As an aspiring, physically-challenged and independent song-writer-worship leader for 28 years, I’ve seen the best and worse from the Christian music industry. When Margaret Becker debuted with her “Never for Nothing” (Heart-tinged spiritual power rock and ballads), I fell in love.
Her heart-felt passion and yearning for her Heavenly Father and “higher things” captured my attention. I wanted to be just like Margaret, fronting a tight band with her electric guitar and sharing the transforming love of Christ with the world
Things did not go as I’d planned, quite the opposite, I was diagnosed with Lyme, Disease, a destructive killer that often maimed and killed its victims. But God had plans for me and despite many years of postponing my recording and not finding the right production for my material, I stayed true to His call.
My years battling immune disorders took me to great depths of despair, but God continually inspired me with poetry and melodies which I kept in my heart for the right time. It was a lonely journey. Coincidentally, God also put people in my path many who also struggled with life-threatening illnesses and I found I had a heart eager to mentor them through their medical-health crisis with the wisdom God was grooming in me! My battles and trials were amounting to great spiritual successes.
I continued to receive great inspiration to write songs. I continued to record the new material, but it just didn’t portray me or catch the attention of major label A&R people. I invited a rapper-preacher to showcase with me at a Bradley beach, NJ outdoor summer concert in 1992.. Reverend Kevin Nunn was amazed watching me lug and set up my heavy PA equipment before the show. He saw my passion and devotion to the Lord and remarked that my voice was lovely and my messages so powerful.
“Girl…with that voice and range, you need better production to hook the listener in!”
Kevin dragged me into his studio to re-mix “Til It Happens To You” and other folk-style recordings. Even though I balked at remixing my white-bread songs to a Christian urban Black audience , (because I felt I was corny) Kevin said, Brother Paul reiterated “I am ALL things to all people.”
Since that concert, fast forward, fifteen years have passed , (and almost five original and two cover albums later), still disappointed that my audience and fan base hasn’t exploded, but knowing that God would one day bring much fruit from my infrequent live performances. Though my present TMJ-Dystonia challenge has halted much of what I’d love to do with my live performing, I stay focused and disciplined with my voice scales and composing everyday.
I am forever grateful for my song-writer friend who encouraged me to join Indie Heaven, online Christian musician network. There on the forum, I got to network with the finest and aspiring amateurs who sought a platform for their gifts. CEO, Keith Mohr, our seasoned veteran founder had so much to teach us. Every one of us listened and learned all we could from Keith’s wisdom and expertise from the Christian music industry. Though I was often frustrated with my slow progress, (of pinpointing the niche my eclectic-vintage style fit into) I stood my ground. I was here to stay!
One thing we artist had to learn was to be flexible, (about changing our baby, our songs) but focused on our artistic growth. Many locked horns with Keith, but he stood his ground. He would say, “Take it or leave it” regarding his counsel. And many disgruntled members did leave with unkind words. God used Keith to ruffle or feathers and smoothing our rough edges. I’ve seen tough spirits soften and Keith stretching out his neck to fill music and ministry needs. I’m happy to say that I’m staying here because Keith’s wisdom is logical and sound. And he really is a great guy!
The music industry (especially) the Christian music industry must be navigated with excellence and caution. Indie heaven is the place where you learn about great producing, recording technique, song-writing artistry, common-sense wisdom about networking and self-confidence. Here is where you come as you are and get groomed and polished for the industry. It’s also the place to learn about and understand the industry and most importantly, learn and become true ministry.
An added blessing is Sue Ross-Mohr, music consultant and Keith’s amazing wife , who brings to Indie Heaven her intuition about people’s hidden and unique gifts. Sue has spotted my artistry in writing, saying that I need to write a 5-book series because I have so much to say.. Her insight and expertise has been invaluable and I’m deeply grateful and humbled that she has given of herself to assist me in my difficult journey.
Keith often reminds us that there is no higher calling than serving. Serving in the spirit of deep Christ-like sacrificial love brings true joy and fulfillment. Indie heaven is a good place to sharpen your people skills and fine-tune your artistry. Margaret Becker and Keith Mohr have been my greatest music influences. May my Heavenly Father continue to bless their callings.