Progressive Country Gospel Songwriter
Southern Gospel Songwriter
Praise & Worship Songwriter
MY HEART ... writing Southern Gospel, Country Gospel, Praise & Worship music. I Love You, Lord is my heart of thanks to the Lord.
I'm the one you'll find in the pen and paper section of a store. I can remember in grade school pretending I was writing books, poems, and lyrics to Roger Miller's song, "King of the Road." Well, I shared those lyrics with a friend, who gave it to a teacher; thus, I began to "get it" that I really could write. By time I got to fifth grade, my teacher, Mr. Stein, apparently noticed I could write, too, and invited me to participate in a poem writing contest. Although the invitation was great for the ego, the experience overwhelmed me, and I froze. I couldn't write a thing. How humilating! Out of the scrutiny of peers, I continued to write, and now fifty years later, the joy of writing is still there whenever I do. I've found, though, I don't write well under pressure; I do much better when inspired. So, it's a good thing I don't get paid by the hour! There are seasons of dry times; however, when I'm blessed to hear a song in my head, I write. I really like it when I write about something that has inspired me, such as "America, Where Are you Going." I feel fulfilled when the rough draft of a song is completed on a demo, and passed along to others.
From the 1980s through today, I haven't written anything other than Christian music--mainly progressive country gospel, southern gospel, some praise and worship songs.
Around 1988, I began writing Christian songs in a serious way. I did my first demo around the year 2000. Although I received some really nice compliments on my music, it was crushing to me to find out being in a church doesn't mean what's important to you is important to others, and because I experienced rejection from those I was closest to in the church body at that time, I had to decide if it was a sign from God that HE really hadn't given me a gift for writing like I thought He had. I had a ten year on/off struggle with it. The struggle is over. I've learned I can't let man dictate what is in me.
Once I felt certain the Lord had "really" gifted me, and it wasn't just me, I made a promise to Him that I would do my very best to not just sit and rip songs off because I can. I promised the Lord I would wait on Him to move me to write, or wait until I was really inspired. There have been dry periods of time where I did very little writing. When I did write something, I could tell, personally, through tears at times, "the touch" was on them; of course, some different than others. I hope you can tell when you listen to them!
Going through the mazes in life at times, the ups and downs, I definitely was inspired to write. "Lord, I"ll Glorify" and "There is Hope" were written out of the knowledge I'd sinned, and no matter how unworthy I felt (and technically, I am), I had to pick myself up and continue on in my relationship with the Lord by faith, standing in HIS righteousness. Running and hiding from Him wouldn't have solved a thing except add to the messes I'd find myself in. The Word of God is correct in saying, "There's not one righteous, no not one (Ro. 3:10)." My hope is definitely in Him, not myself; thus, the song, "Oh, the Blood." "Walk On" was written after we lost our 16 1/2-year-old daughter, Alaina, in a tragic car accident in 1998. Although I felt like a rag doll tossed aside in a corner of a room during that horrible period of my life, I knew we had to walk on, and I knew Alaina would want us to.
Thankfully, not all my songs are written from the dark side of life! "There is Joy" on this "Great Day" because "We Are Children of the King", "We Are The Church of Jesus Christ", and we can't forget "Jesus Won the Battle" over every demon in hell! So, "Get Ready" and look up for your redemption draws nigh! Not one person will be able to deny "The King has Arrived"! "Worthy is the Lamb That Was Slain", and every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord!
Once I got my first demo completed, I was so honored the Lord had allowed me to get that far. Unsure what the next step was, naturally, my family was the first to hear them. Shortly before my dad passed away, I had stopped by to visit him one afternoon, and he said he'd been listening to my musi. He had a feeling things would start off slow but would gain momentum and have a snowball effect. Things have happened exactly as he said.
1996 - Dad Passes Away
The Dream Begins
A bittersweet experience occurred. My dad died September 13, 1996. Almost two months later, I received a phone call from "The King's Heirs," a Southern Gospel Trio from Indiana. The Greenes had given them a demo of mine, and they were interested in recording two songs: "A Great Day" and "I Believe, I Believe." They later recorded, "Lord, I'll Glorify". Sadly, my dad was unable to hear the first group sing them, not on earth anyway. "I Believe, I Believe" began getting radio play in the southern states, and I received my first royalty check from BMI. I'm not doing this to get rich, but it nice to see a monetary blessing.
1997 - A Dry Spell
1998 - Our Daughter, Alaina, is Killed
The Dry Spell Continues
Things Begin to Resume
After The King's Heirs (sadly, no longer together) recorded my three songs, nothing more happened for awhile. During that time, some sad and devastating things occurred in our lives that would require healing to come, and thankfully, it did! Tempted to throw in the towel, I kept telling myself the Lord would not want me to throw my songs in a drawer. I kept sending them to ones I thought might be interested, including radio stations, simply to get outsiders' input. I was shocked to find out my "demos" were getting radio airplay!! A DJ from Tipton, Florida sent me a copy of his radio program in which he had played four songs and asked his listeners to call in to let him know which ones were their favorites. What an honor to find out he received phone calls! People like my songs, so he continued to play them. They were being played on other stations, too!
Another shock occurred when I found that Eddie Day was playing one of my songs in the Netherlands! "I Believe, I Believe" charted at #59 in 2000.
Another Dry Spell
2003 - An Honor
I kept plugging away, 'waiting,' until I would get those little nudges to send my demos out. I had to wait and depend on the Lord, as I don't have "in" like others have. My "in" has to be God. Illinois is quite a distance from Nashville and on south. Thank God for HIS faithfulness!
A HUGE Surprise!
After I recommitted my life to the Lord in 1984, my mentor, Doris Bucks, gave me some worship tapes, and Mike Adkins' album with the song "Adoration" was on it. His songs affected me like no other at that time in my life. Ask my husband. He would come home from work many nights listening to Mike's cassette tape. I know, this story is dating me! That song deeply ministered to me, and I can say I learned a true feel for worship from his music ministry. I can honestly say he played a huge role in how I write. Thank you, Mike!
As I continued to evolve as a writer, I continued to ask the Lord to open the right doors. One day I had a thought to send one of my demos to Mike. Of course, I thought no way would he be interested in anything I had, because Mike wrote most of his own songs, plus, I wasn't sure if he was still in the ministry. However, having learned the leading of the Lord, I mailed it to him. He called me, and surprisingly, said he was interested in "God's Grace." I about fainted! Needless to say, I felt excited, giddy, humbled, honored, and weepy all at the same time.
One day when I was home, our dog began barking. I looked outside and noticed a travel trailer driving up our driveway. We lived in the country, so this was not the norm. I kept peering through the windows in our house fully expecting whoever it was to turn around and head back in the opposite direction. They stopped. I went out on our back porch, and recognized right away the gentleman walking up our driveway. I opened the door to hear Mike Adkins singing, "God's Grace." Shocked, and with tears in my eyes, I said, "What are you doing here, and how did you find me?" He said he and his wife were heading somewhere to minister at a church, and they wanted to stop by our house to meet me in person before they made a final decision to cut my song! We visited awhile, and nearing the end of our time together, he felt almost certain he would record it, and would confirm later on. He did! I'm so grateful to the Lord for that experience, and I'm so glad after all the previous rejections I'd experienced, I kept going.
Mike Adkins recorded "God's Grace" (#2 on album, "Me and You") in the fall of 2003. The song was originally recorded on demo by Gus Gaches at The Family Room Studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee, produced by Robb Tripp. Ironically, Robb played drums on Mike's version of God's Grace in Gallatin, produced by Otis Forrest.
More than 500,000 copies of Mike's album, "Thank You For The Dove," have been sold, making it a Gold Album, which features many great songs, including, "Adoration," which is one of the songs that heavily influenced me. Also, the Lord has allowed Mike to appear on more than 300 national television programs. He has also spoken and sung at many Full Gospel Business Men's conventions and chapters, as well as Aglow Chapters, denominational churches and non-denominational churches throughout out country. Mike has sung and spoken in Indonesia, Scotland, China, Holland, Brazil, Russia, Poland, Australia, England, and South Africa. Mike is also the author of the best selling Christian book, "A Man Called Norman". He has also produced two Christian films available on video, "A Man Called Norman" and "Seeds For the Harvest". You can see more of Mike's products on Amazon.
The Snowball Begins to Gain Momentum ... Again
Up to this point in time, I had never felt I could sing well and had been told by some that I couldn't. I guess it all amounts to preference. All of my professional demos have been done at The Family Room recording studio, and either Robb Tripp, Pastor of The Fireplace Fellowship or Gus Gaches have produced and sang all songs on my demos. Both are fantastic!
One day while working on one of my demos, Robb said, "Teri, you need to sing your songs." Robb hears me sing them with just a basic piano, then he finishes it professionally. He's been in the music industry a long time, been around lots of musicians and singers, and if my voice was awful, he would've never said what he did. What he said encouraged me to at least try. Even though my first response was a nervous laugh, the desire was in my heart to be able to sing them, but I wasn't secure enough to do any sort of lead. I'm comfortable behind the scenes if that tells you anything. After seeking the Lord, I decided since I didn't feel I was a strong enough singer for lead, I formed TELL, which consisted of Lisa Lierheimer (lead), Erin Murphy (tenor), and me as alto. As a group, we were able to travel some locally and recorded a CD, titled "TELL Everybody." We were together approximately three years. I'm thankful the Lord used us in ministry during that time, and I'm thankful for my friends to this day. I sent out our CD to some radio stations, and we got some air time as well.
My music continued to be played on radio stations:
Played on KJJR Southern Gospel Radio
BBC Broadcasting, 9 songs
Another Song Recorded
Jericho Road Georgia recorded "There Is Hope" in January, 2008. The song was originally recorded on demo by Robb Tripp at The Family Room, Galatin, TN. Thank you Jericho Road Georgia for picking "There is Hope" for your newest album, and I'm deeply honored and humbled that you'd select that song as your title for your album cover. Sadly, their last time together as a group was March 6, 2011.
Another Song Recorded
In July, 2009, "I Believe, I Believe" was recorded by The Eternals, from Tipton, Indiana. Shane Roarke produced their album at Chapel Valley Studio, located in Sharps Valley, TN.Music List
2010 - New Demo
I began learning how to create music videos to upload to YouTube, and although a newbie, I'm enjoying it! I hope to add more in the future.
In December, my husband paid for new demo and trip to Tennessee for my Christmas gift ... I was thrilled! We chose the following songs: God is Able, The King Has Arrived, Jesus Won The Battle, and Worthy Is The Lamb. Again, Robb Tripp did a great job!
Time to Focus
Time of Patience
With the new songs ready to go, this website in place, Youtube on the way, I feel it's time to start pitching songs again, so demos are going out. "America, Where are you Going" seems to be getting some attention. We'll see what happens while again waiting on the Lord to open more doors.
Thanks to all who have been so encouraging!!