(CSC) 1. Tell us about your latest album, “Everything Changes,” and what inspired the songs on it.
The biggest inspiration for the songs on “Everything Changes” was my older kids leaving home for college. It was predictable, but shocking nonetheless. It seemed to redefine everything about motherhood and I had to write about it!
(CSC) 2. Your music is known for being honest and simple. How would you define the core of your style as an artist?
I write as if I am talking to myself or to a trusted friend. I try to get that immediate intimacy because that allows me to write about the things that matter most- love and life in a world that mocks sacrifice. Writing is my way of making order and finding meaning in those things that are weighing on my mind.
(CSC) 3. Looking back on your catalogue of music, would you say that each album is a transition of who you are as a woman, or do you tend to release an album based upon what is going on in your life at the time?
I think the two are the same. My writing comes as I try to make sense of my life. As the title “Everything Changes” suggests, the tasks before you never stays the same. God asks us to constantly adapt and learn new facets of what it is to love. Usually that means going a little deeper, giving a little more, detaching from ourselves and from those thing we have come to rely on for comfort. This album talks about detaching from children, from youthful ambitions, from what you think it is to be a mother.
(CSC) 4. Where do you like to go when you want to find a release from the craziness of the world?
I love to take walks and just think. I also love to read scripture and the great spiritual writers. Of course the perfect place to get away is the chapel. Nothing keeps you grounded like sitting in the chapel and talking to God.
(CSC) 5. You talk a lot about Blessed Pope John Paul II in your songs and shows, what did his papacy teach you personally about being a Christian?
He always said: “Be not afraid!” He also said to use the arts to speak to hearts. I was very inspired by his life story and how he and his friends, in response to the evil surrounding them, would secretly read poetry, perform plays and play music to preserve their culture and sustain themselves against the lies and hatred of World War II. Art does speak to the heart and culture speaks to our ideals. Blessed John Paul II inspires us to be “witnesses to hope” and “signs of contradiction” in a culture of death. My family and my songs are my witness. Both can be powerful!
(CSC) 6. It seems that nowadays many families barely have time to gather around the dinner table to share fellowship and conversation, could you offer advice to those who wish to make the effort?
Make the time to do it and put some personality into it! Make your family life the main event- not social life and hobbies. Invest your time, the most precious gift you have, in your most sacred relationships, the people right there in your house! Clear out the unnecessary distractions of electronic entertainment and constant busyness. That is what I tell those who want to build strong families and form their children’s souls for heaven! Talk about what is important, show your children what is right and wrong, don’t convey anger or fear, and make it fun. My slogan is “love your children forgive your husband, laugh at yourself.” I try to convey that perspective in our family life. I wrote about it in my song “This House Is the Place to Be.” Make your house and family life the place your kids want to be, the place that you want to be, the place they want to come back to, filled with kindness, forgiveness and a sense of humor. Eat dinner together and be willing to waste time together. It will enrich your lives!
(CSC) 7. How do you balance the role of being a mother, wife, and singer?
It is very easy because it is almost completely in the mother/wife category. I write as I go through the day, cleaning the kitchen, folding the laundry, driving the kids. My mind is churning away as I do those things and if I am writing a song, it helps to be in the middle of the action! That way the rhythm and the rhymes are very natural, not contrived. I have to walk it as I write it, saying the words over and over to be sure that they fall into place nice and smooth. I only record when I have a whole collection written. Then I go to the studio when the kids are at school. When I perform, I go in and out of a location within 24 hours, usually on a weekend. I let my husband take care of the kids when I go. It is good for them!
(CSC) 8. What are three things in your life/career that you would like to accomplish next?
I might write a book and I want to get more active on the internet, teaching people about the vocation to family and the beauty of sacrificial love. Mostly I just want to be in the middle of my kids’ lives as much as I can, respecting their freedom and independence.
(CSC) 9. You are coming to the
I LOVE doing the couple’s night out event! I love watching married couples come in, sometimes reluctantly because they are so irritated by each other, and watching them relax over the course of the evening as they hear about the joys and sorrows of family and marriage, and laugh at themselves, and realize the troubles they thought were so unique and awful are actually quite common. I encourage them to forgive each other and sometimes you can actually see it in their bodies how they relax and open themselves up to each other again. It is a fun night and we end it with a little dancing. It is very gratifying for me to see renewal in their eyes! The family concert is really fun too; for some reason kids really love my music. Maybe it is because I mention them so much in my words and I build up the mothers and fathers in their roles. It often happens that kids dance at my concerts. That is a great compliment to me. I always try to keep it not only thought provoking, but also fun!!
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