Bedtime, playtime, camping trips, in the car, at church – my family sang all the time. So it's no wonder I taught myself to play guitar at ten and wrote my first song at twelve. By middle school I was performing weekly and co-writing songs with friends. In high school I played with musicians who are now known internationally. And you would think by then I would have been sure what I was made for, but it took a few more years and one hard question to show me. A psychology professor asked, “If you found out you were going to die in a year, what would you do differently?” My answer to his question still reverberates through my life, decades later.
It's what I always wanted to be. It is who I have chosen to be. Music plays in my head all day, every day, and I love it. I love to make it, write, play it, listen to it, analyze it, critique it, learn from it, be touched and broken open by it. It is the language of my soul and the vibration of my spirit. If I had only a year, I would write, sing, and play my way through it. Having done that for over thirty years, I do not have a single regret about it. There are many sorrows in life, but music is pure joy.
Music is an act of relationship, the sharing of one soul with another. All of my songs are about connection with someone, and when I sing – live or in a studio – it is connection with the listener that I want. That doesn't mean every song is deep and intense, though I do a lot of that. Some are fun, silly, challenging, or weird. Lots of them feel good musically, so the connection might be built out of physical movement and beating hearts. But all of them draw a line between me and the listener, and something travels down that line.
My music is not always religious, but it is always spiritual. I don't mean that in a vague, emotional way. I mean that whether or not the song is about worship or choices, anguish or joy, relationships or self-exploration, there is always a spiritual dimension running like a river under the words and in between the notes. I am a Christian, but not all my songs are Jesus-y. Some confess how far I am from good. Others cry to be made better. Some are just fun. And some are psalm-like. But all of them connect by a thread, sometimes spider-web thin, to my faith in God.