“Jeremiah Bligen is a man of God who loves his family.”

Growing up, the Charleston, South Carolina Native said hip-hop informed his perspective and worldview. Though Bligen had a present father, his father was an alcoholic. “He wasn’t present in teaching me things and walking with me. Music really served in his place in a lot of ways, which is unfortunate because I was listening to the wrong stuff.”

What Bligen learned about life from hip-hop was different than what his mother wanted to instill in him. He said there was “a lot of toxic masculinity going on there. A lot of lust…”

His mother went to church multiple times each week and made sure he came. “She would drag me along and make me go, kicking and screaming.” Though he didn’t have much interest in faith at a young age, “it made me come face-to-face with the reality of God.” At age sixteen, he decided to turn to the Lord with his life.

“I had just gotten to a point of being tired and fed up with life and the way things were.”

Bligen started rapping in elementary school by sneaking into his sister’s room and listening to the radio. He wrote down lyrics from songs he enjoyed and recited them all the time. “That’s kind of how I started.” He wrote and recorded his first original lyrics in sixth grade. As long as he has been writing, Bligen has also been recording.

“I found a way to record it by getting two old, beat up radios that were around the house; one I recorded on and the other I played the music from. My voice would mix with the music that was playing and create a first little song.”

Last month Jeremiah Bligen released an EP called Fighting Stance. “I pray people will walk away encouraged to continue to take [life] a day at a time.” He wants listeners to know that despite the ups and downs in life, God is with them, saying, “we’re not alone in our struggle.” He also encourages people not to compare their state in life to those of others.

The songs on Fighting Stance have all been written in the past three years; Bligen’s previous release was in 2015. “I very rarely just write something, record something, and put it out. [The process is] usually different layers of reviewing the music [and] getting it in front of other people.”

Fighting Stance begins with “The Code.” When writing this song, Bligen considered how he tries to live his life by a code, a set of laws given by God. “The Bible mentions on a couple occasions for us as believers to ‘walk in a manner worthy of the calling.’” In the song he wants to encourage listeners to live by the code that God has set out for them.

“O” is perhaps the most personal song on the project, detailing Bligen’s job struggles during The Great Recession in 2009. After getting married in 2008, he and his wife moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in May 2009. When they moved there, his wife had just finished law school and was studying to take the Bar exam, so she was unable to work.

“It was a really tough time financially for us. It really was a process of me going everywhere I could to try to find a job and I couldn’t get any employment at all.”

Between applying online and in-person, he applied for many jobs. “It’s discouraging. It ticks you off big-time. I’m like, ‘God, what in the world? I’m trying to not do the things that other people might thing is appropriate when their backs are against the wall.’” Though he was skilled and experienced, he was not even able to get a job working in fast-food as a shift manager.

One day a friend of his invited him to volunteer at The Urban Restoration, a local youth center. “It literally was exactly what I wrote down in a notebook about three years prior about all the things I wanted to do in a youth ministry.” After volunteering there for a while, they decided to hire him for a paid position. “They believed in what I brought to the table.” Looking back, Bligen noted that if he had been working in fast-food, he wouldn’t have had time to volunteer.

“Seeing how God kind of had all of that there already was just a matter of me taking the steps and walking through each day, striving to be faithful.”

“Breaking Boulders” is a metaphor about how God destroys sin in our lives.

“That boulder of sin that’s in our way or on our backs stopping us from connecting with God in the way that we ought to be, Christ breaks that boulder.”

Bligen wants to encourage listeners that “God is working with us. He’s with us, walking along the path with us and He will break whatever boulder He needs to for His glory.”

In, “No Contest,” he wants listeners to not feel that they have to compare themselves to others, especially within their faith. “Run your own race and know that God is with you in your race.” Bligen says that we shouldn’t feel pressured to grade ourselves based on the strength or dedication of our faith in comparison to that of others we know, such as a mentor.

“What God has set for me in my life and how faithful I have been to what He has placed in my hands and the direction He has sent me in is what will ultimately be my grading rubric.”

In the song, Bligen says “Comparing ain’t the root of evil, but it’s the root of envy.” He notes that in the Book of Genesis, Cain compared his offering to God to his brother Abel and got mad that God was more pleased with Abel’s offering. Cain later killed his brother Abel. He also noted that in the age of social media, people brag about themselves and display themselves as a perfect person, including with regards to their spiritual lives.

“We’ll feel prideful or we’ll feel insecure or depressed or [that] we are less than someone else.”

He wants to encourage listeners to not only avoid comparison to others, but also to “try to be the best version that God would have us to be every day.”

Outside of music, Jeremiah Bligen enjoys spending time with his family, serving at his local church, occasionally playing sports, video games and watching good TV shows.

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Get or stream Fighting Stance here.