What Happens When Use The Gifts The Lord Gave Us
We are SO excited to welcome you on Friday night of our conference as our musical guest at our magical outdoor venue. Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions so our attendees can get to you know you better before the conference!
Music seems to be a natural extension of who you are. What impact did growing up in a musical family have on your passion for music?
My musical family made a huge impact. My dad is a music teacher and my mom taught private lessons to my dad’s students and plays guitar and sings. My brothers are both instrumentalists and that is just my immediate family. My dad of course, as a music educator, really pushed us into music but I know it was because of his love for it and our early aptitude. My parents say I was harmonizing and matching pitches by age 3. Early exposure and being a life-long student of it has of course fine-tuned my skills and honed this gift I’ve been given. I literally couldn’t resist it.
I’m sure you had a lot of instruments at your fingertips. What drew you to pick up guitar as a teenager?
I did! I took piano lessons for almost 10 years, I played clarinet in school, but guitar was just my thing. It’s also hard to sing and play clarinet at the same time. ;)
My first interest in guitar came from listening to my dad play Blackbird by the Beatles. It’s such a beautiful melody and I was captivated by it. It wasn’t until after I heard Jonatha Brooke that I was inspired to pick it up myself. I was sick home from school one day and I sat down in my parent’s room with the guitar that is now mine and picked out a couple chords. I was hooked after that.
What was it like going into the studio at the young age 17? Did you have fears and doubts, or were you confident in your abilities.
I really had no idea what I was doing. People most of my life told me that I had this incredible gift and really encouraged me in it, but the studio is a whole other beast. I was nervous and terrified at first, but learned pretty quickly that I have a knack for it. A lot of the hard work I put into my voice growing up, payed off big time in the studio, and it really helped me get better from there, too.
Tell us a bit more about the hiatus you took from a music career.
My hiatus followed the birth of my daughter, Ava. I had been playing around DFW here and there before she was born, but was really struggling to find my place in an area where I just didn’t fit the mold. I am totally okay with that - I am a huge proponent of making honest art - but that meant also that I wasn’t doing as much as I would have liked.
After Ava was born, I was thrown into this world where I couldn’t rely on my experience or my gifts to make it through the day. I was blind! It took some adjusting but it also took all my energy, and my husband is a touring musician so I was alone a lot of the time.
I ended up not going back to work as I anticipated, but I see how perfectly God had it all planned out for me. Once Ava and I settled into each other and I felt more confident with a tiny human, I was intensely inspired by her and challenged, too. I slowly began to write again and explore this new version of myself. I don’t think I knew how much I would be changed by motherhood.
What role did music play in your life while you weren’t pursuing it fully as a vocation & how did you still pursue that passion in the midst of a different life season?
I was still singing, just lullabies instead of my songs! I had a friend who encouraged me when I was lamenting this season of trying to find time for writing and performing.
She said (in not so many words) that sometimes you have to let things marinate, sometimes the songs in your heart and in your spirit just have to bake a little. The seasons of our lives and the day-to-day that we endure acts as an oven for those things and when they’re ready, they’re ready. She was right.
Being Ava’s mom and being able to focus on just that for a time prepared my heart and my mind for this crazy season that God was preparing me for: for writing and releasing an album, for moving half-way across the country to pursue music all in.
That season inspired me to look at this little life I had created and am responsible for, and take responsibility for the gift I have been given. I want to be able to tell her to pursue her dreams and her gifts with confidence because I have done it myself!
We love your new EP, Gravity—it’s heartfelt and full of your lovely and smooth vocals. What was the road like from taking a break from music, to creating & releasing an entire EP?
It was like a fire under my rear end—haha!
Once I decided to do it and gathered up the courage, I realized it would be foolish NOT to do it. What do I have to lose? What a waste it would be, not to mention dishonoring to the Gift Giver, to not use the gifts I’ve been given.
I realized how much of a chicken I was being, even though running a crowd funding campaign is not for the faint of heart, and just couldn’t be that anymore.
Once we got started, it was emotional and invigorating and empowering. I was looking right in the eye of my purpose. I knew it was exactly what I was supposed to be doing. And from that moment of deciding to do it, everything fell in to place and I knew that God was going to take care of the details.
We picked songs and wrote some more in January of last year, launched the Kickstarter campaign in February, began recording in May, and wrapped it up in November.
In the process, my husband and I felt the door open up for us to move to Nashville, and again everything fell into place. We put our house up for sale in late September and it sold in two days.
The last year has really been a huge faith-booster for me, because I know that God is faithful and hears our prayers and wants good things for our lives, but after years of ‘no’ and ‘not yet’, to get a ‘yes, go!’ across the board, was just so good for my spirit.
Waiting, whatever that looks like, is not for naught. Especially for believers.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Finishing the song.
It’s pretty cool to play through something that you created literally out of thin air and a tiny bit of brain power. Otherwise, it’s that line that offers that punch to the gut or “truth bomb” as they say. Sometimes they come out of nowhere, but it’s always a really good feeling.
You recently moved to Nashville. What has that transition been like for you, your family, and you and your husband’s careers?
Yes! We have been here for less than a month and it’s been crazy. We said goodbye to Denton in November and lived with my husband’s family for a few months while we found a place here. Saying goodbye twice was not my favorite, but the Lord was sweet to us in it.
It was hard leaving but the second we got here it was instant peace and excitement. More confirmation that the Lord is going to take care of us.
Honestly, after the last year, I have no doubt that we’ll be okay. Our goal is never to become household names, fame, or tons of money. Jeff & I both recognize that our gifts serve the sole purpose of glorifying the Father and the Word tells us that He honors that.
I want to make music that resonates with people and creates opportunity for dialogue with people who may not know Jesus and the freedom that the Gospel brings. Releasing Gravity was step one.
We haven’t been in Nashville too long, but there’s something in my spirit that is calming every anxiety and my planner instinct, and is telling me that there are good things to come. I don’t know what they are yet, but know that all things are possible with God, so I’ll just walk in that for now.
What’s the biggest fear you’ve had to overcome in your journey as a musician, wife and mother?
Not being perfect. I am so melancholy and tend toward self-doubt and anxiety. Since having my daughter, I have had to make a habit out of repeating Truth to myself just to combat those feelings.
Motherhood is no joke - can I get an amen!? I want to do all things well, and I mean ALL the things, and no one ever wants to acknowledge their limitations. Trying to be the perfect wife and mother will crush you. Unrealistic expectations, especially those put on yourself, will crush you. Especially when you struggle with self-doubt.
Once I realize that my limitations only create more room for the Lord to work in me, those fears and anxieties lose their power.
I’m only human. I should focus on loving and serving my family well, making time for what matters - and for myself!- and walking with the Lord. I don’t have to be perfect.
We like to end on a fun question: What’s your favorite game you like to play with your family?
My daughter, Ava, is possibly the most active child I have EVER encountered, so your average family games don’t cut it with her. Right now, our favorite game is chase. She runs, Jeff or I “get” her, and whoever doesn’t get her saves her. It always ends in laughter and a good nap. ;) Jeff and I love to play Ultimate Uno.