MARY JAMES 3 TIME ICM FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Last November I met a beautiful and talented Christian Country Artist with a heart for worship. That artist was Mary James. I was at the 2014 ICM Awards and I kept feeling drawn to one artist booth and was not sure why. I believe that it was her heart for worship and the hurting and down and out that I was being drawn to.
Mary James is not a woman unfamiliar with being down and out. She has faced many circumstances in her life; from a baby on up, into her adult life that help develop that very heart for worshiping God and for others. To lean more about her testimony click this link http://www.mary-james.com/about.html
When I met Mary James for the first time we were at one of the showcase nights for the ICM. I had been friends with her on Facebook for several months before meeting. We all have many friends on Facebook that we never get the pleasure of meeting in person. I remember that night when I went to speak to her she said “hey your Cassie”. I knew she had many many friends on her friends list and I am going to be really honest….. I was very honored and touched that she recognized me. I was able to talk with her a couple of times during that week and sit in on a panel board class she and some other great artist put on. I learned a lot about ministry in that session as well as her heart in ministry.
While at the ICM I asked Mary James if she would do an interview with me. When I asked her I had only published one interview and I felt God was leading me in this direction. Mary told me she would and I took her business card. That week at the ICM opened many doors for me and I knew that meeting Mary James was a divine connection. I have prayed and asked God to lead me in when I do these interviews and with whom. I know that it has been almost a year but I believe this interview is right on time, that is God’s time. I hope you enjoy getting to know Mary James.
INTERVIEW WITH MARY JAMES
How long have you been singing Christian Country Music?
It started about a year or so after my salvation, which was in 1999. Worship and Country Music collided…..I did not even know a Christian Country genre existed, I simply responded to God organically through the music I was singing at the time.
What or who has influenced your love for music?
I could make something up that sounds really cool, but I would have to say my earliest influence was Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music. She is why I initially leaned toward Musical Theater and Classical, which runs in my family. But after a long break from music I gravitated toward Country Music.
What artist would you say has influenced your music the most?
There is not one Artist that I can think of to be honest. Between Country music and Worship, I would have to throw out names like….Shania Twain, Allison Krauss, Trisha Yearwood, The Judds, Bonnie Raitt, Patsy Cline……Christy Nockels, Jennifer Knapp, and Third Day.
What was your first song to hit the air waves? And which station started your adventure on air?
My first release was “Sweet Sweet Love” from the Truth Cries Out CD and I have no idea who played it first….just thankful that they did.
What would you say was the defining moment in your music ministry that you knew that this was what you wanted to do?
My Pastor, at the time, was teaching on ministry gifts and he said, “Whatever you can do better than 10,000 people, is what you should pursue. “ My husband and kids looked at me and said, “You need to do music!” As I was singing in church, I also received quite a bit of validation from strangers. I had also heard that you need to receive validation from people who do not know and love you, like a friend or family member, but from people who are not biased. It was not long after that that I began working on my first CD.
What motivates you to keep going when you’re tired?
Prayer, the Holy Spirit and Worship. When my fuse is fried, I cry out and ask God to ignite me. Works every time, unless of course, He wants me still.
What’s your current single on the air waves that we might hear?
“No Wound Too Deep” is still playing on some stations, but I do have a new single coming out called “Take Me Away From You” written by Corey Barker and Jody Harris. A video will follow the release, Lord willing. Corey has been an ICM Nominee a few times now and Jody tours with Taylor Swift. Jody has shared how meaningful the song has been for him personally and is excited to hear about its impact (especially from those who struggle with strongholds).
Do you write any of your own songs?
Yes, I do. In fact, my last three singles, ”Strong,” “Nothing Can,” and “No Wound Too Deep,” where written by Gary Livesay and me. Quite a few from the last projects as well.
What is your personal favorite out of all the songs you have recorded?
Probably “No Wound Too Deep” because I am passionate about people being healed and set free. “Strong” would be the next on the list, then “Flowers, Angels and Jesus,” and “I’m Not Willing.”
My personal favorite is Strong; can you tell us what it means to you? (If it’s different than above)
It has become a big part of my ministry vision. I’ve been fine tuning some of the foundation pieces of the ministry for some time now and 2 Corinthians 12:9 has become, what I believe to be, my primary ministry verse: “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I am passionate about helping the broken know and show the love, grace and strength of Christ. There is a story behind the song, yes, but the bottom line is God is our strength—because of Him who lives in us, we have hope and victory.
Can you share one of your funniest memories of Singing on stage or while recording?
I can’t think of anything funny really, flubs yes, but nothing that strikes me as humorous. We just had a Sunday, not long ago, where all three microphones on the stage went out one by one. Our night ended with a partially def man standing up and saying, “I can barely hear, but when that mic went out and she started to sing anyway, I could hear every single word. Every single word.” The enemy may try to silence us, but God always has the last word.
Do you have any new projects in the making?
Yes, we are currently praying about a full-length studio worship project. I lead so much worship for churches that it just makes sense at this point. We do have the live worship project “At His Feet,” but I want to write all the material this time around and keep the covers to a minimum.
Can you share something from your heart about your work with Magpie Madness?
Magpie is the jewelry company that makes my jewelry line “Beloved.” On top of offering women items that are meant to remind them of God’s love, a percentage of the proceeds go to aid the homeless in San Diego’s East County.
What is your favorite scripture and what does it mean to you?
My favorite Scripture is Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. The Word of God is too amazing to narrow it down to one passage. Every day, every year it brings new light and perspective…..all profoundly brilliant!
If you could share three things to those out there that are hurting and wanting to give up what would those be?
Giving up is a choice and we know that giving up is Satan’s game, so I would first suggest that anyone who is discouraged start by getting resolute about trusting God for the victory…..even if it takes time to get there. So many people quit before the sun starts shining again. They believe the hurting will last forever. Or they resist working through the wounds within them effectively. With that, I would offer three suggestions: First, pray and ask God for deep healing –I for one know that God wants us to be free. What lies below the surface is not always pretty, but the Lord is eager to bring that which lives in the darkness into the light. Secondly, be ever so careful about the words you speak over your own life. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose” (MSG). This truth is not limited to what you say to others, but your thought and words regarding your own life. Third, take good care of yourself in the healing process. As I tell my children and friends, other people’s sin does not need to become yours. So instead of making harmful choices in response to pain, make choices that are healthy and nurturing. Too much ice cream, hanging out with the wrong people, buying what you cannot afford, drinking, etc. is never the answer. Lastly (which you did not ask for), why does it matter? Because you matter to God and you cannot give others what you do not have. If you are living without hope, if you feel unloved or deal with unforgiveness…..theses mercies and grace filled qualities of Christ cannot be imparted to others unless they are fully formed within your own heart. God has you here to bear the fruit of life in your unique circle of influence. Every person, on an average, will come in contact with 10,000 people in their lifetime. Whose power are you going to display…God’s or the enemy’s?
Thank you so much Mary James for sharing your heart with us. As I was reading these answers God was speaking to me. When I was reading your last answer the more I read of it I found myself forgetting I was writing a blog interview. I felt like God was speaking directly to me in that moment. Your answer was confirmation to where God has me right this very moment. I pray that anyone reading this blog has had their heart tugged on as well.
Be sure to go over to Mary James website and order her cds. They are full of God’s Grace, Love and Encouragement.
Dream Catcher 3:320