Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • Devlin Donaldson
  • 1998 9 Dec
{{Evie}} (Tournquist) Karlsson was known to millions throughout the 70's, first as the little Norwegian girl with the wonderful voice and then simply Evie. Her popularity was enormous and she did things within the bounds of Christian music that few have be able to replicate, like playing to sold out arena's singing her inspirational style Christian music. Her songs are still known through out the world. Songs like "Give Them All To Jesus," "Say I Do" "Mirror," "Born Again," and "Come On, Ring Those Bells." But as is always the case, the story didn't start in the spotlight.

"My parents and my brother were Norwegian immigrants," explains Evie. "My family emigrated in 1954. I am native born American." "Where people might have gotten the idea that I got started in Norway, was that as a 14 or 15 year old girl I traveled back and forth very often," Evie continues. "It was almost on a monthly basis. I was taking advantage of different ministry and recording situations. From there a lot of things began to happen."

What happened was that Christian music giant, Word, discovered Evie's already vital ministry. "The first recording I did was at age 14," Evie remembers "and it was a custom album. The first of three. I believe that I recorded my first album with them (WORD) when I was 17 and it was released when I was 18."

Through the years of recording and performing, Evie ultimately ended up recording over 30 albums in English and various Scandinavian languages. During the 70's, Evie was able to tour and perform in arenas. "That started in the mid 70's (and continued) until about '81 when I did my last concert as such," Evie recollects. "It was awesome, to coin a phrase. There was a clear sense of how much I was over my head. I would say that it was a time that I look back on with pleasant memories. They were wonderful experiences."

In 1981 it seemed that every changed abruptly for Evie. Married in 1979 to Pelle' Karlsson, Evie and her new husband were struggling with what they felt God was showing them. The change in Evie's career direction wasn't nearly as abrupt as it might have seemed to her fans. "Interestingly, people think I got out of it because I starting having kids," Evie explains. "Yet, towards the end of that time, 79-80, I felt somewhat uncomfortable with what was happening. I felt as though my hands were tied in terms of ministry. I wanted more freedom to pursue ministry but when people pay to hear you sing you have a responsibility to do what they paid for you to do."

"I knew that the concerts were something that God had brought for a season and that season was ending," {{Evie}} continues explaining. Our lives were booked quite a while in advance, about 18 months at that time. So we stopped booking and worked through all of our commitments."

How has life been for the Karlsson's since that major decision? "I have to tell you it has been a glorious 15+ years. We have two fantastic kids, Kris and Jenny. I am very thankful for these years at home with my kids because they will never come again. I have been able to be very involved in their lives."

In the mid-nineties, Evie released one of the rare new recordings she has done since retiring from touring in 1981. Entitled "Song's For His Family," the project is credited to "Evie and the Karlsson's." "My husband, Pelle, wrote nearly all the songs," Evie says, "and our family played all the instruments on the record except for one song. There are 16 tracks on the album."

"It's very funny," Evie reflects. "I am more contemporary than I have ever been and here I am middle aged. We have CD's by {{Audio Adrenaline}}, {{Newsboys}}, and even some more edgy bands like {{Guardian}} and {{Deliverance}} in our home. We appreciate it all. And I thank God for them. And we pray for them. But, I have to be honest. I don't prefer their musical styles. But then again, when the four of us recorded some of the hip-hop sounding kind of stuff, it was fun."

"We are hoping to go out and be involved in public ministry on a limited basis. We have done some of that this year. The kids are still in school and we want them to have a regular daily routine. Looking back, {{Evie}} is full of gratitude. "I am just thankful for all the opportunities he has given me. The best is yet to come. Regardless of what has gone before."