Every now and again, after a gig someone walks up to me and says
“I really love your music”
“Your voice is amazing”
“Your music is what I needed after a very stressful day”
So, after my set last Friday night, a lovely gentleman walked up to me.
‘Your music is fantastic, fantastic, I mean you write so beautifully…..your last song Home was exceptionally amazing, amazing!’
At this point, I knew a BUT was coming, I just felt it so I smiled, continued breathing and waited for it.
“…. you know what would make it even more amazing?”
I held my smile and my head titled to the side. It took me a few seconds to realise he was waiting for a response from me.
“No, what’s that?” I responded.
“If you add Jesus in there somewhere, because you know only God can help you get home. Only God can do that, so if you add Jesus in there somewhere that would be great”
I squinted, smiled and thought of a nice way to tell him no. So, I simply said
“no. No. I won’t be adding Jesus in there somewhere. Nope!”
He looked at me shocked, as if he’s never had anyone tell him no.
I stared at him because I’ve never had anyone tell me that before.
Picture - Paris 2012
I’ve had a couple of days to think about it, I think I should have said a bit more than just no.
Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the opportunity to share music and the privilege to touch someone’s heart with my music. I am also grateful that I get to play to a listening audience every now and again.
To be listened to, that’s a blessing and I don’t take it for granted at all.
You feel a BUT coming don’t you………..? J
In my mind, here is what I think happened…..
He loved the song so much, he was moved and touched by it and I’m guessing he’s only ever associated those feelings with a church experience… a spiritual encounter perhaps. He looked around him and realised he was nowhere near a church. He looked in front of him and the person singing hasn’t even mentioned Jesus or God once, she did say something about angels but everyone knows that to really evoke those deep feelings you need a lil’ bit of Jesus in there somewhere.
With no other reason to pin those feelings on, he thought to himself that though the the music is good, it lacked something, an essential ingredient to make it great and he concluded it had to be Jesus.
Lánre! Your music lacks a whole lot of Jesus, sort it out!
How do you know this? You ask.
Picture - Hill City Mass Choir 2003
I was raised in church, I sang in choirs for years and I was also part of a gospel collective that was active for eight years. I know and recognise this gentleman’s thought process. I get it!
My story however has taken on some colourful layers over the years. I have had some deep spiritual experiences to know that God is not and cannot be limited to the human boxes we tend to build.
I found God listening to Foy Vance’s music, Laura Marling haunting lyrics, Sophie Jamieson’s delicately crafted songs and Sufjan Stevens’ vulnerable voice.
I know this may sound ridiculous to some people but no one can tell me otherwise because my experiences and stories are mine.
When I write songs, my intention has always been to make people feel very deep within their souls what I feel when I put pen to paper. I am always searching for words that simply explain my faith, doubts, fears, dreams, failures and victories.
So when someone walks up to me and says, your music touched me, thank you.
I ALWAYS send one up to where inspiration comes from.