Christian-Pop singer/songwriter Natalie Layne recently released her long awaited EP Castles via Rixon Entertainment Group, available now on all streaming platforms. The five-song EP is a collaborative effort by co-writers Cooper Bascom, Ross King, Natalie Layne, Phoebe Scott, and Jay Speight, who also served as the project’s producer. The group fused different genres with powerful vocals and lyrics of devotion to create a unique style that Natalie Layne is steadily becoming known for. Castles includes fan favorites such as “Steady,” “Better Than It’s Ever Been,” and “Constant” released earlier this year. In this TCB Exclusive, Layne talks about what inspired the collections’ title, how the pandemic affected the creation of the EP and stand out moments from summer shows.
Can you talk about the EP title Castles and the meaning behind it?
The meaning of this song is so special to me! It was originally inspired by one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes: “You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” That quote struck me because a castle is only fit for a King to live in. I wanted to write about the powerful idea of the way that God is building us, especially after a hard year like this one. He intends to live in, rule from, and be glorified in us.
For you, what is the unifying theme that ties the tracks into a project? Did this evolve as you created, or was it part of the original vision?
We started working on this project over Zoom during the first week of quarantine! It seemed like all we could write about was the faithfulness and certainty of God. Songs that came out of that time and ended up on the project were “Steady” and “Constant.” We were ecstatic to get back together and write in the studio! All of us were feeling so much hope then and we started writing songs like “Something Good is Coming” and “Better Than It’s Ever Been.” Our aim has been to capture what God is doing around us – and our prayer is that people would relate to these songs and experience the Presence of God breaking into their situation.
Which song, or even lyric, do you think the world most needs to hear now in its current state?
There are five songs on the project, and we released them in the order we wrote them. “Steady” was the first one and it felt really timely back in the spring when we were needing the reminder that God doesn’t change, even when everything else does! We’ve been through a lot in the last year and a half, and I think “Castles” is the song for right now. God is doing something new in our communities, and I think He’s pushing and growing us all in new ways. It’s a good reminder that He is never finished working in us – and the end result will be more beautiful than we ever dreamed.
You released some of the EP’s tracks as singles earlier this year. How does your definition of success change for the collection as a whole, compared to the individual single releases?
Man. Every single was fun to release, but there’s something about a continuous project that feels so fulfilling. It represents years of work and a lot of people’s time and energy. It takes dozens and dozens of people to make something like this happen – and they’ve become a big part of my community! I’m so grateful to see the project reach so many people and actually mean something to them. That’s the best part.
You were able to open for Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin, We The Kingdom, and others this summer. Having had a little time to reflect, what was the most impactful part of that experience for you?
This summer was amazing! I’ve always loved touring and playing live shows, but I’m extra grateful every time I step on a stage now. People are hungry for music and even more than that, hungry for Jesus! I met so many new friends, including opening for some of the artists that I’ve looked up to since I was little. It was pretty wild to hang out with my songwriting heroes (Nichole Nordeman & Steven Curtis Chapman!) and so many other artists I respect and admire. They’re the same on and off the stage, and that’s so cool to see.
Who, or what, is currently providing inspiration for you, either musically or spiritually?
I really, really love the local church and always want to write about what God is doing among us. That’s a continuous source of inspiration for me. After releasing this project though, I’m getting back to the piano and trying out some new stuff! The writing process and musical discovery are some of my favorite parts. New ideas are coming in fast and I’m excited to get to work on them.
What are you most expectant for in the remainder of 2021?
More live shows! More worship. More new friends. Lots of stuff around Nashville. New songs. I’m expectant for what God will do and what He is doing! The time that we live in is special. I believe that something good is coming!