I grew up as a west coast girl, living early childhood primarily on the beach in Santa Cruz, California. When I was nine years old, writing music like Amy Grant was all I thought about. Upon singing and traveling with my family in matching outfits at times, growing up the red-headed, middle sister of three stair-stepped preacher’s daughters, I discovered life would be a little different for me. Much to my objection, we moved our way up Cali and eventually ended up in Vancouver, WA when I was 13, where I enjoyed a difficult adolescence as we are all blessed to encounter. I did, however, find life-long friends during that time. We were schooled at home from the time I hit 6th grade and it honestly worked out fabulously for me, the contemplative, over-achiever who wears her heart on her sleeve, because I could write and write and write. I loved having all that time to myself. Sitting at the piano, trying to arrange like Michael W. Smith – those were the days. It did not surprise my parents that I attended college to study music. I have never had plans to do anything else.
Today, if you climb into the back seat of my mini van for a week or two, you’ll discover that I spend much of my professional life carting my mandolin and sometimes my kids to my duo folk band gigs with my sister, artist and songwriter, Tiffany Carlson. Together, our duo band is called “Carlson Wells”. We especially enjoy the festivals we play for or the house parties we entertain at. When I’m not doing that, I’m leading worship from the piano at conferences and retreats or in the studio recording my latest project. Each week, over a dozen students will enter my home, where I teach private piano and violin, having been a piano teacher since I first apprenticed under my mother at the age of twelve. Like I said, life was a little different for me. And it didn’t really turn out the way I had planned. Years and years were spent in my early adult life just trying to keep my head attached and my heart beating.
After a really difficult recent decade for my family and myself – a time I was too numb to write – I am excited to finally be the songwriter again. It is a privilege to do now what I have enjoyed since childhood. With the help we have gained from our mentors and my life coach, my husband and I love connecting with those who have walked similar journeys to our own and are still longing to believe there is hope on the other side of a steep hill. My newest recording project called “Restore” was penned as lyrics birthed straight out of excerpts from my journal and speaks directly to areas of restoration, daring to hope, and running straight into the freedom of truly living life to the fullest, being who God created us to become. All humanity has experienced what forgiveness is or is not, what it means to hope, to desire, or to be numb. It is my greatest privilege to be allowed to set those experiences to music. I hope it will be meaningful to others. I am the lucky mother of two vibrant and tenderhearted sons and the wife of a restored man who has truly come full circle in one of life’s most difficult roads. How could I NOT have something to write about?
I hope that my music is enjoyable for you and I hope you will follow my blog and maybe even sign up for my mailing list. I’d like to share my story with you and hope that you will share yours with me. I am inspired to write by those around me. Let’s take this journey together.