Reconnecting with … Twila Paris
- Andy Argyrakis ChristianMusicPlanet.com
- 2009 3 Mar
When it comes to contemporary Christian luminaries, Twila Paris is toward the top of the list thanks to church classics like “He Is Exalted,” “The Warrior Is a Child” and “God Is in Control,” which are just a handful of her jaw-dropping 33 chart toppers.
These days, the singer/songwriter’s been flying a bit under the radar, recording her first album independently, but continuing in that classic tradition likely to birth a brand-new anthem. “There Is a Plan” is indeed a standout track on Small Sacrifice, a CD that first hit streets exclusively to the LifeWay chain in 2007, but just earned national distribution via KOCH at the top of 2009.
“It’s kind of interesting because when you listen to that song [“Small Sacrifice”] in 2007, you would’ve likely related it to something else,” she says, alluding to the nation’s economic uncertainty and a political shift in power. “Even in 2009, I don’t know what God’s ultimate plan is in terms of our nation, but it’s my resolution to live a righteous life as a believer and unite with all believers in praying for our future.”
Outside of being applied toward current events, the track is the thematic cornerstone of Small Sacrifice, which was also inspired by a past historical situation—the Berlin Wall coming down. Paris further illustrates her point of praying without ceasing when paying tribute to those uncredited Christians who literally helped break down that very boundary through unashamed faith, even in areas where it was forbidden.
“Christian young people and the church behind the wall were really instrumental in it coming down,” she confirms. “There is a lot of powerful work behind the scenes inside the heart of somebody whose name we may not know. But one of these days, God is going [to show those fruits] in a local body, or a community, or the state of a nation.”
The lyrical depth across the album is also mirrored in updated contemporary arrangements, sophisticated production and Paris’ impressive abilities to retain familiar elements without ever sounding dated. She credits English producer John Hartley (who previously worked on her 2001 CD, Bedtime Prayers: Lullabies and Peaceful Worship), while also calling upon others within her camp for feedback, rather than going the route of artistic indulgence.
“At this point, I’ve been doing this for 30 years now, so there have been a lot of musical changes in terms of the culture,” she observes. “But I try not to be too focused on it because then art becomes self-conscious, which is usually not a good thing. At this period of time, I’m interested in being who I am without trying to follow some new trend, but at the same time, stay informed on what’s going on musically.”
Besides listeners’ ever-changing moods, Paris also notices several behind-the-scenes shifts in the industry, most notably, the downsizing of several major record labels. However, she’s steered clear of the policies or sales figures, instead finding solace with a quiet family life in the scenic surroundings of Arkansas.
“I live outside of the fray, which has always helped when labels were going through difficult times or restructuring,” Paris verifies of a resume that includes time on Sparrow, Star Song, Integrity, Benson and Milk & Honey. “There have been some difficult times for companies and specific individuals who’ve lost their jobs, but after so many years, I’ve encountered those people again who’ve since found a new outlet, which shows you how God works in life. Adversity forces creativity.”
Though Paris still continues to hit the studio and touring trail on occasion, she wears several other hats the general public may not know about. Besides being a dedicated wife and mother, she’s a home school teacher and also oversees a group of other parents personally educating their children.
“On every given day, I wear at least four hats, most of which I put on for a few minutes and then switch,” she offers with a laugh. “Right now, I’m in singer/songwriter mode, then I’ll put on my mom hat. I’ve been to three groceries stores this morning and will make dinner this afternoon. So between all those hats, it’s really good, but I’m busier then ever; and I thought I’d be slowing down at this point in my life!”
For more info, log on to www.twilaparis.com.
©2009 ChristianMusicPlanet.com. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
**This interview first published on March 6, 2009.