Chances are, if you listen to much Christian music, you’ve come across Christa Wells’ songwriting without even knowing it. (She wrote Natalie Grant’s big hit “Held,” along with songs for Plumb and Ellie Holcomb.) But Christa has been quietly crafting her own singer/songwriter indie pop songs for years, even though she feels most at home behind the scenes.
Recently I had a chance to interview Christa for CCM Magazine. We had a great conversation about community, making vulnerable art in the middle of personal struggles, and pushing against the “go big or go home” mindset.
Some Advice to Young Songwriters:
I would also say on a more philosophical level—because we all tend to be intimidated and think “I can’t do it as well as so-and-so, so why bother?”—remember that we all have a very unique voice. Not just singing or writing style, but your whole life history, your particular knowledge of language. You’re going to intersect with a specific group of people and have a sphere of influence that nobody else has.
So, I push back vehemently against the “go big or go home” mentality where there’s one definition of success and a higher value placed on people with a bigger platform. That’s my soapbox for young artists: write what you write, say what you say, and don’t worry about what other people are doing. You just keep making the work and hope it matters to somebody, and find some joy in it along the way.
Jen was born and raised in central Florida, but now lives in the strange land of southern New England. Her words have appeared in TS Poetry’s Every Day Poems, CCM Magazine, and other publications, and she recently released her first poetry collection Ruins & Kingdoms. Some of her favorite things include used bookstores, good coffee, messing about in the kitchen, and local adventures with her husband Chris.