What got you interested in music? I was one of those kids (who) loved listening to the radio and listening to records. I just loved music. I loved singing music in church. There was a band that came out of this hippie church I was going to. They would play every Saturday night at the bookstore next to the church. So I started thinking, "I can write songs, I'm going to do the same thing."
What was it like growing up in a big country town like Nashville? The good thing about being in Nashville is that I had access to a lot of recording studio opportunities. I took a one-month class my sophomore year in high school to learn all about the music business.
What inspires you when you write a song? My first song that I wrote was about having a crush on one of my older sister's friends. Then I was learning songs by Carole King, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. I was just so excited about picking up the guitar. What really catapulted me into songwriting was that I couldn't find any music that sounded like the singer/songwriters I love (who) talked about faith.
As a Christian artist, did you ever think you would have a hit record? I don't think I ever really thought ahead. It's funny to even describe a teenager as a Christian artist. I was a schoolgirl who wrote songs. There's just no way to anticipate what's going to happen. I knew that from growing up in Nashville. There are so many talented people. Even if you work really hard, it doesn't mean that you'll have success.
Do you think your messages about life and faith resonate with people? That's the feedback I get. I feel like, because I was writing for myself and for my friends, I have always tried to sing about real things from an honest perspective.
You were on the pop charts and had videos on MTV. Did you feel that you ever lost your core Christian message? I was really the one (who) wanted to do music that wasn't faith-based. I went to the record company and said it would be nice to broaden the subject matter here to try new things and to branch out a little bit.
You've been in the music industry for 25 years. What has changed in that time? Technology has revolutionized making records. Back when I cut my first record . . . in 1978, the only place to make a record was in a recording studio. It required a certain amount of budget. Now, anyone with a computer can make a record with pro tools. That's a great thing. It's such a level playing field for people being able to express themselves creatively.
What is coming up for you in the future? I plan on being back in the studio by late winter or early spring working on a release of all new songs.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF