The Power of Encouragement
“I am not always the most confident or self-motivated person, so God has often blessed me with the right person saying the right things at the right time to keep me moving forward in my music ministry career. Back in university, when I was just starting to share my music with others, I played a few songs at a coffee-house arranged by the chaplain at my college. After I finished this guy named Conrad, who lived in my dorm, come over and sat down beside me. He leaned towards me and said, ‘If anyone could convince me about this whole God thing, it would be you.’ I remember feeling a bit stunned as he walked away. I didn’t realize that I had the power to influence people, I was just singing the music inside me and living my life. Before I knew what was happening, God was working through me and giving people glimpses of Himself. That memory often keeps me going, helping me trust that God is in control. As long as I follow His leading and live out the gifts He built in me, He will make Himself know. I am humbled and inspired by that knowledge.” – Jennifer Jade Kerr
JJK grew up in Saskatchewan and now lives in Kelowna, British Columbia. Her album “Permission to be Broken” was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award in 2013.
“When I was around 18 years old, I was travelling with a missions group called YWAM (Youth With A Mission). My leader, Greg, would always encourage me to lead worship or sing for our group. At first I wondered why…I always wanted to sing but figured that God had other plans for my life. But through Greg’s constant encouragement I found a voice in what I was doing and a foundation to build upon in the years to come.” – Dan Bremnes
Dan lives in Salmon Arm, British Columbia. In 2013 he was recognized as the Male Vocalist of the Year by the Canadian Gospel Music Association. He recently performed in New Zealand.
“One person who encouraged me to develop my musical gifts was a man named Robert Bardston; he was my double bass teacher and also a world-renowned cellist. At the time, he was the only black man I knew of living in Medicine hat, Alberta – where I grew up during my teen years. He had African roots, and when he sang his voice took over the room, and his bass vocal echoed songs of freedom, hope, and a deepness of soul and strength. I loved listening to him sing. Everyone else I knew was Caucasian, and I knew that even if I tried I couldn’t sing like them. In a city where I was very different, he showed me that I was okay even though I wanted to sing like Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Whether I was singing, playing bass or piano, or taking exams, Robert always believed in me. He showed me that it’s not always easy, but that when we push through we find success. He also showed me what having a real music mentor meant; we have kept in contact over the years. He still remains a huge inspiration in my life and has shaped my love for all kinds of music. He taught me that no matter what you’re playing or singing music is a gift for all people and truly a universal language.” – Marika Siewert
Marika runs Emerton Records with her husband in Vancouver, BC. Her album “Unstoppable” won Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year at the Canadian Gospel Music Awards in 2013.
“I remember many songwriting sessions staring at a blank piece of paper. I wrote parts of songs here and here and scribbled ideas on the back of hardware store receipts. I wrote a lot, but seldom was anything finished. My grandmother, who is now with the Lord, always asked how my songs were coming along. There are several people who encouraged me in my gifts and talents pertaining to music, but here was always something profound about the way she told me she was praying for me to finish my songs. It reminds me that the Lord is never too busy or too big to hear even the simplest of prayer requests. I did finish my songs including “Blue Jay” which is a song about my beloved grandmother.” – Amy Dagenais
Amy grew up in Perth, Ontario, and now lives in Ottawa. Her debut EP entitled “No Ladders” was produced by Sebastian Demrey and released in October 2013.
“After two album releases, both of which failed royally, we decided to take a step back and reconsider our so-called mission. A decade later, it became clear that the Lord was providing another opportunity for us to try again. Joel (my brother) and I had continued to write during that quiet period and melodies filled my head. As we decided to go forward with this new project, we were reminded of a sermon that made it clear that, if our hearts were clean, even what the world perceived as another failure would be a victory in God’s book. No amount of success, however, would be worth anything if we took our eyes off the real goal which is to be God’s vessel. Only by the grace of God can we walk daily in this success.” – Colin Bernard
Originally from Bathhurst, New Brunswick, Colin now lives in Ottawa. His EP “Hold On” was produced by Ed Cash and nominated for a Juno Award in 2013.
“I would have to say that my dad was the rock in my life and the person who pushed me towards my music ministry more than anyone. As a little girl, my dad bribed my sister and me to sing on stage. We would be rewarded with a happy meal after the concert! I grew up on the road with my parents. My dad was an evangelist and we travelled full-time. He impacted my life in more than one way: It was mainly his passion for God, ministry and his hope for revival in Canada that’s affected me to become the person I am today. Even now, when I write new music or make new recordings, I can’t wait to hear what my dad’s response will be. My dad has always encouraged me to reach for the highest goal and fulfill God’s purposes for my life.” – Stephanie
Stephanie lives in Lansdowne, New Brunswick. Her songs have been listed in the Top 10 Cancon charts. She recently finished recording her third album entitled “The Prayer.”
“One person who encouraged me to pursue the passion God has placed inside me for music was my junior high youth leader. Chad Lucas gave me opportunities as a teenager to sing and eventually play guitar as part of the church worship team. The first time I ever led worship with a band was at a youth retreat he was running. I’m sure we all sounded pretty awful! I cried at the end of the set because I accidentally turned the volume off on my guitar when I bent down to pick up the guitar pick I had dropped midway through the song. Despite the rough start, Chad saw potential in that little junior high girl and pushed me passed my comfort zone into what he knew God had created me to do.” – Chelsea Amber
Chelsea is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 2013 she was nominated for the Female Vocalist of the Year by the Canadian Gospel Music Association. She is working on her third album.
*This article was originally published in the online edition of Converge Magazine. Since then, Dan has signed with Capital Records and Chelsea was nominated for a Juno Award.
© Career & Life Direction 2014. All rights reserved.