Many of you heard Rachel sing the new song I wrote — “In Christ” — which was posted on the blog recently.
If you haven’t yet, click here and scroll down to listen to her recording.
A number of you said that you kept listening to her sing it ovah and ovah and ovah again.
I will shamelessly admit that I did as well.
In the video below Rachel sings her song, “All of Me.”
Here’s a fresh-out-of-the-oven interview I did with Rachel about her music.
How did you get involved in singing, song writing, and playing an instrument?
Rachel Smith: I found my mom’s old Yamaha acoustic in her closet one day when I was about 11. I took an interest, she taught me a few chords, and I fell head over heels for the thing. I think my soul played guitar way before I learned how to.
Many vaingloriously blissful years of children’s church choir and VBS musicals brought out my vocal talents. As a child I would croon Southern Baptist audiences with my solo part in the “ABCs of salvation” songs. Those years were prime.
How I started writing is seriously a mystery to me. I think I’ve got a writer’s spark in my genes, and it just ignited once I had a guitar to accompany it.
It all got real “grown up and business-like” in 2010 when a mutual friend gave my music to one of the guys from the CCM band Tenth Avenue North. He and his wife pretty much took me under their wing, and it gave me the confidence to pursue a full time career in music.
With respect to the songs you write, what are your lyrics about mostly?
Rachel Smith: I see conflict as a driving force of the human race. Not black and white Disney/Pixar conflict. But the messy kind where there’s good and bad in everything. I can’t kill all the bad guys and make it better, because that would make me a killer, and a bad guy myself.
Messy conflict. It can lead us to see the image of God in all people, not just those like us. We will always disagree, but we can maybe find peace in our disagreements- a greater bond than similar opinions can bring.
I think every one of my songs is undergirded by that truth- that we are all the same and our conflict drives us to a greater peace. I feel that applies wholly to a man or woman’s relationship to God as well.
I feel conflict with God all the time, and I’m learning that’s ok! It’s good! Because that conflict leads me into a deeper bond, a greater peace with God. People naturally are uncomfortable with conflict though, especially conflict with God. That’s why it’s a priority to me to be honest about my experiences doubting and wrestling with God.
Where does the Lord Jesus fit into your music and song writing?
Rachel Smith: A few months ago Rachel Held Evans, who is my quintessential girl crush, posted a blog which included a quote from Lauren Winner, who I also respect the heck out of.
Rachel’s post was about how she was personally re-learning how to engage with the institutional Christian faith, which I feel like I’m doing every few months at this point in my life. When I read the following quote, it affirmed something that I had hoped to be true for quite some time:
“What you promise when you are confirmed is that this [the Christian narrative] is the story you will wrestle with forever.”
Wrestle with. Not necessarily believe always.
I committed to follow Christ over a decade ago with the limited knowledge I had, and I wake up every morning and have to do it all over again. I have seen no other cause or person as worthy of my life as Christ and his passion for justice, peace and love in this world. I’ll go to my grave fighting for it, and I’ll go to my grave singing about it.
For those who are new to your music, what are 3 songs that they should start out with? Tell us a little about each one and provide links to the audio or videos.
This is free and it’s a good song. How do you best that? It’s about finding purpose in the journey. Live well, journey well. Make heaven happen, don’t just wait around for it.
Dead Bones from “All of Me EP”
This song is a lot of fun, but it’s about a heavy topic. It’s easy to let fear dictate our lives. It becomes a prison where we make decisions based on what we’re scared to lose, not what we’re crazy in love enough to pursue. It just turns you into this paralyzed, anxious, useless kind of a thing. And I know it too man, because I battle it all the time.
Not Abandon from “All of Me EP”
We all have a tendency to grab hold of “God” and make it our own. We get infatuated with the latest theological ideas, the latest buzzwords (guilty: I’ve used the word “wrestling” in these responses more times than I care to go back and count). I’m sure we look like idiots.
At least I feel like one when I realize I wasn’t entirely right… again. This song to me is a kind of reminder that no matter how wrong, confused, even indifferent I am, the real God isn’t going anywhere. I’m a hot mess pretty much always, so this is fantastic news to me.
Where can people learn more about your music and get your stuff?
Rachel Smith: You could add me on Facebook to stay in touch, or follow on Twitter. You know, the usuals.
And I have 2 EPs on iTunes
All of Me EP (2010): http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/all-of-me-ep/id473972268
Songs Made for Listening (2008): http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/songs-made-for-listening/id336073691