Bethel Music’s Amanda Lindsey Cook, 34, retreated to a literal house on a hill for two months in preparation for her new album bearing the same name. She disconnected from social media and reconnected with herself and close friends.
The singer-songwriter, who has been with Bethel for eight years, sat down with Fox News ahead of her New York City show at the Gramercy Theatre, the first of a four-city tour, to talk about her new album “House on a Hill,” opening up about her lifelong battle with anxiety, depression, and self-confidence.
“What’s unique about this album is that I had time to let it change me,” she said. “We wrote it, we recorded it, then we put it in a vault, and I retreated into several spaces.”
Cook took a six-month break from social media. In the house on a hill in Nashville, Tenn., she ordered a mattress on Amazon and picked up a lamp – and that was it. She woke up with the sun and listened to the birds sing.
“It was empty but it didn’t feel lonely. It felt friendly, and when you get quiet things naturally rise to the surface,” Cook said. “For me, the invitation to the house on a hill was a reintroduction to what the gospel is, what good news feels like, sounds like, what it costs, and what it requires, and I think for me it got really simple, it keeps getting increasingly simple. Not easy, but simple.”
Cook and her friend, Steffany Gretzinger, also of Bethel Music and a co-writer for one of the songs, talked about canonizing their season of life in the album.
Gretzinger helped Cook with the healing she desperately needed.
“I hated feeling like, ugh, I can barely get out of bed this morning…because I just bring the energy down and I want to bring it up…and my friend Stef said, ‘Can you promise…that you would bring your sadness with you and let yourself be loved exactly as you are right now?’”
Cook has dealt with anxiety and depression for the last 30-some years. But she said she hasn’t been vocal about it.
“I didn’t have the language or the tools for my own experience and I think that lent itself to massive anxiety because I didn’t know – I didn’t know – I didn’t know what was going on,” Cook said.
Therapy has helped her a lot but she admits, at times, words aren’t enough.
“Sometimes I can’t think my way through this. I have to dance my way through this, I have to feel my way through it, and all of it works together for my good,” she said.
“Music has just always been really healing for me,” Cook added. “I needed just music.”
She made 10 “very intentional” tracks for her new album, and before she released it to the public, Cook retreated and let the music heal her.
For her, the songs are very personal thoughts and prayers from a season with both dark and bright spots, serving as parables that she hopes remind people of things they’ve forgotten.
While Cook retreated to a literal house on a hill, she says the track bearing the same title talks about each one of us being that house with space to grow and discover that it’s friendlier, kinder, and more gracious than we could’ve imagined.
One of the first songs Cook wrote was “The New Country,” which she thought would be the first song on her album. But the first song and music video ended up being “Awakening.”
For fans, Cook hopes the song serves as a regeneration and reinvention of sorts, just like it did for her.
“I hope it serves as a soundtrack for people through their trauma and triumph,” Cook said, “that it gives a landscape and a landing for hearts to be able to breathe.”