Lindsay McCaul: Critically acclaimed music from a singer who's overcome anorexia.

Sunday 17th June 2012

Rose Edwards reports on the record label debut album from Illinois-basedsinger/songwriter LINDSAY MCCAUL

Lindsay McCaul
Lindsay McCaul

Singer/songwriter Lindsay McCaul, whose debut record label album is currently getting rave reviews, has had no easy path into the CCM fast line. She has had to overcome bulimia and anorexia and also deal with the pain of seeing both her father and pastor contract cancer.

Lindsay's critically acclaimed album 'If It Leads Me Back' contains the song "Take My Hand" which she performed on hit TV show Say Yes To The Dress was inspired by one of the dark periods in Lindsay's life. Said the singer, "The song actually came out of one of my darker seasons where God was just letting me go through a bunch of different things. A relationship had ended and it was a longer relationship, so it was pretty painful. And then, my pastor had found out he had cancer and my father has a terminal disease that he's battling, he's still battling. That was a painful season for him. So all these different things were going on and things were changing. One night I was just laying awake in bed and I felt like God reminded me of the story of Peter out on the sea of Galilee. It was like three in the morning or something and I was like, 'God I am not about to read that story right now.' I just felt like the Lord was saying, 'You need to read that story'. Just read it. So as I read through that passage of Scripture telling that story of Peter out on the water, it reminded me that we all go through these seasons where, you know, we are confident going into the situation, that we think we know what God is gonna do and then as we get into the situation, we blink for a second and realise, things are not the way we thought they were gonna be."

Lindsay's 'If It Leads Me Back', produced by Nashville hitmaker Jason Ingram (Brandon Heath, Meredith Andrews) has received ethusiastic reviews. Jesus Freak Hideout wrote, "The best way to describe McCaul's sound is thoughtful, songwriterly acoustic pop, though even that label might be contradictory. It's acoustic, but not folky; accessible but not too poppy; vertically focused, but not worship in the usual sense. Most noticeable from the start is her unassuming voice. The current trends for women in music tend toward huge, powerful vocals but McCaul's soothing, restrained alto matches her down-to-earth musical personality. The result is something friendly to the radio listener but unique enough to win over this music fan."

The Illinois-based singer has toured with Casting Crowns on their Come To The Well tour along with Sanctus Real and did a Christmas Tour with Shane and Shane in 2011. In an Interview with The Christian Music Review Lindsay said, "They're all incredible people, just every single one of those guys and girls are so genuine and humble and they really want to be in ministry. They want to do this so that the Kingdom of God is expanded."

Lindsay McCaul: Critically acclaimed music from a singer who's overcome anorexia.

Lindsay started in music young, writing songs when she was around 11 as well as learning to play the guitar by herself. This was where she began and at the age of 16 her twin sister convinced her to enter a songwriting competition which Lindsay won. A Nashville company told her that they would put out a CD for her, however that plan never came to fruition. Lindsay explained, "They made all these promises and then it fell through. I was really surprised and disappointed because I really wanted to do it. I remember I was in my room and I was just like, 'God, seriously? I'm so disappointed.'"

Lindsay continued, "And I felt really strongly that God was clearly saying to me, 'You know Lindsay, if you are writing songs and doing all this for you, then you should be disappointed and devastated. But if you're writing songs for me, then you don't need to worry about what happens. If you just keep writing your songs, I'll take care of how I use them in people's lives. You just be faithful to write them and do that. Then let me take care of everything.' I just felt so peaceful about it because it had never occurred to me that if God is giving me songs to write or putting it on my heart to write songs then if I want to do something for his glory, he'll be the one that accomplishes it because he is far more concerned about his glory than I am. I think about giving God glory, I don't even know what percentage of the day, but it's not nearly as much as it should be. And God thinks about his glory all the time, he always wants to be glorified, which he should be. It was a realisation that I'm really glad I had early on."

When she was 16 Lindsay moved to Chicago to study at Moody Bible Institute. There she started leading worship at the school after being asked to lead worship. Once Lindsay graduated she went to her church, the Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago to work as part of a worship team. Lindsay was then asked to write some worship songs for the church and then they would record a congregational album and while attending a camp where she spent time writing songs. As it turned out the songs weren't congregational anthems the pastors and worship leaders were expecting. But the church still helped Lindsay to record the independent CD 'Ready'.

Lindsay continued, "So I made that CD my church. My roommate at the time was a girl named Meredith Andrews, who's another Christian artist. She had just started working on her first CD, I think it was just out or something. Her producer, who comes up to our church in Chicago and leads worship every month or two, is a guy named Jason Ingram. We knew each other a little bit, but he had heard my CD. He said, 'Hey I know you write these songs, what do you want to do with them?' And I was like, 'I don't know.' He was like, 'Have you ever thought about being with a record label or something like that?' And I was like, 'Well I've thought about it. There's no formula for how to get to a record label.' And he was like, 'Yeah I could help you at least with writing. So come down to Nashville, and we'll work together.' So, I went down and I started writing with him and he brought me to my record label, Provident. I signed with them a year and a half ago. It was just really crazy.

Lindsay McCaul: Critically acclaimed music from a singer who's overcome anorexia.

"I feel like it was a reminder for me that when God gives us desires in our hearts to obey him and glorify him, he will be faithful to fulfill that because he wants glory. It gives him joy to fulfill desires in ways that we would have never imagined it. I thought I would get to do music when I was younger, and I'm 27 now. I never thought I would be this old! That sounds terrible. I didn't think it would take this long to do something like that. Or then after that whole first thing happened, I thought I wouldn't get to do something like this. So, when the door started opening I knew it was God doing it and not me pushing it. I never wanted to push a door open for this because I thought if God wants to do then he will. And if I want to do it then I don't want to just do it because what if it's not what God wants? So yeah it's been crazy just to see him keep opening these doors."

Lindsay signed to Christian music major player Provident on 1st April 2010. Said the singer, "It was April Fool's Day. So when I tweeted about it nobody believed me. I was like, 'I just signed my record deal.' They were like, 'Haha, that's funny.' I was like, 'No, wait, no. I really did'!"

Whilst she was at Moody Bible College Lindsay studied Applied Linguistics with a career translating the Bible overseas in her mind. However she changed that choice after speaking to mentors and friends. On the topic she explained, "My mentors and friends and people that I was translating with kept saying to me, 'We feel like you are ignoring something that God has given you with your songs and with music. And maybe you're supposed to be music ministry instead of translation.' And I was like, 'What are you talking about? You don't want me to do this?' And they were like, 'No, no, not that. We just think you need to pray about this.' So the more I prayed about it I was like, 'OK God, I thought that you wanted me to go overseas and do something like that. But if you have a different plan for me for right now then you just make it really clear to me cause I am not very smart. I just need you to make it really clear and I'll go wherever you want me to go.'"

Lindsay continued, "And that's when I came on staff at Harvest; I really felt God leading me there. But I was disappointed for a little bit because I was like, 'I really love translation and I really believe it's so important for God's kingdom. There are people that have never heard God's word.' And I felt God reminding me that I could still translate God's word into songs. I will not remember what a sermon's about. I couldn't remember on this day from three years ago what a sermon was about. But I will remember a song - everybody remembers songs and lyrics. If you hear the first couple notes of any of your favourite songs, you could sing the lyrics, because they stick in your heart. So I love that I get to, in a little sense of the word, translate the Bible."

Receiving healing from our brokenness is a particular theme of several of Lindsay's songs. She told Breathecast, "I was anorexic for a while and then I was bulimic. I got saved and gave my life to the Lord and then continued to struggle for a little while longer but even through that, [I] really saw the Lord pursue me and pursue my heart and showed himself faithful to me, that he is able to take broken things and make them whole and take things that are in helpless and in despair and make things beautiful. That's what God does in the process of healing and changing lives all the time. So that was a huge testimony to me, even in my own life that God is so faithful to heal us. He healed me from these eating disorders and that is something only God can do..." 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.
About Rose Edwards
Rose EdwardsRose Edwards is a journalist living in Stoke-on-Trent.


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