Paul Calvert spoke to hugely-experienced husband and wife duo KEITH & JENNY RABY

Keith & Jenny Raby
Keith & Jenny Raby

Keith and Jenny Raby have been music industry professionals since leaving school and though never obtaining the glittering prizes of success, they have had their moments. In 2010 they had three songs shortlisted for the Brit Writers Awards held at the O2 Arena while in the past Keith, who years ago owned his own recording studio, worked on records for the likes of Freddie & The Dreamers and the late Bernie Nolan. But it's their recent activities which will interest Cross Rhythms readers. Earlier this year they released their independent Christian music album 'My Heart Will Sing'.

I asked Keith to give me some background. "I have burned the candle at both ends, and some in the middle, before I got saved. . . I was in the army, then became a landscape gardener, then went into sales, then opened a restaurant, went back to landscaping, which I still do on and off, and throughout all of this time I have been a musician."

Keith's singing wife was born in Blackpool and even as a child was showing a considerable musical gift. Said Jenny, "We moved to north Wales, where my Dad was from. At the age of five my whole class had to sing a verse of "The Saints Go Marching In", to audition for something called an Eisteddfod, which is a big musical festival that takes place once a year. I had never sung before , but as it was just something we all had to do I decided to go for it, and this is where I found out I had a voice. I was put forward for the Eisteddfod that year and won! After this music became a way of life for me, and from this first experience went on to have many amazing opportunities from lead roles and TV appearances. At the age of 13 my mum and dad moved back to Blackpool as I had won a 12-month scholarship at a very popular theatre school, and shortly after this I started singing and gigging round the country, I have never stopped since."

When Jenny left the theatre school all manner of music opportunities opened for her. But as the years rolled on negative elements, which are sadly part and parcel of the showbiz world, began to affect the talented singer. "I had gotten into many wrong lifestyle choices. I got involved with a rock band and ended up getting quite heavily into the drug scene. I experienced some very dark and frightening things while in this scene, and this made me cry out to God and ask him for help. I remember asking him if Jesus really was his Son, would he show me? I believe he answered this prayer some years later, as he sent two people into my life who shared the Gospel with me. One of them was Keith and he told me if I really wanted to know God personally I should pray in the name of Jesus and ask him to reveal himself and he would. I did this one night and a beautiful presence appeared next to my bed, I couldn't see anything but I could feel him, and from this moment I knew Jesus was the truth."

Jenny continued, "I prayed to Jesus sometime after this and asked him to forgive me, but my real and exciting walk didn't start until about five years later, when my life had once again got all mixed up and I cried out to him again. This time I started going to church and studying the Bible. That is now seven years ago and I have never looked back. I was baptized on the 28th June 2009 and then Keith and I decided to get married, and we've been in ministry ever since.

"We have done a lot of outreach work in prisons/streets/churches/rest homes and one of the biggest and most amazing things the Lord allowed us to be involved with was a huge outreach at the Tower. He put this on our hearts in early 2012, and we took a huge step of faith and booked the Tower Ballroom. We had no funding in place and knew that as it was our names on the contract that we were going to have to be faithful and just trust the Lord at all times. The event was so amazing and the Lord brought every penny in that was needed to see this Gospel outreach event take place and see many respond to the Gospel message! There are too many details to mention of how we saw God's mighty hand throughout the whole planning process and fundraising, etc, but it was so awesome and led us to go on to do similar events each year following that."

Jenny spoke about the 'My Heart Will Sing' album. "This is the first Christian CD we have written, but before this we had written together about three albums worth of material, so we knew how we liked to work with each other and bounce off each other. However, writing gospel music we found to be a little different as where once we would write about any subject that came to mind, we were now writing from a very deep personal place of worship to the Lord Jesus, and we were also aware that as worship is a very intimate thing, we wanted to be able to lead people into that personal place of worship too. This album has been the most rewarding (personally) of all our work to date. We are now actually at the end of our second album, which is just about to go through the final stages of mixing and then manufacture."

I concluded our conversation by asking Keith what have been the greatest successes in the years of Keith & Jenny Raby's music making. "I think being involved in street ministry and possibly having an influence in the salvation of souls, some of which we have seen, especially in family members. I don't think that there can be anything more successful than that!" CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.