Sixpence None the Richer has decided to call it a day.
In an open letter to fans printed in the March issue of CCM Magazine, lead singer Leigh Nash and guitarist/principal songwriter Matt Slocum made the stunning announcement.
"We write to say that after much soul-searching, we have decided to no longer continue as the band Sixpence None the Richer," they wrote. "After 10 years of music, we are closing up shop and moving on. We have enjoyed being a part of your lives."
Anticipating questions of "what's next," Nash and Slocum wrote, "Well, there's not really a definitive answer to that question. I, Leigh, have become a mother and plan to focus on family life for a while. I, Matt, am taking some time to travel the world and may go back to school."
Barry Landis, president of Word Label Group, talked about Sixpence's global impact.
"Sixpence, both as a band and as individuals, are very special to us," Landis told Christian Music Today in an e-mail. "they've been at the forefront of influencing pop culture and have inspired millions of fans worldwide."
Landis also seemed to leave the door open for a possible Sixpence return when he said, "I can't picture a music environment without some contribution, either individually or collectively, from them. We look forward to seeing what lies down the road for Leigh and Matt as they continue to impact lives and art around them."
Previously, a Landis associate told Christian Music Today that she thought Sixpence was merely "taking a break." But the Nash and Slocum's letter in CCM seemed pretty emphatic—except for their signoff, which read simply, "Goodbye for now." For now?
Sixpence apparently informed the label in January that they were calling it quits. And a Word spokesperson said there were "rumblings" about the possibility as early as last fall, when the band and the label began discussing the possibility of a new album.
Christian Music Today's attempts to reach Nash and/or Slocum were unsuccessful.
At any rate, the world apparently hasn't heard the last of Sixpence—at least on disc. Nash and Slocum wrote that Word Records will release a new CD of songs that didn't make it on to Divine Discontent, which Christian Music Today named the Best Album of 2002
The new CD, due in late 2004, according to a Word spokesman, will also include songs from different compilations Sixpence has appeared on—possibly including the brand-new In the Name of Love (Sparrow), a U2 tribute on which Sixpence performs "Love Is Blindness." That, plus a song called "Every Heartbeat" on Charlie Peacock's new Full Circle: A Celebration of Song and Friends (Sparrow), are apparently Sixpence's final two recordings.
Sixpence had a phenomenal run. Hailed by critics from the start, they were primarily appreciated in relatively small circles before "Kiss Me" soared to the top of the mainstream charts in 1999. The band then went through a number of label woes (it's a long story) for the next few years, finally landing with Word/Warner in time to release Divine Discontent. Two songs from that album, "Breathe Your Name" and their cover of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over," went on to become smash hits on mainstream radio