I am now in the phases of "real work". I no longer have the school's schedule or Allison Durham Speer or Daryl Williams to push and inspire me. This is the tough part of achieving your dreams. The infamous follow-through. Self-discipline. Taking the things I learned, and applying them. Building on them. Keeping the momentum. Blah, blah, blah...
As I'm writing this, I realize that I just sent off a professional email without doing spell check. I've now portrayed myself as a writer who doesn't know how to spell. My mother, the ultimate proof-reader, will not be impressed.
I'm trying to revamp my website, so that my musical offerings read more like ministry and less like diva-moments. School was a safe environment, but Toronto is not an easy city for Christians. We're told to hide our nativities at Christmas, and when someone sneezes, it's "bless you". To say "God bless you" is seen as pushy and offensive. Don't get me wrong. I love our multicultural city. I love living in and learning about other religions and cultures. But, in that light, Christianity should be equally accepted and important. In Toronto, wearing a cross on a necklace is fashion. Wearing a cross on a pin is political. How can we survive as a society when we are forced to remove all spirituality from our daily living?
I know there are people who will be offended that I'm taking my music in a new direction. I'm not going to stop singing Kurt Weill or Cole Porter. Good music is good music. I can never deny the power of a good song to affect someone's day. I guess the difference for me is a little broader. With a good jazz song, I can change someone's day. Give them an great night. With a good gospel song, I can change their life. And that's what I've always aimed for as an artist. To shake people up. To bring them out of the ordinary. For them to leave my performance with questions, new thoughts, new considerations.
I know that God has affected my life in amazing ways in the last few years. I can't wow people with my Biblical insights. That's just not my strength. What I can say is this: I was in the darkest place imaginable. My life took a turn that I thought I would not survive. I can't explain it, but this force we call God brought me through it. I can't explain it, but I know that this God loves me, cares for my everyday thoughts and actions, and stays faithful to me in good and bad. And I know that when I gave my art, my career, and my life to Him for His controlling, that my art, my career, and my life changed in ways I could never "ask or imagine". I can't explain it, but I can tell you that I know all these things to be true. And if you have any doubts, try it. Just give your life over to God, and see what will happen. It's truly amazing.