by Tracy Darlington
Carried Away Interview
dangerous to try to do things in your own strength, because that’s
when you will burn out. Hold fast to your Heavenly Father! Trust Him,
seek Him first, and rely fully and wholly on Him. He is always faithful.
In fact, He is the only faithful One. Be encouraged!"
The Ontario, Canada based pop trio Carried Away features the talent of sisters Pam and Colleen Walker and their cousin Christine Prankard. Their exquisite blend of spiritual harmonies, written and sung, are expressions of love for God. They hope to transport listeners into His presence as their name alludes to, reminding us of the hope that one day those who know Him will be "raptured" into His eternal keeping.
They have toured with Casting Crowns, Avalon & Bryan Duncan and were named the bestselling Canadian debut artists for 2005 in Canada/CMC Distribution. They were awarded two Covenant Awards by the Canadian Gospel Music Association for "Song of the Year" ("I Know"), as well as "Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year" for their debut album Closer to You. They will soon release their sophomore project should release soon.
Tracy: When did you first realize you wanted to be a musician?
Pam: Ever since I can remember, I have had a love for music. When I was young I used to think I would grow up and become a singer, but I quickly changed my career choice when I began to question if being a singer qualified as a “real” career. It wasn’t until I was 12 years old, when we won a music competition together, that I decided I wouldn’t be completely satisfied if I did not continue to pursue a career as a musician.
Christine: I first realized I wanted to be a musician when I was in grade ten. It wasn’t the kind of musician that I am now. I wanted to be a worship leader. I think the whole desire for becoming a musician just slowly developed. As I started to really give my life and my desires to Christ, His desires became my desires, and here I am today.
Colleen: I first realized I wanted to be a musician when I picked up the guitar for the first time. So about 3 years ago I really felt like I wanted to do this. I am still learning new techniques, but guitar has inspired me tremendously. It has made a huge impact on my together time with God, my songwriting has progressed, and I tend to play guitar to ease any stress, worry, or sadness—it’s my outlet. To be a musician to me is to truly worship God using musically inclined gifts that He has given! Making music is a miracle.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you first started in music?
Pam: When I first started, I wish I had known the amount of work involved and also the sacrifices I would have to make. To me, all the work and the sacrifices are worth it, because we are doing something that will bring glory to God.
Christine: I wish I knew how much hard work it really was going to be. Before I started singing in Carried Away I assumed that it would be just singing. The truth is, there is a lot of practicing and hard work that goes along with the job.
Colleen: I wish I knew ALL the sacrifices I would have to make in order to see Carried Away grow and become a stable career. Like anything, this has been a long, hard, but fulfilling journey, and I wouldn't trade any experience. The truth is God has proven His faithfulness over and over again, so the things I don't know in the present I am not supposed to know until later. His ways are mysterious, and perfect. I have learned to trust Him through the good, bad and the ugly. It's the only way to live a satisfying life!
How did Carried Away come to be?
Christine: I remember having a vision one night right before I went to bed. I was actually supposed to be sleeping, but I was listening to my CD player while I was lying down. I was totally into a Point of Grace song at the time called “Keep the Candle Burning.” Then this thought came into my head, “Wouldn’t it be really neat to sing with some other girls like they do?” I totally questioned God and said, “But Lord, I don’t know anyone who can sing.” I was totally wrong! The next day I went to Colleen and Pam with that song and they knew it too. We started singing together that night. A few months later we decided to enter a local music competition. Colleen was 15 at the time, I was 14, and Pam was only 12 years old. When we entered the competition we really didn’t know what to expect. We ended up getting first place and then entered again the next year. We won first place again. That’s when we all started to really think, “Maybe God does want us to do this.”
Colleen: Carried Away is constantly growing, even today. Not in the sense that we are adding new members, but God isn't finished growing us spiritually and musically. We are certain there are things down the road that are going to continue this process of becoming Carried Away. I really feel like God started something 7 years ago, but He is going to continue to bring about new and exciting times for us. Initially, it was a music competition that ignited the spark, but there have been many milestones along the way, such as our first album and our second album we're working on completing. We never want to settle for second best. We all want to see the awesome work of God in our lives individually, and corporately.
What's special to you about Closer to You?
Pam: It is our very first album, and for that reason alone it is special. But it’s also special because of the message the album holds. I want to be closer to God, I want to know Him more and more every single day, and this album expresses my very purpose for life---to draw closer to Him.
Christine: One of the most special things about Closer to You is that every song on the album lifts up Jesus’ name. I mean, even the title track says it all. That is our ultimate goal in life: to be closer to Him.
Colleen: This album is special just because it's our first. Also, it's because of the unique way it all happened. We met our producer Otto Price, and a month later we were in the studio recording "Closer to You". It was amazing to have something tangible that our fans could bring home and be ministered to. There are so many special memories in making this album. We have met a lot of amazing people because of it. Having a first record is beyond words. There's something about that accomplishment.
What is your favorite song on the album and why?
Pam: “I Will Live For You”. The question that everyone needs to ask themselves is, “Who am I living for?” Some people may say that they are living for their friends or their parents or maybe even themselves. For me this song is my declaration to the world, and to God, that my life belongs to Him and I will live everyday for Him.
Christine: It’s really hard for me to pick one favourite song from our first album because all the songs have a special meaning. If I had to choose, it would be the song “Alive”. The song talks about the life and death of Jesus Christ. The chorus is my favorite part because all it says is “He’s Alive.” I think a lot of times we forget that Jesus is here with us and among us now. So this song is a reminder that He is not still on the cross, but He has conquered death and He is alive today.
Colleen: My favourite song on our first album would have to be "Alive" as well. This song ministers to me time after time after time. Its timeless message of our God being alive is what hits me every time we sing it. Every time we perform these songs I ask God to renew the words so that they can speak to me and never get old.
Where do you do most of your song writing and what process do you take in writing a song?
Pam: I don’t usually sit down and write a whole song by myself, but every once in a while I’ll jot down lyrics during my devotional time with God. Most of the time though Colleen and Christine will start songs and we’ll come together and finish them off.
Christine: I personally enjoy writing by myself in my room at home. I find that just being in a comfortable place is the best way that I like to write. I like to do a lot of song writing in my own private worship time with God. I usually don’t use a lot of those songs because they are just more “me and Him” moments, but I do sometimes. I also like to sing the psalms in the Bible, and sometimes songs come out of that too. Once in a while we three girls will write together and I really enjoy that as well. It’s really neat because we all have our different strengths when we write. Plus our different personalities combining together in a song just makes it even more unique.
Colleen: Songwriting is something that I will never take for granted. This is a special gift to me, because two years ago, I asked God to give me songs to write, ideas, melodies, etc. At the time, I was so desperately wanting to song write, but I felt like I was running up against a wall at every attempt. I said, "God, plant the ideas in my soul, in my heart, and words on my lips, so I can bring forth a new song for you. If you don't want me to write songs, then PLEASE, take this desire to song write away from me." It was not more than a month after that prayer that I wrote my first song. Since then, I have been writing a lot! God has been faithful once again! As far as where I like to song write, that usually changes. I do enjoy being in a secluded environment, it really frees my thoughts, feelings and emotions so that I can write from there.
Could you talk about some of the bands and songs that have impacted your life?
Pam: I grew up listening to a lot Christian bands such as DC Talk, Audio Adrenaline, Point of Grace and Tony Vincent. All of those bands set a foundation in my life and stirred something within me to have such a love for music. I can’t think of a specific song that has impacted my life, but I will say that listening to any worship song, whether it’s a hymn or Hillsong’s music, can really change my mood and put me in that spot of worship, which in the end impacts my entire day.
Christine: Someone who has really impacted my life is Steven Curtis Chapman. I will admit that when I was younger, I use to pretend I was him and put on my dad’s guitar and stand in front of the mirror and sing his songs. Chapman and my dad really inspired me to play the guitar. I think a song that really has influenced me is the song “I Love You Lord”. The part that says “take joy my King in what you hear, may it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear” is so beautiful. Honestly, I can just totally picture God up on the throne and the praises of His people just rising up, and it’s so sweet.
Colleen: There have been so many songs written by various artists that have impacted me as the years go by. Anyone from Amy Grant to DC Talk to Newsboys. These days I am into Sanctus Real, Nichole Nordeman, and anyone who can write a song with a powerful message. Some of my most favourite songwriters are Jon and Tim Neufeld from Starfield. I tend to listen to a lot of Hillsong United and Kirk Franklin on my iPod.
Can you tell me a story someone's shared with you about how one of your songs affected their life?
Christine: I think the song “Alive” has affected peoples lives. We get a lot of comments on that song, how it brings them closer to Christ. That is the greatest affect of all.
What are some differences between the Canadian and American Christian music scenes?
Christine: The difference between Canadian and American Christian music scenes is that the Canadian music scene is smaller, but it also is very close knit together. In Canada you sort of know everyone.
What challenges have you faced in establishing yourselves in both markets?
Pam: One of the challenges we faced in establishing ourselves in both markets is being able to balance the two. Your focus can’t be just held on one. You’re constantly working both markets and doing your best to maintain them at the same time.
Christine: There are so many artists in the United States, and being just a little fish in such a big pond is sometimes very intimidating. Even though there are a lot of similarities, it was sort of scary coming into another country and performing. We didn’t know how we would be received, but God knows the plans He has for us. He was right there and still is there as we go on.
Colleen: Some challenges are getting to know the American culture. Even though we are the same continent, we do have a number of differences. We have different mentalities. I feel like I have broadened my perspectives and I have an open mind now. I believe that God wants Christians everywhere to rise up and unite as one body of Christ. So to be able to forget about differences and to just worship our King where ever we are performing has been an awesome thing to do.
Tell me about your new album.
Pam: I cannot wait to share it with everyone. It definitely represents more of who we are both as musicians and as women of God. We are really involved in the whole process and trying to make it the best that it can be.
Christine: I am so excited. We either wrote or co-wrote all of the songs so it’s more personal to all of us. It’s becoming more of an acoustic sounding album. We’re working hard on the three part harmony aspects too.
Colleen: This up and coming record is something that I am definitely looking forward to. From the get go, we have set high goals for this second album. We really wanted to write all the songs so we can use what God has blessed us with. We’ve been working hard to create something beautiful. I’m excited to finish the whole album.
Who are some authors you enjoy reading?
Pam: I enjoy reading books written by Karen Kingsbury, and Max Lacado.
Christine: Some of the authors that I enjoy reading are Karen Kingsbury and Bruce Wilkinson.
Colleen: Karen Kingsbury and Phillip Yancey and Joyce Meyers
I'm sure you have some fun road stories. Can you share one with us?
Christine: I remember on one occasion we were in Texas and there was an old swing set with no swings on it. Two of the guys in our band and I had a competition. We wanted to see who could hang on the swing set the longest. So after I got my boost up there to hold on to the bar, we started the competition. Let’s just say I was up there probably for a whole five seconds. I lost terribly.
Colleen: Traveling with three band guys was always a fun time. I won’t get into the details, but the best was whenever our guitar player Jason Fitz would make some prank calls while we were traveling.
Being family probably helps keep you on track spiritually, but is there anything else you do to stay on track while you're on the road?
Pam: I always try to bring a Christian book to read while I’m on the road. For example, right now I am reading The Bible Jesus Read by Philip Yancey, and this just helps me to keep learning and studying during my devotional time. It’s very easy on the road to get lazy and find other things to do, but since I enjoy reading I try to fill my spare time with that.
Christine: I think having your own personal devotional time is definitely a key. It’s nice when you’re in a hotel because you can always go out into the hall way or find a quite room to be by yourself with God and just pray and read your Bible. Also another thing that we do is not watching a lot of tv. It’s really easy to turn on the tv and just veg, but the questions we ask ourselves is, “Is this making me a better person? Is this God’s will for me to sit there and watch this? Or does he want me to read His word?” There is nothing wrong with watching tv, but there are also priorities.
Colleen: I have started to memorize Scripture each week. I meditate on it whenever I can. I apply the Scripture to my life and ask God to reveal some wisdom and understanding about His Word. I really just WANT the closeness with my Father, so I spend time in prayer and devotion to Him. If you want God, then you don’t need a ton of reminders to spend time with Him.
What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
Pam: I took synchronize swimming, and I’m afraid of birds.
Christine: I collect Pez, and I love disco music.
Colleen: I am gluten intolerant (which means I can’t consume bread, or anything with gluten in it), so I eat rice bread. My natural hair colour is really just a mixture of blond, brown and red. My dad always says it’s like the autumn leaves.
When you're not singing, what do you enjoy doing?
Pam: I enjoy reading, shopping, going to movies and spending time with family.
Christine: I like to go on rollercoasters, read and play guitar.
Colleen: I love to talk to friends, family, anyone who will talk to me! I am a social butterfly, and I love people around me at all times. But whenever I do get alone time I will play guitar, drink coffee and read a good book.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Pam: Cinnamon & Spice instant Quaker Oatmeal
Christine: Maple and Brown Sugar instant Quaker Oatmeal
Colleen: Vanilla Latte from Starbucks. I’m working on eating breakfast---it’s not my forte! I am more of a lunch girl.
Three things always found in your refrigerator:
Pam: Milk, eggs, and butter.
Christine: Left over macaroni and cheese, sour cream and ketchup
Colleen: golden delicious apples, oranges, bananas (on top of fridge), eggs (I love eggs) and cream (for my coffee).
You're next in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering?
Pam: Refresh Herbal Tea. I am a HUGE tea drinker, especially when it comes to herbal tea.
Christine: I’m not very adventurous when it comes to trying something new at Starbucks, so I always get either a bottled water or Caramel macchiato with extra foam on the top. Yummy.
Colleen: First of all, this is my favourite question. Thank you for including this. I love love love coffee. I would either order a caféé latte, vanilla latte, medium roast coffee with cream and honey in it with a little bit of cinnamon sprinkled on top. I will drink anything with coffee in it, period.
What's currently in your CD player/iPod?
Pam: I like to listen to a lot of different music, but my top favourites right now on my iPod are Kirk Franklin, Hillsong United, The Fray and Avalon’s new CD.
Christine: I love a lot of oldies disco type music so I have some Peaches and Cream and Stevie Wonder, to name a few. I also love Starfield.
Colleen: The Fray, Hillsong United, Goo Goo Dolls and what ever songs I’m working on writing.
When was the last time you cried?
Pam: Monday, February 12, 2007: It was a sad day; it was the day that I lost my wallet.
Christine: The last time I cried was last night February 21, 2007 when we were praying before a youth show.
Colleen: I forget. I don’t cry too often. Just happy to be here!
Anything else you'd like to say to TitleTrakk.com readers?
Christine: I would like to leave you with the greatest commandment: Love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. How awesome is that!!!
Colleen: If any of you
readers are going through something, I encourage you to read Proverbs 4.
Don’t turn left or right, don’t stray
from the path, but look onward and upward. I know that a lot of times when
I am undergoing a trying time I really want to run to friends, family, carry
my own load, instead of turning toward a merciful Father who loves and cares
for me. It’s dangerous to try to do things in your own strength, because
that’s when you will burn out. Hold fast to your Heavenly Father! Trust
Him, seek Him first, and rely fully and wholly on Him. He is always faithful.
In fact, He is the only faithful One. Be encouraged!
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.