Anne Wilson: Country, CCM, pop... you choose the label

Friday 3rd May 2024

Tony Cummings looks at the Nashville-based hit maker ANNE WILSON

Anne Wilson
Anne Wilson

Modern country music's fusion with pop, rock and even occasionally hip-hop has led to arguments and divisions amongst people who for decades had considered themselves country fans. Scanning the articles, reviews and letters in Britain's country magazines you will encounter opinionated, purist nostalgists who don't consider Taylor Swift has anything to do with country and long for the "real country" of Tammy Wynette or Willie Nelson, or others who want to go further back to the glories of Hank Williams and Roy Rogers.

Christian music has largely escaped such myopic resistance to musical cross-fertilisation and whether one calls Anne Wilson a country singer, a contemporary Christian music artist or a pop singer, this singer/songwriter has simply got on with top rate music making as can be heard on her Cross Rhythms radio hits like "Strong", "My Jesus" and "Still God".

Anne is a native of Lexington, Kentucky and has been in the public eye since the tender age of 15. She was asked to sing "What A Beautiful Name" at the funeral of her brother - who had died in a car accident. Anne then made a video of her singing that song which went viral. Called by God to pursue a music ministry her 2021 debut single "My Jesus" became a number one hit on Billboard's Christian Airplay Chart and her recording went on to be named Song Of The Year at ASCAP's Christian Music Awards. The subsequent 'My Jesus' album went on to be nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Album at the Grammy Awards.

In 2022 Anne was interviewed by Madeleine O'Connell. She spoke about her award-winning "My Jesus" hit. "I started to journal after my brother passed away. I really wanted to write down on paper what God was doing in my life and the miracles that he was performing and just what was happening. I wanted to prove to myself that I would survive the tragedy of losing my brother. I just had this feeling inside of me that I wasn't gonna get hurt, I just didn't wanna have to get through it.

"I remember taking the title 'My Jesus' into a songwriting session. We all three came in, we had never written together before, we were all strangers, but we came into the write having the same title and concept. So kind of from the first moment it just felt like, 'Okay, this is definitely what we're supposed to write today.' Then we finished writing the song and I just knew in my heart that it was the song that was gonna change people's lives."

The singer/pianist wrote a huge amount of songs before the final selection for the 'My Jesus' album. "135 songs is how many I wrote for the record. It was crazy. It was a three-year journey from 2019 to 2022. It was a long journey and it was definitely a lot from my journals. It was a lot of just, the loss of my brother, walking through that, wanting to write about that, how much I had gone through and suffered and all of that. I knew that the title track had to be 'My Jesus'. It didn't make sense for it to be anything else, 'cause that song is really what started everything for me." 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 Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


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