How Mark Lowry’s Mother Inspired Him to Pursue Music
By Movieguide® Contributor
Mark Lowry, like many, was a rambunctious child, but thanks to his mother’s help directed his energy to something useful, which ultimately led him to a career as a Gospel singer and comedian.
Lowry recounted on Kirk Cameron’s TAKEAWAYS as a child how his mother would be playing piano and singing at church where she would catch him doing “standup comedy” for his friends.
“She’d be loving God and having a great time until she spotted me in the balcony. And above the singing, I’d hear her clear that throat and I knew it was a battle cry,” Lowry joked.
His mother taught him to sing and encouraged Lowry, who was diagnosed with ADHD “before they knew how to abbreviate it,” to get involved with musical theatre as an outlet for his spiritedness. He proved to be successful, but there was one problem: Lowry was Baptist and being involved in musical theatre many parts required dancing which wasn’t allowed in his church.
Tommy Tune, the choreographer of MUSIC MAN, the first play Lowry was in, worked their way around the dilemma.
“They wanted me bad enough that they would let me stand there and not dance. Everybody danced around me and I sang,” Lowry said.
Tune eventually offered to teach him to dance and to take him to Broadway, but his mother had other plans.
“Well my mom didn’t want me to go to New York, she just wanted me to not be so hyper. And she started praying immediately, my mother did, started praying that the Lord would open up the world of gospel music to me,” the Mary Did You Know singer said.
Her prayers were soon answered when he got signed on as a gospel singer with Benson music company at only 11-years-old, but it wasn’t until a few years later that the words he was singing took on new meaning.
“And then when I was 14, I finally met who I’d been singing about. I went to church camp and met Jesus June 5, 1973. Of course that changed everything. Because then I started running the lyrics through my mind and I believed every bit of it,” he said.
When host Kirk Cameron asked about how humor got incorporated into his singing performances, he tied it back to his Baptist roots.
[W]hen I would go to these independent fundamental Bible believing Biblebanging, foot-stomping, soul winning, door-knocking Baptist churches they wouldn’t shout. They wouldn’t clap for you; that’s giving glory to men, but they would laugh. And that’s how I knew they were listening. And all I care about, are they listening? Because you can have the greatest content in the world and if everybody’s asleep, what good are you?”
“You know, Jesus held their attention. He told stories about women who lost their coins and this and that and the other. And people love to hear about people.”
While Lowry believes there is a place for humor in his music, he shared his passion for the old hymns with Cameron and lamented that many churches don’t play those anymore.
“The kids need to know Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found I was blind But now I see. Oh my goodness. How can you not love that?”
His love of hymns is what inspired him to stream on YouTube almost daily JUST WHENEVER, where he sings hymns which he started during the pandemic.