Teressa Mahoney: Song by Song
Independent artist Teressa Mahoney walks us through the inspirations behind her new album, 'Beyond.'

AN EXCLUSIVE SONG BY SONG FEATURE, Teressa Mahoney: Song by Song
Posted: June 07, 2019 | By: KevinMcNeese_NRT
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Teressa Mahoney has heard the roar of the waterfall and felt the buffeting of the waves, and her songs reach into the deep places, offering hope. Perceptive lyrics lay bare the yearning and grappling of an earthly journey, while Teressa's achingly-sweet vocals echo the beauty and safety of a long-awaited home. 

Beyond, Teressa's most recent release shares the kingdom-breathed tone of artists like Audrey Assad and Andrew Peterson. With tracks ranging from the bright and hopeful "Kairos" and "Your Beauty Fills the Night" to the stripped-down heart cry of "Save Me O God," Teressa further develops her message of redemption and rescue amid the ruin with an eye to the time when all will be made new. Fans will relish her cover of Amy Grant's "1974" and recognize Teressa's characteristic vulnerability in "The Castle," a song exploring walls built and torn down in relationships. 

Speaking of Beyond's themes of hope and vulnerability, Teressa says, "I have more questions than answers at this point, and I have learned to relish the beauty and adventure inherent in living in that space."

Here, Teressa expands on each track of her album, Beyond.

Kairos and Cronos are two Greek words for time. Sometimes, when I am making music, I experience time in a different way than in regular life. In the last year, I have been leaning into what that means and how to experience it more. This song is an exploration of those ideas.

"Restore (Psalm 23)"
My friend, Duane, told me he was practicing singing scripture as personal worship time, and I decided to give it a try. The longest memorized portion of scripture I could think of was Psalm 23, so I tried singing it to God. It turned into Restore. I feel that singing this particular scripture emphasizes different aspects than just reading it. 


This is a cover of the original Amy Grant song. It's special to me because 1974 is the year I was born. This song is reported to be about an event that Amy experienced when she was 14, which is how old I was when I first heard it. I always felt like this song was written for me, which, I guess, is one of the things that makes a song great. If it can feel personal to people, then there is an opportunity for connection. 

"The Castle"
I started writing this song for my husband, after a phone call when we just weren't connecting. It felt like we had these protective walls between us that weren't allowing us to really see each other. As I continued to write it, I realized the song is really about human connection. If we could get a good picture of the heart inside that other person, whoever it may be, I don't think we could help but to love them at least a little. I think that noticing the walls that prevent real connection is the first step in overcoming our differences.

"Let Go"
I heard someone speak on Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac, and it prompted me to read the story again. I couldn't believe what a monumental sacrifice God was asking of Abraham. God was the one that offered Isaac to him. It was God's idea to have Isaac be the means by which Abraham's descendants would outnumber the stars. Then God required him as a sacrifice. This story reminds me that our vision of the universes is so small and narrow. Trusting God can feel utterly foolish at times, but stories like this can give us strength and courage that the real picture is so much larger than we are capable of seeing at any given moment.

"Save Me O God (Psalm 69)"
This is the first song I ever wrote on the piano. It feels very special to me because I see it as a gift. I woke up one morning and read a few Psalms, one of which was Psalm 69. I just kind of saw the song as I was reading. Within an hour or so the whole song was written. There was a unique feeling of inspiration during the creation of that song. I love the kinship I feel with David as he pours out his heart. I also love that David offers no trite condolences to the suffering. There is no peppy self-talk to reassure himself that things will work out in the end. To me, this Psalm is evidence of David's astonishing faith.

"Your Beauty Fills the Night"
The streets in Venice inspired this song. I remember walking along the maze that is Venice and feeling so in awe of the beauty all around me. Nature has that effect on me, too. I read Madeleine L'Engle's "Walking On Water" and remembered the way she describes humanity's collective writing as a lake, with individual authors being rivers that feed into the lake. That image inspired the chorus. It's probably my happiest song to date. 

"As You Go"
This song is about my sweet cousin, Julie, who, along with her family, sold everything to move to Africa to work in missions. She and her husband now run a school in Niger. I wrote this the night before she left the US. It is a benediction that echos Paul's words in Philippians1:3. I still miss her so much, but I literally thank God whenever I remember her and the influence she has had on my life.

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