Grace Notes

By Chris Crain

The Bullitt County Youthfest with Big Daddy Weave and Across The Sky takes place on the 5th of this month. It's a free event, with the first 2,000 people getting wristbands for admittance. Local artists are also on the bill, including singer Alexis Shay. The busy teenager took time to answer some questions as she gets ready to shine in the spotlight.

Louisville Music News: When did you start singing?

Alexis Shay: As a three-year -old toddler, I made my first stage debut and knew at the early age of ten that God was calling me into the ministry. That's when I began to take music very seriously. I began to study intensely in many different avenues. I have been under the instruction of Judy Joy Nevitt going on seven years now.

LMN: Do you want to do this as a career?

AS: I have been singing and training all of my life for (this) "heavenly" calling. I really feel God has chosen me to sing. The burning desire in my heart is to sing and minister all over the world. I feel many career opportunities will fall in place because of this.

LMN: How did you get hooked up with Youthfest?

AS: I have sung at many youth events at Faith Assembly of God in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky. Jamie (Sanders), the founder of Youthfest, has heard me sing for many years now. I think God really laid it on his heart to let me become a part of Youthfest this year.

LMN: What are some of your most memorable concert experiences?

AS: I really have enjoyed opening for Fred Hammond, Chris Rice, Across the Sky and Jars of Clay. I have also had the wonderful opportunity to sing for our U.S. Secretary Elaine Chao and U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell at the Bullitt County Chamber of Commerce.

LMN: Sounds like you've had some great opportunities so far! So what you think about the state of Christian music in Kentucky?

AS: The Christian music in Kentucky rocks, we are very blessed to have it. Kentucky has had so many Christian concerts and so many Christian events, a lot of people have come to know the Lord through Christian music. And that's exactly what we need: more "saved" souls.

LMN: How about Christian music in general?

AS: Christian Music is a way of living. It ministers to your soul. We have very busy life styles and hectic schedules. It is a way for God Almighty to speak to us. Also, there are many that will never step foot in a Church but may hear a song on the radio that can transform their whole life.

LMN: So what is a typical Alexis Shay concert or performance like?

AS: There are no typical concerts for me. Everywhere I go seems to differ. It may be an elementary school or a banquet for a Catholic Priest. Sometimes I am down on the floor praying for kids after a concert. Often before a concert people need prayer. I minister to old and young alike. I just let God lead me and He shows me the next step to take.

LMN: What do the kids at school think about your singing career?

AS: My fellow classmates really respect me. They look up to me and are very encouraging. They buy t-shirts and all tell me I am going to make it. Even my teachers tell me that I am going places and to keep it up and never stop singing.

LMN: Any advice for young people thinking about becoming singers like yourself?

AS: Wanting to be a singer and (being) chosen by God to sing are two different things. I honestly believe you have to be called into the ministry. It's harder than you think and you have to have the right heart. Keep your priorities straight and a good healthy balance. You must dedicate yourself to prayer and know you are not your own. My biggest advice is to never give up no matter how tired you get. Always persevere in everything you do for the Lord.

The Bullitt County Youthfest kicks off at 2 p.m. on Saturday the 5th at Paraquet Springs Conference Center in Shepherdsville. For more information call 921-9574.

Paducah, Kentucky's favorite son Steven Curtis Chapman has announced he will be releasing All Things New, his fourteenth record with Sparrow Records, on September 21, 2004. To coincide with the new project, Chapman will kick off the "All Things New Tour" starting October 2004 and running through April 2005.

According to Chapman's label EMI CMG Label Group, All Things New is not only the project's title-it's also the theme interwoven throughout the project. Utilizing his excellent skills in observation of daily life as well as scripture reading and prayer, Chapman's conception of All Things New was also partially inspired by sermons from his pastor and the writings of John Piper and Philip Yancey.

Sharing his thought process on the creation of his fourteenth recording in seventeen years in the music business, Chapman explains, "Lately I've come to realize that God will forever be making all things new. I'm only starting to know who God really is because He continues to reveal more and more of Himself to me every day. He gives us new seasons, He gives us a new 24 hours each day, and He gives us a new sunrise. All of these things continue to remind us that He is the renewer of all things."

Underscoring his approach to making this record, Chapman took the All Things New title literally. Co-producing with his long-time cohort Brown Bannister, upon creating the record he surrounded himself with musicians and an engineer new to the Chapman experience. Recorded in Los Angeles, Trina Shoemaker engineered the project. Her resume includes work with artists such as Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Joe Cocker and The Neville Brothers. Studio musicians were Lyle Workman, guitar (Lisa Marie Presley, Sheryl Crow), Chris Chaney, bass guitar (Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette), Matt Chamberlain, drums (Elton John, John Mayer, Faith Hill), George Cochini, guitar (Third Day, Anointed) and Patrick Warren, keyboards (Jewel, Michelle Branch).

"One of the many strengths of Steven Curtis Chapman is his courage and commitment to walk in obedience to God in the context of his professional and personal life," comments Peter York, President, EMI CMG Label Group. "All Things New" reflects the theme associated with this new project and also encompasses the participation of a virtually and entirely new creative team made up of some of the finest musicians and production personnel in the music industry today."

Next month: major Louisville concert announcement!