New EP!

New EP!

One week ago I released a brand new project called Velveteen. (Get it digitally HERE + physical copies HERE). I’m pretty excited about this collection of songs, because I wrote them not from other people’s stories but from my own. I could never have foreseen either the tragedy or the gifts that are coming through the tragedy, but they are both real. 

Sooner or later, like the Velveteen Rabbit, we find ourselves in the middle of a fire...

VELVETEEN (new single)

velveteensingle.jpg

VELVETEEN

(Shive/Wells/Witt)

 

Love spoke my name

And I felt life run through me

Reborn in the flames

Nothing can undo me

Ooh, I believe that I'm becoming

 

So if my beauty starts to fade

Well, I've been held in a thousand ways

If my heart looks broken in

Then I've been brave enough to live

If perfect turns to perfect mess

And all your love is all that's left

Then I'm as real as real can be

Call me Velveteen

 

Shadow and light

I've learned to let them find me

Coming alive

Feels a lot like dying

Ooh, I believe that I'm becoming

 

So if my beauty starts to fade

Well, I've been held in a thousand ways

If my heart looks broken in

Then I've been brave enough to live

If perfect turns to perfect mess

And all your love is all that's left

Then I'm as real as real can be

Call me Velveteen

 

I know it's true no matter, 

True no matter how I feel

'Cause I'm becoming

I'm becoming real

 

So if my beauty starts to fade

If my heart looks broken in

If my beauty starts to fade

Well, I've been held in a thousand ways

If my heart looks broken in

Then I've been brave enough to live

If perfect turns to perfect mess

And all your love is all that's left

Then I'm as real as real can be

Then I'm as real as real can be

Then I'm as real as real can be

Call me Velveteen

 

 

 

DOWN DOWN LOW (new single!)

DOWN DOWN LOW (new single!)

It was campaign season here in the US, and like most people, my ears were so tired of the ugliness. Many of us had to be intentional about taking a break from social media because it seemed no place was safe from strife. I personally felt challenged, because I want to be a good listener and want to know how to share my thoughts in a loving way. What if we listened with genuine curiosity, our minds open to the possibility of having been wrong? Open to change... At the very least, eager to love and ready to accept that there might be more than one way to see...

Getting My Hopes Up...for new music!

Getting my hopes up, friends! 

I have new albums of originals coming! I say "albums" because there are two projects in two stages.

1. Hatteras EP - Available NOW! Get this little baby project from the usual online vendors OR (better) get it via Pledgemusic so your money also goes toward project #2 - see below! Includes: Getting My Hopes Up, You've Got a Home (new version), Hatteras, PLUS the instrumental version of Getting My Hopes Up, because you'll want to listen to that sweet blues guitar for dayyys.

2. New Studio Album - Releasing early 2018. This one is being made in partnership with friends like you! Pre-order it today to help me get to the studio with producer Ben Shive in August! 

In case you haven't seen it, here's a trailer in which I tell you about this album AND share a clip of the first recording!

That song, "One Day" has been near and dear to my heart since I wrote it about 18 months ago. I recorded the first verse through tears:

It's hard to sing when you're crying,

Hard to leave when you're tied down

It's hard to sleep when you're fighting

For your life like you are right now...

The verse finds me right where I am. But the chorus saves me:

You'll do it one day

One breath

One prayer

One thing at a time

One word

One step

One hope in a coming light

Don't try to swallow the ocean

Keep doing one day

Til one day you're free.

And the bridge, the part you can hear in the video? I'm not sure where it came from exactly because it sends me soaring.

I want this album to do both of those things for you & many others. I want to give you songs that see you right there...and also save you and bring you joy.

If we reach 50% of our total Plegemusic goal by end of day tomorrow, a super generous listener wants to contribute another $2500 towards this album.

I'd love it if you'd hop over and pre-order today, so you can not only have the music sent to you as soon as we have it ready, but also so we can take the journey through the creative process together. That's the absolute BEST part of crowdsourced projects. Making new friends and sharing the road a while. 

THANK YOU for reading, listening, interacting, supporting! Grateful beyond words. 

Love,

christa

 

 

 

 

 

NEW MUSIC + Thoughtful Gifts For Songwriters

Well, friends, the time really got away from me this fall! While it's not quite as wintry here in Nashville as in this lovely photo, it's getting a bit brisk for the thin-skinned (me) and Christmas is a mere 15 days away! 

Somehow between tour's end and now, I failed to post about the two most recent songs released through Tune Tribe! These two happen to be a couple of my favorites this year, so I don't want to leave them out. 

ALSO, since it's December and you just might need gift ideas for a special music-maker in your life, I have some great suggestions for you at the end.


DOWN DOWN LOW

It was campaign season here in the States, and like most everybody, my ears were so tired of the ugliness. Many of us had to be intentional about taking a break from social media because it can become so unhealthy to feed on the strife. It was a challenge to me, too, because I want to know how to be a good listener and share my thoughts in a loving and open way.

So on the first leg of the Three Birds Tour, while I drove from Atlanta to Nashville alone, I kept the radio off and started thumping on the steering wheel and singing this melody a capella. A totally new approach for me, as I typically have to be at the piano to write.

The accompanying artwork by Mandy Rogers Horton is appropriately titled "Noisily Day and Night."

Here's a preview of Down Down Low:


THIS DECEMBER

The last new song of 2016 is "This December" which I also did not start at the piano. I wrote this chorus on the ukulele with my oldest son in mind, but also so many others who are asking lots of great questions about faith and tradition. It has a hint of Christmas and winter, but I like to think you could listen to it year-round and not be offended. :)

This piece of Mandy's is titled - also aptly - "Something I Cannot Name."


TUNE TRIBE + TRIBE SONGS

Digital Downloads - If you're new around here and are interested in getting these and the rest of the year's song demos digitally, you can subscribe HERE ($10) & we'll send you a link to stream/download (wav + mp3) at your leisure. You'll get 11 songs now plus one more next month and the opportunity to vote for the ones you think I should include in my next full-production album. Would love to have you join in!

Physical CD - Order a copy of Tribe Songs, my home-brewed album of all these new song demos I've recorded with Jess Ray this year. I'll send you a hand-labeled audio CD with 11 previously unreleased songs. Click HERE to get your copy of Tribe Songs ($12).


THOUGHTFUL GIFTS FOR SONGWRITERS

INSTRUMENTS or ACCESSORIES

A new or different instrument, other than their primary one...New strings...Travel case...Cables...Boom stand...Guitar stand...Yeti Pro USB Microphone (I love mine!) for home recording/worktapes...Quality headphones...Portable PA...Soundboard...Performance mics...

JOURNAL + GOOD PEN

Everyone has their preferences. In recent years, I've used basic marble composition books. My most treasured one was a small-sized soft leather journal with a string that wraps around it. Small enough to not be intimidating, lovely enough to be inspiring.

BOOKS

Here are a few of my favorite creativity-themed books:

  • Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art by Madeleine L'Engle
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  • Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
  • Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
  • A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman
  • Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo
  • Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison (supposed to be great, though I haven't yet read it)
  • Tribes by Seth Godin
  • Linchpin by Seth Godin

I also recommend books of poetry and great fiction, both great food for the soul and inspiration for songwriting!

SUBSCRIPTION to American Songwriter magazine. This is truly a great gift for any music-maker. I only wish I had time to read every issue cover to cover!

CONCERT TICKETS - There's almost nothing more helpful to a musical artist than to actually go see live performances. If cost were not an issue, most of us would be attending a lot more of these events & would be better for it.

Don't just look for the big productions, though. Those are a lot of fun, but your typical working artist needs real inspiration and ideas that can come from enjoying a great performance at a more intimate venue. It's so helpful to be up close and learn how to share music in an effective way without the big machine & lights. 

I also recommend giving tickets to theater productions and arthouse movies. Most of us will spend the money to see a mainstream film that's gotten great reviews. Fewer people take a "risk" on indie films, but those can be the most provocative and interesting. Read reviews & get two tickets so you can go together and discuss after!

HOST A HOUSE SHOW

If your writer is ready to share their work publicly, you could plan a concert in your own home and invite your neighbors, co-workers and family. Being a host is always a gift to yourself as much as anyone else. It takes a bit of planning and effort, but it's so worthwhile. You don't have to have a lot of space or a fancy house. Just space for some friends to gather & listen - everyone will thank you!

SCHOLARSHIP TO A SONGWRITING RETREAT OR MASTERPIECE PROJECT

Retreats - There are always songwriting workshops and retreats available & I speak from experience when I say it can be just the thing an aspiring songwriter needs to take the next step and grow. I am co-hosting one such retreat with my friend & collaborator Nicole Witt in East Nashville January 6-8, 2017 (one spot left), but with a little googling you'll be able to find one nearby, maybe even hosted by one of your favorite writers! (Link to our retreat: "Artist And" Songwriting Retreat)

Masterpiece Project - Masterpiece is a creative arts camp for high schoolers in southern Kentucky. I facilitate songwriting workshops there one week each summer and cannot speak highly enough of this experience. It's exactly what I wish I'd had when I was 16.

Escape to the LakeThis non-profit organization is all about promoting "gourmet" faith-based music, and their annual 4-day music festival is unlike anything else. The biggest difference is that it's small, no green rooms, no smoke and mirrors. Your songwriter will get to sit at the lunch table with the performing artists and writers, talk around the campfire, play at an open mic, and attend panel discussions. AND the festival is usually prefaced by a 2-day songwriting bootcamp! This is a fantastic opportunity, another one I would have loved to have had early on.

DEMO RECORDING SESSION

Help your writer get a song professionally recorded. Cost can range from $200-1500. Find some local producers, listen to their work online and make sure you like what they do, and consider the purpose of the demo before determining your budget so you don't over-spend. This can be an exhilarating experience for a new writer and would be a fantastic gift!

MUSIC

I know Spotify and Apple Music are the go-to, but here's the thing. They pay us next to nothing. The reality is musicians NEED to be paid for their work in order to keep creating it. Encourage your artist to pay for the music he/she loves most by giving an iTunes gift card. Or give a vinyl copy of a favorite album to your younger listeners. Physical CDs for the car. And maybe give music that has stood the test of time, something a young writer can learn from and enjoy.

TIME

If your creative person is married to you or has children, the best gift you could give them is TIME & SPACE. Take the kids for a whole day or one night a week and let her write in peace! Or surprise him with a room or space set up just for his composing. Simple, free, and oh so meaningful!

PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS

We all need them, and the good ones are usually expensive. Help arrange and pay for their next session with someone who specializes in artist photography!

WEBSITE DESIGN

You can build your own, but some of us could use a little help taking it up a notch. Or maybe your friend doesn't have a domain yet and you could buy the domain in their name so it's ready when they are!

ONLINE MENTORING SESSIONS

I - and other writers I know - love to encourage up-and-coming songwriters. We don't have all the answers and are still growing ourselves, but we have learned a few things along the way, and it's really a pleasure to share what we have. When I host a session, I like to hear some music and give feedback and then discuss anything the other writer has questions about. It's really great (and rare) to get one-on-one attention from someone just a few steps further up the road. Email for more info: taylor@christawellsmusic.com

Through a group we've started called ARTIST AND, my friend Nicole Witt and I also periodically host online gatherings of about 8 people at a time to discuss particular themes related to artmaking. Join the Facebook community ARTIST AND to stay in the loop!

So I think that's a wrap (heh heh) on gift ideas! Have something you'd add to the list? Please leave suggestions in the Comments section.

Love to you and yours as we wait & prepare for the glorious coming, now just a couple of weeks away!

christa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, there you have it. My quick brainstorm on thoughtful gifts for songwriters. Have more ideas? By all means, share them below!

Love,

christa

 

 

February Single: Lighter From Here

What We Love  (artwork by Mandy Rogers Horton)
What We Love (artwork by Mandy Rogers Horton)

I shared with my email list last week that I won't be recording an album this year but instead invite you to join a tribe of listeners who will be able to stream or download a new song each month of 2016.

Album projects are amazing, but it's also amazing to share a new lyric and melody with your friends while it's fresh from writing and you're still living the story.

So every month Jess Ray and I will go into her home studio and lay down acoustic production on a new tune. If you join the tribe ($10), you'll get a little note in your Inbox each month letting you know your new tune is ready (mp3 & wav available). Download right away, or wait and get several at a time when you're in the mood.

These songs will not be available elsewhere this year, but you may be hearing the demo of a future single, who knows?

To top it off, each track will be paired with an image of an original piece by Mandy Rogers Horton, whose artwork was featured on the COVERS ep.

"Lighter From Here" is our January song, and it's ready, folks. Head on over to The Store if you're ready to take this musical journey with us.

ABOUT SONG #1: LIGHTER FROM HERE

2015 brought some hefty trials into our life, and Lighter From Here is my song of response. It's a new year hope rooted in the memory of God's goodness and of the faithful return of light year after year.

I've written before about my loathing of winter darkness. Well, I was interested to consider a couple of years ago that the longest night of the year arrives just before Christmas. Our hanging of decorations and our songs of Advent waiting and Christmas celebrating are a massive communal effort to persist in hope and survive the shortened days.

By the time we take down the white lights and get back to regular routine, the long night has actually passed. It's behind us, the worst. We can expect a literal lightening, slowly but surely, day by day.

It's not mere optimism. It's a beautiful and true thing, this faithfulness of nature to reflect the promise that light will win.

We may have some winter yet ahead, but I hope you'll hear comfort and even a gradual return to joy in these words and melody.

Hear a clip of this new release here & join the Tribe to get all 12 songs.

LIGHTER FROM HERE

In late December the sun refused to show

This frosty winter has cut us to the bone

But maybe we’ve felt the worst

We’ve been to the bottom

Maybe we’d take the hurt and the loss

For all that they have taught us

And if what lies behind is the darkest night

Of a long and brutal year

We’ll keep our eyes on the horizon

It’s all getting lighter from here

It’s all getting lighter

The sky will be brighter

The days will be kinder from here

We pull the embers into the new year fire

We will remember how wind and flame conspired

To bring our bodies close

And bind our hearts together

Send everything that’s gone up in smoke

Give us hope for warmer weather

And if what lies behind is the darkest night

Of a long and brutal year

We'll keep our eyes on the horizon

It's all getting lighter from here

It's all getting lighter

The sky will be brighter

The days will be kinder from here

It's all getting lighter

The sun will be higher

The days will be kinder from here

TuneTribe Photo
TuneTribe Photo

You Are My Defense: behind the song

IMG_0660

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

Albert Camus

I love that quote. But it hasn't always been so. At least I didn't think so.

I finished high school outside of Chicago and don't remember the cold or snow, even in the black early morning at the bus stop, being the real issue. I was rather lonely during those high school years. I attributed that to being new, awkward, shy, fashion-challenged.

But maybe it was really the long winter. Or maybe I've merely associated winter with those blue feelings? Whatever the reason, my dread of the dark months seemed to grow over the years, even here in mild-natured North Carolina.

IMG_0696 (1)

As I said during a recent show, I even resented autumn because I knew where it was heading. The months of September, October and November formed a long, dreary hallway leading to winter, which felt like death.

(I'm not prone to overstatement at all.)

The slow but sure shortening of daylight was oppressive to me, to the point that the beauty of falling leaves or seasonal festivities went unappreciated almost entirely.

IMG_0694 I talk about this in the past tense, because this year and the last have, thankfully, not had quite the same effect. Certain circumstances in my life now allow for more solitude and focus which seems to be helping.

But in 2012, we saw a friend in our community repeatedly hospitalized for severe and chronic depression. This wife and mother of two young children known for creating beautiful and whimsical wall murals in playrooms seemed unable to keep her face above water for long, no matter the weather.

Numerous friends and family close to my heart have felt themselves swallowed up by depression during different life seasons, due to circumstance or chemistry or a combination of both. I remember the dread I felt walking into the apartment of one of these, the blinds closed mid-day, lights off, music blaring, finding there was nothing I could say or do that could get a smile out of this former class clown. I found red marks across his wrists and chose to believe him when he said he'd cut himself washing dishes.

IMG_0705

 

When I really look at it, I know my own struggles have never been quite that.  Depression is a brute, and I am less an expert than a bystander devastated by her own powerlessness to fix anything.

I asked my friend back in 2012 if she could describe it for me, what it was like for her. The songwriter, I suppose all artists, are prone to walking battlefields as well as beaches, gathering shells and making something out of them.

I wanted to write about this reality without trying to fix it. It's okay for a song to be a moment in time, to write where you've been and what you've seen. Of course, I've also seen too much love for it to not to make an appearance.

The stories of my people became linked to the story of me in winter, and this song, "You Are My Defense," took shape.

 

I feel the clouds coming over like a bad dream

Same shadows I’ve known since I was 18

Weeks before winter falls

You find me in the back hall, hiding

I feel the sunshine slip away

 

I don’t know how to climb out of this valley

I don’t want to go back where I’ve been

And every time you’ve laid yourself beside me,

Your love my one defense

Oh, you are my defense

 

You carve the stone with evidence of your love

Strike a match to warm us when the cold comes

And I will sing of summer light

That feeds the soul through the dark night

Will you feed my soul through the night?

 

Oh, when I’m a ship out on the sea

You are, you are the lighthouse calling me

And when I feel unreachable

You get to me

You get to me

 

And I don’t know how to climb out of this valley

I don’t want to go back where I’ve been

And every time you’ve laid yourself beside me,

Every time you’ve laid yourself beside me

Your love my one defense

Oh, you are my defense

IMG_0699

I wish I could say I actually remember writing the second verse, what prompted the stone image. I sing it almost as a newcomer to the song, which is kind of cool. The stone may have had a different inspiration, but I now think of it as the whole of planet earth. Call me crazy, but I do believe there is a Person behind all this wonder. And I think the whole place screams it.

Similarly, the match doesn't have to be one thing, but one thing it might be is the faithful-to-return sun-soaked months that restore and revive before the cold.

The song I sing of hope is one I choose to sing and must choose and choose again, because it does not always come naturally. I sing of summer light because I want to live and that's the only way to survive. I sing because I remember the way the sun felt on my skin and expect to feel it again.

It is invincible within me if only I pry my hands from these fearful, reluctant eyes and see.

IMG_0707Time and time again while I sleep, Someone comes and lays himself beside me.  Being aware of that...saves me.

It's not about pulling yourself up by the bootstraps but by Love that lays down for you and with you.

Finding yourself not alone, not beyond the reach of one who loves you..it really is something.

-cnw


Through the end of January, every moleskine journal we ship will be sent with                       a handwritten lyric of your choice inside + a free copy of my COVERS ep.

The journals are a great place to record the things that feed your soul this winter or any season. The songs on this album are songs that, in their own way, fed my soul "back then."

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 8.11.56 PM

 

thoughtful gifts for songwriters...

ITBMW_Art Well, friends,

Before I get to the point, if you haven't yet gotten your free download of the Christmas single (cover art above) I recorded with my pals Jess Ray & Taylor Leonhardt, I want to make sure to give you that link, so go ahead and CLICK HERE. Merry Christmas!

Hopefully you're ahead of me and have finished all your gift planning for the Christmas celebrations. If not, and if one of the outstanding recipients happens to be a songwriter/music-maker, then this is for you.

My friend, Taylor, and I were talking about how sweet it is when you find a gift that truly adds to a life without also being a burden in terms of clutter or maintenance.  I googled "gift ideas for young filmmaker" the other day, because I have one of those in my house, and I thought I'd put together something like that for us musical types, in case you're googling "gift ideas for songwriters" (probably not on the most searched list, but still...).

Here are a few that came to mind, in no particular order.

I apologize for not taking time to add pretty pictures and poetic descriptions. As I mentioned, I'm not done with my own preparations yet! May update in time for next Christmas?

Instrument or Accessories

I almost didn't include this, because it's obvious, but if it's time for new strings or a travel case or cables or boom stands? Easy.

Journal & Pen 

I'm partial to ordinary composition books these days. Less intimidating, less guilt if I don't fill it, slim & lightweight. But, I've loved many a fancier journal in my life - so just choose something soft that lays flat when opened. Then find a nice ink pen to wrap with it. Voila. (I do have this Moleskine journal now in my store, but I promise that's not why I mentioned journals.)

Books

I know not everyone enjoys reading, and there are artists who make great work without reading a lot.

But if you CAN enjoy it, I say it's one of the very best things you can do to fuel your art.  For me, any books that come highly recommended and are well-written, fiction or non, will make me happy.

But here are a few I've especially appreciated as an artist:

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art – Madeleine L’Engle

Writing Down the Bones – Natalie Goldberg

The Artist's Way - Julia Cameron

Steal Like An Artist - Austin Kleon

Show Your Work – Austin Kleon

A Million Little Ways – Emily P. Freeman

Songwriters on Songwriting – Paul Zollo

Writing Better Lyrics - Pat Pattison (okay, this one I have not yet read, but a number of my writer friends have & have highly recommended it)

 Subscriptions

American Songwriter magazine - I love this magazine so much & only wish I had time to read every issue cover to cover

Tickets

There's almost nothing more helpful to a performing artist of any kind than to actually GO to see live performances. If cost were no issue, I think most of us would be attending a lot more shows and watching less Netflix.

Give your loved one tickets to concerts, and not just the big productions. Those are great fun, but most of us aren't ever going to have the resources to pull off that kind of show. Find tickets to a house show with a reputable artist performing or an intimate local venue, so they can learn by watching & be inspired.

Give tickets to theatrical productions & arthouse movie theaters. Most people will spend money to hit a mainstream theater a few times a year, but it feels risky to a lot of people to try an independent film. Because those films are often so interesting and provocative, get two tickets so you can go together and then have dinner & conversation after.

 Host a House Concert

If your writer is interested in sharing their work publicly, help them out by graciously planning a concert in your home and inviting your neighbors, friends and family. It'll be a gift for you, too!

Does it sound scary or difficult? It's totally do-able, and my friend Matthew Clark has this great house concert resource page for you. Check it out!

Yeti Blue Microphone 

I love this little guy for capturing work tapes or even rough demos. We've also used it for broadcasting live online shows. I love it because it doesn't require me to be a techie and it's the best affordable USB mic I've found so far.

Headphones

I've used Bose and Audio-Technica. Again, I'm not a techie, so definitely do some research, but something other than earbuds is super helpful for recording and listening to mixes.

Scholarship to Masterpiece Project

I work at Masterpiece Project as a songwriting studio leader one week every summer and cannot speak highly enough about this place. It's exactly what I wish I'd had when I was a teenager, a safe intimate environment to explore art and make friends under the mentorship of faith-based professional artists.

If your artist is rising 9th-12th grade, this would be a fantastic Christmas gift that won't end up on their bedroom floor with dirty socks.

Demo Recording Session

For a beginning songwriter, one of the most exhilarating experiences is to have one of your songs recorded professionally. Demo production can range from $200-$1500 depending on complexity of recording and reputation/demand of the particular producer.

If it's a new/young/aspiring songwriter, definitely find someone in your local area who will do it on the budget end of the scale. Make sure you hear samples of their work before hiring.

Portable PA

This has been the handiest thing I've purchased in the past few years. I use the Fishman tower system, but I've heard good things about the Bose, as well. Perfect for small venue performances. If you only need 1-2 inputs, you won't even need a soundboard.

Soundboard

For performances with multiple vocalists or instruments, use a mixing console like this one from Yamaha with your PA.

Music!

You can't go wrong with iTunes gift cards. Or vinyl for the young/audiophile crowd. Or physical CDs for the non-digital car. And maybe give them some music that has stood the test of time that they wouldn't ordinarily seek out. I was heavily influenced by music I found laying around my childhood home, music popular before my time...Patsy Cline, The Beach Boys, Dire Straits, Roy Orbison. Help your writer get acquainted with the greats of the past OR greats from genres other than their first love.

Time

If your writer is a grown-up, one of the best gifts I can think of is dedicated time.

Is she a mother? Take the kids away from the house for a day and let her write in peace!

A married man? Give him an evening a week to himself & a place to create.

Or get crazy and find a place on the beach where you can go together - but go your separate ways during the daytime.

Macbook

Enough said. It's true, not all artists love Apple, but it's a good bet.

This Calendar

I don't have this, but someone is getting it for my young filmmaker, because he's interested in making actual progress toward goals, and I've heard great things about this helpful tool from Jon Acuff. Check it out.

 Professional Photos

If he or she wants to share their music or book shows, this is going to be necessary. Find a good local photographer who has some experience with artist photography (different from wedding or baby portraits) & book a session.

Website Design

You don't have to have a pro do it nowadays, at least not to start out, because there are some good build-your-own sites. But if they are getting busy with music work, this could be an amazing gift. OR, simply buy a domain with their name so they can use it whenever they're ready!

Skype Songwriting Mentoring Session(s)

Finally, I love to encourage up-and-coming songwriters. It's one of my passions to come alongside others who are using their gifts.

If you have a songwriter in your life who would benefit from conversation and feedback on the craft of songwriting or the life of music-making, I'm happy to offer a limited number of session times as I have time.

Please email me at christa@christawellsmusic.com to discuss the possibilities. Fun!

 

So, there you have it. My quick brainstorm on thoughtful gifts for songwriters. Have more ideas? By all means, share them below!

Love,

christa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plumb Exhale Tour Journal: 1

Photo Credit: Edwin & Joyce Ormeo 29 sept 2015

I arrived home Sunday late afternoon after my first weekend out with Plumb's Exhale Tour. For these five weekends, I am the first (and smaller) of two openers, the other being a band from New Zealand called Rapture Ruckus.It's an eclectic line-up, with RR's high energy pop/rap and Plumb's gorgeously massive vocals set against lights and electric guitar. And there's me with my keyboard. I joke, but in truth I humbly and gratefully embrace my role filling the quieter, singer-songwriter space at the front.

"Come Close Now" especially resonated with people this week, and they often came to the table asking for "the fire song." It makes me so happy to see again and again that music mystically enters the most sacred spaces of a stranger's life, where I myself cannot go.

Our family has been in such an unusual state of upheaval over the past several months that I was unaware of the full extent of my stress level until it began showing up as headaches and sick stomach, which resolved itself once I was settled onto the tour bus.

Here is where I interrupt this journal to send out a public thank you - from the bottom of my heart - to the people in our church & family & community (local and far-0ff) who have taken care of us in SO many ways recently. We have been so humbled in a very good way to depend on you & so aware of how real your love is - for us and for God. And how real His love for us is.

So, for the curious...the highs & lows of the first weekend on a tour bus?

Lows...

...initial anxiety of being completely clueless regarding absolutely everything. Here's something true: If you say "yes" to things beyond your comfort zone, you're gonna be uncomfortable. Deep, huh?

...and...that's about it, unless you count the fact that I never read more than one paragraph of the book I brought along for bedtime (The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho)

Highs...

...overcoming said anxieties with experience. The great thing about the first time is there is only one first time. You get over the hump pretty quickly.

...the food. Hello. I asked the bands: How do you do this all the time and not weigh twice as much as you do??? Eat, set up, eat, soundcheck, eat, perform, load out, eat, sleep, repeat.

...the black-out curtain on bus bunks. I slept well inside my little coffin.

...being parked in the Chautauqua State Park Saturday, which was beautiful and gave me the chance to escape for a quiet walk. I need nature like some people need Diet Coke.

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...NOT having to set up and run a portable PA. It's 1000x easier and more pleasurable to play & sing with a great sound system.

...by far, my favorite thing is meeting the people who volunteer at the events and the people who stop by the table afterwards to connect. I have zero interest in being on any kind of pedestal and find the best antidote is to stay busy working alongside other people, swapping stories.

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After four nights on the bus, I was greeted by my brother-in-law & enjoyed several hours with him & my sister, Mandy (of COVERS art fame), sipping coffee and eating donuts & pasta (health).

I arrived home to cool, gray Carolina skies (tropical storm off the coast), a 6th grade science project, and a delicious rice & chicken dish prepared by friends from church.

Daily chores & cuddles & quiet hours of solitude are welcome on these days between travel. Mom arrives to help tomorrow & I'm looking forward to a day with her before I leave.

Getting to do this work is a gift. Obviously. I know that well & will remind myself of that on the days when I don't really feel like getting on a plane.

Today, I'm home and practicing the art of being present.

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Also, I will practice hiding my disgust as a take my little girl & her hamster who murdered his partner and has now scratched all his hair off to the vet.  #reallife

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey, summer, what's up?!

Well, obviously, spring & summer are the most wonderful times of the year. Can I get an amen? Sorry, Christmas, you're just a little cold & dark & busy to win the title around here. Everything is nicer when the sun is shining, including me. So here's to the season for making merry & making music outdoors whenever possible.

COVERS ep!

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Thank you for sharing the COVERS album with your friends & family!

I'm in love with the whole project & the way people have connected with it, and it wouldn't have happened without your support. That's a fact.

This awesome t-shirt featuring original art by Mandy Rogers Horton & design by Shelly Eve is available & will re-ordered in additional sizes, so if you don't see yours, please let us know what you need, so I can add it to the list!

TWO BIRDS mini-concerts

Along the lines of making music outdoors, my musical friend Taylor Leonhardt & I spontaneously started something we can't seem to quit, a series of back porch mini-concerts (or front porch, when it's raining).

If you could use a little live music over your lunch break, sit in while we share just one song each with a 10-minute rehearsal & an iPhone.

We've dubbed the series "Two Birds." Here's our most recent episode.

Subscribe to the channel to be an earlybird (see what I did there? heh heh) when a new video is posted.

SLOW TRAIN COMING

Last night, I had the extreme privilege of participating in a collective tribute to Bob Dylan's Slow Train Coming album in Carrboro, NC. Esteemed musician Tim Carless planned & led the way & Emmaus Way of Durham sponsored us at The ArtsCenter.

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It's crazy energizing to play together with other musicians. Hoping we have more opportunities to work together!

ESCAPE TO THE LAKE

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Really looking forward to playing in Watertown, Wisconsin, at the end of this month and then heading immediately to ETTL to co-lead a songwriting bootcamp & do a little performance.

Discount tickets available for night-only concert passes (for a limited time). Use promo code "fireworks" and save $5 per ticket (no limit). Tix/Info: bit.ly/ettl15n

I especially recommend ETTL to any of you musicians who are serious about both faith & excellence in art making. It's a uniquely intimate setting where you'll get to spend time with artists, listening, asking questions, being inspired. Join us!

MASTERPIECE PROJECT 2015

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End of July always finds me leading songwriting studio for high school students at Masterpiece Project in southern Kentucky.

I can't say enough about the way Masterpiece impacts students & staff. It's one of the highlights of my year.

The July week is already full this year, but my friend Jessica Campbell will be leading songwriting for Masterpiece the week of June 21, and there are still several spots open. Masterpiece is not just for musicians but for young artists of any medium.  Each week offers specific studios--get the details on their website.


I'll be in Nashville to write next week & will play a couple shows with Jessica Campbell July 17&18 in WV & VA, but in general I'll be hanging out around Raleigh more over the summer, which I'm glad for.

And...a surprising announcement coming soon regarding the fall, so stay tuned!

Hope you & yours are finding ways to be outside, be together & be present.

much love,

christa

 

Release Show & Other Happenings

photo cred: Taylor Leonhardt!  

Dear friend,

I sat down to write and realized that today is the 2-month anniversary of the COVERS ep release!  We gave away 3,000 full album downloads on Noisetrade the first week. Many thanks to the Kickstarters whose funding made it possible for me to give the music away that week, thus getting it into the hands of so many new listeners.

I really hope you've had a chance to hear it, because man, it's been GREAT fun to interact with so many people who have memories attached to these songs & others who had never heard of The Smiths.  It's surprised me how many people are into covers and would never have found me apart from me covering Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight Tonight." :)

So what happened after Feb 10?

Since release day, I've had the pleasure of doing several interviews/podcasts, a small tour in Texas, a writing trip to Nashville, and have spent a good bit of time working up those promised Kickstarter rewards, as well.

I'm also carving out time for songwriting--both for me and for other artists--which is maybe most exciting, because one of the things I hoped the COVERS album would achieve for me is a renewed sense of energy in my writing.

Flow...

With spring upon us, I find I'm waking up with my brain exploding, creativity sparking, and it's been noted at the dinner table that my knee is bouncing in that antsy way you do when you've been in a state of flow and had to stop to do human things like talk and eat.

At times like this especially, the work doesn't feel like a job but like being alive, at play, outside of time, lost. And found.

I told Toby the downside about the writing days where  lose myself like this is that my brief hours of solitude are gone before I even look up.  Still, it is such a great gift to have work that makes you feel that way; it's a small price for the joy & honor.

Also...

I'm gearing up for songwriting workshops/events such as Young Songwriters Workshops in Raleigh, Escape to the Lake, Masterpiece Project 2015, and a Writers Retreat some friends and I are leading in Nashville in August (currently being revamped, will repost soon).  If you have any songwriters in your life, please have them check out these opportunities to connect with peers & grow in their understanding & practice of the art.

Last but not least...

I've been practicing with this gifted & oh, so fun group of musicians for the only currently-scheduled full band show on the books.  Our COVERS Release Show will take place at Raleigh's Pour House Music Hall THIS SUNDAY, and I couldn't be more excited.

If you're in town, please come and enjoy openers Jess Ray and Claybrook and stick around to hear the newly released tunes as well as some originals from past projects!

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If you've hung in there to read all this, wow! Impressive attention span.

I can't tell you how grateful I am to have the privilege of your time and ears.  I know you have your own work in front of you & it's good to be in such good company.

Keep saying it your  own way...

christa

 

 

 

 

 

COVERS Release!

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Friends,

I'm so excited to announce that the COVERS ep I arranged & recorded with the amazing Ben Shive - fully funded by 156 equally amazing Kickstarters - is OUT!

You can get it at iTunes, but the full album is also being featured this week FREE on NOISETRADE.  All five songs - free for you & your friends & your Aunt Sue!

I'd be ever so grateful if you'd take a listen & let me know what you think!  And even more grateful if you'd let others know about it.

Ben & I are truly pleased with what became of these songs as we experimented and played in the studio.

We hope you'll feel the same.

With  Love & Gratitude for all your support & encouragement,

christa



These Are a Few of My Favorite...Indies

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 10.53.31 AM I keep finding myself in conversations where people are lamenting the shortage of good music in the world and asking for recommendations. Honestly, there is SO much good music being made. You just have to know where to find it.

At our house, we listen to just about everything in terms of genre, and we find our music by word-of-mouth, Noisetrade, Spotify/Pandora/iTunes Radio, mainstream radio, and great online curators like Under the Radar Radio. We love it all, and our playlists tend to lead or follow our moods and activities.

Okay, and we also disagree. Often.  In fact, my personal favorites happen to be on Toby's "most loathed" list. That's okay. It is what it is.  I can play OTR as loudly as I want when he's not home to avoid the groans, grimaces and "this is the WORST" comments.

So, I'm not going to give you everything, but rather focus a few of my favorites who are a little (or a lot) lesser-known. Because nobody needs me to tell them about "this band called Mumford & Sons."

(Several of the artists I have included need no introduction, either, but just in case they're new to you. Also, I'm leaving off music that I can't in good conscience recommend to your kids.)

Treat yourself & your people to new music during these long winter months & find joy in supporting some under-discovered artists!  

p.s. Some of these albums will be included in a giveaway happening here next week! Drawing 3 names from orders placed in November & shipping music, books & a signed Christmas greeting. 

So, here we go.  Artists - and one of their well-loved songs - as a jumping off place for you.

 

My Most Played Over Past 12 Months:

Sleeping At Last - "In the Embers"

Over the Rhine - "All My Favorite People"

Andrew Belle - "Pieces"

 

Extremely Gifted Singer/Songwriter Friends:

Jessica Campbell - "Time"

Nick Flora - "Lost At Sea"

Sara Groves - "It's Going to be Alright"

Andy Gullahorn - "I Will"

Ellie Holcomb - "Magnolia"

Jenny & Tyler - "Song for You"

Shelly Moore - "Tie That Binds"

Cindy Morgan & Andy Greer - Hymns for Hunger

Eric Peters - "Where Would I Go"

Jill Phillips - "It Will Pass"

Rachel Stevener - "Holding"

Carolina Story - "In the End"

Nicole Witt - New Album Coming!

 

Quiet Music to Play Loudly

Sanders Bohlke - "I'm Gonna Make It"

Future of Forestry - "Pie Jesu"

Kye Kye - "Peace Song"

Milk Carton Kids - "Michigan"

Salt of the Sound - "Where Do I Begin"

Waterdeep - "Not Looking Good"

 

Good Guys w/Big Talent

Colony House - "Glorious"

Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors - "Live Forever"

Josh Ritter -"Bright Smile"

Judah & the Lion - "Rich Kids"

 

The Josh Garrels Category

Josh Garrels - "Farther Along"

 

New Discoveries

Jason Barrows - "Voyagers"

Kaleb Jones - "Hold On Tight" - p.s. I met Kaleb in a coffee shop on Thursday, fell in love with his music & voice, and 4 days later he was singing on my upcoming Covers album.

 

Young Artists I'm Excited to Work With/Watch for These:

Emily Sage Dempsey - "Grow"

Jansen Hogan - Album Coming!

Elle Michelle – "Sleepy Heart"

Jana Gilmore – "Stay With Me Til Morning"

Taylor Leonhardt - "Sunday in the Park"

Jess Ray - "Better"

 

Happy Thanksgiving to you & your loved ones.  These colder months can be hard, which for me means I have to work harder at the practice of gratitude. May your list of gifts be ever-growing.  I'm thankful for YOU.

love,

christa

35 Hours

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A few minutes ago, I shared this on Twitter:

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It's true. Art encourages us to forge friendships and learn from people we might ordinarily assume we have nothing in common with.  Music has made me feel more connected to the rest of humanity - thus, less alone - all my life.

A couple months ago I wrote about the song and idea behind "Panning for Gold," and the new work I was thinking about as I wrote was this upcoming EP of cover songs I'm working on with producer Ben Shive.

Austin Kleon, whose book Steal Like An Artist I highly recommend, writes:

What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere.  All creative work builds on what came before...You are the sum of your influences.

He also quotes Goethe:

We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.

I was shaped and fashioned especially by the sounds I soaked in during my teens and early 20s, and I believe they are worth celebrating.

If you're not convinced that bringing a new voice to old songs can be worthwhile, I heartily recommend these fine examples by Sleeping At Last, or this one by Greg Laswell.

We still have 35 hours to go on rounding up backers for this project.  Will you consider joining the team, even if you can only manage pre-ordering the download for $5?  

That's not too little!  We want you in this with us.  And if you would bring a few friends along?  The more the merrier!

In case you missed these on Twitter or FB, here are a couple teasers from last week's show in Raleigh. The band and I had a blast re-imagining these favorites from The Smiths and REM.  Not saying these are definites on the album or that these would be THE arrangements, but maybe you'll get a taste of the possibilities.

Thanks. Thanks for being here with me.

-cnw

Panning for gold...

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 I go to the riverbed, shoes on the shore

I’m shaking a little bit, hardly know what for

Oh, and the water’s cloudy as the sky

I’m looking for answers in the riverbed of life…

My parents are pretty amazing, no doubt about that.  My childhood was filled with enough love to make the frequent relocations more than bearable, our house filled with people always.  I have no complaints.

But Mom & Dad were very careful about what kinds of music, books, and television we consumed, so I missed a few moments in pop culture while I grew.  Okay, I didn’t know a single Prince song until I saw Pretty Woman.  That’s a fact, Jack.  (Unfortunate that I didn’t miss more of the fashion trends.)

But as they slowly opened the doors for us to explore music and film during our teen years, they also taught us to pay attention.  To think for ourselves.  To listen and work to discern truth and notice all the big and small ways Truth gets told in stories that aren’t necessarily telling - or trying to tell - the whole gospel truth.

 I go to the pages handed down and worn

I’m hearing the sages with the truth on their tongues

Sifting beauty from the layers of ash

I’m tracing the universe with my fingers in the sand…

Above all they showed us that all people are worth our attention and that there’s nothing more important than looking for things to love in others.

Over time, for me, that theme has carried over into the way I see all of life--our books, films, music.  There’s gold just about everywhere.  Maybe all our moments--of triumph and failure and longing and love and humanity--are moments within the great story.

It’s a game of Where’s Waldo or I Spy.  Give us something well-made, thoughtfully crafted, and shaped in pursuit of excellence. Don't we want to spot the good, the true, the hopeful, the redemption, the STORY – even if only glimpses – in the most unlikely places?  Cosmos from chaos, as Madeleine L’Engle wrote in Walking On Water.

Sometimes the good is more breathtaking for having been discovered like a baby grand at Goodwill.

It’s here in the city where the nations converge

It’s in the graffiti and the shapes of the earth

Choir lofts and kitchens, where voices ring loud

Reflections of faith shining glory over doubt…

Friends, I’m about to do something different, and I’m a bit tentative. Not because I have doubts.  But because I’m so hopeful you’ll want to go down to the riverbed with me and do some panning.  I’m so hopeful that you’ll be as excited as I am to put fingers in the sand and trace the true, even in the dark moments of your own journey.

Get ready.  Sharing soon.

Gonna be beautiful.  And fun.  And truly worthwhile.

Panning for gold, I’m panning for gold

Until I have all my heart can hold…

 

Jealousy & Her Rival, Community

*This is for a couple of young artists who asked me about jealousy amongst artists & how to find community in art-making.  Maybe for you, too? Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 10.11.40 PM

JEALOUSY

So you were sitting there trying to enjoy a performance when all of a sudden something ugly starts to wake up inside you and you find you're staring at the stage and the performer with less delight than dejection, more jealousy than joy.

You're feeling insecure about your work.  You feel underused...overlooked...uncertain.

If it goes on long enough, you start to get really good at finding fault with those "more successful" creatives.  You get critical in an attempt to protect your own sense of worth.  But it doesn't work, because instead of fueling better art in you, it makes you bitter, brittle, dry.

You weren't meant to be this way, and you don't WANT to be this way.  You WANT to be generous and cheer others on.  But you don't know how.

The first track on my album Feed Your Soul is called "Vanity Vanity":

When they passed me over like a penny on the sidewalk

I wanted to roll into the gutter

I wanted to listen in case they talked

Oh, little darlin', you've got a problem

Better treat it before it's too late

Vanity, vanity, how'd you get your hands on me

Goin' to the doctor who knows my sin

And he'll show me what I've got and take me to the river to get clean

Nobody likes to feel passed over.

You have gifts, you're pretty sure, but have no earthly idea what to do with all those songs/screenplays/ideas/drawings.  Or you're trying.  But your thoughts and motives are confused, and you don't want to admit it to anyone else, because it's ugly and everyone else seems above it.

Prayer.

I don't have answers or a prescription but I've been ugly inside, too, and I've often felt like a big zero.  And when I heard someone say to pray for those you do not feel love for, that it would change things, it sounded a bit pious and quite impossible.  But I tried it anyway; I prayed for a fellow artist I didn't know personally, whose success felt, for whatever (no good) reason, like a threat to my own.  Prayed for her to be fruitful and heard and to get better at her work and find more open doors.  I don't know what happened to her through that, but my heart, like the Grinch's, grew 10x bigger.  I found it impossible to ask on her behalf and still resent her.

Doing your thing.

My friend, Aaron Rice, says: "Stay in your lane," and I think that's a brilliant way to say it.  It doesn't mean you can't try new things.   But it means we have to stop looking at what others are doing and get to work.  I really believe we're meant to SHINE in unique, inimitable ways.  The more I take that advice, the more lovely and useful I am.

Giving thanks.

Like prayer, giving thanks has the power to protect us from envy.  Maybe only Mom & Dad care about my music, so I thank God for them.  Give thanks for the coffee shop that opens its platform to the unknown artist.  Thanks for the life story that gives way to song or story.  For the weakness that makes me dependent.  For the older man who tells me how that lyric reached a cobwebbed corner of his heart. I learn to give thanks for my own voice, as unimpressive as it seems to me.

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COMMUNITY

When we moved to North Carolina, I was at a total loss for artistic community, knowing no one and finding few musicians to intersect with.  Art-making can be very isolating, even though music should ultimately be collaborative.  We spend a lot of time in our own heads, and it's easy to feel like the only weirdo in your town (or house).

There are more of us out here than we think.  We have to watch for kindred spirits and create spaces that will draw us together.   A lot of times for me it's meant volunteering myself and my time to creative efforts, however small they may feel.  It's given me the chance to spend time with others who are at least interested in seeing artful things happen, whether they are artists themselves or not.

Some suggestions? You might...

*Volunteer with an arts camp for youth

*Say “yes” to local opportunities in community & church

*Reach out online via email or websites or forums

*Share your work online and let others find YOU

*Share art with often overlooked communities of people

*Participate in conferences for creatives (International Arts Movement)

*Support touring indie artists who come through town. 

*Host a house show, provide a meal and a space for them to rest.

*Join the Nashville Songwriters Association 

*Be willing to travel for opportunities to meet/share/work

*Search the web for like-minded artists & reach out.

*Find artists you respect & ask how you can support them.

*Host a meet-up at a local coffee shop for area songwriters & musicians.

At the end of the day, we need each other.  We really do.  We make each other better.

Hey.

There's no room for jealousy or isolationism.

There IS room for all of us at this party.  Even me.  Even you.

Especially you.

And this last picture?  It has nothing to do with this post except to say maybe we also need to take ourselves a little less seriously now and then. ;)

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For the Invisible...SHINE

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I would sit in the car before school and obsessively rub more black liner beneath and around my eyes.  “Why do you do that?” my cute, sporty sister asked.

Because I’m ugly.  Because my eyes aren’t pretty and nothing is right about the way I look.

“Why does your sister dress like that?” someone asked her.

Because she has no idea who she's supposed to be.  Which version of herself is true.  Because she's drawn to a kind of beauty she doesn’t see here in these horrible school walls, and she doesn’t know how to be like you. 

My own small bedroom walls & closet doors were papered with magazine images of idyllic scenery and girls in wacky & fanciful ensembles really only worn at photo shoots and not in real life.  Those images were the backdrop for my imagined life (read: escapist).  I didn’t have money, so I spent hours modifying the clothing I had into something that resembled the girl in my mind that resembled the way I felt on the inside.

“Why are you so bizarre?” my Mom asked (who is now appalled she ever said that – she’s awesome).  “Why is your room such a disaster?”

Because I am a disaster.  Because I’ve been the A-student you don’t need to worry about, but I want you to worry right now, because my mind is dark and I’m deeply sad.

During lunch hour, I hoped fervently for one or two familiar faces to be easily spotted in the cafeteria.  If not, I carried my salami sandwich to some quiet corner of hallway and kept my head down.  At least one or two pep rallies were spent behind a locked stall door in the bathroom.  Pep rallies were the worst.

I literally ached to be noticed, even as I hid behind shyness and long skirts and hair and eyeliner.  I dreamed of that moment where one of those confident, popular boys would walk out of a John Hughes script, see the skinny, strangely-dressed girl and believe she was a mystery worth risking his teenage societal status on.

I hid inside music, and the music hid me.

There were good friends & mentors & safe spaces along the way, but it’s easy to experience and remember that young season in light of the place where we spend the most hours daily and feel the most judged.

We moved when I was in 5th grade, 6th grade, 9th grade, and 11th grade.  We’d moved plenty before those years, but it wasn’t a big deal until middle school.   Everything is harder during the teen years, and moving between different cultures without having the financial means to conform make it harder.

Almost every day for the first 3.5 years of high school, I crawled into the shower at 6:30am, sat under the hot spray and meditated on how miserable the next eight hours would be.  After school, I cried on the couch, begged my poor mother to home school me.

Please, please, don’t make me go back.  I hate it. I hate it. Hate. It.

We’d lived in the D.C. area just a few weeks when I waited in the lunch line, a scrawny 14-year-old recently returned from four years overseas, and heard three older girls behind me commenting loudly on my hair and clothing.

“Why is she dressed like that?  Look at her shoes!  I guess she thinks she’s cool.” (laughter)

Did you know it’s entirely possible to feel both invisible and conspicuous all at once?   Invisible, immaterial, irrelevant, unnoticeable.  Conspicuously wrong, unattractive, unfashionable, resist-able.

Why I am telling you all this?  It's not a pity party.  Really.  This was a long time ago.

It’s because I see you.

You're like me.

I feel compelled to write this down, the same way I felt compelled to write to creative mothers a few months ago.

It's for the invisible.  The ones who are reading this now and are quite sure I’ve been spying on you, because this all sounds a little too familiar.

You stand outside the circle, whatever that means.  Seemingly locked out of what looks like joy and you have no inroads. You see no similarity between you and the beautiful, interesting people strolling, laughing their way through life.  

You don’t know your own talent.  Or you have an idea of it, but no one else is convinced.

You look inside and find nothing brave, only fear and anger and jealousy and sadness. You want to get out of this place.  No other destination is in sight, but you’re hopeful there’s something, some bright place of belonging, out there.

I understand. And there IS.  There is a Place of Belonging in the Person of God.

Those words are not a consolation prize.  That’s the kind of TRUTH that will lift you right off the ground if you let it.

I didn’t come to give advice, but I’d be failing you if I left that unsaid.

People ask what I’d say to my younger self, and I don’t know what might have helped that girl. Maybe hearing the story of someone who walked that road and went on to lead a semi-normal life?

Maybe a couple of songs written/recorded by the same girl a few years apart?  The first a snapshot of that time taken just a few short years after.  The second a bit further down the road when things can be recalled without as much sting.

Time changes lots of things, and if your eyes are open, time will change you for the better.  Awkwardness shall pass (well, mostly) and wisdom will take the pain of those crappy years and shape you into a stronger and more sensitive, more seeing, human than you would otherwise be.

You’ll be one to notice and believe others are worth the risk.  You’ll write a song or a book or an email you wouldn’t have.  You’ll be the friend or the parent or the (fill in the blank) you couldn’t have been without the memory of loneliness.

I wish.

I wish I had embraced uniqueness instead of carrying it around like a necessary but unwanted load of bricks in my backpack.  I wish I had found the way to thinking about myself less and about others more.

I wish I’d listened to truer voices.  I was never invisible.

I could have been SHINING all along.

So can you.

"Invisible" - Christa Wells/Mandy Rogers - A Rogers/Wells Project

 

"SHINE" - Christa Wells - Official Music Video 

 

FEED YOUR SOUL - Release Day!

christa wells feed your soul album I may start crying if I’m not careful.

I mean, we actually did this.  Nine months ago, I trembled my way into a Kickstarter campaign and asked for help making another record.  Who am I to ask so much from  others?  But I did.

Songs and substance were beginning to well up again, and there didn’t seem to be a way to get them out on my own.  This simply would not have gone forward at that time without a communal effort.  And you guys stepped out of shadows with so much joy & gratitude (!) it took my breath away.

And here we are.

Today was the official birthdate of “FEED YOUR SOUL,” an album of 12 new & original songs that begins with vanity & self-sufficiency and ends in authentic love & community.

I did not know where I was going with these songs at first.  I didn’t know how they would fit together or what umbrella they might belong under.  They terrified me, honestly, and I was often certain they were miserable failures.

But you’ve begun to take them out of my arms and carry them with you.  And I’m finding out from you that the course was right after all and the work worth the labor pains.

So, world, I humbly present “FEED YOUR SOUL,” bashfully placing it at the foot of the mountain of good things.  Hopeful it belongs there.

And if you agree it was worth the effort...maybe you'll tell somebody?

Two Ways to Show Your Love:

  1. Itunes/Amazon reviews & ratings…It really helps an album to have lots of good words written about it.  If you have 5 minutes…?
  2. Give a copy or copies away…to your neighbor, co-worker or blog-readers

The world needs music-lovers as much as music-makers.  It never escapes me how much I need you.  Humbly grateful you’ve chosen to be here in this moment with me.

Love,

christa