Q & A with April
1. You often speak of your faith. Why is your passion for secular music?
I speak about faith because at this point in my life I’ve discovered pretty much everything is spiritual. I know what it’s like to know *about* God but not really know Him. I’ve been the girl who seemingly had everything: the family, the ministry, the job, my dream house, and at the end of the day something was off. I wasn’t fully living His will because I didn’t fully trust Him. I still tried to take care of myself in some ways. I made the choices I wanted to make – or the ones I thought people wanted me to make –and got burned. The people I tried to please left.
Then, through a bizarre array of circumstances I still can’t wrap my head around I found myself in a place where it seemed like I had nothing except me and a beautiful daughter who I had no idea how to provide for. I had no idea what I was doing. The ministry opps, the church, the family and friends, all of it vanished. It was just me and the Lord. I learned really quickly I wanted all of Him. In that place I NEEDED all of Him. It was during this season I realized that He was good. I'd grown up in church 3 times a week and missed it. The revelation of His incomprehensible goodness was a game-changer. I knew for sure my purpose on the planet was to let the world know God is good. That He loves them like crazy! So when I surrendered, that’s when I found myself on this path. I love the honesty in secular music. I love the Christian market. I write it often. But my heart burns to connect with those outside the church who may not be hearing truth or good news.
2. What do you feel is your calling?
I feel like my calling is just like every other Christian – live by faith and not by sight. To be more concerned about my reputation in heaven than on Earth. When I didn’t know where to turn, a wise person told me to take the gifts the Lord had given me and use them to right the wrongs I saw in the world. She said, “He gave you those gifts to use them!” Never be scared to do that.
So He gave me a crazy passion for music and writing it and performing it, so I’m gonna do that. And the larger platform He blesses me with, the more people I can tell how awesome He is is. I don’t have it all together yet, but I am very honest about that. I love country music because you can tell the truth. The good, the bad, the ugly. That’s the real life I’ve lived and exactly what Jesus died for, so I’m all over that!
Oh? You were asking about with music? Ha My dream is to be a mainstream country artist….with a little pop thrown in there, too. As I tour, I will bring Love Them Now out on the road with me. That way I can run my race in mainstream music, but the Lord can be on hand to touch those who are looking for Him.
3. Do you share your testimony?
I’ll tell anyone who will listen! And I do .… often against their will. Lol No, I’m just kidding….mostly. I share a little bit in a blog I wrote called, “What I Plan To Do And Why.” One day I will write something more formal. I share it live and in my songs. Anywhere really; you can't shut me up, which can be problematic because as I writer my mouth choses the most colorful and descriptive words. I'm working on learning to share my heart using only "church words," but I haven't gotten there yet.
But that’s just the thing, I am who I am, but He is the GREAT I AM. He’s still working on me. But He is everything that’s good, and every good thing comes from Him. I’m convinced if everyone really knew Him, they’d want Him and all He has too. That’s why I founded Love Them Now, so I can take a portion of His goodness with me to distribute everywhere I go.
I didn’t do this thing because “I want to be famous.” I didn’t choose it. My Master did. But it’s been a hard road. How could I not sing anything else but country?! HA I went from thinking God was harsh and disappointed to understanding He was over-the-moon in love with me. That even though I’d sucked in so many areas of my life, He would turn around and use those things for good. 2009- until this year have been what I call “The Dark Years.” It was tough. REALLY tough. I can’t even count the number of days I truly believed I could not make it one more day. So, no, I haven’t been performing a ton. I’ve been at home trying not to die. But He really is enough, you know? And if we seek Him we find. He’s saved me in more ways than one, and if you’ve been where I was and you could see what I see about where I’m going –you couldn’t keep your mouth shut either!
4. What is Love Them Now?
Named from Luke 10:27 (He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”) So Love Them Now is a non-profit I created to go on the road with me. Actually, I say “created” I’m in the process of filing the 501 c-3 paperwork now (hello – crowdfunding). The idea is to have Love Them Now present offering inspirational and ministry resources to those who are hungry for it. Eventually, I’d even like to have a prayer team out on the road with me. People shouldn’t have to look so hard for answers.
10% of everything the label and music do will go back into funding LTN, so we can do much more than just offer resources. We want to be a carrier of the Father’s heart and go about doing good (Acts 10:38).
But we do more than just show up at concerts. We have provided food to some very worthy people and causes – people who literally were living by faith waiting on the Lord’s provision. We’ve helped patients who needed medical care and supplies and others who just needed a “happy” to brighten their day. Disaster relief funds, supporting our troops, and a group who goes on call 24-7 for children who are being abused…that’s just some of the things LTN has supported already –without the platform. I’m so excited to do more!
5. Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
Hmm…no. I mean, yes. I don’t know. When I was a little girl I’d put a baseball bat and close it halfway in a drawer and pretend I was singing into the end sticking out. I’ve written poems and songs for as long as I can remember; I thought everyone did until I was an adult. I loved music above all, but it wasn’t something “real people” did for a living, so in that way, the idea of doing it for a job never crossed my mind.
I have always loved people and been passionate about helping them in whatever way I could. I think that’s why I became a nurse, but it was never enough. I always wanted to help MORE people. Then when I surrendered to do ministry full-time I truly believed I would live in a mud hut somewhere. It was at a time when I didn’t even really know for sure how to hear from God. I knew Bible people did and maybe some super-Christians, but thankfully He put people in my life who showed me how He is dying to speak to each one of us. Ha! But trust me, no one was more shocked than me the first time I thought I heard Him tell me to write a country song! So just to prove Him wrong I wrote the first song ever aimed at commercial success and entered it into a contest…and won. I've just kept going, and God has continued to bless it.
6. What do you think your idyllic career will look like? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Ideally, my music career will look a lot like other artists you see on the radio. I want to tour – especially country tours – with other artist I respect. I want to have commercial radio as a platform. Pretty much how you’d imagine your favorite country artist. Mine will be a little different because I do write some non-country songs. I’ve been writing a lot more “pop-y” type songs lately. Perhaps that will open up some doors and some additional tour spots.
However, in 5 years, I hope to have graduated a little more to where I can call the shots on touring. I’d like to say, Ok, It’s the school year. And let Georgia-Claire have a regular child-hood, then in the summer months tour (although she’s pretty set on home-schooling, so I’m sure she would tell you it should be vice-versa). Ha. Wait - except 5 years from now I hope to have met my super-hot Jesus freak and had a baby or two...and adopted like 10 more - you know? - if the career is going well. ha
7. Do you have a team in place or are you still approaching this alone?
Wow. For a long time it was just me. Right now I have a team in place that could easily help me reach the charts. I’m finally able to record songs that sound like something I would actually want to crank up on the radio! However, it takes a ton of money to be noticed by radio and go on tour. At some point, I will probably either have to partner with a major label or come into a TON of investor funding. Honestly, I don’t care which route.
I’ve been somewhat of a rogue in how I approach things, not because of pride etc., just the opposite. I know exactly what my purpose is and exactly how to accomplish it. I don’t even feel like I’m doing it for me. Because my motivation is to help as many people as possible (and the larger music platform the more people can be touched by Love Them Now), I’d definitely be down for partnering with a major should someone catch the vision and serve as a catalyst instead of a hindrance. While the scariest part is being in way over my head, there’s also tremendous freedom in knowing it’s not up to me. I just have to do the little bit I’ve been called to do and let God do the rest.
8. How do you do it? How do you juggle everything being a single mom and working long hours as a nurse (anesthetist) along with forming a record label, recording the album of a lifetime, multiple merch lines as well as Love Them Now (my non-profit)?
Ha. I’d tell you, but it’s kind of a fog! The truth is I have to sometimes let some “good” things go for the greater good. I really try to pray about everything and only put attention where He would have me put my attention that day. Today my attention is on posting a video to tell you guys what’s up! Lol
Thankfully I’ve been able to use this break from performing to focus on the music and merch, so there are so many substantial things already in place. That’s been a huge blessing! On a daily basis, I usually have to be at work between 6-7 am and often work until 9 pm depending on what’s going on in the OR. I also do an internship and volunteer for Father’s Heart Ministries, so that and Georgia-Claire fill my evenings. I use my breaks, days off, and long drive times (baby girl meets her day who’s 4 hrs away) to pray, regroup, make deals …and voice dictation… I use a LOT of voice dictation on my phone.
9. Are you performing anywhere right now?
I wish! Speaking of the preceding….while it did start out as a break out of necessity, I’ve been ready to get back in the game for over a year. But the pieces weren’t in place. Last year I cashed out my 401k and recorded a record that ended up short of the sound I was going for.
I’m ambitious in a lot of ways, but I’m a mom first and foremost forever. Taking the little time I have with her to play a show here and there - while it would be a blast! – isn’t always the best use of my time. Aside from a few church performances, I’ve laid pretty low the last few years. I’ve been working on a solid foundation (for myself and the companies and non-profit). I want to get at least a portion of this new record behind me and use that as a tool to fuel a tour.
Before the break I performed a ton acoustically as a songwriter – just me and my guitar. I did a few things w/a band for festivals etc. Then on the Little Pink Ribbon national campaign I had the opportunity to do live performances on radio, the tv studio, you name it. I miss it sooo much! The whole tour I wasn’t even nervous. I just kept thinking, “This is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life!” So before this summer is over- you’d better be seeing my name somewhere! lol
10. What made you do decide to launch a crowd-funding campaign?
That’s a great question. This is so not “me.” Turns out I’m waaay more comfortable being the giver. Actually I’d had a few people in the industry suggest it before, but I always shrugged it off. Then a guy named Russ Walden, whom I really respect in the ministry, told me as he was praying for me “crowdfunding” kept coming up. He said, “I heard it very clearly.” Lol I was like, “Awh man!” You know how when something just resonates inside you, and you know it’s true. This was the thing I’d been fighting so long. I didn’t want it to be true!
Finally, I realized that as much as I love to help people with Love Them Now, and how fulfilling it is to invest in someone’s dream, if I didn’t obey I would be robbing people of that. The truth is I’ve been praying for the right “investors” for years – as soon as I felt led to start my own record label. I knew God would provide because where there is vision there is always provision, but it took a little bit of humbling myself to go this route.
11. What would you say to those who choose to come along aside you?
I’ve been praying for you!! Ha Not just that you’ll give a ton of money (of course that’s cool, too), but I’ve been praying for YEARS for the people He would bring along side to support this vision. Even if it’s just a seed you sow in prayer for this thing, I am truly calling for a Luke 6:38-kind-of-blessing. That what is given back to you will be GOOD measure and “running over, will be poured into your lap,” (NIV). That something so wonderful will happen and He’ll bring this donation to mind reminding you how He sees and is going to do something very special for you. I can say that because I know my Daddy-God. He is so good. And there is no way in the world we can ever out-give Him. I know that from personal experience. And the bigger the sacrifice, the more He blesses (I’m not saying you have to give to the point of a huge sacrifice for me (lol); I’m just saying that’s how I’ve seen Him work in my own life).
So here. Let me quit talking about it and can I just pray for you now? (I swear, if you knew me you wouldn’t think this was weird). Ha
You’re so awesome!! Thank you so much for preparing a way where there is no way. For turning dark places into light and uneven places into a plain (Isa 42:16). I thank you for drawing – not just any people – but the right people God. For the ones who know in their knower or their gut that you have appointed them for such a time as this. For the ones who You choose to bless. Thank you for these people! May I never let them down!
I bless them with such heavenly blessing they be extravagantly and overwhelmingly touched to by You. That you would remind them of their reward, and Your thanksgiving would be upon their lips. Thank you for holy multiplication for them and for all of Your work. For helping us do more to spread Your name and goodness and accurately carry your heart.
I ask you to set a hedge of protection around each giver now. I thank you for flooding them with Your Spirit that they would know for SURE Your pleasure with them. Bless their socks off Lord! Help me to help more people and be a bright light of blessing for Your name (and not act crazy...or embarrass my mama!).
In Jesus’ BEAUUUUTIFUL name I pray,