When Seth and Nirva Ready first met each other at a Billy Graham Crusade in 2003, they were touring as background vocalists for two different bands. Seth was singing with Kirk Franklin; Nirva was onstage with TobyMac.
“It was amazing to be part of that experience,” Seth said, recalling Billy Graham’s San Diego event that drew 270,000 people to Qualcomm Stadium over the course of four nights. “I had never been a part of anything like that. It was a real honor and a privilege.”
Not to mention, it led him to his wife.
Now, after seven years of marriage, Seth and Nirva are stepping away from background vocals and into the spotlight.
They just released their first album I Need You with “groove-laden pop and breezy R&B melodies” that show off both singers’ love of gospel music.
The Florida couple recently led worship at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte, N.C., treating the team to a lively version of “Free People,” a song about finding freedom in Christ.
“Right now in our culture, we think of freedom in terms of no restriction,” Seth said. “And I think a better view of freedom is the ability to be and do what you were designed to be and do.”
As believers who have discovered that true freedom comes through knowing Jesus, Seth and Nirva wrote “Free People” as a way to express that truth.
“When you just act on impulse and desire, it makes you a slave to impulse and desire,” Seth explained. “You find yourself thirsty for real freedom. So (the song) is an appeal for a non-believer to come into Christ and be free. And to a believer—we are free people, and we’re supposed to be freeing others.”
Even though they’re now a duo, Seth and Nirva enjoy working with other artists. TobyMac makes an appearance on their new album, and they frequently perform with a TobyMac tour alum, Byron “Mr. Talkbox” Chambers.
“He’s extended family,” Seth said.
Byron is a central Florida native who has been known as “Mr. Talkbox” for a decade. Like Seth and Nirva, he’s branching out on his own after years of touring with other artists.
“I just stepped down (from touring with TobyMac) to fulfill my calling as an artist and to do some ministry with my wife,” Byron said.
The father of three teenagers wants to encourage married couples and families to stay strong in their faith and put Christ first.
“There are two things we’re called to do,” Byron said. “We’re called to spread the Gospel and make disciples. And that starts at home.”
Like Seth and Nirva, Byron has some significant, personal memories tied to Billy Graham.
“I was flipping through my TV one time,” Byron said. “It was at a time when things were just crazy for me. It was in black and white. Just a mass of people.”
He had stumbled across an old Billy Graham Crusade and decided to stop and listen.
“And I just remember him saying, ‘The love of Christ is here, and it is real for you,’” Byron recalled. “And at that time I really needed to hear that. And I felt like there was an anointing on him. When he speaks, it pierces your heart. It pierced my heart during that time.”
Like Mr. Graham, all three artists are passionate about evangelism. For them, reaching out to the lost is not just about a particular song or event, but a lifestyle that’s enhanced by music.
“Music will allow us to walk through doors that we might not get to walk through as speakers sometimes,” Seth said. “A lot of times the music will be sort of the forerunner to the message of the Gospel.”
As he embarks on this new journey with his wife, Seth is praying God will use them “to bring the Gospel message to a younger generation that is very far from a biblical understanding of reality.”
“I just pray that we finish the course and finish strong,” Nirva said. “That our hearts remain pure … and that we would aim to please God first and foremost in all things. That’s my hope for the future.”