Yes, definitely. My mom signed me up for piano lessons at age nine, but I already played by ear. Everyone in my family sings and/or plays an instrument or has at some point: guitar, piano, flute, bass, drums, accordion--we had an auto-harp lying around the house too. The four of us kids and my parents would get together occasionally and sing while my dad accompanied us on guitar. Think: Sound of Music.
Before they came to Christ, my dad was a Beatles fan and my mom had been into Janis Joplin so there was always that undercurrent of affection for folk and rock music, but we also listened to pop, classical, and lots of Christian music.
At age two, my favorite children’s record included the songs: “Kookaburra Sits on the Old Gum Tree” and “I’m a Little Prairie Flower”. I played them over and over.
I remember “skating” around our dining room’s slippery wooden floors to an Amy Grant album. I think it was “Age to Age”. Amy had a profound influence on my singing style. I would shut myself in my room and listen to and sing along with her recordings for hours, trying to catch and emulate the magic in her voice and lyrics.
I was a lamb called Tiny in our church’s Christmas musical at age nine. I felt so proud of myself as my Uncle Sam scraped the makeup off my face after the evening’s performance.
When I was ten, my dad did a parody of a 50s song for our pastor’s daughter. He wrote, arranged, and recorded the entire song, including all the do-wop vocal harmonies, with just two boom boxes. I watched spellbound as my dad worked on it and thought he was a genius for coming up with the idea.
My maternal grandmother, Lorraine Bell Ungleich, believed I had a singing voice and encouraged (pushed) me to sing at church from the time I was eight--songs like, “Father’s Eyes” and “El Shaddai”. She constantly found new songs she thought I should add to my repertoire. To this day, I treasure a cassette full of “songs to sing” that she gave me. As I grew up, I sang on worship teams, with friends, at special events, for Christmas plays, etc. Eventually, I led worship with my husband and on my own.
In college, I began writing music with friends and we performed our songs at a local music festival. I'd never written songs before, but it felt good so I wrote more; some for congregational worship, some for my mom's Christmas plays, some for myself, and they began to pile up. My husband and I decided to record some of my songs at home.
My favorite female vocalists past and present include: Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Natalie Cole, Alison Krauss, Kate Rusby, Renee Fleming, and Karen Matheson of Capercaillie.
I hope my songs bring encouragement, joy, peace, and a sense of God’s love to those who hear them. They are my heart’s response to my own experiences with God and others in this world.