Renaissance Music Movement artist Legin describes himself as “a father who loves my kids, a husband who loves his wife, [and] a son who has been redeemed.”
Last month Legin released a spoken-word EP called Dark Room. In film-based photography and video, you must develop your images in what is known as a darkroom.
“This entire life is ups and downs of different successes and struggles. If you let God take control of all of those particularly dark areas, he can bring a really good picture out of it.”
He describes God as the developer, saying God develops the picture of our lives, even though “there’s gonna be a dark room or two that we go through.”
Much of Dark Room is inspired by Romans 8:28, which reads (NIV), “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Legin came up with the concept for the EP about a year ago. The different pieces were written throughout many months, and when he put them together, Legin realized a common theme and flow.
Dark Room is Legin’s first spoken-word project: his previous albums and EPs have all been hip-hop. “I really like both. For me, I kind of interchange the two.”
“One of the dark rooms in my life was growing up without my father around.”
Legin’s father was a drug addict, and his mother decided to take him and leave his father when Legin was five years old. Growing up, Legin’s mother didn’t allow him to listen to hip-hop, but despite her orders, he started listening to it in elementary school.
Legin first went to hip-hop as a substitute for the pain his father’s absence was causing. “These guys looked like they didn’t have any pain. They [were] throwing money in the air… I was like ‘Yo, this is great.’”
“Early on it shaped my life because nobody else was really shaping my life or reaching me in that way.”
At age 20, Legin received a letter from his father, 15 years after having last seen him. His father apologized for his absence and wanted to re-establish a relationship with him. They decided to meet, “and we had a great time, but at the end he wanted forgiveness, and I pushed him away. I was like, ‘Nah, you’re not gonna get forgiveness from me.’”
Legin’s father continued to ask for forgiveness for almost a year, “and then eventually I called him one day and I’m like ‘Look, I don’t know what it is, but I just want to forgive you and get to know you, and I really want to know what its like to have a dad in my life.”
That was the last time Legin spoke to his father.
“After that phone call, he actually passed away. Our last conversation was ‘I forgive you.’”
Besides the death of his father, at that time Legin was also struggling in his job which he put his heart into; his boss was taking advantage of people’s finances for personal benefit. “I remember one night, depressed like, ‘Everything I put my hope in is gone. My dad came back, and he’s gone.’”
That night he turned on the TV and turned to CBN (The Christian Broadcasting Network) which was screening The 700 Club. “The guy was like, ‘Call for prayer’ and I remember [speaking] on the phone with this dude like, ‘What’s the point of waking up bro?’” The man prayed for him.
After waking up the next morning, Legin said: “Jesus, if you’re there if you’re real, I give up trying to run my life… I’ve been running for Christ ever since.”
Dark Room begins with “Spark.” One night Legin lost his temper at his young children. “That’s dumb, but I did it.” The next day after he dropped his kids off at school and his wife at work, “I pulled over on the side of the road and cried. I felt like ‘This ain’t working. I suck as a dad.’ I just pulled out my phone and started writing how I felt.”
What he wrote turned into the lyrics of “Spark.” He called his producer that morning, and they recorded the song later in the day.
“My hope is that the transparency of that track sparks somebody else, brings a little spark of light in somebody else’s dark room and helps them reach out to God in the same way when they’re struggling.”
The next track, “God Is An Artist,” was written about ten years ago. “I wrote it as a Father’s Day gift to God. I was like ‘What do you give God on Father’s Day?’”
“It was just a way to be appreciative and say, ‘All I need is You.’”
“Highly Esteemed” is Legin’s favorite song on Dark Room. “It was another moment where I was struggling, and I was kind of in a dark place.” It is inspired by the book of Daniel in the Old Testament. In Daniel 9, the Archangel Gabriel spoke to the prophet Daniel, saying, (v. 22-23, NIV)
“Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed…”
Reflecting on this passage, Legin has thought “What does it take for God to go out of his way and call you ‘highly esteemed.’?” Considering this question, he compares the life of Daniel with his own. “I’m not where I want to be [but] I’m working towards it.”
“Not Alone” was made to encourage those working in ministry “that when you’re dealing with situations, when you’re going through ministry burnout, when you’re feeling like it’s not working, you’re not alone.” Legin notes that all Christians around the world form the Body of Christ and that each of them is there to support each other.
“You’re never alone… God’s got your back but so does the church.”
The final track on Dark Room is called “Power of God” and is a sequel to “Spark.” The prior is a personal song, and the latter is from the perspective of the global church. “Here’s all [of] these struggles. The only hope we have is reaching out for the power of God.”
“All of this crap we all see in our lives, in our families, on the news… the only thing that gets us through all of this is the power of God.”
Outside of music, Legin enjoys spending time with his family, playing video games, and reading books about theology, apologetics, and marketing.
Follow Legin on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Get or stream Dark Room here.