When Jen Ledger pans the camera back, it’s clear to her how God has been ordaining her steps ever since she was a child. From her early days learning drums to being invited as a teenager to try out for Skillet to stepping out on her own as a songwriter and performer, the entire journey is marked by God’s grace and providence.
These days, Ledger is the name of her new band, a side project (or maybe more) for the now 28-year-old drummer of Skillet. The exciting new project is a compelling blend of Skillet-esque rock anthems with pop influences all her own. What will happen next isn’t up to her, and that’s the way Jen likes it. God is in control and she’s just happy to be along for the ride.
CCM Magazine: So much of the story about the new album is obviously about stepping out from Skillet into your own solo material. How far back does the inkling of doing this reach?
Jen Ledger: I remember being a little girl and loving the idea of being a singer. Growing up watching people on TV, if I’m honest, there’s a little side of me that always thought I would do that one day. But then it became very apparent to me very quickly that everyone feels that way, so that’s stupid of me. [Laughs] Then becoming a teenager, I realized that my voice wasn’t great and many things stuck out to me. When you’re a teenager, you’re insecure and there’s just a lot going on around then. Those dreamy feelings went away for me on every level.
I also started learning the drums at that point when I was around thirteen. The whole reason that started was because I had two older twin brothers and I always thought they were so cool. I dressed like a boy, got good at sports and started learning the drums. It was around fifteen or sixteen when I realized everyone wants to be a musician, or at least that’s how it felt. I gave up the idea of all of it because it felt so ridiculous. But at age sixteen, I gave my life to God and got super serious about living my life for Jesus. I saw how music could actually distract people from living for Him. It’s all about them and their dreams and their music when actually it’s about Jesus and His kingdom, no matter where He calls you.
So, I wanted nothing to do with music through my teen years, but when Skillet asked me to try out, I’d become so nervous to even play on a Sunday morning that I almost said, “No.” I didn’t want to do it. If I get nervous playing for two-hundred people, how could I possibly play for the band? But I was praying about it and I knew God was telling me to try out. Long story short, I got into Skillet and realized maybe music was for me. [Laughs]