by Tracy Darlington
just really had to learn how to apply God’s
Word and how to realize that pleasing people isn’t the end all.
It’s not our goal anymore."
Barlowgirl is an all girl band made up of three sisters: Rebecca, Alyssa and Lauren Barlow. (Can you guess how they came up with the band name?) For two years they traveled around the country and were the back up band for their dad. During one concert Lauren, who was the keyboard player at the time, caught sight of a drumset, fell in love.... and so a drummer was born. Soon after that the girls began experimenting with song writing and out of that came songs never to be played or heard of again :) During that time they decided to start their own band and have been one for the past several years. What happened to their father, you ask? Well don't... kidding. He and his wife (ironically, the Barlowgirl's mother) are now the girl's managers. Yes, it is a family affair.
You’ve just released your first Christmas album! Tell us about that.
ALYSSA: It’s very “un” Barlowgirl. I hope people are ready for this. We didn’t play one instrument on the album. We worked for about a month arranging the songs. It’s all orchestral. They flew over to Prague and recorded a 68 piece orchestra. It’s beautiful. We decided to do a Christmas album to show people what we listen to, not necessarily what we play.
When did you decide to take your relationship with the Lord seriously?
BECCA: Growing up as pastor’s kids you know all the right answers. You can go through all the motions. But there was a time when we each had to make it our own. For me, I was going through a season where I was struggling you know, just with life. Being a teenager struggling with eating disorders and depression. I was just so confused about what I was going to do with life. After turning to so many different alternatives I finally gave God a chance. I was like, “Okay, God, are you everything that you promised you were?” I said, “God, heal me. If you are the God I heard in church that you are, then heal me.” And He healed me of eating disorders. He healed me of depression. In that moment I realized this is a God I’m going to serve for the rest of my life.
LAUREN: We became Christians technically at like five years old, but our parents really challenge us saying things like, “You can’t just go to church because we go to church. You have to make God your own and have your own relationship with him.” That happened in our early teen years for each of us.
What would you like for the body of Christ to pray about for you?
ALYSSA: One of the things we always need prayer for is traveling mercies. Travel sometimes exhausts you more than anything. The amount of time it takes to get places . . .
BECCA: We’ll get up at three in the morning and won’t get to a show until three in the afternoon, and we’ve been traveling that whole time. You just get really exhausted.
ALYSSA: We get three hours of sleep a night a lot of times. You just go and go and go. For us we go to places to minister, but when you’re exhausted a lot of times all you think about is yourself (chuckles). Pray that God would give us a supernatural grace to still be able to minister with our full hearts and not focus on ourselves.
LAUREN: And to keep pressing into Him, because when you’re tired you want to sleep instead of pray! We can’t go on stage without that time with Him. Pray that we would remain focused.
What message would you have for people who come to your shows who like the
music but might not be Christians themselves?
ALYSSA: As Christians, we should be living our lives in such a way that people are hungry when they meet you. That when they see your lifestyle they go, “Gosh, I need that. What do they have that I don’t have?” That we would live and speak in such a way that would drive people to want to get to know Christ. We share a lot of our personal stories on stage because we don’t ever want to come across as, oh, because we’re Christians life is perfect. A lot of times I think that’s what the world believes, that Christians are kind of stuck up and in denial of reality. If we as Christians can show the reality of our brokenness and how real our God is, that’s what’s going to reach this world. We have to be real and not put on a mask that says I don’t struggle with what you struggle with. Yeah, we do! (Laughs). We’re all human. We’ve just chosen to be saved by God.
What’s your favorite Scripture?
LAUREN: One of the verses that has brought us girls to a lot of the convictions we have and what we stand for is Romans 12:2 which says “Do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” That was one of the first verses that us girls ever learned. My Mom was like, this is going to be our verse, because our Mom is such a rebel, too. She’s the one that instilled in us that God put in all of us to change this world, and we need to stand up for what we believe in. It’s really shaped our career in decisions we have made, and it’s shaped our personal lives in the stands that we have taken. That’s our key verse.
Rejection is something lots of us deal with, especially as teenagers. Do you have any insights on this?
BECCA: Most of my life I’ve struggled with rejection. And growing up I wasn’t the smart kid, and there’s a lot of rejection. That was the word over my life for many years. The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer is a really great book because it teaches you how to combat things you’ve always been told or you’ve always felt in your life. That book has really changed our lives. After you read it and realize how to apply the Word to different things and memorize Scripture, you use that when you hear the words of rejection. You push those away and say, “No, this is what God says about me, these are the verses.” That’s really changed everything for us. Everyone’s rejected, really. You really are. It’s just a matter of what you’re gonna do with that. Are you gonna harbor that and become bitter and start hating those people, or are you gonna forgive and move on? That’s where our freedom is.
ALYSSA: Kids can be so mean in school. They were mean to us. We were not the popular kids in school at all. We ended up being homeschooled because it was so bad we had to be taken out. We were made fun of constantly.
LAUREN: We’re still made fun of!
BECCA: What do you mean “were” made fun of?
ALYSSA: We still, all the time, hear people talking about us because of our stand for purity, because we don’t date, because we’re girls that play instruments. We just really had to learn, like Becca said, how to apply God’s Word and how to realize that pleasing people isn’t the end all. It’s not our goal anymore. I live my life to please God, and if someone’s not happy with that, then that’s their problem. We’ve really had to develop that mentality, and that’s taken a lot of time.
BECCA: We still struggle with it, but we just have to be bigger than that.
ALYSSA: Yeah, it still hurts sometimes. It’s a process. You have to renew your mind constantly.
Growing up as sisters, did you ever have any trouble with each other? :)
BECCA: I don’t think we would be able to be in a band today if we hadn’t worked on our “stuff”.
ALYSSA: We fought constantly!
BECCA: There are four of us. Lauren and I would fight, and Alyssa and our brother would fight all the time. I just have to say . . . manual labor is awesome!
ALYSSA: Let’s explain what that means! (Laughs.)
BECCA: When you’re fighting, and your parents are like, “Okay, do a job together. Learn how to work together.” We would have to paint fences together when we were fighting. Or we’d have to clean things or dig holes in the back yard.
ALYSSA: Mom and Dad are really big on never slamming a door. If you’re angry with someone, and you’re in a relationship, you don’t walk away, and you don’t slam a door. It just is not allowed in our household. That taught us a lot about how to really deal with a relationship, how to deal hurt, and how to deal with apologizing. You know, how to be humble enough to work out something with somebody. When we’d fight they’d have this thing called a Job Jar, and we’d have to go pick out a job and you’d do the job together. We learned to work through our differences. We would not be in a band working together if we had not learned how to work out stuff.
LAUREN: But we still bicker sometimes when you’re on the bus for three months straight with your family. Of course! But now we’re best friends.
BECCA: You’d do that with anybody whether they’re family or not.
ALYSSA: Yeah. But we
learned how to talk things through, and I’m really
glad because that’s something we can take into all of our relationships.
Even outside family. To continue to press on in the midst of pain and go
forward in a relationship without slamming a door. To not walk away.
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.