The midwestern native who studied opera and moved to Nashville to pursue a career in country music didn't expect to change gears and pursue a life of ministry through Christian music instead. Yet, a trip to Haiti, a game-changing conversation in front of the Pacific Ocean, and a lot of soul searching showed Heather Schnoor how to embrace the story God is writing with her life, a story she opens up about through a handful of newly recorded songs, including her new single, "All In."
"I spiraled into a very difficult season, questioning my purpose in life and in music," says Schnoor. "I was in a really unhealthy environment, feeling like I was enabling so many things that didn't represent who I was or who I longed to be. So I ended up taking some time away from the country music world, and eventually walked away for good. A lot of people were surprised and confused because labels were showing interest, but I was not fulfilled."
"My favorite place in the world is the ocean," explains Schnoor. "It's the water, the sunsets, the mountains. I feel closest to God when I see that huge never-ending body of water. It was there that I had a pivotal conversation with the Lord. I was tired of all the distractions blurring my focus and the lukewarm lifestyle I was living. I wanted to be all in with my community, with my church, my friends, my family, but more importantly with Him. So it was there, as the waves tumbled onto the shore, that I surrendered to the Lord and said 'I'm All In.'"
Schnoor's renewed perspective and commitment began bringing her career path into focus as Christian labels began reaching out to her. With a certain amount of trepidation she began considering Christian music as an option and found a community of mentors to help her along the way. Her first EP This One's For You, released in 2012 and made substantial climbs up the iTunes charts, affirming Schnoor's new direction. Learning to embrace her story instead of fearing it is a continuous journey for Schnoor, but she has found freedom in the storytelling, in ministering to others in her brokenness, like being more open about her struggle with severe dyslexia, her passion for single mothers (her mom was one for many years) and her insecurities about getting on stage and leading worship when she feels there's still so much to learn. Now entering a new season with a fresh batch of songs, thanks in large part to producer Jeff Pardo, Schnoor is gaining ground and confidence with her new music and new single.
"Someone once said to me in a meeting, 'Heather, this is your story. This is who you are and you've got to own it, walk in it, and be ok with it.' I went back to that moment six years ago at the Pacific where I committed to being all in, and I knew what I needed to do. In writing and recording this new music, it was the first time where I was ok to be me and tell the people I was collaborating with about my pain and insecurities as well as the victories and life changing moments. To surrender to that and feel that freedom and not let the fear hold me back has been a really healing experience."