As I was updating my site and blog, I realized that a lot of people who visit me electronically, whether that be through my YouTube page or my website, probably don’t know a whole lot about me! I feel like that happens a lot, so I wanted to take the time and properly introduce myself so those of you at home can get to know me better!
There is no better place to start than the beginning. I grew up in a musical family; my aunts and uncles sing and play instruments, as does my mother. When I was very young, though, I spent a large amount of time with my grandmother (Mom’s mother), who was also very musically inclined. She had taught herself how to play the piano, and for hours on end, we would sit there together, playing and singing songs out of the old hymnal. In all reality, this was my introduction not only to music, but also to Christian music. It was also Grandma who convinced me to learn and perform my very first hymn at one of our “Singspiration” events at the tender age of 3. In the video (yes it was taped), I can be seen hiding behind the pulpit, standing next to Grandma, and singing just barely loud enough to be heard over the piano. That hymn was “Majesty,” and to this day, whenever I play or sing this wonderful song, I picture us together at the piano.
Working with Grandma was also my introduction to the piano. I had wanted to play the piano since I was 4, but not knowing whether they could take a 4 year old seriously, my parents waited until I was 8 to start me on piano lessons. And may I just say this? It is completely natural, as a child to believe that you will immediately pick up a new skill just like that! But unfortunately, it did not come easily to me, and I had to work and practice and practice and practice…this was all made a bit more difficult by the fact that I hated practicing. Those 30 minutes each day felt like an eternity, and I was so glad when the timer would sound; I was off the piano bench in a snap!
I continued piano lessons until I was about 13, when one evening we received a call from my piano teacher (who I respect immensely). I had not been practicing as I should have and was not progressing, and because of that, I was fired from taking piano lessons. FIRED?! How could I be fired from taking lessons?! I was so confused, but somewhat relieved to be done with piano, at least at that moment. Because you see, it’s often at those moments when we feel like we have everything figured out that God steps in and reminds us that it’s not our plan, but rather His plan that will have the best outcome for our life.
When I was in 8th grade, I took choir, as many students did, and I was enjoying it immensely until our choir teacher had to go on maternity leave. And unfortunately, I was the ONLY one who knew how to play the piano. So throughout those grueling 9 weeks, I worked with the choir on our Spring Concert pieces and realized that maybe I needed piano in my life after all. After getting to high school, I began lessons again and had a newfound passion for music. And the rest is history; I began playing in my church’s worship team when I was a junior in high school, which really helped me get more comfortable when in front of a crowd.
My voice has always been a little different than me playing the piano. I have always had a big voice, but a lot of times haven’t known what exactly to do with it. I started singing when I was 2, and after making my special music “debut” at 3, music and singing more specifically became a major part of my life. Throughout elementary and middle school, I sang with the school choirs and entertained at nursing homes, but in high school, I was able to participate in productions of amazing shows. We put on “Beauty and the Beast,” “Godspell,” and “Guys and Dolls,” all of which were an introduction to a new type of music for me. I enjoyed this chapter of my life immensely, but had no clue as to what the future would hold for music until I got to college. I began studying music when I was a sophomore in college and worked with a very talented soprano, who began to open doors for me vocally. She always mentioned a future in music, which I had never thought about honestly.
When I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from IUPUI, I had the opportunity to travel to Nashville, TN, and record my first studio album at Daywind Studios. The whole experience was breathtaking, and having a polished album was incredible; 10 years prior, I would have never guessed I would have been there. Singing has always been a comfort to me; a lot of times, it is easier to sing about how I feel and communicated with audiences through music. That is probably one of my favorite ways to connect with people; through music. A plaque I recently bought says this: “Where words fail, music speaks.” Isn’t that true? As I continue to do concerts at local churches, I am trying to see where God will use music in my life. I give all the glory to Him, for this is His gift; it is through faith and perseverance that I continue practicing and praying for God to reveal His plan for me. I continue to study voice today with Mark Gilgallon, an amazingly talented baritone who has coached the incredible Sandi Patty for over 15 years; what a blessing!
And finally, we come to the most important part of my story, and that is my faith. I grew up in the church, and have always loved feeling God’s presence not only in my blood-family, but also my church family. I have had great mentors in faith with my parents, grandparents, and my numerous aunts and uncles. But even with all those great resources, I still had to learn the most important lesson of my life by myself, and that is that we are not perfect. I have made my fair share of mistakes in my lifetime, but I have found that it is through our brokenness as humans that we realize we cannot make it without a Savior. I am so blessed to have a rich history of faith and belief in my family and in myself. What a blessing; it is through music that I hope to honor God and thank Him for all that He has done for me. That is why I sing. As the old song goes… “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free. For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”