Leah Martensen's website
Allison Lynn's website
Beth Champion Mason's website
Shelly Wilson's website
Kerri Crocker's website
Tricia Zody's website
Rosanna Fiorazo's website
Bree Noble's website
Your most memorable (or embarrassing) road story:
BETH CHAMPION MASON: One morning I showed up at a church to sing for a Sunday morning service. Now I had booked the gig myself, and this was before the days of contracts and nailing down every detail. I had spoken to someone who invited me to come and said I could sell CDs, I knew the service time and the location of the church and that was about it. But I wasn't expecting for the person who opened the door for me to greet me with: "Hola Senorita!" and then continue in a barrage of Spanish. I didn't speak a word of Spanish and was so terrified. The person quickly realized that and switched to English, but explained that it was a multi-lingual church and about 90% were Spanish speakers. The service was to be held in Spanish! Well, I'm game for anything, so I went ahead with it, and it actually went very well! They had a translator come up on stage with me and translate what I was saying in between songs, and they seemed content to just enjoy the music during the singing portion, as most didn't have any idea what I was singing. The most popular song of the day was my song called "All I Have" -- probably because the chorus is just many repetitions of "Hallelujah" which is the same in ANY language.
What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
1. I love hot baths and if I am cold I will take several a day just to warm up.
2. I am Dr. Pepper FREAK. I love it and prefer it over anything. I even prefer it while singing on stage instead of water.
When you’re not performing, what do you enjoy doing?
BETH CHAMPION MASON: Reading, playing guitar & piano, hanging out with friends, going to movies, working out (but not as much as I should...)
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
KERRI CROCKER: Chips and salsa
Three things always found in your refrigerator:
1. Sweet Butter Lettuce
2. Butterball Shaved Turkey
3. 4-5 Gallons of milk (for my teenage son!)
1. International Delight Sugar-Free Vanilla Coffee Creamer
2. Vanilla Yogurt
You’re next in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering?
ROSANNE FIORAZO: My usual -- half caf./half decaf., room for cream.
What’s left unchecked in your “goals for life” list?
1. To be the best mom and wife ever . . . haven't made that one yet. There is always room for improvement.
2. To go to New York with my husband.
When was the last time you cried?
TRICIA ZODY: Today, as a matter of fact. It's my birthday and my kids wrote the sweetest love letters to me. I am a "Words of encouragement" person, so that was the best gift I could've ever received!
Three words that best describe you:
BREE NOBLE: Music-lover, multi-tasker and travelphile
What’s currently in your CD player/iPod?
BREE NOBLE: Colbie Caillat, Sara Groves, Anna Nalick, Five for Fighting and Michael Buble
by C.J. Darlington
Christian D.I.V.A.s Interview
"As women, we play so many different roles including singer, songwriter, producer, minister, wife, mother, church member, etc. This is where Christian D.I.V.A.s comes in."
Christian D.I.V.A.s is not your topical group of divas! A group of like-minded female music artists, they’re a fun and talented pool of ladies. All of the artists are servants who have a clear understanding of the calling upon their lives. They are not just singers, but women on a mission! They strive for excellence in all that they do, which includes a high level of integrity. They set their goals high and their work ethics higher. Over the years, they have all been recognized for their hard work and talents within the Christian community and music industry. However, that is not their focus. Instead they have been called to do great things for Christ.
We chatted with several
of the ladies to learn more about their organization …
C.J. How did the Christian D.I.V.A.s organization come to be?
JILLEEN: Christian D.I.V.A.s was formed by Leah Martensen and I after we met at a World Vision Artist Associate Retreat in Florida in 2005. We discovered that we both felt the same way about all the different music communities that were online at the time. There was not a safe place online for Christian female musicians to come together to talk about their music and issues pertaining to being a woman in ministry. Since Christian D.I.V.A.s was formed, we now talk about such issues as pregnancy, balancing family and ministry commitments and the role of women in music. We also pray for one another through a monthly prayer gathering and share performance and ministry opportunities.
What is the meaning behind your name?
JILLEEN: Christian D.I.V.A.s stands for the following:
DEVOTED TO CHRIST
" But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry." Act 6:4
INSPIRED BY THE SPIRIT
" All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
VICTORIOUS THROUGH THE WORD
" In all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us." Romans 8:35
ARTISTS FOR THE KINGDOM
" Sing to Him; sing praise to Him; tell about all His wonderful works!" 1 Chronicles 16:9
Tell us some of your goals for the organization.
JILLEEN: One of the primary goals as an organization is to help female artists learn how to juggle all the different demands placed upon their lives. As women, we play so many different roles including singer, songwriter, producer, minister, wife, mother, church member, etc. This is where Christian D.I.V.A.s comes in. When one of our members has a problem or a prayer request, we gather around them to encourage them.
Our second goal is to provide our members with exclusive radio, publicity and performance opportunities. Through this additional exposure, our members are able to expand their individual ministries and reach a broader audience.
What is the number one piece of advice you would give a girl or woman who dreams of being an “artist”?
JILLEEN: I would recommend that they find a mentor in their same genre of music. Learn from them. Ask them questions. Get to know those around you better. Simply by surrounding yourself with people who are creative, knowledgeable and understanding will help you grow and mature as an artist. Having a mentor is the key to having a successful career, in my opinion.
Tell us about your own personal journey as a Christian artist. How did you get started?
LEAH MARTENSEN: Like most artists, I started singing as a child. I became a Christian when I was five and grew up singing Christian music. Not only did I love music, but it was something that connected me to God. I can remember times in my life when all I knew what to do in a fearful moment was to sing. All I knew was that music brought me closer to Christ. They were words that reminded me who He was, what He would do for me and how He loved me. I still turn to music to help me get through tough times. I also memorize Scriptures through music. If God can reach me through music, I know he can reach others the same way. I wanted to take something I knew I could relate to and reach others. God designed all of us differently. I believe the world of arts can be used to reach lost people that might not find the time to get to know who God is. God created me with a passion for music; it's not just something I like to do, but rather something that speaks to me.
The organization is designed for the more advanced artist (i.e. those who have released a CD). What sort of requirements must an artist meet to be able to join Christian D.I.V.A.s
JILLEEN: Christian D.I.V.A.s membership requirements:
1. A Christian
2. Female performer
3. Perform a minimum of 25 dates per year
4. Attend a local church in your area
5. Professional recorded CD
6. Professional website
7. Able and willing to participate in group discussions
8. Open to sharing ideas and insights into life as a female Christian artist.
How do you personally juggle all the demands of running D.I.V.A.s, performing, and meeting the needs of your family?
LEAH MARTENSEN: Well . . . I'm not sure really! It's a day to day thing. I have times I don't juggle well. But those are the times when I just have to hand everything over to God and look at my life and say “this isn't going as well as I'd like” and readjust. I have a husband that is 100% behind me and supports me. That right there takes a lot of burden off of me. I think I do a pretty good job most of the time. However, I do tend to get wrapped up in my work. I have to work hard to make time for friends and family.
What would you say is the biggest struggle female artists face that maybe their male counterparts don’t deal with?
ALLISON LYNN: For me, the biggest struggle has been people dealing with me as an independent woman. I'm married, and my husband sometimes performs with me, but I do the majority of my performing and traveling by myself. Whenever I show up by myself, people ask about my husband, which is fine. But I've actually had people ask if everything is "okay" with us, just because I'm by myself! My husband and I are both musicians and we each worked independently for years before we even met. I've told my husband about this, and he's never received any reaction even similar to it, so we know it's because I'm a woman. I know it comes from a place of caring, but still, we both find it hilarious!
We’re seeing more female artists starting out as teenagers in the Christian music industry than ever before. Do you have any thoughts about that?
RACHANEE: It's a mixed bag. I think it's important for children and teens to have good role models close to their age, but then you think, on the flip side, those kids in the music business (or any entertainment industry) miss out on being regular kids. So how can they truly be good role models in the areas of peer pressure, drugs, school issues, sex, etc., when they're not truly facing those issues? Plus, they'll just miss out on the fun of growing up "normal."
I think if a kid (boy or girl) wants to do music or acting or whatever, they should maybe have a few years in the regular world and start pursuing it when they're old enough to realize what they're getting into (like 16 or older).
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would you change?
RACHANEE: A lot of the things I don't care about in the industry are actually changing all on its own. There's a bigger emphasis on independents and going away from the mainstream. I think what I would change is actually the economy all around the country. I think indies were able to rise up in the 90s because people had more disposable income and wanted to go out, listen to new music, experiment with new acts. Right now you could be the best artist or band out there, but everyone everywhere is hurting and they don't want to support the artists or the venues. Therefore, you see good venues shutting down, which means that good independent artists don't have an outlet to perform. And it just keeps going on down the line - so unless you're a very established indie act or a mainstream act, you're out of luck.
What is the number one thing the average consumer can do to help promote their favorite artist or band?
DEANNE: My opinion would be word of mouth. Getting out there and actually telling people about the artist or when they're going to be in town. I know when one of my artists has a venue that is really excited about what they've just seen, they usually say "I'm going to call the other groups around here and tell them they need to have you in." When you have a personal reference from someone you know, it holds a lot more weight in the decision process. It is the same for buying CDs or radio airplay.
What has been the lowest point in your career and how did the Lord help you get out of it?
ROSANNA: Probably the lowest point was when I developed vocal polyps about 2 1/2 years ago. I was devestated because my ministry was the only source of income at the time as that's what my husband and I were doing fulltime.I also developed acid reflux and had burning sensations in my esophagus area constantly, and was doubled over in pain daily. This went on for over a year. I had anxiety about all of it and that didn't help either. A lot of people were praying for me throughout this time. My polyps finally cleared, and with the help of some medication, the acid reflux subsided. I am taking better care of myself these days and am learning not to stress over things that are out of my control.
What do you wish people knew about Christian D.I.V.A.s that maybe you don’t get to share very often?
LEAH MARTINSEN: That we are all very dedicated, professional, hard working, followers of Christ! We know what we were called to do and we are focused on that calling. Christian D.I.V.A.s is a cute name but none of the girls in the network are anywhere near being like divas. Instead they are Devoted, Inspired, Victorious artists and understand the mission that God has given them. Nothing is going to get in the way of God's calling on their lives. They are honest, humble servants that not only want to reach people for Christ, but also have huge hearts for reaching the lost.They share their struggles, hurts, pains and joys so others can grow in Christ. Not every artist is willing to do that today, but our artists do. Music is just a small part of the larger picture of God's calling on our lives. Sometimes there is a cost with opening up your life. We live in a world that likes to pass judgment on people, but we all fall. None of us have walked this life without something that has brought us to our knees. We're willing to say "Hey...we're been there and God's love brought us through it".
C.J. Darlington is the award-winning authof of Thicker than Blood, Bound by Guilt, and Ties that Bind. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a paint horse named Sky. Visit her online at her author website. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.