Nine years ago, Natasha Owens's dad was cleaning his guns. There was a bullet in a chamber of one of them; it went off and hit him in the heart. From there, Natasha spiralled into depression, into a dark place.
"It was God crossing my path, at his perfect timing, that pulled me out. It was music that reached me when words could not." I connected with Natasha about her story, her music and her new album, Warrior. She shared her powerful testimony and how it's impacted her music.
First, I'd love to talk about your new album, Warrior. What's the inspiration and theme behind the new album?
The first album we created was a restoration project called, "I Made It Through." It represented making it through a trial. God began to deal with me about 'making it through' not being the message. That rising above was the true message. This was the second chapter in my recovery. So, we named the second album, We Will Rise. This brings us to the third album. We named it Warrior. It represents the third season--the overcomer season--in my recovery. I feel like I am finally an overcomer. I have made it through the battle of my life. I wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for God. I'm so thankful that God brought me through.
Can you share your story on how you came to know Christ?
I was raised in church all of my life. I was raised United Pentecost with a family full of pastors. But I discovered that my relationship was through religion and not tied directly to Christ. After my dad died, I tried to pull on the faith that I had been raised on, but it was not enough. It was not anchored. After going through the toughest battle in my life and overcoming depression, I felt like I was a new baby in Christ. I saw God in a different way--with new eyes. I realized that there was nothing I could do to cause him to love me more or less than he does in this moment. I could not buy his love with works nor could I disappoint him so much that he'd stop loving me. God's love is truly unconditional.
Talk about a few singles from your new album.
Verse: Isaiah 42:13, Ephesians 6:10-18
When we go through faith shaking situations, wounds are created. Wounds that take a long time to heal. Once the wound heals, it leaves behind a scar. We automatically want to hide those scars because the scar is still sensitive or hard to talk about. Or we want God to erase them because we are ashamed. Our scars tell our story. They are a reminder of the battle that we survived. The scar is our testimony. Revelations 12:10-11 states that we shall overcome by the word of our testimony. When we share our testimony, we help to not only bring healing to ourselves, but we help to bring healing to others. So, what does this have to do with Warrior? Warriors stand up and help lead others into battle. Warriors may be scared and weak, but they don't hesitate to stand up and fight because they know God is going to be with them. "Warrior" is an anthem song. It's a call to action. A movement. Warriors don't give up and they don't back down. They pick up their sword and shield and fight. You are a warrior.
Verse: Matthew 22:37-39, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Jesus commanded that we love our neighbor like we love ourselves. We don't always agree with the ones around us. It's hard to exhibit love sometimes when we feel that we're right and others are wrong. Throughout scripture, Jesus made it clear that everything we do and say must exhibit love. We have a saying in the south, "You make more progress with honey rather than vinegar." This saying is so true. There is a way to present your case. A way that causes people to gravitate and listen to what you have to say rather than completely be turned away and not even hear your words. I challenge you today to be the change in your world. Be the light that people gravitate to. Just Love.
Verse: Romans 8:35-39
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No. In all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I'm sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Let me start off by saying that life is tough. Some situations completely shake us to the core and the darkness settles in. Human nature is to run from the situation. To run as far as possible, putting it in the rearview mirror. When life gets tough, we need to run to God. But most of the time, we don't. We run from God, but we can never really escape His love. No matter what I have done or will do, God will always be there to rescue me. He chases after us and pursues us. The moment we stop running and turn around, God is there with open arms. He will surround us with his rest and his perfect peace.
How have you grown as an artist since the start of your career?
When I started out creating music, I thought that helping someone make it through a trial was the mission. But soon after the album released, God began to deal with me. Making it through is not the true message. Rising above is the true message. So how do we rise above? It's all about truly thriving in Christ--not just surviving. When we make it through a faith shaking trial, we can't say, "Well, thank God until next time." We have to take what we have learned and help someone else through their trial. We have to show them that we made it through and it was all God. Now, I feel like I am in the third chapter of my recovery--the overcoming stage. So, I have progressed on a personal level, spiritual level, and recovery level. That is reflected in my music. I pray that the listener can feel the progression as they have listened to all of my music.
Which worship artists would you like to collaborate with in the future?
I would love to collaborate with MercyMe. I love the heart and emotion that is felt in their music. As a human being, [lead vocalist] Bart [Millard] is one of the most humble guys that I know in this industry. He loves God and people--and it shows. I'm also a big fan of Kari Jobe, Hillsong and Kim Walker-Smith.
How do you approach your songwriting?
I'm a very analytical thinker and not like most musicians. I actually create an org chart: the center of it being the core of the album. Each song branches from the core to a particular topic. Each topic helps the listener overcome a certain emotion or situation. Each song having a common thread back to the center.
Why Christian music?
I can't imagine being in any other genre of music. With every part of my being, I want to illuminate the spotlight onto our incredible God. If it was not for God, I would not be alive today. It did not matter how far I ran from him, he left the 99 to come and save the one. He carried me through the battle. I have an obligation to share my testimony. To show people that I made it and they can make it, too.
How can we be praying for you?
It's tough to be on the front lines of ministry. Pray for me to have peace, strength and endurance. Pray that the Warrior project motivates people to move. To challenge them to fight to make a difference in their lives and in the world that we live in.
Paul Phillips is a Canadian journalist with over 10 years of experience writing and editing digital and print content. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, and travel. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus.
NRT Books Launching
First title, Mixtape Theology, releasing October 2
What The Bleep
We explore the continuing trend of Christian artists including language...
NEW!BEHIND THE SONG
#1176 - Jason Gray
Exploring the message of belonging and transformation
Christian Music in 1993
NRT's J.J. Francesco reflects on the Christian music industry in 1993
Christian Music's Women
Women working to further the kingdom of God through their music