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Music: Band transcends labels

Flyleaf doesn't worry about "Christian" tag

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The band may have only formed in 2002 and have one, self-titled album out, but with more than 25 million plays on MySpace, Flyleaf is surely doing things the right way. Their music-with-a-message approach hasn't gone unnoticed and a "Christian rock" label hasn't hurt them either.

Many times, once a band is given a religious tag, they're set aside from the mainstream. But Flyleaf has gotten past all of that and found themselves on the Family Values Tour and the current Justice & Mercy Tour with Seether.

"We are all Christians in the band and that has a lot to do with our perspectives on our lives and the world around us," says guitarist Sameer Bhattacharya by phone before a recent tour stop in Utah. "As far as asking why we call ourselves a Christian band, I think you'd get different answers from all of us. That's how we are. We are five completely different people coming together. I think it's because a lot of people know that's our faith, and we try to find hope in situations that seem hopeless."

The band's self-titled debut has spawned a number of hits -- "I'm So Sick," "Fully Alive" and "All Around Me," which found its way onto Top 40 radio. The group combines elements of rock and metal behind the powerful vocals of frontwoman Lacey Mosley.

"We've been touring this record for three years now," Bhattacharya says. "We've had the same set for a long time now. The songs themselves are so universal for what they speak about and they apply on so many different levels that they stay fresh."

There was also so much success with each single that was released, the record label wanted them to push back their work on the next album. That's not to say the band isn't ready to start work on the follow-up.

While saying they are all "itching" to get to work on the next album, Bhattacharya also notes that they are all songwriters so new songs coming out is inevitable. They plan to start work on writing and pre-production this summer in the hope of having an album finished later this year.

The band has been on the tour regularly for the last handful of years, and while it's tiring, the band's enjoying the journey. They've also been involved with World Vision's plans to provide aid to Third World countries. The band recently traveled to Rwanda, an experience Bhattacharya calls indescribable. With all of the touring and traveling, you would expect them to need a long break, but it's the music that keeps them going.

"It can get exhausting, but this is the life that we've chosen," Bhattacharya says. "I'm only 23. I was 17 when the band started. Sometimes it can feel like a long time, but when you really look back and see ... a lot of bands have been working a lot longer than us. Being that what we're doing is really making an impact is what drives us.

"I hope that [people who listen to our music] really get the message that there's hope out there in whatever situation they're in and they'll be able to overcome any obstacles that are in their way and become a better person for experiencing whatever it is that they're going through."

Flyleaf will perform Friday, May 23 during Food Lion Speed Street in Uptown Charlotte.

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