It was December 2012. I had just moved back home from Austin, and I had this big goal in mind that I wanted to perform my songs before the year was over. I had procrastinated ALL YEAR because I was too afraid, and now I had only a couple weeks left before the New Year, and I didn’t want to let myself down.
I dragged myself to an open mic in Houston. The weather was cold, but it was my nerves that made my teeth chatter. I had these songs I’d been singing and playing behind closed doors that I hadn’t shared with the world yet, and I wasn’t sure how people would respond. I was terribly stage fright.
I had written these songs all throughout college and my 20s, but I never had the guts to share them with anybody. Now I was 28, on the verge of turning 29, and I didn’t want to enter my 30s without pursuing this dream.
So there I was, second on the list at the open mic at Avant Garden, my nerves all over the place. I was chewing my fingernails and shaking my legs, but I knew I couldn’t back down this time. I had to do this afraid.
My name was called, and I shyly went up onstage. I played 3 of my songs that ended up on my first album: Time and Again, Say Goodbye, and I Always Will. After I finished my first song, I heard a girl in the audience say, “I love her!” It gave me the encouragement to keep going, and after I finished my set, the audience clapped, and I was taken aback. I couldn’t believe nobody threw tomatoes at me!
After I sat back down at my table, several people came up to me afterwards and told me they loved my songs, and from that moment on, I knew I needed to keep pursuing this thing called “music.”
The thing about the music industry is that it can be a dark world, and as a Christian, I wasn’t sure where I fit into all of that. I started praying about whether I should pursue this dream, and I waited for a sign from God that this was the right path for me to follow. Well… a few weeks later, He gave me a literal sign. I was driving down the road in Tomball TX and saw a billboard for a performance showcase called AMTC (Actors, Models, and Talent for Christ). I couldn’t believe my eyes! You mean I can be in the entertainment world and be a Christian?!
I went home and Googled AMTC and read about this amazing performance showcase that was geared towards Christians, where they train you to be a light in the dark entertainment industry and to use your unique gifts for God’s glory. I immediately signed up for their open mic, and after auditioning, I got accepted into the program. I started traveling to Dallas for training, and it was so refreshing to be around Christians just like me who felt called to be a performer. It gave me the encouragement I needed to follow the dreams that had been on my heart since I was a kid.
After training, I attended their SHINE showcase in Orlando, where I auditioned for industry reps all over the country. It was there that I discovered a Christian record label called Tate Music Group, and I submitted my demo of three songs. A month later, I got an email saying they wanted to sign me, and they sent me a contract. I prayed about it and knew it was time to move forward and make this dream a reality. I was going to record my very first album!
Recording my first album was such an exhilarating experience, and I was especially happy that my parents had joined me on this journey and were supportive of this dream, even though it wasn’t conventional. I had known for a long time that I wasn’t a fit for a conventional 9-5 job. I was too creative and non-conforming for that.
I released my album to the world in the year 2014, and the response I got from family and friends was so positive, even from the people I least expected to be supportive. From then on, I went all-in on this dream and didn’t look back. I realized that I am at my happiest when I am doing what makes my heart sing, when I am sharing my God-given gifts and talents with the world and not keeping them hidden behind closed doors.
Even now, as I am looking to start a family soon and pulling back on performing live, I am finding new ways to pursue the love of songwriting and sharing it with others online. I am a firm believer that God has given everyone on this earth a specific purpose, and this world is a better place when people are doing what they love and using it to help others.
We are all called to be the light in this dark world, not to hide our talents, but to bring them out into the open. We are called to be brave and not to be afraid. As one of my most beloved songs Face of God says, “The One who made the light told me to shine.” And it is true for you too, my friend.
As I share my journey with you, I invite you to come along and ride with me. To share your own story and talents and gifts with others. If you’d like to know more about me and where I’ve come from, start with my songs. My testimony is written in those lyrics, along with all the heartbreaks and losses along the way. This is my story, and I want you to be a part of it. Come join me, and let your light shine, my friend.