Five-time Grammy-nominated, seven-time GMA Dove Award-winning group Karen Peck & New River recently released their highly-anticipated full-length studio album 2:22 on February 22, 2022. The album, written out of hope, sorrow, grief, joy, and faith that the “Answer is Jesus,” was produced by the incomparable Wayne Haun and released on Daywind Records. Born out of a time riddled with sickness, divisiveness, and uncertainty, KPNR points to Jesus in 2:22 after they and loved ones walked through some of life’s toughest physical and spiritual challenges including cancer, COVID, miscarriage, and addiction. Featuring eleven awe-inspiring tracks, including a beautiful recitation of “The Lord’s Prayer,” 2:22 sends a message of redemption and peace desperately needed in the world today. In this TCB Exclusive, Karen talks about what inspired the album’s title and how she hopes the collection brings harmony and healing to the world.
Congratulations on the recent release of your latest music! Can you talk about the title 2:22 and the theme of the album?
Back in January 2014, we started saying the Lord’s Prayer, and we noticed we were seeing triple digits and double digits, like 111, 222, 333, 10 10, 11 11. And so I started praying and asking the Lord for the significance of these numbers. And I just felt in my heart the Lord’s Prayer. So fast forward to now, 2022, and we’re still saying the Lord’s Prayer every day. And we noticed that God has really strengthened our prayer life because of this. On this project, we decided we would add the Lord’s Prayer as a bonus track, so when people are listening to the project it will end with the prayer. And in Matthew 6, this is how Jesus tells us to pray. We were trying to decide what to name the album. A lot of times it comes from a song or a word from one of the songs. We had already decided we would release the project on 2-22-22, and so while we were in the studio we decided to name the record ‘2:22’. This really has a lot of hidden meanings for us, but we felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to release a project on 2-22-22 and title it the same. The number 2 represents harmony and we pray these songs bring healing to everyone that listens.
Which track or lyric do you think the world most needs to hear now in its current state?
I believe all of the songs are relevant to where we’ve been. The song that we have out right now, “Answer Is Jesus,” is the song that really speaks our heart. It is very real and is very candid how we as Christians, and everyone, are tired of COVID, violence in the streets, politics dividing us, being sick, addictions taking lives too young. But there is a solution to all of this, and that is Jesus. It’s time for the church to be the salt and light. I really believe this song speaks truth and I pray that it will speak encouragement to people. We can get out of where we are and through this with Jesus.
You pre-released “Answer is Jesus” ahead of the full project. Is there a recurring lyric or theme you have noted from the listener responses you’ve received?
We are overwhelmed at the response to this song. I really feel this song is hitting the heartstrings and everyone can relate to this song.
You co-wrote many of the tracks. How do you think the sound and overall quality were enhanced by collaboration?
I feel that we are in a different time – in our ministry and personal walks of life. Being a writer on most of the songs, I had the privilege of writing with incredibly great writers. These writers have been through stuff, so I think all of the writing has elevated to another level.
How will you define success for this collection?
I do have a lot of high expectations. This has been months in the making. I started writing songs for this project when I was battling COVID in June 2020. So this has been a very long process. If I had my way, this album would have come out a year ago. I was ready for these songs to be heard, but little did we know we would still be going through the pandemic a year later and now going into 2022. God’s timing is everything, but I wish God to allow the numbers to elevate for this project. My heart is that people will be encouraged and this album will bring healing to those who have lost loved ones. We don’t want people to come to our concerts and hear a whole two hours of pandemic. We are ready to talk about Jesus.
Since you started this project years ago, which was the first track you wrote?
Probably, “Answer Is Jesus.” In June 2020, I was battling COVID-19, and at the time didn’t know anyone else who was, and didn’t know how I had gotten it. So I was nervous about it. And a month prior to that, my husband’s family member had overdosed, and he was 21-years-old. We were devastated. I remember sitting out on the front yard, having COVID, thinking about our great nephew who had overdosed, and I was just sad. I remember thinking that if God had allowed this all to happen, I would pray my way through this and write my way through this. I called my writer friends on Zoom and we got busy. We pulled our sleeves up and didn’t sugarcoat anything. This song was a two-day write for us because it was so intense. But I do feel we got it where it needed to be with the Lord’s help.
Who, or what, is currently providing inspiration for you, either musically or spiritually?
I feel like I’m always inspired by something. The song “The Keepers” on this new record was inspired by a sermon. The preacher had been very sick and this was his first sermon back after not preaching for weeks. And we were just privileged to be there. He had notes with names on it, but didn’t share the names because they are the ones that don’t want to be recognized and called out. So he described the parking lot attendants and greeters and called them ‘keepers’ of the church. He never named names and it inspired me so much that two days later on a Zoom call with Mitch Wong and Tony Wood, we wrote this song. I get inspired from preaching, the Word, scriptures, and so I’m really always looking for some ideas. Sometimes I can hear something, a song, and it will trigger tunes in my head. So I always record myself so I don’t forget them.
What are you most expectant for in 2022?
The word is SEEK. I’m seeking the Lord more than ever. We’ve all been through so much. God commands in His word for us to persevere. While we are persevering for the Lord, we want to seek Him. Seek His will, His perfect will; Seek His guidance on where we should go; Seek ways to be more Christ-like.