Mike Donehey, a songwriter, performing artist, author, and podcaster to name just a few titles, is set to release his first solo album. Titled Flourish, the project will drop August 27 with Fair Trade Services and is available for pre-order now.
Encouragement. Radical vulnerability. Acknowledgment. Acceptance. Mourning. Honesty. These are just a handful of the topics Donehey tackles in his upcoming collection of eleven songs birthed out of his struggle to learn what it takes to truly flourish in any and every circumstance.
When the world was impacted by the pandemic, Donehey, like so many others, found himself struggling. Tenth Avenue North, the band that he founded and led for so many years, was amicably disbanding and planning their farewell tour when everything stopped. With the tour canceled and the band officially over, Donehey found himself lost, not only about what his next steps were going to be but was feeling like - in his own words - a dried-out sponge.
As months went on, he realized he needed to mourn these drastic life changes as well as the unknown. The more he began to open up and let himself feel sadness and the sting of the pain, "the more joy came flooding in on the other side," he explains. Songs began pouring out and an album was quickly penned.
Writing during the pandemic became the anthem he needed to sing for himself, and, as the title song explains, he directs to Psalm 126 that in Christ he has what he needs to truly flourish. "If you want more joy, allow sadness," Donehey says. "Grieve to get where you need to go because the more you shrink your sadness, you're numbing the pain of hope. Flourish isn’t an album of naivete, it’s acknowledging that I was in a desert to appreciate the streams running through it."
With "Glory I Couldn't See," produced by We The Kingdom’s Andrew Bergthold, Donehey admits to missing life's joyful moments by instead feeling like a victim, eventually discovering that no matter the circumstances beauty is right in front of us. "Something That I Can't Explain," co-written and produced by Micah Kuiper (TobyMac, Newsboys, Hawk Nelson), "is a worship song for the deconstructionist," while "Unity Hymn," which closes out the album, was written with his sister Kanene Donehey Pipkin (of The Lone Bellow). "Unity Hymn," which they penned in a quick 15 minutes, was produced by former bandmate Jeff Owen, is an important reminder about forgiveness and loving one another.
All in all, the unexpected has a way of disrupting our lives in ways we might not have ever chosen. For Mike Donehey, learning to embrace the unexpected has been the very thing that continually brings forth encouraging and soul-healing music.