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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vicky Beeching Vertizontal Interview

I first heard Vicky Beeching about 9 years ago. The world I live in is obviously a musical one and I am always listening. There are those times when I am listening specifically for music that will breathe life into my church. So . . .

In 1999, the Vineyard CD “Hungry” came out and I snatched it up because of the title track. I ended up falling in love with the energetic song “There’s No One Like Our God." We ended up doing the tune with more of a driving pulse and it went over great. When I read through the liner notes, I noticed a name that was new to me—Vicky Beeching.

Soon after, I got a demo CD from someone and heard the song “Yesterday, Today and Forever.” I loved it! I knew our church would embrace it right away. I emailed my friend Patty at EMI and told her this girl Vicky Beeching was my new favorite.
We started doing “Yesterday, Today and Forever” months before the rest of the world heard it officially on Vicky’s album.

The “worship music” genre was lacking songs—good, energetic, and yet thoughtful—songs for some time. A lot of it seemed like namby-pamby-Jesus-is-my-boyfriend music to me.

I won’t name names but, we didn’t (and still don’t) do a ton of “popular” worship tunes because they are either boring, don’t make sense to our church, don’t match our personality, or say the same thing every other tune is saying. I am always looking for songs that move, connect, and say something meaningful/smart/thoughtful.

Vicky Beeching was a breath of fresh air then and she still is today.

Since then, I have had a chance to begin a friendship with Vicky. I am a big fan of her blog. She is every bit as genuine in person as you would expect from her music. She lives in one of my favorite places outside of Nashville. She plays a Gibson. She uses and iPhone and a MacBook Pro.

I talked with Vicky recently and here is the official Vertizontal interview.

Vicky, what does it feel like to know people all over the world are singing your songs?

It’s exciting and sobering all at once. It’s amazing to hear people singing your own words and melodies back to God and finding them useful in connecting with Him. But its also sobering as you realize that you need to make sure you are writing truthful, theologically accurate lyrics and putting the right message into people’s mouths.

What is your favorite song of all time? If you have to give two or three that’s okay.

My favorite song of all time is Lord You Have My Heart by Delirious as that song had a powerful role in my walk with Jesus as a teenager. Second would be Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls, just because it’s amazing! Third would be Glosoli by Sigur Ros.

If you were on “Survivor” would you get voted off the island? Why or why not?

I’ve never really watched it… which is pretty sad! I tried LOST for the first time the other day – watched the pilot and thought it was a bit scary as I fly all the time!!! But if I were stuck on the Island on Survivor I’d love the nature elements, but I’d miss my iPhone and MacBookPro so probably wouldn’t last there too long!!!

Who are your musical influences?

U2, Angels and Airwaves, Sigur Ros, Alanis Morisette, Classical Music, Goo Goo Dolls, Explosions In The Sky, Sleeping At Last.

Name your top 3 secular bands of all time:

  • Angels and Airwaves
  • U2
  • Sigur Ros

Tell us about your blog! It seems like you have really caught the blogging bug, eh?

I LOVE blogging! I started a few months ago and have become very addicted! It’s an amazing way to really share your daily life with people and to share theirs. It’s so much more personal and real than the more ‘industry standard’ Artist websites so I have become a keen Blogger! Video posts are my favorite!

If you could have lunch with anyone—living or dead—who would you pick? (ummm . . . Jesus, The Apostle Paul, and all other biblical characters and heroes are out)

I think I’d pick Keith Green. His wife Melody is one of my dear friends and mentors and I’ve heard so much about him that I wish I could have met him. She says I remind her of Keith in some ways, so I think he and I would have a lot to talk and laugh about!

I hear you have taken a liking to country music. How did that happen?

I never thought I’d like country music! It snuck up on me subtly through Nashville’s country music radio in my car, and through CMTV played in our airport. Then I hired a drummer and it turned out he was Carrie Underwood’s drummer too. Before I knew it I was buying Taylor Swift and Keith Urban on iTunes!

I own a Gibson J200 just like you! Is it your favorite guitar?

It is – I love it! I love the size of the body…so much bass and resonance. It’s warmer and deeper than any other acoustic I’ve ever played.

Who are some of the people you respect and admire? Any heroes? Mentors?

Melody is a wonderful mentor. My grandparents are amazing too – they’ve been missionaries across Israel and Africa and are my heroes in the faith! My manager David Smallbone is teaching me tons too about ministry and how to be a good leader as I watch him on the road. Brian Doerksen and Brenton Brown have been two of my most influential mentors through the years in worship leading. Mike Bickle in the ways of intercession and prophecy. AW Tozer in theology and knowing God.

As a songwriter myself, sometimes my songs come from a deep place of personal experience (pain, sorrow, joy, victory) and sometimes I just feel like I have something to say—not necessarily tied to an experience. Where does a song like “Above all Else” come from?

“Above All Else” I wrote in the chapel of my college at Oxford University. I was wrestling with emotions about a guy I really liked at the time, and knew Jesus needed to be more important to me that he was. Also I was wrestling with the decisions about what I should do after I left Oxford, as so many career paths and options spread out ahead of me. The song was a cry for a mission statement – a desire for a lifesong to keep me on the right track. And I felt like the prayer “above all else give me Yourself” was the life song I wanted to write and live by.

Okay, my favorite Vicky Beeching song is, “Yesterday, Today, and Forever.” My church loves it too. What is your favorite Vicky Beeching song?

Thanks for the encouragement! That would be one of my faves… but top choice would have to be either Above All Else as it really is my Mission Statement for life.. or Captivated as it described how my heart has fallen in love with Jesus. My version of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus has also been one that I listen to during my quiet times sometimes (and I rarely listen to my own music, so that means it’s a exception!!)

Someone in my church recently saw your picture and said, “dang! I thought Vicky was older than that!” They explained to me they thought your music sounded like it came from a “mature” experience and they thought you look about 18. They really meant is as a compliment. Your songs, though “fresh” and “current” sound like they come from a well-seasoned life experience. Has anyone ever told you that before?

That is so weird! People say that ALL the time! Partly because I started writing songs for Vineyard Music about 10 years ago… so people somehow think I’m about 50 as it feels like so long ago to everyone now that those albums came out! I guess I just started young… and my Mum looks way younger than she is, so I have her to thank for the youthful genes!!

You are well spoken and intelligent. Where did you study?

Aw… you are very kind (smiles). I hope my parent’s University Fees have paid off and had some kind of good effect on me!! I studied for a BA and MA in Theology at Oxford and really loved my time there!

Okay, I have an 8 year-old daughter (at the time of this interview. Kasidy just turned 9). When Vicky Beeching was 8 years old, what was her world like?

I became a Christian at the age of 7, kneeling beside the piano with my Mum and praying the prayer of salvation. When I was 8 I was prayed for to receive the Holy Spirit, and had a very powerful experience of God filling up my life with His love and power. That night, at the age of 8 I had a very striking dream where He really spoke to me and His voice and dreams like that have continued ever since. So 8 was a big year for me! At 8 I was in elementary school, reading any book I could get my hands on, walking my best friend’s dog every afternoon, and playing with my little sister who is 18 months younger than me.

Fast forward. When Vicky Beeching is 40, what does her world look like?

Wow. That’s profound. I hope to be living somewhere near the ocean, looking out at a sunny view! The most important thing to me is that I’d be right at the center of God’s will for me. Hopefully married and with a few kids . . . finally able to cook a meal that doesn’t suck! . . . and having made lots of music that I’m proud of. I hope my world would be full of community, life, love and color and that my close circle of loved ones would be tight and have some special memories of laughter and tears from the years we’d already shared.

If your life were a Hollywood movie, who would play the role of Vicky Beeching?

Hmmm.. I think I’d pick Kate Hudson as she is one of my favorites! I love how she can be elegant and girly, but also hilarious and a total tomboy all in one movie (I’m especially thinking of How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days). Another favorite is Sandra Bullock, for the same reasons!

What advice do you have for aspiring songwriters and musicians?

My advice would be to develop your craft-- your sound and your heart in the secret place…and not be in a rush to share it too soon. For Christians, make playing and singing before the Audience of One the main goal in your life, and let the time in that hidden place outweigh the time spent on any stage. For writers, write every day and write whether it seems good or bad. Just let it all out, and you’ll find the diamond songs in the pile!

What do you wish you could do over again?

Everything. I’m a perfectionist so it’s hard for me to ever feel like I did well at anything. I’d like another shot at my whole life so far!!

How do you hope your fans describe you to others?

I hope they say I’m real, and genuine and all about Jesus.

I know you have wrestled with the whole concept of “celebrity” in Christian Music. We all know you love Jesus and want to remain humble and give him glory. But, with all that said, isn’t it fun to rock in front of a bunch of people? Do you allow yourself to enjoy the stage, the lights, the rockstar life?

Its something I’ve thought a lot about… I just want to make sure I am keeping my heart pure. But sure it is fun to travel the world and get to hear people singing your song . . . it’s a really fun adventure. I don’t really let it sink in too much as it has the potential to mess with your head. Plus compared to some of my close friends I haven’t really had any success at all!! They all have Grammys and Dove Awards.. so that keeps my feet happily on the ground… no potential for me getting a big head when people usually just look past me and ask my friends for autographs! I embrace it as a good chance to stay humble!! (smiles)

Okay . . . I am going to give you 10 words and you give me a one-word reaction/response. Ready?

American Idol . . . FUNNY
Lost . . . SCARY
Art . . . YES
Jesus . . . EVERYTHING
Music . . . PASSION
Blogging . . . ADDICTIVE
Books . . . ESSENTIAL
Culture . . . POLLUTED
Vertizontal . . . LIFEGIVING
Sushi . . . DELICIOUS!

Wow. Vertizontal=lifegiving? Thank you! Here is another fun one. Go with your gut . . .

Mac or PC? . . . MAC
West Coast or East Coast? . . . WEST
Guitar or Piano? . . . GUITAR
Coffee or Tea? . . . TEA
Diet or Regular? . . . DIET
Winter or Summer? . . . SUMMER
MySpace or Facebook? . . . FACEBOOK
Google or Yahoo? . . . GOOGLE
Camping or Hotel? . . . HOTEL!
Golf or Miniature Golf? . . . GOLF

My son is 16. Can we arrange a marriage with you? Too young?

Haha… Sadly that’s off my age bracket!! I’m 28 now!

What would you like to say to the readers of Vertizontal?

Keep reading because this is a quality site and JVo is a guy that has amazing stuff to say. I come here a lot now, so join me and become a Vertizontal reader!!

Vicky, thank you so much for taking the time. You are "real, and genuine and all about Jesus."

(watch the video below where Vicky gives a shout-out to Westwinds)


Cynthia Cullen said...

Great interview! Vicky is one of my heroes allthough we've never met. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Kirk said...

Hey John!

I am constantly looking for non-namby-pamby-Jesus-is-my-boyfriend songs for Frontline Church in Ann Arbor. What tunes are in your current rotation? I really struggle to find good songs that fit all of the requirements.

Hey, let me know if you're ever in Ann Arbor. I'd love to buy you coffee. It seems like forever since we met at Conor O'Neil's.