Music Monday: Alisa Turner - Self-Titled EP
Release Date: August 25, 2017
An artist’s heart is readily apparent through their music; the degree of authenticity and genuineness always comes out in the final product. It’s easy to tell if someone has connected with what they are singing or if they are just “phoning it in” and less concerned about the content. When an artist has really experienced something and believes in the lyrics, it takes the project to another level; one in which the listener can’t help but be moved.
The story of Alisa Turner is a great example of an artist singing the thoughts and prayers which have guided her life. Tragedy struck Turner in several ways; she has battled the effects of Lyme Disease and in the midst of that battle, also lost her father unexpectedly and her infant son due to a congenital abnormality. Despite all of these trails, hope ultimately marks her story. A hope rooted and grounded in the grace of God and the peace that surpasses all understanding. Alisa Turner’s debut EP sings out a message that speaks of God’s goodness in the midst of pain. It’s a message we all need to hear and for many weary and beaten-down congregants, these are exactly the songs we need for Sunday morning.
Starting with a bold declaration of the place where help comes from, “Lift My Eyes” reads like a Psalm and has much in common with the heart cry of David. Mid-tempo with a very congregational feel, Turner’s voice is commanding and powerful; not in an overbearing way but in a way that calls forth truth and is descriptive of our Maker and Healer:
I will lift my eyes to where my help comes from
I won't be afraid I won't be undone
You're more faithful Lord than the rising sun
So I will lift my eyes to where my help comes from
“Not Even Now” carries further the belief that God is in control; that despite the shakings and rumblings of this world “Not even now are You defeated, not even now are we alone.” Co-written by Turner and producer Michael Farren, this song would make a great response to a sermon about faithfulness and trust in the Lord. The bridge displays the true grit and determination in Turner’s voice and gets me pumping my fist:
Not even if the sky is falling
Not even if the enemy roars
Yours is eternal glory
You are forever strong
Lyrically-speaking, this project speaks strongly of truth and identity in Jesus alone. As a worship leader, I love to find songs that declare quite matter-of-factly our purpose and calling within Christ. “More Than Gonna Make It” is perhaps the closest look into what has affected Turner’s life personally…yet it has not allowed her trust to be shaken (I'm more than gonna make it, I’m more than gonna live. I’m more than just surviving, ’cause of who He is I win). First single, “My Prayer For You” has a somewhat dark and brooding piano intro (think Jewel’s “Foolish Games” or Evanescence's “My Immortal”) but then opens up into soothing chorus of encouragement and strength:
May God give you eyes to see He's still greater
Courage to rise and believe He's able
May God be your peace
In the fire you're walking through
This is my prayer now
This is my prayer for you
“As It Is In Heaven”, cowritten by Turner, Farren, and James Galbraith, points to a place where all things are made right. There's tension and recognition of hardship but ultimately we know God has a place that is perfect and glorious. ”There's a place where sickness bows, hope's restored and joy abounds." I have people who need to sing that in my church. They need to know that even if they don't win the battle with cancer or disease, they will be in a place where sickness is no more.
Final track “Psalm 13” is a soft lament to the Lord with a waltz-type feel and piano accompaniment. In context of Turner’s story the song makes perfect sense. And I truly believe many can identify personally with her openness and honesty in worship; being authentic and genuine before God and saying “You are good” despite everything we face and see in our daily lives.
Alisa Turner’s debut EP is a testimony of faith and trust in God. “My life and story are messy…there are days when all I can do is keep lifting up my hands in desperation and in worship,” states Turner. I think we all get that; we know life is a struggle at times and the blows we take can either push us further away from the Lord or draw us closer. For Turner, they have served to bring her close and cause her faith to soar; seeing God’s hand even in times of sorrow. When we see others worship through pain, we can’t help but be drawn to worship as well.
My encouragement to you today is to check out this release. In doing so, you will support the work God is doing through Alisa’s story and you will be blessed along the way as well!