A singer's voice can make or break his or her music. Many artists, like Audrey Assad and Matt Maher, Josh Groban, and Celine Dion, are widely known for their voices. You can add up-and-coming artist Teressa Mahoney to that list.
At first listen, her voice reminds me of Canadian sensation Chantel Kreviazuk. But, as I continue to listen to her music—"Restore (Psalm 23)", in particular—I can hear the Audrey Assad influence.
Similar to Assad, Teressa lets her voice shine bright while limiting the techno-pop, which, can isolate an artist's true musical talents. I had the esteemed pleasure to ask Teressa a few questions. Here's our conversation.
Tell us about yourself.
I'm a singer/songwriter, photographer, graphic designer, and soap maker from Colorado. Outdoors is my happy place. On as many summer evenings as possible, my family and I invite our neighbors and friends over for live music on the front porch, corn hole, food and community.
Why Christian music?
I'm not sure I would classify my music as "Christian." I suppose you might call it that simply because I am a Christian. But, I believe God's truth and beauty can be found in a lot of things that don't carry that label. I write about what I'm learning as a human. And I hope that people can relate to it.
Tell us about your latest album, Beyond. How would you describe the music on the new album? What was your inspiration for the album? What singles have you released so far?
Thematically, Beyond is an exploration of my interaction with things beyond the veil. It asks questions about those thin places we sometimes experience. "Kairos," "Save Me O God" (Psalm 69), and "Restore (Psalm 23)" have been released as singles. I also just released a new single last week called "Not a Love Story." This song is about two people who met, got married, and fell in love—in that order. It's the true story of how my parents met, and, really, the story of us all.
What are some of your favorite artists and music that you listen to and why? Who would you like to work with in the future?
Thanks to Spotify, I listen to new artists just about every day. I'm currently enjoying Mike Mains and the Branches, Matthew Perryman-Jones, and Adam Watts along with all time favorites like Andrew Peterson, Audrey Assad, and U2. I'm also a fan of Gabe Scott's producing and would love a chance to work with him one day.
How do you approach your songwriting?
Usually, I have ideas for several songs rambling around in my brain. Each one takes a few months to come together. Once I have a relatively clear idea about what the song is, I'll sit down to write. Michelangelo said, "Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." I feel like that is my goal here—to be true to the songs. I want the words and melody, and eventually, the production, to set the songs free.
What's next for Teressa Mahoney?
I have recently embarked on a mission to create songs for my church. A few other songwriters and I have started a group we're calling the CommonSong Alliance. I feel that songs from within a church can be instrumental in the healing and mission of the body. This project is, at once, thrilling and terrifying, because sacred songwriting is a serious responsibility, as much as it is a gift.
How can we be praying for you?
I would love prayer for clarity, wisdom and direction for the new songs I will be writing this year. Writing songs for the church is new for me. And I really want to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit and get this right.
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.
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