Christian singer/songwriter Holly Starr just release her new album Everything I Need last week, and the young artist took some time out to answer some of BREATHEcast's questions about the record, finding a soulmate, and music's power.
BREATHEcast: Holly, your album has been out for a few days now. What has the response been like so far, and has anything happened that you haven't anticipated?
Holly Starr: The release has been really fun! What I love about release days/weeks is seeing the support come together across the board all at once. It is extremely encouraging.
BC: Many of these songs reflect personal experiences and situations you have seen affect those around you. Do you find more inspiration as a writer in telling other people's stories rather than songs just coming about?
HS: I find the most inspiration from real life experiences, and seeing what God might be teaching me through those things, either my own experiences or watching others go through various circumstances. Songs don't usually just come about for me. A melody might, but for it to become a song, it has to be coupled with something I've experienced so that I can sing it from a place that's familiar to my heart.
BC: Is there an overall theme or concept for the record that you are trying to get across?
HS: My prayer is that people would be encouraged in their faith and would trust in Jesus as everything they need. I've been finding in my own life that it's a challenge, but when I continually choose to put my faith in Him regardless of how I feel or regardless of what circumstances look like around me (trusting that He is who He says He is), I get everything I was initially looking for, whether that was joy, peace, energy, etc!
BC: How do you feel you've grown as a songwriter since your last release, and did you set any goals for yourself this time around?
HS: I think I have become a lot more focused as a writer since my last project. Going into this one, I knew I wanted the album to be worshipful. Early on, I had sensed God leading me to the word “worship," so every time I sat down to co-write or write by myself, that was a filter I used.
BC: You chose to be a little more worshipful on this record. How do you differentiate between something you would normally write and going the route of creating something with more of a worship feel?
HS: It has to do with the posture of my heart while writing songs. Although it isn't a full-on corporate worship album, I wanted to make sure there were songs on the project that caused people to want to sing along, to say, “amen.” On past projects I believe those moments have happened as well, but this time around it was much more intentional during the writing process.
BC: So you're getting married, congrats! How do you think your perspective will change in crafting songs, if at all?
HS: I don't think the place I get my inspiration will change at all— however, I will have a few more experiences to add to the table of inspiration! I can imagine there will be some married life experiences that will find their way into future songs.
BC: As a younger Christian, and now someone on the verge of marriage, what sort of advice can you give young ladies who maybe are looking for God's best for them?
HS: A couple of verses I have held close to my heart for years:
1) Proverbs 4:23, "Guard your heart, for from it flow the wellsprings of life."
2) Song of Solomon 8:4, "I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases."
I would encourage caution, patience and trust in God's timing. Take it seriously. Don't give your heart away to anyone. Trust that God will lead you to the right time, the right person, and most importantly keep fighting to remember and believe that God is truly everything you need, with or without a man.
Someone once told me to run as hard and fast in the direction I believe God is calling me, occasionally looking to the right or left to see who is running alongside me. That's exactly what happened in my life. I looked left one day, and there was Chris—quite literally— running just as hard as I was in the same direction!
BC: Music has this wonderful way of capturing people's hearts with a message no matter what kind of music it is. Do you think this works well when you add an evangelistic element to the mix?
HS: Absolutely! That is the very reason I decided to pursue music, and why I continue to do it. It is a very powerful way to share the Gospel. People love music, so in a way it's coming to people and sharing Jesus in a language they understand.
BC: On your Facebook you made a status asking about "How Jesus changed your life." Are there any testimonies or stories of fans that come to mind when thinking about how God has used your music on other's lives?
HS: Recently I heard a story about a mom who lost her baby and found great comfort in my song "God Is.” I also heard about a man who was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital when someone shared a song I wrote called "Psalm 23." He began to tear up and expressed that he wanted whatever was coming from the song. The woman who was with him in the ambulance led him to Jesus that night as a result! What a gift!!!
BC: Is there anything else to add or that you want to talk about?
HS: You can connect with me on instagram and twitter at @hollystarrmusic, as well as Facebook, and my tour schedule is on my website, hollystarrmusic.com