Creative Christian Moments
“Reviews of up and coming Christians in the arts community.”
Blog Article 26: Email Interview with Eowyn
In a former blog post entitled “Blog Article 24: Eowyn and Her CD Beautiful Ashes”, I introduced you to a Christian metal diva by the name of Eowyn (Rebecca Eowyn Riggins) and reviewed her CD Beautiful Ashes. You can check out the article with this link and sample some of her music from the posted videos: https://barryirwinbrophy.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/creative-christian-moments-blog-article-24-eowyn-and-her-cd-beautiful-ashes/ . What my readers did not know between this time period and now was that I was also trying to orchestrate an interview with Riggins but we had both lost communication. Given the circumstances, I still published the review in order for my readers to glean the wisdom of how and indie Christian musician can produce such amazing music and videos with a limited budget. My hope and prayer for this follow up blog post is for my readers glean the fruit of her experience in the music industry as a ministry, the trials and tribulations she has endured in her journey, and inspire other artists to use their talents for God.
Barry Irwin Brophy: For those who may not know about you or your band, could you tell us a bit about yourself and the band?
Eowyn Riggins: Well, I’ve been around for many years….about 15 to be exact. It’s crazy to think about! I get asked all the time if Eowyn is my real name and it is. My dad was a huge fan of Lord of the Rings and Eowyn is one of the characters. Even though Eowyn was never technically a band name I could never do what I do without the guys. I’ve had the privilege to have had several amazing musicians play with me over the years. Truly, I would be just a rock girl head banging by myself to some tracks without them! Plus my hubby is on keys so that’s always pretty amazing to have him on stage with me!
As far as the music, I have five albums and the first one “One More Chance” sounded a little country with a dose of rock and over the years I evolved into what I love to call industrial rock. People who like Flyleaf, Skillet, The Letter Black, and Fireflight should like it pretty well.
On a more personal level, I’m a little bit of a klutz and have been known to accidentally throw my microphone off stage as well as fall off a stage. I’ve been told I can look creepy from stage because of my movements but people warm up to me once I say something. (I’ve really been told this a ton! Ha!) I speak a little “southern” and people say I should sing country. Ha ha…no thank you. Lastly, I’ve always battled with insecurities which is why my main purpose in doing music is to reach those
suffering with depression and self-worth and point them to a Savior who absolutely adores them!
Barry Irwin Brophy: How did you come to faith in Jesus Christ?
Eowyn Riggins: When I was 4 years old I told mom I wanted to ask Jesus in my heart. I had always seen the relationship that my mom and dad had with the Lord and I knew I wanted the same thing! I know it seems young, but I remember the day like it was yesterday! My mom and I knelt beside my bed and said a simple prayer that drastically changed my life. I would not be who I am today without my loving Savior and I think that’s why I want to share His love with as many people as possible! He changes everything!
Barry Irwin Brophy: Tell us a bit about your current music projects. Music videos, new songs, tours, etc.?
Eowyn Riggins: Well a year ago my hubby, Russell and I moved out of Nashville and moved to Reston, VA outside of D.C. After touring for many years we felt it was time for Russell to reenter the career that he had left behind when we first started the music ministry. In doing so, I had to leave behind my band and therefore had to stop taking shows until I found new musicians. Instead of immediately doing this I decided to take a little time to get plugged into my new city and also decided to begin a side career. So in the fall, I will be going back to school to become an Interior Designer. While I do hope to tour again, it may take another year before I can due to school. In the meantime, this month I will be releasing my newest single “For the Life of Me” to Christian Rock radio and I plan to begin writing for the new album that I want to launch by next year!
Barry Irwin Brophy: How has God been using the band to spread His Gospel message? Any stories?
Eowyn Riggins: The most amazing stories have actually come from facebook. People write me on a continual basis telling me how God used one of my songs to draw them out of depression or give them hope in hard times. It’s so cool to see that God is the one spreading the message, my songs just happen to be the occasional tool he uses. One of my favorite stories recently was when a guy wrote and said he was considering killing himself and then he heard the lyrics to one of my songs and it gave him hope once again. It just shows how powerful words can be.
Barry Irwin Brophy: I hear a lot of negative talk about how Christian rock is not an effective means of sharing the Gospel. What do you think are the biggest obstacles within the Christian Church institution in America and how can we change to be more effective in preaching the Gospel?
Eowyn Riggins: Obviously this is just my opinion but I think the biggest obstacle is nostalgia, when we look back to the past and wish we could continue experiencing it that way again and again. For instance, when a church has always played hymns it may be hard to think that anything but hymns could allow us to feel a sense of worship or reach people for God. I’m not saying throw out the hymns, I’m just saying that it’s okay to add a praise song or yes, even a “rock” song. To me, God can use anything he wants to bring someone closer to him. He can even use mainstream music. I’m probably gonna get some people mad at me for saying that but again, God can use anything. He used a burning bush to speak to Moses. He used a donkey to speak to Balaam. Was the bush “Christian”? Was the donkey? The point is that we are not God and all we need to do is be open to his leading. If he is leading a church to bring a Christian Rock band to come minister, why not? Don’t be afraid of something new just because it’s different but I also don’t want people to use this as excuse to go against the bible and say “God led me to do this” if God clearly spoke against it in his word.
Barry Irwin Brophy: How do you think your music will influence the coming revival?
Eowyn Riggins: I’m not sure. I hope it will bring people closer to God. I’ve been around so long though that it may be the newer bands that influence it now more than I will.
Barry Irwin Brophy: What advice would you like to give to Christian musicians just getting started? Please provide any helpful tips or painful lessons of what not to do.
Eowyn Riggins: My biggest advice on what to do is simple…always follow the Lord’s leading. Go where you feel God is leading you to go and don’t take the opportunities that you feel he is trying to shut the door on. This may open up another question. How do you know where God is leading? Well, honestly you don’t always know for sure. What I have found is that if you really pray for his direction and really stop to listen, you will be surprised just how much you can feel him guiding you on what to do next.
As far as what NOT to do. I have a few of those. Don’t rest on your own strength and talent. The music industry is harder than most people think and you will need help so don’t turn it down when someone offers. I often did that myself because I didn’t want to seem needy but in realty I was. Of course I needed help. We all do! Another what not to do is don’t follow certain steps just because it’s what everyone else in the industry has done. Obviously it’s okay to do what other people have done but don’t rest solely on those things. Think outside of the box and don’t be scared to do it differently. I was told by many people to play a ton of gigs in my own city and build a fan base there before I tried to gain fans in other states. Ironically I never did play more than a few shows in my home town but I toured the entire United States for years and was known more in other cities than in my own. It worked better for me this way, but it doesn’t mean it will for others. Again, do what’s right for you!
Lastly don’t compare yourself to others. This was always a hard one for me and I think it held me back on many occasions. Be the artist God has called you to be and be okay with your journey. You may not make it as “huge” as another band but that’s okay. Enjoy the doors that do open for you and do it for the glory of God!
Barry Irwin Brophy: What software, equipment, etc. would you recommend to someone on a tight music budget or just getting started?
Eowyn Riggins: This kind of falls along the lines of what not to do again but don’t spend more money on equipment then what you have to spend. Don’t allow yourself to get into debt over it. I’ve been there, done that and it’s not worth it. I would recommend to save some money to buy high quality amps, guitars, mics, etc. but spend your money on the things where quality does matter the most, not on things trying to make you look bigger than what you are (example lights and fog machines). As far as what actual gear to buy I’m not the one to ask. My hubby took care of all of that. I will say that anything we could build ourselves or do on our own we did. When we wanted to have a music video we built our own set. When we wanted a cool keyboard stand my hubby built one. So if you have the talent…do it yourself cause it will save you some cash.
Barry Irwin Brophy: I’ve also encounter many struggling Christian musicians who have given up on pursuing their calling because of chaotic hardships in every form imaginable. These guys and girls are really in the fire right now and have been severely burned. If you were speaking with them one on one what would you say to them.
Eowyn Riggins: I’ve been there. It’s a hard place to be for sure. The thing to remember is that if God has called you to do something…HE will make a way. I’m not saying that you don’t have to work at it and try your best but again it goes back to my earlier point. You have to let God lead you. He is more than capable to open doors, to heal hearts, to bring favor and to make a way where there seems to be no way. We just have to trust him. We also have to trust in his perfect timing. Sometimes we want things now and yet God knows we aren’t ready. Sometimes we want things that he knows we will never be able to handle. The point is…HE knows. We don’t. Rest assured that any plan that we have for ourselves is no match to the plan that God has for us!
Barry Irwin Brophy’s Closing Thoughts on the Interview:
This email interview, by far, has been one of the best I have had the privilege of reading. From Riggins answers to my questions I can tell she is a writer and I appreciate the brutal honesty she provides in her answers. Personally, I found that Riggins’ answers give me hope as I walk out my own faith journey in Christ and I pray my readers will also benefit from her wisdom. What struck me most about the interview was Riggins’ answer about using Christian rock as a means of ministry. If you have read more than one blog post on my site I have tried to project a general theme to encourage my readers: God uses artists to share His Gospel message. When an artist is yielded to this calling we become the paintbrushes, camera, pencils, instruments, and other artistic devices in the hand of the Almighty to present Himself to a world that does not know Him. Though the walk is tough (which Riggins illustrated in some helpful tips of what not to do), she continues to pursue her calling in her season of change with her relocation to Virginia. God will and is using the the creativity of artists because His divine nature is creativity, too. So many in American church culture are afraid of this and have hindered the Holy Spirit’s ability to minister to more people through this medium by quenching the Spirit. Some leaders are even so insecure about this concept that they fight against such implementation by abusing their position of leadership in church authority. It is so hard to believe that this can occur but I could tell you countless stories about the broken nature of many leaders in the American Christian Church. My retort to such challenges is if it does not contradict Biblical teachings and produces the fruit of salvation or spreading the Gospel message, how can we argue it is not of God? So the next time someone scoffs at what you are doing and says something like “how could God possibly use what you are doing” smile and rejoice because you are on the correct path in obedience to serving God with your talents!
Jesus’ own words in John 6:44a states, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.” God draws humanity to the revelation of Jesus Christ and often times He will use what we are familiar with to bridge our understanding; especially in circumstances where one is does not have the opportunity of examining the Bible for themselves or is in extreme opposition to doing so. For me personally, Christian musicians producing revelatory rock and metal music played a major role in establishing my foundation to pursue Christianity through hardships. Riggins and countless other musicians in this genre receive these messages all the time from fans about how their music became that foundational bridge they could relate to in understanding and ultimately believe in the Gospel message.
As I close, I pray that we would continue to be artists that say “yes Lord” to opportunities of using our talents to share His message. You can support Riggins through prayer, connecting with her on social media, hosting her for a concert (especially the DC area), and purchasing her music and book. With her new song “For the Life of Me” being released this week, contact your local Christian rock stations and request it!
Official Website: http://www.eowynmusic.com
“For the Life of Me” Song: http://www.eowynmusic.com/music/s/for_the_life_of_me
Eowyn, “For the Life of Me”, Unpublished, 2014. MP3.
Eowyn. Profile Picture. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/138192782876312/photos/pb.138192782876312.-2207520000.1403641736./605315806164005/?type=3&theater (accessed June 23, 2014).
Riggins, Rebecca Eowyn, e-mail message to author, June 16, 2014.