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I Am Mary

I consider Mary’s reply to Angel Gabriel’s message about the birth of Christ to be one of the most remarkable ever recorded in Scripture.

It is easy to assume that you would respond the same as Mary did if placed in the same circumstance—I mean, who would turn down being the vessel through which the Christ would come, right?

“Such a blessing Mary received,” you’d say. “Such high favor from God, Himself!”

But it doesn’t end there.

To be blessed and highly favored doesn’t mean exemption from troubles and hardships. In fact, with this privilege of destiny come certain difficulties. “To whom much is given, much is also required” (Luke 12:48b). There’s a price that every disciple must pay to follow Jesus—“If you will be my disciple, you must lay down your life, pick up your cross, and follow me,” Jesus said (Matthew 16:24). Mary was blessed, but she was also warned…“And a sword will pierce your soul too” (Luke 2:35b). This later [partly] manifested as Mary witnessing the agony and death of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary.

Does God allowing Mary to experience this hardship in the later years mean that she became less blessed and favored by Him?

A resounding no.

We, God’s children, like Mary, must also understand that being blessed or called to accomplish “great” things doesn’t mean that we are set apart to enjoy bliss throughout life. The days, which will likely be more than once, for the testing of your faith and suffering in some form, will definitely come; no Christian escapes this. We are in a fallen world after all, and perfect forever will only begin in heaven. However, Jesus has promised that you will overcome if you remain in Him. Moreover, there will be days of laughter as well. But even in the day of trouble, peace and joy can still remain. One has to make the decision to put their trust in God, even when it seems everything about life is spiraling out of control. For Mary, she’d made plans like any responsible adult would. But God’s “interference” nearly halted hers, and then set her on a completely different path than one she’d ever imagined possible, which included much pain. Nonetheless, this was God’s plan for her life.

Like Mary, trust God even when every plan you’ve laid down has failed or will appear to. Follow the path He is leading you on. God, your Father in heaven, remains the determiner of your life’s direction (if you are truly His servant) and in control of everything even when it seems like He is not. Remember the disciples in the boat with Jesus when it seemed the squall would sink them? Jesus was fully aware of everything. Like Mary, remain steadfast in your response to God, “I am your servant. Let it be to me as You have said” (Luke 1:38). Finally, in all that you endure on the path that God is leading you on, remember this:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” —Jeremiah 29:11

 

About The Editor


Miranda A. Uyeh is the founder and editor of To Be A Person (TBAP), the author of Christian Romance/Suspense fiction, To Die Once: Child of Grace #1, a Mogul Global Ambassador, and a copywriter. She was a one-time shortlisted judge for the Inspy Awards in 2014 in the Contemporary Romance & Romance/Suspense Category. In 2016, Miranda was honored to be one of 500 book reviewers across the world invited to help launch Tim Tebow’s book, Shaken.

When Miranda isn’t reviewing books/entertainment or hosting interviews on TBAP, she’s writing, reading for fun or relaxing with a good movie! When she gets bored with the world, she talks to God about it! To learn more about her book, To Die Once, and her journey as an author, you can follow her author website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.

**The article, I Am Mary, first appeared on To Be A Person (TBAP). It is part of the I Am series on the TBAP blog.

Book Review ~ Worth Fighting For By Emily Camp

About the Book


Declan Light is certain that since he chose to dedicate his life to God that God will bless him. His plan to marry his high school girlfriend, Miley, and get his Bible college degree are right on track. So it is a surprise to him when things start to look less than ideal. When his confidence in his relationship and God falter on the tails of a tragedy, Declan wonders if there’s anything left worth fighting for.

 

 

 


Category

Christian/Fiction/New Adult

Genre

Contemporary/General Fiction

Rating

4 Stars

Review


This story takes off a few months from where it left off in Here Comes The Light, Cambrooke Series #1. Declan and Miley are married and discover that they’re going to have a baby sooner than they’d prepared. This leads to a series of events, and a tragedy soon strikes, which tests the strength of their love for each other, and puts each one of them on a path different than they’d originally planned. Miley would have to learn what it means to give up past habits for the greater good, and Declan would have to learn that no matter what happens, God is enough.

An impressive element in the story is Camp’s resolve not to hold back on portraying the reality of the drama and good times of family, married life, pregnancy, and the messiness involved in taking care of a toddler. Some scenes graciously lend you a smile, others cause you to ponder. Altogether, Worth Fighting For is a neatly put together work of prose that is sure to delight…especially if the characters had already found their way into your heart from the stories of the prior books in the series.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. My appreciation to the author, Emily Camp, for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

About the Author


Emily is the author of the young adult Cambrooke Series. She is currently working toward a degree in business while continuing to write stories. Emily lives in Ohio with her husband, two kids and dog. When she isn’t writing or in class, Emily can be found at one of the three sport events her son competes in.

Artist Scoop ~ Interview with Abigail Duhon

Abigail Duhon is a rising star that the world should look out for! With a heart to serve God and be His ambassador in this generation (and hopefully, the next), Duhon is unstoppable as she’s hard at work as a music artist, dancer, and actress. With three albums under her belt, the third (self-titled) which was released May 26th (read the TBAP review here and read TBAP’s article on Duhon here), this interesting young woman is even more sold out to God than ever before. Abigail took some time to chat with us on TBAP. Follow our conversation below:


Miranda ~ Hello Abigail! Delighted to have you visit TBAP today. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Abigail: Hi!! Really excited to be here. 🙂 I am 17 years old, born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, I have been dancing since I could walk, I love love love chocolate and ice-cream and, acting is my favorite thing to do!

Miranda ~ How did you become a Christian? Tell us your story!

Abigail: I was 5 years old when I first gave my life to Christ. I was in church and they had an altar call, so I decided I was going to go up. It was one of the most exciting days of my life. But I really committed my life about a year ago at a Todd White Power and Love Conference/Azusa, the Call crusade in L.A., when God became so real to me in the miracles and healings and prophecies that happened. It was honestly the most joyful and alive moment I’ve ever felt!

Miranda ~ When did music become a part of your life and, what led you to decide to become a professional?

Abigail: I was 6 years old when I wrote my first song. It was during the time my family was moving due to Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed our home. The song talked about how God always provides, and it’s called Beautiful. It’s been kinda amazing the way God has set my life on this path that I wasn’t planning on walking on. It had never been something I had thought about doing; but once I starting writing songs, I realized God was calling me to this industry.

Miranda ~ You’re also as actress. How did you get your first role and, how do you balance your music and acting careers?

Abigail: Yes! My first role was a part in This Is Our Time, which was directed by my first acting coach, Lisa Arnold. She had me audition, and I got one of the roles in the movie. I have amazing people in my life who have helped me balance my music and acting career. If it wasn’t for the support of them and my family, I don’t know how I could do it!

Miranda ~ How do you respond to critics that insist your style of music isn’t traditionally Christian enough?

Abigail: Our generation is desperately needing this encouraging, relevant music and movies. If you think about it, what’s some of the main things that kids have easy access to that could start them down a bad path? Inappropriate pop music, R-rated movies, videos on the Internet or social media, etc. If we didn’t have social media, there wouldn’t be an outlet where kids get ideas and thoughts about themselves as to who they should be, act like, or love.

Miranda ~ After two albums, what new thing would you say you’ve added to your music in this third one?

Abigail: I’ve definitely started to find more of my sound in this third project. I love dancing, and I love music that has that vibe and beat. And with Rebound and Into The Light, they both have a different vibe to them that I love and want to do more of.

Miranda ~ What are the principles that guide your songwriting and choice of lyrics?

Abigail: First and foremost, God. The Bible is always something I link my songs to. Sometimes it’s a movie script, or if I get inspired by a story or a personal experience in my life.

Miranda ~ When do you know you’ve finished a song?

Abigail: Really, I never feel like I finish song, haha! But I guess once it’s been mastered and everyone agrees it’s good to go, my work is done! 🙂

Miranda ~ What do you believe a Christian music artist/actor can add to the world  and, who do you believe you’ve been called to sing to—those in despair, the broken-hearted, lost, Christians in need of encouragement etc.? Why do you believe so?

Abigail: I believe a Christian artist/actor can add hope in the world. Be someone you can look up to, and not read about in the papers or news about what trouble they got into. I believe God has called me to be an ambassador to my generation, to those who feel lost, and depressed, and broken. It’s been spoken into my life, and when I first talked about it, I was in tears. God spoke it out of me, really.

Miranda ~ How do you choose the films you act in? Is there a guiding principle to choosing a story?

Abigail: I usually read the script first, and then I decide if it’s a fit for me. There have been movies I’ve turned down due to its rating, or inappropriate content. I always want to be in something that has meaning and will leave you encouraged.

Miranda ~ What would you like to see change in the Christian music/movie industries?

Abigail: More relevant/pop-like music, and younger artists to empower it. The industry is losing kids to the secular culture, and I feel like if there were more young artists like Lecrae, Hollyn, Britt Nicole, it would be a different story.

Miranda ~ What advice would you offer to a person going into the movie and music industries for the first time?

Abigail: Never give up on yourself. You are unique and gifted perfectly to what God has for you. Being in this industry, you have a lot of people telling you what to look like or who to be. Be the best you that you can be, and enjoy every moment of it. People want an authentic and real person they can relate to, so just be you 🙂

 

THIS or THAT (The Fun Questions!)

Coffee or Tea? Coffee all the way.

Gym or Outdoor? Outdoors!!

Sandals or Boots? Boots, because I never wear sandals. 🙈

Running or Walking? Walking. I am not a runner.

Juice or Smoothie? Smoothieeeee

Salad or Fruit? Fruit

Movies or Books? Movies

Vanilla or Chocolate? Chocolate!!!!!!

Dress or Pants? Dress 🙂

Summer or Spring? Summaaaaa

Rain or Snow? Snow! (But I really love rain too)

Blazer or Leather Jacket? Leather jacket!

 

About Abigail Duhon


Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Abigail discovered her passion for music immediately after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the family home and nearly took every natural possession they owned. At only six years old during the crisis, she awoke to hear a song in her heart and wrote out lyrics as a reflection on their sudden circumstances. The song was titled Beautiful and would become one of her first original songs on her debut album released at the tender age of ten.

A dancer since she was two years old, Abigail quickly incorporated her passion for music with a beat and her Christian lyrics to become one of the youngest teen artists to have a Christian song reach the top 100 Billboard Singles charts in 2014. Her second album, Right Now, combined pop music with EDM and dubstep elements to create an exciting alternative for tweens desiring to listen to a secular sound but with faith based lyrics. She was the recipient of the 2015 “Best Emerging Artist” from the We Love Christian Music awards sponsored by NewReleaseToday.com.

In 2013, Abigail was selected to become a cast-member of the television show iShine Knect, which averages over one-million viewers each week on TBN Network and other faith based networks around the world.

Her role as Elizabeth in the 2013 film, This Is Our Time launched her film career. Then, in 2014, she was cast in the worldwide record setting Christian film God’s Not Dead as student, Abby Wheaton. Her work as a featured actor in Camp Cool Kids (2017) and Caged No More (January 2016) show extreme diversity in roles. Two others include God’s Not Dead 2 (April 2016) and I’m Not Ashamed (October 2016) the Columbine High School Shooting Story. She continues to add to her resume with other independent films.

She has been touring nationally since 2013 for music, opening for popular artists, Newsboys and For King and Country while participating in The Millennial Tour, a teen artist lineup national tour. Her 50+ concerts have been seen at festivals like Creation Northeast and Northwest, Freedom Festival Jacksonville, Sonshine Festival, ICRS Main Stage, iShine Fall and Winter tours, Ichthus Festival, Amplifyfest, Lifest, and Lifelight Festival South Dakota.

She has worked with Dove award winning and Grammy nominated writers Chuck Butler (Brandon Heath, Royal Tailor), Jamie Moore (TobyMac), Aaron Rice (TobyMac), Ian Eskelin (Francesca Battistelli, Britt Nicole), and Ahmande “Mondo Grimes” (Nicole C. Mullen). She is mentored and vocal coached by former Mouseketeer, Jennifer McGill as well as industry veteran Diane Sheets.

Book Review ~ The Thing With Feathers By Anne Sweazy-Kulju

About The Book


As the inhabitants of Cloverdale, Oregon, welcomed in the twentieth century, they were not unaccustomed to hard times and thorny situations. Small communities banded together for protection and hope. Heroes and villains were often difficult to decipher.

When an itinerate Baptist preacher arrived with his baby daughter and a wife lost on the trail, there was no one prepared to suspect what lurid secrets and heartbreak he might be concealing. As the preacher sets his sights against those who might oppose him, the names and the lives of the good people of Cloverdale may not be spared.

Yet in the midst of the machinations of a mad man, virtue and valor can persist. The Thing With Feathers is known to fly through wars, depressions, and natural disasters. Will the Marshall clan and the good people of Cloverdale find it in time?


Category

Christian/Fiction/Adult

Genre

Historical/General Fiction

Rating

5 Stars

Review


A truly heartrending story that inspires hope, The Thing With Feathers was written with a softness that is incredulously brilliant, andwith a strength that jumps off the pages, it’s almost tangible. Every character was designed with the intent to explore the topic of faith preciously intertwined with the kind of hope that patiently waits for God’s justice and reward. Heartbreaking with almost every penned letter, it eventually doesn’t leave the reader with a sense of loss, but with the deeper understanding of what it means to be righteous in a fallen world where injustice tends to rule the day.

The Thing With Feathers is a brilliant prose that will leave you breathless, and in tears—not for the faint of heart!—but will also incline you towards a God that rewards either in the life or the next.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. My appreciation to the author, Anne Sweazy-Kulju, for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

About The Author


Anne Sweazy-Kulju is the daughter of a History teacher and granddaughter to an Irish storyteller, so it’s small wonder her genre of choice is historical fiction. She moved her family from Southern California to Oregon’s coast at age 31, purchased a 1906 Victorian, which they turned into a B&B Inn, and crossed one off the bucket list! Two years later, Sweazy-Kulju suffered disabling injuries in an auto accident and had to sell the Inn. She turned to writing.

Turns out, she has a knack. Sweazy-Kulju is currently the author of three Pacific Northwest/Western-themed historical fiction novels with a fourth in progress. Her debut novel, “the thing with feathers,” is a noir saga, but well-received. The Innkeeper-turned-writer’s second novel, “BODIE”, was awarded a silver medal for Original Softcover Fiction at The WILLA Literary Awards in 2014. Her latest release, “Grog Wars,” took 1st Place in the international writing competition held by WritersType.com, in March 2013. The book has also won three Reader’s Choice 5-Star Reviews, and was a Global eBook Award nominee. Sweazy-Kulju has won honors for short stories and awards for editorials, as well. Fans may even come across a somewhat rare, self-published recipe book from her inn.

Respecting The Creation You Were Meant To Be By Irene Santiago

“They cannot take away our self respect if we do not give it to them.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Dear Younger Me,

I can only speak from my personal work experience in the film industry. No matter what your profession,  circumstance, or age, your character is a reflection of the choices you make. Thank goodness there is grace.

I often tell my own kids and my acting students  to make the decision of who they  are now, as well as what their standing values are, before they get pressured by the world and peers. I discuss with them to make smart, informed choices regarding tough decisions now that they’re not pressured by others who do not have your best interest at heart, because there will always be consequences. You only get one you, and you will be recognized for your personal character and actions for all time and “internet eternity.”

Let me tell you a little story about  my “BIG DECISION.”

Years ago, in the year B.K., (B.K. = Before Kids), I was new to the film industry, and eager for a “big break.” My agent, at the time, submitted my name for a nude stripper role for this big budget movie. I had my doubts, but thought how  flattering it was that she chose me as one of the actresses to audition. I was so impressed because I didn’t think I was pretty or sexy. I struggled with the little voice inside me that  kept telling me that this probably wasn’t  a good idea. But then, I thought,  “Hey, this is a chance for me to prove myself to my agent.”  Ummm…no.

Thankfully, someone was looking out for me.

I got a call from the casting director, himself. He knew me well, and had cast me on many projects. What he said to me on the  phone shocked me. “Irene,” he said, “I see your name as being submitted on this list for the stripper role. I don’t want you to do this. You’re too good of an actress and too good of a friend. You don’t need this. I have too much respect for you. This is not you. I won’t let you audition.”

I was so surprised to get this call. I didn’t know people actually cared about other people in the film industry. When I hung up, I felt like the weight of the world had lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t  do the audition, and I never felt like I missed out. God uses people  to help us when we need Him, especially when we are blinded by flattery and misguided naivete.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe, and not doubt, because the one  who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” —James 1: 5-6 

Would I be embarrassed today if my kids saw that show with me cast in the role as a nude stripper?! HECK, YEAH! The internet NEVER forgets and digs up dirt.  I NEVER looked back or regretted not going to that audition. I am continuously grateful, that someone I knew , equally respected, and who had so much more experience in the business, recognized  that that wasn’t me, who also believed I had some acting skills. Thank goodness he  talked some sense to me.

Make the decision on what you will and won’t do now, because a time will come when you’ll be pressured by others who don’t have your best interest at heart.

…Because frankly, my dear, that will likely cloud your thinking when you need a clear mind looking out for your best interest. The devil is a liar and, our human nature is weak.  Now, that doesn’t mean that my agent, then, was evil. She was just looking out for her best interests and also doing her job. It was up to me to know what I wanted and decide what lines not to cross.

“For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of naive people.” —Romans 16:18

Another story, (last one I promise!)…

A few years ago,  I had an interesting experience. I was feeling stuck in my career. I wanted an opportunity to be cast in a strong, female role in a good film. I had been praying deeply to God to provide one for me, as well as having peace about it. A director contacted me and told me he’d seen my demo reel and was truly impressed by me…yada, yada, yada…of course I was interested!

I got the deal memo and the script. Something seemed strange, too good to be true, and pretty ambiguous. My agent and I saw red flags, but I wanted it to be the answer that I’d been praying for.  He even said he would change the wording of the terms in the contract to whatever my agent was comfortable with, but my agent remained wary. I prayed to know what to do. The director seemed like such a nice person.

Then the following night, I read the script. By page 20, I’d run into a very poorly written script, along with dialogue and scenes that I wasn’t comfortable with. I decided to  pass. I responded by telling the director that I wasn’t comfortable with the intense sexual situations and the extremely  violent  nature of the story.  It basically wasn’t for me. Besides, the script and the terms seemed so fishy anyway. Well, as it turned out, that same year I was cast in Badge of Faith in a huge supporting role to the lead character’s partner on the police force.

The morale of this story? God tested me. Satan tempted me. I asked IN HIS NAME…NOT MINE, nor in Hollywood’s, nor IMDB’s. HIS NAME!

He used my friend, the casting director, all those years ago, the fishy director believe it or not, and my agents, too, because I had to learn the right path, face tough decisions, and make strong choices. He did answer my prayer. God is wise and makes us take a hard look at what we are asking for. If it’s too good to be true, take a step back and ask yourself, “Is this what God would want me to do?

Surround yourself and work with those you KLT (Know, Like and Trust). Those who are looking out for your best interest; people who truly love you, and respect who you were truly created to be.

Love,

Your older self who loves you unconditionally,

Irene

 

About this Contributor


Irene Santiago’s moto is A.B.C = I Act Because of Christ. She is an award winning, working actress, voice talent, speaker, acting coach, model and producer. Among some of her work in television, film, theater, and several commercials you can see her in One Tree Hill,  Providence, and Adrenaline.  She is mainly recognized for her role in High School Musical-1 as the ‘Chem Teacher’,(which her kids roll their eyes when someone mentions it). You can contact her on her website, facebook, twitter, instagram and IMDb. She is married and has two children.

The Article, Respecting The Creation That You Were Meant To Be: A Letter To My Younger Self, was first published on To Be A Person (TBAP).

Book Review ~ North Star Home By Megan Easley-Walsh

About the Book


Ann Scarlet is no thief, but when the Yankee sheriff catches her she might just steal his heart.

Ann Scarlet has a single goal when journeying from her home in Savannah to Red River Rocks Falls, Nebraska in 1875: find Whittaker and get back the land deed he stole from her brother. It seems simple enough, until Sheriff Crambert finds her with her hands full of money as she rifles through a pile of land deeds.

Nathaniel Crambert has loved and lost before. Ann seems harmless enough and he decides to rehabilitate her into society. Falling for her? That’s not part of the plan. Falling for him? That’s not what she intended either.

With the help of Mol, the woman who raised him, and Quiet Dove, his Lakota friend, Ann and Nathaniel may finally get over the burden of their heavy pasts. If Whittaker appears, Ann will have to follow that trail. But, what about following her heart?


Category

Christian/Fiction/Adult

Genre

Historical Romance

Rating

4 Stars

Review


This is a sweet story of love and trust intertwined in its theme in a tender yet moving way. The characters are delicately crafted with their beauty and flaws to portray their unique stories so that they are gently endeared to the heart of a reader.

Annie Lawton is deeply concerned about the future of her brother, Adam, and intends to do something about it. Sheriff Nathaniel Crambert maintains law and order in the towns that he serves. Their worlds collide when each attempts to do what they do best—take care of their own.

In this sparkling story that illustrates love, kindness, misfortune, and a trust in God despite past hurts and bad histories, two hearts meet in a twist of fate, and are able to remain strong and together in what could be termed a remarkably vigorous journey. North Star Home expressed the deep yearnings of the human heart—to be loved, healed and accepted—while softly treading on the beauty of boldness, heroism, trust, hope, and faith.

The first parts of the book may have seemed wishy-washy, but it was well worth it in the end!

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. My appreciation to the author, Megan Easley-Walsh, for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

About the Author


Megan Easley-Walsh is a bestselling author of historical fiction, a researcher, and a writing consultant and editor at www.ExtraInkEdits.com. She is an award-winning writer and has taught college writing in the UNESCO literature city of Dublin, Ireland. Her degrees are in history-focused International Relations. She is American and lives in Ireland with her Irish husband.

Entertainment Scoop ~ Interview with Music Producer, Sean Hill

Sean Hill is the amazing producer behind Landry Cantrell’s spectacular album, Projections, releasing today, June 16th (read the TBAP review of Projections here). Sean is not just a producer, but a songwriter as well. Hard at work on a Christmas album already, Sean took some time out of his busy schedule to chat with us on TBAP. Follow our conversation below and learn more about Sean!


Miranda ~ Hello Sean! Delighted to have you visit TBAP today. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Sean: Absolutely. Thanks for having me!  Well, I’m a 31 year-old, Atlanta native.  My wife, Crystal, and I have been married 7 years.  We have two kids, Rylynn (almost 3), and Paisley (18 months).  And we have a 3rd baby girl in the oven! Our family motto is that we work hard and play harder!

Miranda ~ How did you become a Christian? Tell us your story!

Sean: I grew up as a church kid:  Wednesday night youth group, Sunday morning, and Sunday night; no shortage of time at church!  My family was, and still is, devoted church-goers.  I was blessed and fortunate to have a very great upbringing.  I first gave my life to Christ on a Sunday morning at the age of 11 when I felt an encounter with God, personally, for the first time during a worship service.  Nothing extraordinarily unique about the service or the worship, except that God became real to me that morning, and has remained very real ever since.

Miranda ~ When did music become a part of your life?

Sean: Music has been a part of life for me since the beginning.  It runs in my family.  My grandfather spent many decades in southern gospel as a singer in a group called The Crusaders; he is since retired.  My dad is a professional guitar player and songwriter.  My brother is a multi-instrumentalist, writer, and producer.  Music is in my blood, so to speak.  Some of my first memories are of me crawling around my dad’s basement studio as he was writing and recording music.  I grew up with instruments lying around, and I eventually discovered that I could express my thoughts and feelings through these mediums.  If I had to put an age number on it, I think I really started playing bass in 4th grade in my brother’s “garage band.”  From there, I picked up guitar, then drums.  I began writing and making recordings around age 12, and it continues to today!

Miranda ~ What events led you to become a professional songwriter and music producer? For each, is the story the same?

Sean: Yeah, I had a wake up moment in my early twenties.  I got into a real dark place of becoming very critical of Christian and Worship music.  I would make fun of what came on the radio or what we played at church.  It was very much connected to pride issues. But to keep a lengthy story concise, God got a hold of me and woke me up one day.  God changed my heart from being a critic, and He challenged me to try and become the change I wanted to see in the music.  So, instead of sitting on the sidelines and booing at the players, I stepped into the game and began to work hard honing my craft to hopefully one day influence Christian music for the better.  Before that moment, music had been a fun hobby, and after that encounter, it became my mission and calling.

Miranda ~ How would you describe your early days in the industry? What lessons/principles did you pick up along the way that keep you afloat even now?

Sean: Work on everything to the best of your ability.  Every project, every song, every track that you are associated with is your handshake to the world.  Songs travel so far in today’s connected world, and you never know whose hand you are shaking with your music.  And, you ALWAYS want that handshake to be as professional and polished as it can be.

Miranda ~ The beats of Landry Cantrell’s Projections are amazing! What inspires you to produce the way you do?

Sean: Well, thanks!  Inspiration comes from so many different places.  In Landry’s case, however, he had a clear vision to go pop in his record.  The way he writes, the rhythms in the phrasing of his lyrics, and his melody lines are inspiring for a producer.  He brings something fresh and unique to the table, and I found myself reaching for sounds that I rarely ever go after, and so I would also be coming to the table with something fresh and unique.  Big synths, sidechains, world percussion, clean electric guitars, stacked and layered harmonies—all comprised the approach we found, that worked for the overall sound of his record.  The artist, their voice, their story, and the way they write their songs tell me how to approach their production.

Miranda ~ You’re also a songwriter. What artists/songwriters have you worked with in the past and, who do you hope to work with in the future? Also, are you working on any project right now?

Sean: Yeah, I’ve had a great honor of working with some of the most amazing writers and artists in Christian music on some level or another.  Some of those people are well-known, and some are unknown, but many on both sides of the spectrum have been equally incredible.  In the future, I trust God to connect me to the right people. I don’t necessarily seek out connections (or network as some would call it), I just trust that I will continue to meet and work with the right people at the right time. I’m always working with artists, so yes, working on some really fun stuff now!

Currently working on a full-length Christmas record (in June, I know!), and a great EP with a worship leader from Virginia, along with several singles.  Production is always a busy career with juggling multiple projects!

Miranda ~ What inspires you to write the lyrics in the songs that you write?

Sean: The best lyrics are written out of genuine experience.  I try to write from a place of authenticity with what I’m going through.  Maybe I just discovered some new revelation of God, or had a unique experience of joy or loss close to me.  Whatever is going on in my life, I tend to process through lyrics as genuinely as I know how.

Miranda ~ What are you most grateful for right now and generally?

Sean: Hands down, I’m most grateful for my family that God has blessed me with.  Many years ago, my wife was told she would likely never have children, and we are only months away from having our third child.  God’s faithfulness and goodness to me and my family is overwhelming.  I get to hold literal God-miracles in my arms every day.  My kids are constant reminders of the power and goodness of God.

Miranda ~ What do you believe a Christian music artist/songwriter can add to the world?

Sean: Much like my songwriting approach, an artist should add to the world what they personally experience with God and personally experience in life.  Authenticity in lyrics and artistry breaks down walls and barriers of even the most critical people.  So when artists/writers can discover how to truly be real and honest, they can touch audiences far and wide.

Miranda ~ What would you like to see change in the Christian music industry?

Sean: I’d like to see the listeners be willing to embrace more creative styles.  I feel like at times, what is popularized in Christian music is a fairly narrow scope of music.  Music is so diverse and can be SO many different things.  I’d love to see more diversity/creativity accepted to inspire and encourage artists to take more creative risks.

Miranda ~ What advice would you offer to a person who wants to go into the songwriting/music production business? Are the rules for each different?

Sean: My biggest advice to anyone trying to get “in” is odd, but, stop trying to get “in”.  There is no “in”.  Don’t worry about trying to get signed by a label or get a publishing deal or network with this person or that person.  Just START somewhere.  Start writing.  Start creating.  Most people will never reach their dream because they are unwilling to start (and often times start at the BOTTOM).  Secondly, you must be very willing to put in some long hours.  Creativity + work ethic is the simple formula for success in this industry.  One without the other is a flop.

THIS or THAT (The Fun Questions!)

Coffee or Tea? Tea!  I’ve actually never had coffee!  Sweet tea is like water.

Gym or Outdoor? Outdoors.  I love golf, and love time outside on a golf course!

Sneakers or Boots? Sneakers.  You never know when you’ll be challenged to a race.

Running or Walking? Walking. Walking a golf course and enjoying nature is one of the most relaxing things I do.

Cereal or Fruit? Cereal.  Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Frosted Mini Wheats every morning.

Music or Books? Music.  It’s my life.  I love it.

TV or Magazine? TV for sure.  A good Netflix show before bed is a nice way to wind down.

Summer or Spring? Spring.  I love seeing things bloom back to life after a long dead winter.

Rain or Snow? Snow.  In Atlanta, snow is a rarity.  When it happens, it’s magical.

Blazer or Leather Jacket?  Uhhhh.  Neither.  I wear black t-shirts every day, and don’t own a blazer or leather jacket.

 

About Sean Hill


Sean Hill has worked with an ever-growing list of satisfied clients ever since stepping into music production in 2011.  He has had his hands on hundred of songs in a wide variety of Christian music genres. From writing, to producing, to mixing, to engineering, to mastering, Sean gets involved at any and all different stages of the process.  Hill digs in deep into every aspect of music production to ensure that he is truly capturing the vision of the artists he has been entrusted to produce.  Every small detail is a big deal to Sean, and no idea goes unexplored in his production process.

Sean is not motivated by fame or fortune, but truly desires to serve The Lord by serving the clients that he’s working with.  Hill has a big heart for the Christian music industry and The Church at large.  He, himself, is a part-time Worship Pastor and desires to see Kingdom songs that reach for excellence in both songwriting and production.  Hill hopes to be involved in songs that encourage and empower The Church and its people.

Sean likes to keep the atmosphere light in the studio.  Oftentimes, Sean’s ADD nature will keep clients laughing and stress-free.  Also, Sean enjoys sitting down and sharing meals with his clients to really get a chance to know their hearts and know how to best serve them.  Clients continually recommend using Sean and Uphill Studios for not only the fun recording experience with Sean, but also the excellent production quality they receive.

In 2014, Sean produced Jamie Grace’s single, Born Tonight, which became a top 25 hit on Billboard’s AC Christian Music chart.

In 2015, Sean’s production of Brad Guldemond’s Let It Out album received 4 nominations in the Gospel Music Association’s Covenant Awards.  Let It Out went on to win Children’s Album of the Year. Learn more about Sean by visiting his website.