Solveig: Norway's gift to Christian music cuts worship project

Tuesday 7th November 2006

Lins Honeyman spoke to Norway-born, USA-based singer SOLVEIG about her 20 years in music ministry.


Solveig is much more than a singer with a new worship album out through Authentic Music. She is, in her native Norway, a musical institution who has enjoyed a stream of successful recordings and who was even married on national television while in her adopted homeland of the USA Solveig has won a Dove Award, recorded duets with such artists as Larry Norman and Wayne Watson, toured with the Imperials, written a commentary for Thomas Nelson's Women Of Destiny Bible, been the National Executive Coordinator for the American Strategic Prayer Network's 40 Days of Worship and Intercession, and even sung with Bill Gaither as one of Southern gospel's Homecoming Friends. Like another Norwegian-born singer who broke through in American Christian music, Evie, Solveig Leithaug (pronounced Sol-vey Light-houg) has found a large US audience for her sweet toned voice. An original member of the Oslo Gospel Choir, she became a staple on the Scandinavian gospel scene. By 1984, at the tender age of 18, she was awarded the title Artist Of The Year by Norwegian music magazine Treff and the following year appeared at the Christian Artists Seminars in Estes Park, Colorado. Signed to Word Records, her English language debut 'In The World' was an effervescent slice of pop and even included a duet with Jesus music legend Larry Norman. 1986 also saw her awarded a Dove Award as International Artist Of The Year. In 1988 Word subsidiary Day Spring released another album, produced in Nashville by Wayne Watson and Paul Mills with Watson and Solveig duetting on a Chris Eaton song "Land Of Promise".

In 1989 Solveig married Ken Henderson, founder member of the US-based Soldiers of Jesus organisation, and together they have since embarked on a worldwide venture of outreach, music and ministry that has touched many people's lives. I questioned Solveig about the secret of her career's longevity. "God has brought a lot of people into my life to encourage me and this has really helped me," she responded. "I guess the songs kept coming and people kept asking for my albums - even when I was independent."

I asked her if there was anything that she would have done differently in hindsight: "The one thing I would like to have done more of was to listen to the Lord more - especially when the pace got really fast. I don't think about my regrets though and I live life to the full. I am truly and sincerely thankful to the Lord for what he's done in my life. I try to listen to the Lord every day."

Solveig spoke about her new album. "'Worship You' came about after I experienced a ten year drought of not being able to write lyrics in my native tongue of Norwegian. After I was able to do this again, we had already decided to make an English version of the album." The album itself is very laid back and I wondered if this was reflected in the recording process. "The overall feeling while we recorded was one of peace," recalled the singer. "There was a really great and positive environment. We opened every day in prayer and we asked God to use the songs. There were people coming in the studio also to pray."

Solveig:  Norway's gift to Christian music cuts worship project

Perhaps the most poignant track on 'Worship You' is the beautiful "Everything Has Its Season", dedicated on the album to her late manager Joy Thomason who lost a brave battle with cancer in 2004. Originally written in 1989, this song has surprisingly never made it onto an album despite her former manager's persistent pleas for Solveig to record it. During Solveig's last visit to see Joy before her death, she sang it unaccompanied whilst holding her hand and vowed to record the song. The day before the new album went into production, Joy passed away. "I got to meet Joy again shortly before she died and she urged me to record the song," Solveig explained. "Throughout the years, the song never made it onto an album but this time it seemed like the right time. It always bugged Joy that we never recorded it and I decided to dedicate it to her on the album - she was a tireless source of encouragement to me.

"It's hard to know why this song was left off so many albums," she added. "It was due to be featured on the Oslo Gospel Choir's very first live album in 1989 and the choir did a very sweet arrangement of it and it sounded lovely. It was all going well until the last verse and I managed to play the wrong notes on the piano part so it never got on the final version of the album!"

Prior to 'Worship You' Solveig recorded 'Fagert Et Landet' (translated as 'Beautiful Is The Land'), a collection of her favourite hymns and songs sung and arranged bluegrass style, and included on this album are guest appearances by her parents Peder and Helga Leithaug. "They appeared on the album with me and it was the first time in 25 years that they had been in the studio. My dad's 81 now and had had a stroke shortly before. Thankfully he recovered so the thought of getting my dad in the recording studio just struck me so strong. I got some of my favourite songs and hymns, and added a couple of my own. Dad and I recorded 'Great Is Thy Faithfulness' together. He managed to hit a high C - impressive at any age!"

Solveig has also worked with some of the world's most renowned Christian leaders - David Wilkerson, Nicky Cruz, Cindy Jacobs and Benny Hinn to name but a few - and has evidently benefited greatly from their input. "There is much to learn from these people. Nicky Cruz actually lives near us in Colorado Springs and he's a great inspiration," she enthused. "We've worked in outreaches together, with giveaways to the homeless and low income families. The way he sees people as individuals and genuinely prays for them is very humbling. He is willing to go after that one lost sheep. I enjoy learning from him."

Solveig:  Norway's gift to Christian music cuts worship project

The power of God has been present in Solveig's ministry and, on some occasions, it has manifested itself in a number of healings that have taken place through her music. She is typically humble about this: "None of us can take any credit for it but it's fascinating," she explained. "There is so much power in God and when his presence is here anything can happen. The most remarkable instance was when I sang a song called 'Abandoned To You Jesus' on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. There was a bishop in Canada who had gotten really ill and was in a coma. His wife decided to keep the TV on in his room. Whilst I sang, he woke up and within a week he was running - completely healed."

Last year, Solveig made several guest appearances with the legendary Bill Gaither's Homecoming tour. I asked her how this came about: "I never thought it was something I would get to do - I never considered myself as a country singer!" she laughed. "I was with Russ Taff and Lynda Randle, having done some concerts with them, and Russ called Bill up. Normally the Gaithers will only commit to give you one song on one night if they don't know a new artist but Russ must have talked me up quite a bit and I got to join them singing for five concerts over 10 days to about nine-16,000 people at each venue! Shortly after that we moved to Norway for a short season, but are back in Colorado Springs now."

The rollercoaster continues apace and, looking to the future, Solveig has been chosen as the appointed worship leader for the Just Give Me Jesus revival conference in Oslo led by Billy Graham's daughter Anne Graham Lotz in May 2007.

With 20 years of ministry under her belt, things don't appear to be slowing down for Solveig. However, no matter who she has worked with or how many albums she has sold or how many thousands of people she has performed to, she is typically down to earth about what is important to her. "Ken and I don't have normal jobs as such but we do find ourselves spending a lot more time together than perhaps more normal families. We travel together as much as possible. I have a very supportive husband and our three children have a beautiful attitude to what I 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 Lins Honeyman
Lins HoneymanLins Honeyman is a Perthshire-based singer/songwriter and currently presents The Gospel Blues Train on Cross Rhythms Radio on Saturday nights from 11pm and on Listen Again.


Reader Comments

Posted by Cyndy Ennis in Indianapolis, IN @ 15:48 on Mar 26 2019

Just remembering when you and Ken ministered at our church many years ago. There was a song that you said you sang every morning before going to the Lord in prayer. I remember recording that song on a cassette tape. That is gone now. It was the most anointed song. I do not know the name. Wondering if it was Worship You. Hope to find and purchase it for my time before the Lord.

Posted by John F in Denver @ 13:28 on Nov 9 2017

I heard Solveig, Sing for the first time at a street ministers conference in Dallas Texas in 1989 or 1990.
And once again when she came to my home Church in Houston, Texas.
The anointing on this young lady was more powerful then any anointing I had ever seen on any Christian singer up to that point.
Thank you Solveig,
For the blessing you are to the body Christ. And to All who hear you.

Posted by Euler Aleixo in Luanda/Angola @ 08:56 on Nov 3 2014

Hej Til Alle Dere.I Remember When I Heard Solveigs Voice 4 The First That Back In 2004 In Skien "Kristen Felleskap`it`s An Adorable And Sweet Voice I Said Wow And The Words On It...,what God Gives No Man Cant Take.Vaer Velsigne!

Posted by Roger Bowden in Fruit Cove Fla. @ 06:14 on Sep 4 2011

How can I purchase her CD,s

Posted by Sharon Barbi in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania @ 15:43 on Dec 24 2010

Hi, to both you and Ken & the children (of course):
You may not remember me, I am a friend of (& worked for) mike and Cindy Jacobs. I remeber the Holy Laughter on you, Solveig, in their offices @ Colorado Springs.
I woke up thinking of both of you this morning (Christmas Eve 2010). Warm feelings and sweet memories thrilled my being. Your faces still bring joy to my heart. Praying for you both and your family. Children growing big and strong I'm certain.
Lots happened since last saw you.
Have a very Blessed and Merry Christmas.
Lots of Love,
Sharon (SharonFaith) Barbi & Joey

Posted by bimenyimana in kigali rwanda @ 10:09 on Apr 18 2009

we have a problem of to worship song ,
can you help me to give me a training in worship ministries or music


Posted by joyce donovan in galveston island, texas @ 21:34 on Jan 28 2008

sister solveigh...thank you for giving of your time and talents to help shine the light where it belongs...on our Father. I am a Christian singer-songwriter who is looking for ways to spread the word through my music. I saw you today (my day off of work) on TV and was immediately captured by your sincerity and simplicity as you spoke of Gods love...then I watched and listened...keep writing and spreading the good news of Gods love.

Posted by Pastor Charagh Rosha in Lahore . Pakistan @ 09:18 on Dec 6 2007

Dear Sir,

Kingdom greetings from Hallelujah Evangelistic Association Pakistan. Hallelujah is a non profit organization. We are working in Rural Areas on these ministries Women, Youth, Sunday school, Children Rights, Education, Health,Sports,Development,Mercy,Pastrol network, Telephonic Prayer, Healing Crusade,Seminars,Gospel Music & Peace Awards and Outreach Evangelism. We want participant in your coming Conference & Training program 2008 for more spiritual learning. Kindly send us Invitation Letters, Brochures and all other information as soon as possible.

Name of participant
1- Pastor Charagh Roshan
2- Mr. Lawrence Bhatti
3- Mr.Dawood Gill

We are waiting your good response

God bless you all

Yours friend in Christ

Pastor Charagh Roshan
Hallelujah Evangelistic Association
P.O.Box 158
Lahore, 54000.Pakistan.

Posted by deborah hill in Frederick, Maryland @ 18:49 on Apr 30 2007

Oh Sis Solveigh, I was watching TBN today, 4/30 and you were on the show and sang three of your songs-
from your new album. Your voice was like an angel singing, the words that the Lord gave you so beautiful! I love your singing not only your singing, but the message in each song. I have a friend who has cancer, and over the week-end I visited her and God put a song in my heart for her, it's an old song -- "Your Standing on Holy Ground" she loved the message in that song! I love to hear you re-sing this song with your heavenly voice.

God bless

Posted by Nashima in New Jersey @ 13:39 on Apr 28 2007

God Bless you Sis Solveigh, you don't know me I've had the privelege to hear and see you on TBN! WoW! I was so inspired and filled with the pureness of Jesus that you possess! My heart immediately was filled with the spirit of God, I have never seen such humility and love of Christ through any person as I've seen through you! You helped me to realize just how simple it really is to be filled with the presence of God on a daily basis! I too love the Lord with all of my heart and might but recently had been trying to make my relationship with God so difficult! But after hearing you speak and worship God it set a freedom in me like never before! From now on it's Just GiveJesus too! That's all I need and that's all that Matter! My heart and soul says Yes Lord! Be very encouraged and know that Great is Your Reward in Heaven! Love in our Lord! God Bless!

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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