One Tribe Nashville
Bold as Faith local artist discusses upcoming sophomore album
Posted by: Monica LaPlante
Its not often you find yourself in the company of an individual who will break out in song and interpretive dancein the middle of a fashion boutique. But for Nashville recording artist, Faith Gilmore this kind of outburst is not only common but necessary. These impromptu theatrical performances are a true reflection of who Faith Gilmore istotally creative, completely free, and bold as a lion. I met up with Faith at favorite hot spot Fido, where we talked about any and everythingincluding her ambitious new album.
Faith moved to Nashville in late 2001 from New Orleans. It seems logical that a gal from New Orleans would take a path that would eventually lead to music. But for Faith, the influences of musical New Orleans had little to do with her own pursuits. She attributes her passion for music to her mother who, as far back as she could remember, taught her, brother Jordan and sister Hope not only gospel songs but also a variety from Motown to Woodstock. Mom was so committed to their singing that she would often record their young voices to document what would inevitably changeFaith smiles recalling the maternal gesture.
During her 6th grade year, she was given special permission to perform with a high school concert choir. It was around this time she recalls being strongly influenced by the voice of a woman named Lenora George whom Faith describes as a quintessential southern gospel singer. Faith explained how Lenoras vocal stylings prompted her to painstakingly teach herself to sing with the same depth of soul and technical execution. And while Faith remembers being heavily sheltered and somewhat oblivious to her childhood surroundings in New Orleans, she does pay a nod to the influences of the many black people she was in community withlike Lenora.
Faith would remain committed to her music all through high school and into her college years where she would eventually teach herself guitar and perform at local coffee shops. It was during this time that several of the songs on her first album, as she recalls, fell into her lap. Faith explained how the album, Trip the Light, was comprised mainly of songs about lifereal depictions of what she was going through at that time and how it was ultimately shaped by a worldview of truth. But she also recalls the motivation behind creating her first album as contrasting where she is todayand how that played into a time span of nearly six years before recording her latest project.
Following the release of Trip the Light in 2005, Faith toured for nearly a year, at the end of which she recalls experiencing burnout. In 2007, she became involved with NHOP (Nashville House of Prayer) where she became a weekly worship leader and her much-needed break was achieved. For nearly three years, while working with NHOP, Faith acknowledges a time of examining her personal motives and agendas and how the creativity of spontaneous lyrics and leaning on the Lord to be reminded of scripture brought her to new levels in her own songwriting. But more than that, she was aware the weekly prayer and worship at NHOP quickly became the day of the week she looked forward to most. For Faith, it would be a season of personal growthwhich ultimately shaped the vision for her newest album.
January 2011, Faith Gilmore will release her creative and purpose driven album, Bold as Lions. From a musical perspective this project is highly ambitious, utilizing everything from her own beat boxing to smashing books on the floor to create percussion. All this has rendered a hip-hop, pop, and sometimes middle-eastern sounding final product, which makes sense in light of the subject matter. From a lyrical perspective, incorporating the tools shes gleaned from NHOP, we can look forward to a free-verse song recorded spontaneously with no prior writing completely God-breathed. She smiled noting this as her favorite on the album. But the ultimate agenda in this venture was to record twelve songs with each one representing the essence of the twelve different tribes of Judah. Faiths heart for the Jewish people, Arabs, and
Jackson Free Press
[Music] 'Cause I Gotta Have Faith
by Andi Agnew
Photo courtesy of Faith Gilmore
July 12, 2006
Faith Gilmore and I both graduated from Mississippi College in 2000. I can still remember her sitting in the quad, strumming her guitar and singing the refrain from the Cranberries DreamsI was always struck by her amazing voice and the confidence with which she sang. And then there was graduation day, when she wore flip-flops and exited the platform dancing and twirling with her degree in hand. Needless to say, she has always been a free spirit, and it is no surprise to see her musical success today.
A native of New Orleans, Gilmore has been singing and dancing from a young age. She credits her mother with teaching her and her siblings to sing gospel songs and to harmonize with Carole King and Stevie Wonder on the radio.
Her talent for singing and songwriting shines through on her debut album, Trip the Light. The album is full of soulful vocals, catchy hooks and encouraging messages. Gilmore often takes the narrative voice as a poignant observer of life and the way people react to it. Intervention, for example, describes a woman who is in trouble and needs help from a higher power, or possibly just a friend. A few songs, such as The Way You Love Me, are upbeat and could rival any current pop princess. But Gilmore is far more authentic than any American Idol productprobably because she writes these songs herself. She did do some co-writing with Billy Buchanan, but the majority of the songs on the album are all her own. Gilmore was backed by able Nashville musicians, most notably renowned guitarist Phil Keaggy. Keaggy accompanies her on Pearl, a beautiful song about how unique and valuable each of us is.
I caught up with Faith recently as she was about to hit the road:
Whats been going on since we left MC?
That summer of 2000, I went on a two-month backpacking excursion through six countries in Europe, worked in New Orleans for a year to be near my sister for her senior year in high school, traveled to New York, Boston, D.C. and Nashville, and decided to move to Nashville and land a social work job. I always knew I wanted to start pursuing a music career in Nashville. In my off hours, I was writing songs and meeting people to co-write with. Within four years, I had saved enough money to independently fund the recording of my album and met the right people to do so. Since then, Ive been learning about booking and promoting as an independent musician.
How did Trip the Light come to be?
Trip the Light is a line in my song about New Orleans, called Keep on Moving. I initially wrote it to describe what the Canal Street/French Quarter areas are like at night. Now, I think of all the neighborhoods with sheetrock on the ground and walls caved in, and I want to sing to my people, Keep on keeping on!!
Tell me a bit about your day job.
Im a residential supervisor of 40 women who come to Mercy Ministries to live for six months while they receive counseling for life-controlling problems like eating disorders, self-mutilation, drug addiction, unwed pregnancy, depression, sexual abuse and addiction, and sexual identity/gender-role problems. If Ive written songs based on these womens lives, it is subconscious. What tends to inspire my songs most is people-watching. I go to coffee shops and just write and write.
How does your spirituality affect your music?
That, also, is something that may be infused into the music without me being aware of it. Knowing and communicating with Jesus has been a part of my being since I was very young, so whatever effect it has on my music is just like breathing affects my livelihood.
What was it like working with Phil Keaggy?
I was so moved that Phil would even do the honor of playing on my album that I cried when he came into the recording room. I watched him play three different guitars, and his fingers steadily and rapidly moved across the guitar as if he was having a conversation with it.
Is this your first time out on the road?
This is my first time on tour, and Im learning so much about what its like to book it yourself. It makes me appreciate those who do the behind-the-scenes work so much more.
Whats next for you?
What I would hope for is that I continue to tour to different cities in a repetitive fashion so that people become more familiar with the music. Id like to have steady players that consistently travel with me, as well as a new car that is road trip savvy.