Lins Honeyman spoke to US CCM singer RACHEL SCOTT
Thanks to Authentic releasing her 2008 album 'Resolution', some live appearances with Hillsong London and Cross Rhythms Radio picking up on her song "Sevenfifteen", Nebraska-based Rachel Scott is making steady headway in the UK. In the US the singer/songwriter is signed to independent label Tent Creative Group and recently contributed her song "Depending On You" to the latest various artists album put together by million-selling devotional author Max Lucado (a project which also features CCM heavyweights such as Cindy Morgan and Nicole C Mullen).
With a passion to reach the poor through her music, Rachel is also part of Compassion International's artist roster and acts as a spokesperson for the worldwide Christian children's charity. Add into the mix the fact that Rachel is a busy mum of three and a worship leader at King Of Kings church in her home town of Omaha, Nebraska and it's clear that she lives her life to the full. I caught up with Rachel in a break from her hectic schedule and asked her how she does it.
"Just like any family, we have to prioritise," Rachel explained. "I've always said my family comes first and that's true. If it meant completely laying down the music to keep my family intact, there would be no question. We set aside times for just being together - sometimes we need to fight for that a bit - but we never want to get to a place where we or our kids resent the ministry because we were all short-changed as a family. When we travel, my husband (and manager) Greg and I bring our children along as much as possible and give them ownership in what we do. Recently they helped run the merchandise table which they loved doing - I'm sure they could cut Cross Rhythms a great deal! Seriously though, my biggest challenges are that of any mom - getting laundry done and meals on the table."
After the release of her first album 'Home To Me' in 2004, Rachel took time out to concentrate on her family. During this time, Rachel's church recorded a youth video which used a song by Integrity Records worship leader Dave Lubben. The video was subsequently sent on to Lubben by her husband Greg which in turn led to Rachel signing to the Lubben-owned Tent Creative Group label. "I'd been writing songs for years so there's always a new record pending in my mind but this time 'Resolution' was the product of a season where I had actually laid down the music," added Rachel. "I was trying to strike a balance between my role as a wife, mother and musician but I also knew the desires I had for a future record but was frustrated with how the record making process had been for me on past projects. I asked God to only give me what he knew I could handle and, only through his provision, was I able to sign with the Tent Creative Group label and create a project I had long dreamed of in terms of creativity, the messages in the songs and production."
Some of the songs on 'Resolution' give a very honest reflection of some of the struggles and ultimate rewards of faith in what appears to be a reflection of her own walk with God. "Of course," confirmed Rachel. "It would be remiss of me as an artist if my art were based on something other than what's in my mind and heart. Especially as a Christian, I feel an obligation to be real and to give a testimony that I hope will be an encouragement to others. My life has been full of blessing but also full of struggles and hardship. I find it necessary for my own processing - and also as an expression - that my music reflects my life.
"I have personal stories for each one of these songs and that makes them all special to me," continued Rachel. "For example, sharing the message in the song 'The Least Of These' is powerful for me because I get to connect with the listener whilst also being personally challenged. It's a cry for change that demands my full attention each time I sing it and repeat the words of Jesus 'what you've done to the least of these my brethren, you've done unto me.'"
In October 2008, this biblical principle was brought to life through her partnership with Compassion International which saw her placed in a substantial roster of CCM artists that includes the likes of Michael W Smith, Rebecca St James and many others. "I am thrilled to be working with Compassion," Rachel enthused. "For Greg and I, this was the missing puzzle piece in our ministry. We both knew we had a passion to reach the poor and less fortunate but the hard question was how to do it effectively and consistently. Joining the artist network within Compassion allows us to carry out that vision in a tangible way and share the opportunities people have to sponsor poverty stricken children all over the world - we serve as their ambassadors and liaisons. It's so exciting to watch God move in the hearts of people towards a child in desperate need," said Rachel before adding modestly, "and all I've done is play a few songs."
Nonetheless, just playing a few songs, as Rachel put it, seems to be working and it is clear that Rachel sees her new album in particular as a catalyst for expansion in her music ministry. "My husband and I believe that we are called to this music ministry so our hopes are that the album will be a resource for us as we forge ahead and that it might expand our territory in terms of travel, connecting with people and so on." She continued, "We've already seen this happen through mediums like radio and internet and we just pray that, in God's will, it continues to grow. However, I have to say, there is a beauty in having laid down the music a year and a half ago that allows me to rest in whatever the outcome. God owns it."
Signing to a major label and the resulting release of 'Resolution' has already allowed Rachel to forge ahead into new territories and last year saw live collaborations with Hillsong London and renowned CCM artist Sara Groves in different parts of the US. "Both experiences were incredible opportunities for me," stated Rachel. "Hillsong London were so gracious and gave me an opportunity to cut my teeth in a very high profile environment by opening up for them. Mostly I loved the heart of their worship and their focus on Christ - it was so encouraging. The Sara Groves concert was a lot of fun too - especially because I've been a fan of hers over the years and to visit with her and then share a stage was a thrill."
With things most definitely on the up, I asked Rachel what her plans were for the future: "My only plans are to continue writing songs from my heart and seeking the face of God. I guess everything else will flow from that place. Greg and I like to say that we just do what seems obvious to us. It is not in our nature to strategize, plot out or scheme how to get to the next level. Truly all that has happened for me in my music career has been by the grace and provision of God. And for that I am humbled and truly grateful."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.