talk production) and Joey Elwood (his songwriting cousin), Toby has formed Gotee Records and has effectively propelled several new acts into the spotlight. There's reggae band Christafari and the startling acid/jazz/rap outfit Grits. But the jewel in Gotee's crown is undoubtedly Out Of Eden.

"We were originally from Virginia," explains Andrea, "and we started singing together when I was about eight. My dad decided to help us along and we started singing in churches. Then, five years ago, we moved to Nashville and started doing talent shows. Then we started dancing for some Christian artists and that's how we met dc Talk and sang for them. Two years later they called us up and wanted us to be on their production company and my mother told them, 'If they're gonna be on your production company then you have to take them on tour with you!'"

They did. Seventy dates across the States not only introduced a large audience to the talents of Out Of Eden but also introduced Out Of Eden to some very large audiences! Andrea politely describes it as "a really interesting experience" and adds "it was scary at first because we went from playing to 100 to playing to 10,000. It was a shock, but it was also a great feeling to be able to minister to that many people at one time."

By now, their brilliant re-working of the old Bill Withers' classic "Lovely Day" was out as a single and selling beyond all expectations. "We were really blessed by the reaction," says Lisa. "At the time we had no record deal so the promotion was done just by sending it out to the radio stations and a lot of them responded really well. I think it got to number two on the club chart. I think a lot of people put it on their morning shows to start the day off with. The Lord was really behind it!"

So were Gotee. A video shot in Arizona, Seattle, Washington, St Louis, San Francisco and Santa Monica is testimony to the investment and commitment of the new company to their new group. As the prospects for Gotee grew bigger and better (including a distribution deal with Word Inc) so Out Of Eden's horizons were similarly raised and the 'Lovin' The Day' album was released to general acclaim. The Gotee brothers contributed not only their considerable production skills but also proved their songwriting prowess, alongside Lisa who is also credited with co-writing most of the tracks. The result is an album that should please anyone who is into the current crop of soul/dance acts. Is it for Christians or non-Christians?

"Both," states Lisa firmly. "Anybody that has ears let him hear. We're all called to the ministry of reconciliation. We're all called to minister to people who don't know the Lord and that's a lot of what we're about but we also want to be an example to our Christian brothers and sisters."

Pretty heady stuff for three sisters so young. In these days when far more established CCM performers have tried and failed to walk the tightrope between personal glory and Christian ministry, how do three teenagers survive the pressures? "It's really difficult for me," responds Andrea, "because I already hear a lot of 'I love you' and 'You're my idol' and I say, 'No, don't look to me because I'm just a human being. I struggle every day with the same things that you struggle with.' When we get a chance to do a smaller concert we take time to do a question and answer thing so that people can get to know us. We're not gonna act like | we've got it all together. As long as we stay real and stay humble and keep God as our focus and the reason why we do this whole thing then we shouldn't have a problem."

Joy drops into the interview to explain that I they get round the problem of school by doing their concerts at weekends and during the summer break. Andrea elaborates on the difficulties of trying to set a Christian example while you're a band with your sisters: "It's hard sometimes because there are arguments and fights but we know each other so well that we don't have to lie or pretend about anything. It's a really cool experience because we get to share the biggest thing in our lives." Lisa adds, "We're still learning more about each other and we want to treat each other better than most sisters treat each other. We know we'll have to, or we'll have to quit!"

Out Of Eden are hoping to I release a single version of "Lovely Day" over here soon and are planning a trip to London this summer. What can we expect to see in the live show?

"You'll see a lot of energy. We all love to dance and we dance a lot in our show," explains Lisa. "We do a lot of stuff involving the audience. It's like a big dance party and it's a lot of fun. Right now we're developing our live performance and our live ministry. We're really looking forward to seeing what God has in his plan for us." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Karl Allison
Karl Allison runs the Last Daze sanctified dance praise events and fronts the band The Big Picture


Be the first to comment on this article

We welcome your opinions but libellous and abusive comments are not allowed.

We are committed to protecting your privacy. By clicking 'Send comment' you consent to Cross Rhythms storing and processing your personal data. For more information about how we care for your data please see our privacy policy.