In a big announcement today, hard rocking Skillet drummer Jen Ledger announced that she has inked a deal with Atlantic Records and its Hear it Loud imprint, launched by Skillet founder and frontman John Cooper and his wife, fellow Skillet member Korey, as well as their longtime manager Zachary Kelm. Ledger's first solo effort, an EP titled LEDGER, is slated for release on April 13.
Speaking about the news to Billboard, Ledger says, "I feel I've just been growing and changing over the last few years and I feel the time is now. It just feels like everything is lined up all at once. It's super exciting because it is a little bit of a destiny moment."
The upcoming EP will feature such songs as the ballad "Ruins," which Ledger wrote with Korey Cooper, the anthemic "I'm Not Dead Yet," and the lyrically empowering "Bold," showcasing Ledger's unique vocals. "I'm going to sing songs to hopefully inspire people to not give up and inspire people to keep going when they want to give up or when they feel afraid," she tells the website.
She continues, "There are so many voices in the world right now screaming at people. The biggest influence is reality TV shows. People who are actually very dysfunctional with addictions and broken relationships seem to be the loudest voices out there, so I feel incredibly passionate and excited to be someone in the world that's just a source of light and hope."
The British-born Ledger says she owes much to the Coopers, who have been mentoring her and helped her develop her own sound since she joined the band a decade ago, just as she turned 18.
"I'm not just mini-Skillet. I'm edgy and rocky, but I'm also soft and got a little bit of pop in me too," Ledger explains. "They've been helping me find out not only who I am musically, but also who I am as a person and what do I want to say."
Atlantic Records President of Artists & Repertory, Pete Ganbarg, also spoke to Billboard about Ledger's signing, "From when I started working with Skillet ten years ago, I was immediately impressed with how vibrant and talented Jen Ledger is. Her voice is so unique -- and has become such an identifiable part of Skillet's sound -- that we've waited for most of the past decade for the moment when she would finally be ready to release her own music. What she's been working on with John and Korey Cooper, as well as with Seth Moseley and others, shows that the wait has definitely been worth it."
Ledger will be opening with her own band for fellow artists Skillet and for King & Country on their upcoming "joy.UNLEASHED" tour kicking off April 12 in Amarillo, Texas, and wrapping in Miramar, Fla., on May 6. She will still play drums for Skillet, however, and has no plans of leaving the band.
"We're all on the same team and we're all kind of mixed into everything," Ledger says. "John is actually going to be singing on one of my songs and Korey is co-producing all of it and writing it with me, so it's ridiculously perfect. I get to do everything I want and have the best of both worlds."