But now she’s stepping out in front of the stage serving as lead vocalist for her own band on its first ever tour.
Ledger and numerous other Christian music artists come to Grand Rapids Jan. 18 for the Winter Jam Tour at Van Andel Arena
“This is the first tour I won’t be on the bus with Skillet,” remarked Ledger, 29, by phone from her home in Kenosha, WI.
Ledger (also the name of her band), released a six-song collecting of new music last year. On the Winter Jam tour she’ll be performing several of them – including her No. 1 Christian rock hit “Not Dead Yet.” The lyrics reveal a personal challenge for the artist.
“A few years ago I started struggling with anxiety and fear like I never had before,” she said. “I was waking up at night with feelings of terror – I wondered if it was a spiritual attack.”
Doubts crept in about her ability to write and perform her own music. But Ledger received encouragement from fellow Skillet member Korey Cooper.
The music video for the rock song pictures Ledger as a fighter in a ring against a menacing opponent.
“Ruin” is a song she co-wrote referencing a prayer said over her when she first gave her life to Christ. “Someone prayed that my life would be ‘wrecked’ for the Kingdom of God – that I would never be able to go back to the life I had before. ‘Ruined’ by Him, in the sense of a love so sweet I could never go back.”
A LONG WAY
Ledger was born in England and came to the U.S. when she was just 16 years old. She studied at a worship school in Kenosha her brothers had attended. That’s where she met John and Korey Cooper, the anchors of the band Skillet. She became the band’s drummer in 2008 and her very first tour with the rock outfit was as part of the Winter Jam line-up.
“I went from playing for 200 people in church to playing to 16 thousand in an arena,” she said. “It was quite a stretching and intense season of my life.”
The young artist was impressed by the impact of their music. “I saw God moving through music and felt stirred…you’ve got this platform, why not be even more vocal with it?”
Ledger had begun adding vocals to Skillet songs – even taking lead singing duties on several tunes. So her decision to produce a solo project is not a surprise.
This year’s Winter Jam is the first ever with “in-the-round” staging jutting out from the center of the arena floor. It’s headlined by Newsboys United, with limited stage time for each artist on the crowded roster. On the tour’s opening night Jan. 11 Jacksonville, FL; Ledger had time for only four songs.
Skillet fans needn’t worry. Ledger is not leaving her longtime band-mates. After the Winter Jam tour the artist jumps back on board with them on a tour with mainstream Breaking Benjamin. Then comes a string of shows in Russia. Skillet returns to Michigan in August to perform at the Unity Christian Music Festival in Muskegon.
Her schedule over the holidays was busy enough that Ledger (who is single) could not travel back to England to see her family. She does have a green card and would like to become an official U.S. citizen.
“God is amazing,” she said. “My whole goal in life had been to be a hairdresser, but God had his own plans in getting me into Skillet.”
Winter Jam Tour Spectacular featuring :
Newsboys United, Rend Collective, Danny Gokey, Ledger, Rend Collective, Mandisa, NewSong, Hollyn, Adam Agee, with speakers Greg Stier and Zane Black.
Pre-Jam Party artists: Ty Brasel, Dan Bremnes, Manic Drive
7pm Friday Jan 18 at Van Andel Arena, 130 W. Fulton St. Grand Rapids. (Pre-Jam Party begins at 6pm)
Admission: $15 at the door plus free-will offering. Jam Nation passes with early entry and premium seating available in advance only for $34.99 at www.jamtour.com
(Winter Jam also performs Sun. Feb. 17 at the EMU Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, MI)