Trulah isn’t your cookie-cutter Christian songwriter by any measure of the word – from her statement-of-faith bio to her songs that wrestle with how affliction works toward redemptive purposes, there’s a certain boldness and assurance that shirks the roots of the prosperity gospel that seem to underline many larger artists. And musically, she is not shy to use her talents for the Lord – and there are LOTS of it to go around. She’s a multi-instrumentalist, dynamic vocalist, and astute lyricist who derives sonic inspiration from jazz, gospel, and the big band era.
Today, she releases “Canvas”, a bit of a sonic changeup that sees guitar take a secondary focus in the track’s lounge-type arrangement. The track is accompanied by her first professional music video, serving as a visual parallel to her lyrical motifs. Watch/listen below and read on to learn more.
“Canvas” wrestles a lot with the danger of vanity. This seems to be a recurring theme in your songs, and it’s probably something that’s a bit tempting as a “rising” artist. It’s refreshing to hear an artist take a position of confession and create level ground with the listener in this manner. What drew you to write about this subject?
Canvas is a song that jumped the line, so to speak. As an independent artist, I’m often sitting on songs and demos that have to wait their turn, but when I wrote Canvas earlier this year, I knew I wanted it to be the next release. I typically go with the song or collection of songs that have the most vision behind them and Canvas felt complete in that way. As far as the actual writing process, I think the song was a bit more telling than it was thought upon. All I remember is sitting down with my classical guitar, working out the chords as the words seemed to just fly out. It’s from the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks, and I think a lot of what came out were my concerns, not only for myself or the artist community at large, though that’s definitely included, but for the self-curated generation we find ourselves in. Age to age, it’s always been hard to see the self accurately and truly, but add the various forms of facade our world currently offers and we can be found portraying all sorts of lies, and worse, believing them of ourselves. A constant prayer of the Christian ought to be “Lord, show me to me.” That prayer is continually answered for me with every glance I make towards God – His holiness juxtaposed with my unholiness shows me I’m often not as ‘good’ as I tend to think I am, and I need Him to conform me into His image. Thankfully, that is something He promises all those who believe in His Son.
Jesus invites us into redemptive work in all spheres of life, and that includes art. I appreciate how you approach complex topics so faithfully but don’t forsake artistry in the process. Could you share a bit on what your writing process looks like?
Thank you, that means a lot. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately as I’ve been challenging myself recently to co-write more. That’s a pretty unnatural thing for me, so it’s been helpful to examine my own process in order to come alongside others in crafting songs. What it’s all boiled down to is authenticity. Truth, authenticity and depth are very important to me, in all aspects of life, not just music. I do think it’s reflected in my writing process though. With songs that glean from my relationship with the Lord and knowledge of Him, a lot of my writing has to do with how I approach Him and His truth – by seeking. Pushing past the temptation to settle, and growing in grace and knowledge. I’m quite certain to write about God is to put a pen to the page that never ends. He’s the song that takes a lifetime and then some. Of His depth, who can fathom? Of His height, who can soar? Still so long as I have breath, I will praise the Lord.
It seems like the intersection of art and faith is tricky. There’s a stigma around many faith-based artists as simply pulling from the mainstream on one extreme or being only for the churched on the other end. How do you think we can engage the culture with creativity AND faithfulness?
Wow. I love this question. In my ‘bio’ tab on my website I go in depth about this a bit more, but being someone who sees the beauty and importance of both edifying and uplifting the church as well as calling people to God by way of evangelism (going and telling), it’s never really been a matter of one over the other, but both and. According to context of course. For instance, I love leading worship on Sunday mornings and have enjoyed writing songs for the Church, that is something I’ve done since middle school and believe will always be a part of my life – all the while, I write jazz/soul music, still explicitly as Christian as the other, but less Sunday morning and more Friday night lounge or any other venue outside the walls of church. I encourage anyone who may want to cultivate creativity both in and outside the church in this way, to truly do it with intentionality, boldness and purpose. Go humbly, speak truth and let God’s Word be what defines success for you.
Collaboration continues to be a big part of your music. Tell us a bit about who you’re working with, how you find people who understand your creative vision, and any other projects you might be involved with.
Collaboration is so important, and there are so many ways to go about including it into your art. With co-writing being somewhat newer to me, a lot of times I’m writing and releasing songs I’ve written by myself, but while there might not have been co-writers, I tend to include many collaborators musically. Typically how it goes is I’ll write a song and make an at-home demo of it, including as many instruments and parts as my skills will allow, then I’ll send it over to musician friends, who are much better at their instruments than I am. I don’t have a set band or anything currently and I kind of like it that way. It allows me to experience what it’s like to make music and perform with more of my friends than a pinned down band would. While I am producing all my own music, my right hand man for mixing and engineering is Evan Sieling. He’s been a key player as my artistry has taken shape over the years. I’ve known him for close to a decade, and met him right around the time I started to write music in high school. Needless to say, he knows me well and I trust him with my music, which has been a gift.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Along with the single release, Friday September 2, I will be releasing my first ever official music video! It will premiere on my YouTube channel at 12 P.M. (ET) on Friday. It was such a treat to get to direct and put together. It’s not everyday you get to do a music video, so I definitely don’t take the opportunity lightly. Since the song carried with it so much vision, I knew if I could, I wanted to try and get a video together to really deliver each lyric visually. I teamed up with my dear friend Annelise Loughead to shoot it and called in some other friends to be extras and we had a really fun time.