Monday, August 12, 2013

Interview with Won4Christ Productions

WON4CHRIST Productions is spotlighting local Christian artists. I am so happy that the first spot light is my very good facebook friend, Courtney Spears. I hope you enjoy my conversation with her.

W4C -I first heard you when Tammie and I w...ere a part of Cody's Coffee in Canby and we had your CD on our shelf. I remember listening to it and I thought you sounded like Jewel. Then I met you when I was playing the Clackamas County Fair with Amy Gustafson (Oden) and you played before us. It was packed and then you sang, the audience cheered loud, then you were done and they left. lol

W4C -Where did you grow up and where did you go to High School?
CS -I grew up in Portland most of my childhood and then split time in High School when I moved from David Douglas to Lake Oswego High School my junior year.

W4C -How old were you when you first sang publicly, by yourself?
CS -In 6th grade I decide it would be a great idea to do the talent show, so I worked really hard on my favorite Amy Grant song at the time, Arms of Love. It was the first time I played piano and sang at the same time in front of an audience.

W4C-How old were you when you wrote your first song? Do you remember the name of it?
CS-I was more into basketball and volleyball after the 6th grade debut, so I didn't realize I could write music until after college, and after learning the guitar. I think I was about 21 and I wrote my first song for my mom, recorded it on a cassette tape and then recorded three part harmonies from the dual cassette player. I decided to record that song thinking that after all the praise I was getting from family, the minute the engineer would hear my AMAZING song he’d connect me with a major producer and I’d be on my way to living the singer songwriter dream. He just took my $100 and gave me a nice copy of my song. Discouraged, I didn't write another song until 10 years later when my heart was broken. That was when my friend’s baby boy Sam tragically died at 18 months. I didn't know what to do or say, but I felt impressed to sit down and write a song and the words just poured out.  That song was my first real produced recording and on my CD, it's called “Healing”.
W4C -It's a touching song!

W4C -As a singer songwriter, what moment has given you your greatest pleasure?
CS -My greatest moment was when my first CD was completed and about 450 family and friends came out to hear all the songs. It was such a memorable moment of accomplishment and to share that with so many people I knew and who had known me for a long time. I will never forget that day, however, equally touching is when a person tells me how my CD is played to get through their chemo treatment, or put their kids to sleep at night, or calm them when they are just having a rough day and need encouragement. I remember my uncle who is now sadly gone from us, listened to my cd in his car every day on his way to work. He was the same uncle that taught us kids how to harmonize as we’d sing silly songs driving on the freeway on the way home from church. It's those moments, and many more in my musical journey that I hold onto, and will always cherish.

W4C -Do your kids play any instruments?
CS -Two of them are just getting interested. My daughter is thinking about the drums, and is a gifted lyricist and can think of a rhyme on the spot. One of my sons is going to start the drums this year at school and plan B is the tuba. He has a really nice singing voice as well.

W4C -You have played with some incredible local musicians, like Dave Gauthier. I have heard you talk about him before. Tell me what he has meant to you? And other musicians? I know of several very good ones.
CS -I met Dave when he was hired to play on my CD for a few songs. Dave has been such a special friend and musical mentor over the years as well as my main guitarist. Dave gave me great perspective on writing and the music industry.. sometimes what I didn't want to hear but reality. I always feel more comfortable when I have Dave sitting next to me on a set. Another influential person is my friend Lisa Reiff who I do many conferences and events with leading worship. Lisa taught me the art and flow of putting a worship set together. I could put a set together of many songs I thought people liked and I liked, but she taught me how thematically worship sets are so much richer if the process takes you somewhere lyrically song to song. My home church -Rolling Hills is filled with amazing musicians and over the years turned into a network of friends that interchange from Sunday services to a night at the coffee shop to an outdoor concert.

W4C -Who was your greatest influence?
CS -I don’t want to sound cliche’ but Amy Grant has been in my ears since she came on the stage when I was 8. She sat there with her guitar and sang these awesome songs about her faith and I connected with her style at a young age. Back then we didn't have all the Christian artist to choose from, and she being younger was a breath of fresh air compared to my parents records of Gospel music, which always included trumpets and 5 part harmony. Amy’s style and songs fit my heart, my soul, and my voice so it was an easy match for a wanna be singer.

W4C-You told me your playing days have slowed down. I know you still love playing for women’s ministry, what does the near future hold? Whats keeping you from getting out there and playing more? I have a feeling it's being a mom.
CS- When I started doing music ministry more intensely it was the days where there were scheduled naps and early bedtimes. Now there are no naps and late bedtimes and driving everyone here and there. It’s been a season of challenges and change. I wrote a song a while ago called “Heart at Home” which talks about how as moms we have to give up a lot of things we might want to do for the moment, but that it is worth it in the end to do the right thing and keep our heart at home. I had to step back to do just that as I navigated a difficult season in life where my attention and energy needs to be at home more than ever. I've often told the Lord that “I think I’m done with music” but God always makes it very clear that I’m not through, with doors that keep opening and me willing to say “yes” when I can. It has been great to be able to lead worship more at Rolling Hills my home church and help lead worship at women’s events with Lisa Reiff and our worship band. I think my heart leans towards those environments more than anything. We always come away from those events and weekends knowing that God was able to use what He gave us for such a time and we are doing what He wants us to do. I’m not opposed to doing concerts or coffee shops, but the balance seems good with not focusing on that right now.

W4C -You have some of the funniest posts of Facebook like "dream a dream of smaller thighs" where does that stuff come from?
CS-I have always had a quirky dry sense of humor. I am also one of those people that things just “happen” too, like the time when my pinkie got stuck in the trunk of my car with the car running… in the middle of the road..alone..those kind of things. I have always been able to laugh at my unfortunate circumstances though. The parody of I dreamed a dream just came to me as I was singing the real song and looking at my thighs. I also get lyrics wrong in songs anyway, so I’m constantly writing parody’s without trying.

W4C-Tell me a frustration you have with being a singer songwriter, especially a Christian one?
CS- Hearing not so good songs on the radio get played over and over again and feeling like it is so hard to break in. Other limitations that can be frustrating is that my songs are for a specific venue or audience. My heart is drawn to write music about God and his promises and the impact on my life He has made but that won’t fit into most places who want musicians. So being creative in the way I write and how the message is delivered has been a challenge in many cases but one that has created growth and better crafted songs.

W4C- Courtney thanks for taking time with WON4CHRIST Productions and answering these questions. We will be praying for you. Tell us where we can find your website?

Check out Courtney's Music on the Store Tab downloads

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