by Tracy Darlington
Joy Lippard Interview
beginning to learn how important it is to love on people and not
judge them, even when I don’t agree with the way they live
their life. "
Within 24 hours of penning her first song, 11-year-old Joy Lippard had an unexpected revelation of divine purpose. I cry myself to sleep, not knowing what tomorrow will be like, were among the first lyrics she wrote on September 10, 2001. And in the midst of national tragedy the next day, as she reflected upon those sobering and timely words, Joy caught a glimpse of God’s plan for her life and music.
and poised—and a newly minted high school graduate—today
the 18-year-old is faithfully following the call placed upon her heart more
than seven years ago. A 2006 GMA Music In The Rockies songwriting competition
winner in the pop/rock category, Joy is also a talented piano and guitar
player whose voice rings with the earnestness of a seasoned artist over smart
Tracy: Can you give us a little background on how you got started in music?
Joy: I wrote my first song at age 11, the day before the Sept 11th terrorist attacks. Some of the words to the song were “I cry myself to sleep not knowing what tomorrow will be like, Lord you’ve gotta help me…” From that point on I just felt called to use music as my ministry!
I’m sure you have some stories from your mission trip to Guatemala. What’s one or two that you will never forget?
I was really struggling with doubting the existence of God before I went on the trip. But one night I clearly remember, as we were worshiping, feeling the presence of God. I saw people raising their hands in worship and even though we were singing in a language I didn’t understand, I just knew God was near. Men, who were known to be the “bad guys” of the community, were going forward to give their hearts to Christ, and I just thought to myself, “only God could change their hard hearts… He MUST be real!”
Another memorable night was when I sang one of my own original songs, “Beautiful,” during the church service. Afterwards, one of the girls shared how she had been struggling with suicidal thoughts. But after hearing the last line of my song that says, “rise up the morning sun, I want to know a new day with you has come…” she was given hope and realized that every day is another day to live for God. She saw that she could be excited about waking up each morning rather than depressed.
What was it like for you to be winner of the song writing competition at the GMA’s Music in the Rockies in 2006?
I was totally shocked! I was one of the youngest writers in the competition and didn’t think I could stand a chance against a lot of the other great writers, who were older and much more experienced than me. In saying that, it was totally a God-thing and a huge blessing!
Do you have any steps for teenagers to take who are dealing with the same self-image issues you dealt with early in high school?
Man, that’s a tough thing. I wish I had all the answers to dealing with this stronghold, but to be really honest it’s still a struggle for me and I am constantly fighting against Satan’s attacks on my confidence and self-image. And I think that’s the key… perseverance. Continually asking God for His strength to overcome the lies that Satan throws at us each and every day. I remember one time when I was so fed up with worrying about how much I was eating and how much I was working out and why my body didn’t look perfect, I just fell to my knees and cried out on the name of Jesus to deliver me from the lies and the stronghold on my life. My dad also gave me some great scriptures to memorize, like 2 Corinthians 10:5, that helped me to find truth in the middle of a dark time.
How did you come to know the Lord?
I was 4 years old when I heard my parents present the gospel to my Sunday school class and decided I wanted Jesus in my heart. After hearing the clear option of either a life in heaven spent with Jesus or an eternity in hell, I decided I wanted heaven! So after church when we got home I asked my dad to pray with me to accept Jesus into my heart.
Where do you hope to be in five years?
I hope that I will still be writing songs and using the gift of music I feel God has blessed me with for His glory, whether on the road touring or in a church leading worship. I don’t know about the next five years, but I’d like to write a book and maybe even speak at women’s conferences or something like that! And if God grants me a spouse at that point, I think it’d be awesome to be doing something music/ministry related together, whether on the road or in a church body. But really I have no clue! I’m excited to see where God leads!
What do you know now that you wish you’d known a year ago?
Well, after graduating high school I think I’m beginning to learn how important it is to love on people and not judge them, even when I don’t agree with the way they live their life. I kind of secluded myself from people at high school because I lived a different lifestyle, being brought up in the church. And don’t get me wrong, it’s important to distinguish your close friends and make sure they are building you up and share a common faith, BUT I also don’t think I made a big enough effort to love on the people who needed to know Christ’s love the most.
What advice do you have for youth who don’t yet know what they want to do with their life?
Pray and don’t worry! Oh, but that is so much easier said than done, isn’t it? Really, I know God gives each person a special gift to use for His glory and the greatest thing we can do is offer our life as a sacrifice! We may not know what steps we should take or where we’re going, but if you remain faithful in the Word and in prayer to the Lord, I know He will be faithful also and guide you!
Is there a story behind your song “Miracle”?
I used to be totally obsessed with the show Prison Break, which is based around the storyline of this guy who is thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. All these horrible things happen to him that he doesn’t deserve, and it made me think about how in life a lot of “stuff” happens that isn’t fair--maybe the loss of a loved one, or a personal sickness or a broken relationship. And even though those times feel so hopeless, God is reaching out His hand to us, ready to do a miracle in our lives! He is bigger than any problem we will ever face!
What is your favorite song on your album and why?
Ah, it changes all the time. But maybe “Hole In My Pocket” because I think it’s really relatable to everyday situations. It’s about wanting to be successful, talented, rich, pretty, popular or whatever, but God tells us to find our identity in Him and to look to things above and store up your treasures in heaven! That is something I need reminded of every day for sure.
How would you describe your sound?
Some people have compared my sound to Jewel or Sara Bareilles or Taylor Swift, probably because of the singer/songwriter aspect and the fact that I play the piano and guitar. I think if I could make up my own genre, I’d probably say something like “story-driven pop,” because I strive to lyrically make each word of my song count and have meaning and tell its own story.
What’s the coolest prayer God’s ever answered for you?
I would have to say it’s the prayer I prayed starting in 8th grade and all the way up until my junior year of high school… which was for Christian friends! My best friend moved to California at the end of my 7th grade year and I was devastated because we were so close and she was one of the only Christian friends I had. So I began to pray fervently every day for people who would encourage me in the Lord and we could share our faith together. I definitely went through some lonely times throughout middle school and high school because I chose to walk a separate way than the rest of my peers. It lead to some persecution and strange looks, but I kept praying! And then the summer before my junior year of high school, after coming back from a mission trip to Peru with my youth group, I got connected with so many friends from my church who I’d never known before! And even though I prayed for years for “just one friend,” God blessed me with a whole group of friends from youth group, who are still my closest friends now!
Where’s the most memorable place you’ve played?
I played in Indianapolis for a concert called “Secret Star,” where people buy tickets but don’t even know who is playing that night… it’s a secret. I opened the show and then the secret act was ZoeGirl! I listened to them growing up, so it was pretty cool to be able to open for them! The crowd was super responsive as well and it was just a fun night overall.
What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
My middle name is Betty! And I love salad. Actually, once you get to know me that’s not surprising at all, but I am made fun of by my friends a lot because I try to be healthy.
When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I love to spend time with my friends! I like to sit around a bonfire or go swimming or play games and just be silly!
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
An apple, some carrots and Cheerios. (We’re on the bus so I just grabbed what I could find!)
Three things always found in your refrigerator:
Lettuce, apples and feta cheese.
You’re next in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering?
Hot tea! I love tea.
What’s left unchecked in your goals for life list?
Oh goodness a lot of things! Live in Hawaii or on the beach, go to a Hillsong concert, travel through Europe, go to the Grand Canyon… and more.
When was the last time you cried?
Three words that best describe you:
Friendly, joyful J and determined
What's currently in your CD player/iPod?
Brooke Fraser, Phil Wickham, Jason Mraz, Relient K (my fav)
Anything else you’d like to share with TitleTrakk.com readers?
I honestly love getting to know people and stay connected, so please be
my friend on www.myspace.com/joylippard or my facebook fan page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joy-Lippard/21961626615.
You can also sign up for my newsletter on my website www.joylippard.com and stay in tune with what’s going on by reading my blogs!
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.