Sidewalk Prophets' Lead Singer, David Frey

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On January 15th, 2012, the Sidewalk Prophets—named “2011 Group of the Year” and singers of the hit songs, “The Words I Would Say” and “You Love Me Anyway”—performed alongside Heather Williams at the Manatee County Fair. The Sidewalk Prophets' lead singer, David Frey, was gracious enough to take some time out for an interview for Teen Ink.

Rachel- Tell us about yourself.

David Frey- Okay. My name is David Frey. I am the lead singer of the band, Sidewalk Prophets. I guess we started the band in college in Indiana and have been on the road for about 10 years now. We've been blessed.

[We] moved to Nashville about three years ago and met half of our band on Craigslist. We moved there with just two of us; my buddy, Ben, and I. We put an ad on Craigslist and found our drummer and bass player. God works in mysterious and awesome ways and sometimes through Craigslist.

We're just a band that's dedicated to spreading the love of God and doing it however we can. Whether the venue's big or small, wherever He calls us, we're gonna go and just share His love through our music.

RH- How did you first become interested in music?

DF- I was born singing Michael Jackson songs. I loved Michael Jackson growing up. My mom had a little Fisher Price record player. She just never told me to be quiet, so I kept singing and singing.

I just grew up in a house that loved music: my dad was a piano player. [I listened to] everything from the Beatles to Mariah Carey even and all those Disney songs. I love those! But, also, in the late '90s, I really got into Christian rock music; DC Talk, Newsboys, Jars of Clay, Third Day, the list could go on and on. I was just very blessed by their music. They helped me spiritually as well as musically to realize, “Man, this is what I would love to do for the rest of my life.”

RH- Where did the name “Sidewalk Prophets” come from?

DF- We were going to play chapel and we didn't have a lot of time. So we had to change our name. Our original name was 4 Floorz II Heaven and we realized that was a really lame name. So, one night, I stayed up real late. I was listening to Jars of Clay and there's a song called “Art in Me” that says, “Images on the sidewalk speak of dream's descent.” I love that line!

I pictured a man walking down the sidewalk, wondering what he wanted from life, and right there on the sidewalk, God had put this beautiful image. He didn't see it because he wasn't truly listening to what God wanted for him. So that's where the “sidewalk” comes from.

Then, “prophet”: My buddy, Ben, is a dictionary reader and the word-of-the-day was “prophet.” It meant “someone that tells the truth about life.” So, I was like, “Man, if you put those together, that's perfect!” We want to be men that are listening to what God has for us, as well as speaking the truth about life, which is the love of God.

RH- What was the inspiration behind the song “Words I Would Say?”

DF- “Words I Would Say” is actually inspired by my Grandad. One night, I received a phone call in Nashville. My Mom was on the other line in Indiana and she said, “Your Grandpa's passed.” I was so shook up. I knew if I tried to hurry home, I would probably get in a car wreck.

So, I sat down and I wrote a letter. In that letter, I poured out my heart and soul. I just told Grandpa how much I loved him and I realized that letter was more of a prayer to him more than anything else. God calmed my spirit enough so that I could drive home. I made it home and I read Grandpa that letter before he passed. It was just a blessing!

I realized now not many people get the chance to say goodbye. So, with “Words I Would Say,” it's a song that's dedicated to “This is the day that the Lord has made. We don't know what tomorrow might bring, so we need to use today to spread the love of God.” It's our letter to inspire many letters of love.

RH- Who do you count as your musical inspirations?

DF- I think, as a band, we have a lot of inspirations. Like I said, I grew up listening to Disney songs, so I call it the 3 Ms: Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and Mickey Mouse. {laughs} Those are my three influences!

But honestly, it spreads a gamete from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin to bands like DC Talk and Jars of Clay that have brought in that Christian rock side. We realized we can praise God by singing and rocking out for Him. So we just have a lot of great influences.

We've found as a band we love the Eagles. When we're driving down the road, we'll listen to the Eagles. So we just have influences all over the place. We like a lot of music!

RH- So, I was talking with Heather Williams earlier and she told me that you guys had actually performed together like three other times; are you guys looking forward to performing with her again tonight?

DF- Yeah! I love Heather! I was hoping to see her before we started, but...

She's a great, great girl. Man, [she's] just full of passion and the love of God. We were on a cruise ship together! How cool is that? Like, we get to sail to Mexico together!

We got to hang out with these guys that I grew up idolizing. I got to hang out with the Newsboys and find out that Duncan and Jody and Jeff and Michael Tait from DC Talk are great men. They treated us like equals. That was great to see. It's not just songs coming out of them, 'cause some bands it is. But I just pray for ourselves that we can stay humble and focused on that fact that the reason we get to do what we love is we've tried our best to stay true to God and stay true to who He is. We need to keep ourselves in check.

And Heather is a great example of someone that's up there singing from her heart, 'cause that's what her heart looks like. She's as real on-stage as she is off.

RH- Please share with us your testimony of Salvation.

DF- I grew up in the church. I think I was about 4 years old when I was baptized. I did understand what I was doing and the undertaking that I loved God and that He was real and He was returning for me. I believed in the Father, Son, Holy Spirit. So, from the beginning, I'd been born into that.

But traveling down the road, it was really my Jr. year of high school when Jesus really showed up vividly in my life. My parents actually divorced and it was a hard day, a hard night. The next day I went to school and I didn't know why. I didn't even know why I was there. A girl came up to me and she said, “Why are you here? When my parents divorced, I was at home crying for days and days. What is it that you have that I don't?”

That's when it struck me that the thing that I had that she didn't was the love of God and hope. It kinda struck me that that is the reason we live and the reason we breath and get up in the morning and go to school is so that we can hopefully show this hope to someone. So, I got to invite her to church. It was a great thing! From this ugly, ugly thing, something as ugly as divorce, a great thing occurred. It didn't make the divorce easy, but it at least gave me a little bit of hope in the darkness. I think that was really the day I decided to dedicate [my life] to Him. I went to church camps and met some great friends that were in the church.

I encourage anybody out there that's just struggling, just go to a church and try to get involved in a group; a youth group, a college group, a teen group, whatever it is that they have. Just reach out and God will reach back.

RH- Are you guys working on a new album?

DF- Yes! March 27th is our new album. It's called Live Like That and it's based on Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” [NIV] I love that line because the very first thing says “surrounded by a cloud of witness'.” I think back on teachers and family members and just people that have influenced me, and I realize the reason that I love them and want to live like them is because they were showing me what the love of God was, what it was like to be someone that's passionate for Christ. Even if they didn't believe in Christ at all, I was seeing what Jesus wanted me to see in them.

So we want people, when we pass away, to say, “I wanna live like that.” Not because of how we live for ourselves, but because of how we let Christ live through us. So that's what that whole album is dedicated to.

RH- What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?

DF- Stay in the Word. That is, hands down, one of the most important things just for life. Period. I know people always say, “Read your Bible and pray.” Those might sound like cliche's but if you can spend everyday in the Word, you're getting to read what God wants you to read and hear the answers that He has prepared for you. If you pray, your communing with the King of kings, the Lord of lords. You get a relationship with God. Sometimes He doesn't answer prayers as quick as we'd like, but if you stay grounded in the Word, that's where it starts. Whenever I'm having bad days, I'll tell Pastor to pray for me and he's like, “Are you reading your Bible? Are you staying in prayer?” Nine times out of ten, those days that things are going wrong, I hadn't. So I encourage that.

Also, just don't give up. Music is not an easy thing. There have been days when we were ready to just quit and call it a day. But through it all, God perseveres and has pointed us down the right path. So don't ever give up.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Calbob said...
Apr. 8, 2016 at 1:04 pm
Hey brother dave. I am 65 years old I was on the PGA tour from 1978 to 1990 in that period of time I went from 190 lbs to 400 lbs in 1990 my doctors said I only had a few years left. I was only 40 years old. My wife and I just met you in Roseville at the bible tour, you were assume. Please don't your weight get the best of like it almost got me. Hope to see you again at spring hills in Santa Rosa. God bless you.
 
Calbob said...
Apr. 8, 2016 at 1:04 pm
Hey brother dave. I am 65 years old I was on the PGA tour from 1978 to 1990 in that period of time I went from 190 lbs to 400 lbs in 1990 my doctors said I only had a few years left. I was only 40 years old. My wife and I just met you in Roseville at the bible tour, you were assume. Please don't your weight get the best of like it almost got me. Hope to see you again at spring hills in Santa Rosa. God bless you.
 
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