Music for the Soul
By Steve Siler
In Rudy, an undersized, non-recruited factory worker’s son, overcomes enormous obstacles and his own family’s lack of belief to fulfill his dream of playing football for Notre Dame.
In The Help, a group of courageous African-American maids confide in an aspiring writer who, against all odds, succeeds in getting their stories published.
I, like moviegoers everywhere, have always loved stories where people persevere in the face of virtually insurmountable challenges.
Fourteen years ago, after a long stretch of writing music for television and songs for Christian recording artists, I left my job as a staff writer at a large music publishing company in Nashville, TN.
I’d won Song of the Year and had nine # 1 singles as a writer but I had a dream…a dream that had nothing to do with songs on the radio or plaques for my wall.
My dream? To start an organization that would write songs speaking hope to people living in deep pain; songs to open doors of healing for the walking wounded. In short, to sing about the things that are hard to talk about.
The seed had been planted several years earlier when I’d sung a song called Innocent Child at an incest survivor conference. A woman came up to me and said, “People have been telling me I was an innocent child my whole life. I never believed it until I heard you sing it today.”
Now that seed had broken through the soil. I was ready to work to bring that same kind of revelation to people dealing with abuse, grief, addiction, chronic illness, and other life-derailing issues.
My publisher said, “That’s really crazy and sounds really hard. Good luck with that.” One record company executive actually said to me, “Well, there’s no money in that, son.”
Perhaps not, but just like some of the Hollywood heroes that I mentioned earlier, I now had a more important calling that required my attention: a calling that might seem difficult to some and impossible to others. At that moment, I gave up caring about ‘selling millions’ and started pursuing a movement that could ‘save millions’.
That was in 2000. I knew it would take lots of hard work, and a miracle or two, to achieve my goal.
At the time, I didn’t even know the brain science behind my idea. I just knew that songs, like movies, seemed to speak to people in a way regular conversation did not.
What I’ve since learned is that music, art and movies are processed primarily in the right hemisphere of the brain, the side of our brain that’s been called intuitive.
That’s why the woman who heard my song at the conference had the response she did. The lyric, riding on the wings of a melody, bypassed her normal resistance to the message. It was in her heart before she had a chance to think about it.
Over the last fifteen years our non-profit ministry, Music for the Soul has been the source of a whole lot of healing. And, we’ve had a front row seat for way more than a miracle or two! We’ve gotten some unsolicited testimonials that are the kind of critical acclaim the entertainment industry executives covet.
For example, there was the woman who wrote to us to tell us she had purchased our CD Chaos of the Heart to leave for her parents because she was planning to commit suicide. Then, something told her to take the plastic wrapper off and listen. The songs changed her mind.
There was the marriage counselor who told us that a couple that had decided to divorce came into his office to ask for help in walking through the process amicably. He asked. “May I play you a song before we get started?” After they heard Fifty Years from Now, they were both weeping and said they wanted to try and save their marriage. Five years later, they are still married.
Twenty-two years ago, Georgia was given a 2% chance to be alive in ten years due to her cancer diagnosis. When someone gave her a copy of More Beautiful, her response caught her totally off guard. Before she knew it, she was sobbing. In the DVD portion of the piece, a lone female cancer patient is seen riding an enormous roller coaster.
“I thought I had cried all the tears there were for me to cry over my cancer. More Beautiful helped me to process unresolved pain that I didn’t even realize I was carrying. The result was a healing deep in my soul.”
The response to our project Somebody’s Daughter: a Journey to Freedom from Pornography has been quite simply overwhelming. We’ve heard from people all over the world who credit the resource with saving their marriage.
In one instance, three teenage sons knew their parents were headed for divorce because of their dad’s pornography problem. They purchased the Somebody’s Daughter DVD and said, “Dad, we have something we want you to watch with us.” That intervention wound up with their dad getting help and the family staying together!
The piece has now won six awards, been on television numerous times, seen on six continents, and translated into Spanish.
Music for the Soul, The Little Engine that Could, has become the little engine that has, touching millions of people with life-giving songs and stories of hope. As a result, countless lives and families have overcome enormous odds and found the freedom to live beyond their pain.
Has it been hard? Yes. But, as Tom Hanks’ character says in A League of their Own, “Of course it’s hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”
To experience Music for the Soul and become part of helping us tell the next chapter in the story please visit us at www.musicforthesoul.org
Editor’s note: Steve Siler is an award winning songwriter, music producer, and executive producer of the multi-award winning DVD Somebody’s Daughter. He is the Founder and Director of Music for the Soul. For more information, please contact:
Music for the Soul
P.O. Box 159027
Nashville, TN 37215
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