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Todd Agnew
Artist Booking:
H2O Artist Agency
Scott Huie
7106 Crossroads Blvd., Suite 215
Brentwood, TN, 37027
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Everything we see is a reflection of something: photons flying through the air as certain wavelengths bounce off while others are absorbed into every bit of material around us.

Everything we say is a reflection of something: our background, our experiences, our thoughts, our feelings.

Everything we do is a reflection of something: the sum total of our likes and dislikes, the culmination of our interests and pursuits, the manifestation of actions both conscious and hidden.

Throughout his two-year journey into the artist’s life brought on by his debut album Grace Like Rain, Todd Agnew has taken ample opportunity to analyze the reasons and the motivations behind the things he sees, says and does, and has channeled them into the dozen songs chronicling the Christian existence for his Ardent Records sophomore release.

Everything you’ll hear is a Reflection of Something.

“I’m ready to get this out there, to get it to the people who care about it and experience it, so they can tell me what it is,” Agnew says of the new project Reflection of Something.

The Texas native-turned-Memphis transplant readily admits he has difficulty predicting how his songs impact the people that hear them, especially these songs that are new, even to him. “I knew the last record was about worship, because I’d been playing those songs in worship services every week,” Agnew says. “These songs have come along as we’ve been going down the road and talking to people.

“The identity of this record is that it’s music that I care about and topics that are where I’ve been, but as far as what it will really mean to other people, it’s still kind of up in the air. That’s why I’m looking forward to hearing from other people and figuring out what it is.”

If the feedback Agnew received from his debut, which sold more than 150,000 units and produced the hit singles “This Fragile Breath (The Thunder Song)” and “Grace Like Rain”, is any indication, he’ll have plenty of willing participants ready to help him craft opinions.

It’s that communication, that one-on-one contact, on which Agnew thrives, because he’s still trying to determine what it means to operate in this business of music. “I’m probably a lot different than a lot of guys with their second record, because the first record was an accident,” Agnew says. “I didn’t spend my entire life writing songs for that first record; it was just the songs I was writing at the time.”

When Agnew went into Memphis’ famed Ardent Studios with producer John Hampton (Gin Blossoms, North Mississippi All Stars) after spending the better part of the past 18 months touring all over the country, he knew it would be a vastly different experience than the creation of his previous record. “When we were in the studio, we thought, ‘Let’s just call it Sophomore Jinx and get it over with,’” Agnew laughs. “It’s hard to get in there and write new stuff when your whole life is turned upside down. Every way that you’ve built your creative process is gone. The way you learn is gone, the way you write is gone, the way you sleep is gone; everything has changed and you have to learn how to operate under this new system.

“As I was looking at it, I realized we needed to stay true to what we had done so far, and so with that idea, this album is somewhat a reflection of the first one, but not a copy,” he continues. “When I realized that, I had to figure out what it means to be Todd Agnew, the artist. Because the thing was, I’d never really cared before. Even when people would ask me, I’d say, ‘It doesn’t matter; this is about Christ. That’s why I do it.’”

The result is the best of two worlds, that of Todd Agnew, the thinker, the leader, the follower of Christ and the one of Todd Agnew, the strident rocker, the aspiring bluesman, the lover of all types of music. There’s a genuine feeling on Reflection of Something that Agnew has found his sound, his unrepentantly gritty vocals living atop a plethora of guitar sounds both intimate and explosive, combining to grab the listener no matter what style the song presents.

“When I listen to this record, it just feels more complete, although I’m not quite sure why, because I see a funk tune, a blues tune, a worship tune, a power rock tune, a ’70s rock tune,” Agnew says, “but maybe it’s because I feel like I’ve grown up a bit more musically and can better create a cohesive whole.”

Those songs, with sub-themes of worship and salvation, penetrate the listener and peel back the layers of a faith-based life lived among the beauties and hazards of the modern world. The song “Isaiah 6” represents the glory of a heavenly encounter with God, while “Mercy In Me” reflects the flip side, the importance of worship as an earthly lifestyle. The tune “Blood on my Hands” deals with the realization and understanding of humans’ sinful nature, while “Unchanging One” deals with God’s steadfast love in spite of that nature. And “Where Were You?” lives as a rocked-out reminder of God’s presence throughout all time, as lifted straight from the verses of Job 38.

But it’s the album’s opener and closer that Agnew uses to remind us of the dual nature of living life as a manifestation of the Creator who set us on this spinning globe. “The record is really bookended. It begins with ‘Something Beautiful,’ a song where you’re told that you’re a reflection of something. God makes you a reflection of something beautiful.

“And it ends with ‘My Jesus,’ where the last line is ‘I want to be like my Jesus,’” Agnew says. “The question always is, if you’re a reflection of something, what is it going to be at the conclusion of your life? It may be movies, it may be books, it may be the relationships you have, it may be your job, but you’re reflecting something out to the world. Why not let it be a reflection of Jesus?”

Reflection has become a natural part of Todd Agnew’s life across his time in the public eye, having to recount repeatedly his life as an adoptee (a reality addressed on the track “New Name”) or his experiences as a youth and worship leader in his hometown of Dallas or his penchant for rarely wearing shoes while performing. That self-examination helped refine the songs on Reflection of Something and helps Agnew define his own role going forward.

“What I’ve found is the only thing that can give life to giving interview after interview is the fact that when it all comes down to it, it’s a story about God’s faithfulness, and that is worth telling,” he says. “Now, answering the ‘Why don’t you wear your shoes?’ question 40,000 times, that’s not worth talking about. But the story about what God’s done in my life and my ministry, that’s definitely something worth talking about, especially being a worship leader and thinking about what God’s taught me through that.

“Part of my calling is to see Him glorified in peoples’ lives, and part of the way that happens is by sharing what’s going on in my life and they get to celebrate that with me,” Agnew continues.

With that in mind, Agnew feels simultaneously at ease and excited to set these songs out to the public, even with the expectations the success of Grace Like Rain set upon him. “You start asking these questions like ‘Can I do this again?’ or ‘Can I do what everybody is expecting of me?’” Agnew says. But recounting the story of God’s faithfulness again and again brings it back to ‘Was that what it was about the first time?’ ‘Were you trying to figure out what people wanted?’

“No, I was out there trying to see God glorified by ministry, I was trying to make music that honored Him, and God took it and made it do what it did for His glory,” he continues. “I hope that’s what happened this time, too. That doesn’t mean He’s going to make it a hit, but it means He’ll take care of the end result. I can trust Him with that, just like I trusted Him with the first set of songs.”

Trust and maturity. Life lived and lives led. Seeing, hearing and doing. Todd Agnew’s music reflects all this and so much more.

It’s a Reflection of Something.