Catholic Mom Music Spotlight

Ellen
The Truth Is There

CatholicMom.com recently learned about the wonderful music of contemporary Catholic singer Ellen Soukup from our friend Sassy, one of our most loyal CatholicMom.com supporters.  Ellen credits the Holy Spirit for guiding her music ministry as she performs and speaks with audiences about her faith journey and its influence on her music. Ellen's CDs stress words of faith, the sanctity of life and the importance of the Eucharist.  Music lovers of all ages will be inspired by Ellen's recordings, particularly her latest CD The Truth Is There which features 11 original contemporary and gospel songs.

Ellen resides in Lincoln, Nebraska with her husband and two children.  To order any of Ellen's music, visit her web site at www.ellenmusic.com - an experienced performer and presenter, she is also available to perform for your church, conference or organization.  I hope that you enjoy our CatholicMom.com interview with Ellen and that you take the time to visit Ellen's site and order her music.  You will be inspired by the experience!

Lisa,
Webmaster, CatholicMom.com

To Order Ellen's Music

Catholic Music Network

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visit www.ellenmusic.com
Send check or money order to:
Ellen Soukup
PO Box 57464
Lincoln, NE  68505
Or email your order to: ellen@ellenmusic.com

*Be sure to indicate which title you are ordering!
$15 per CD & $10 per Cassette
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What is your background with the Catholic Church and how did you choose to focus on recording Christian music?  I was born and raised Catholic and when I was 12, my sister contacted me saying she was in need of a cantor for mass.  I was very nervous but cantored with her playing the organ.  That started a love of singing in the church.  Over the years, I took voice lessons, sang in many singing groups, and a country rock band but never left the church.  No matter where I lived, I cantored and sang in the choirs.  In fact, I never ever remember questioning my faith...it is what makes me complete. So, singing Christian music came very easy to me.  It is where I feel most at home.   

Ellen's Discography

  Catholic Music Network
click on the disk covers below to order and help support CatholicMom.com
 

The Truth Is There

 

Thy Will be Done

What Shall We Give

To Order Ellen's Music

visit www.ellenmusic.com

Read more CatholicMom Music Spotlights

What does your faith bring to your music? I think it is an honor to sing about my faith. I know there is a need for good Catholic music out there but I also feel there is a need for confident music that expresses that we need to do the right thing for our Savior.  Much of the music out there is very community oriented.  I like music that makes you think about your faith journey.

How did your interest in music come about?  I was born into music.  My family is very musical and by  an early age, I was singing harmony with my sister, playing instruments, etc.  My mother loved music so much but was never given the opportunity to participate in music so it was her goal to make sure all of us were exposed to all kinds of music. 

How did you decide to launch your recording career. For many years, parishioners would ask if I had a CD and I would laugh and shrug it off.  But, when I sang for a memorial mass for a parishioner's child, it became much clearer.  A famous saxophonist came to town to play at that service and he and his agent encouraged me to record my voice...not necessarily for fame, but for historical reference for my children.  That got me thinking!

How do you manage your roles as Mom and Musician? My children have grown up in the church.  My daughter (10 yrs old now) would even stand next to the choir director at 9 months old conducting the choir right along with him. I take them with me most of the places I go.  That is very important to me.  I always have to remind myself that my primary role or vocation is being a mother to my children.  After I make that commitment, everything else seems to become easier.  God continually reminds me of this however because the world can want to take over.  That actually is where the inspiration to the song Family came from...I had just yelled at my kids when I was trying to practice my music and the words flooded my mind.  I was very humbled!  I also make a commitment to placing my daily list in the Blessed Virgin Mary's care.  She knows truly what I need to get done that day and opens my eyes to why I didn't get everything done that day.  It is very freeing.  Sorry this was so long... this is a question very near and dear to my heart!

How did you select the songs used on your first two albums and which songs are your favorites? When I chose the music to my first CD, I made a list of the songs that the parishioners at my church had commented on.  Then I said many prayers and the ones that nagged at me, I feel were chosen by the Holy Spirit and I placed my trust in Him.  I also knew I had chosen the right songs because a lot of them were unusually difficult to record so that told me that the devil didn't want them out there! The same was true for the second CD which is a Christmas recording.  I knew I wanted some Advent songs because there are not a lot out there, especially in recordings.  I think I have become really good at listening to the Holy Spirits promptings. 

Now that you've begun to write and record your own songs, where does the inspiration for your lyrics come from and what is your writing process? As weird as it may sound, the inspiration comes from so many places.  I have learned to listen and act upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes it is subtle as "hmmm, that was a neat reading, someone should write a song about that...oh, I guess that could be me!" Sometimes it is an all out assault (in a good way of course).  One day, I wrote 2 1/2 songs.  I was exhausted!  Sometimes it is a reaction to a situation, such as what I described earlier when I yelled at my kids.  My writing process is as unorganized as can be.  Right now, there are small pieces of paper on my piano.  Some have words that popped into my mind; some have a series of notes indicating a melody line.  Someday, I know I will put that together.  Right now, God wants me to devote time to helping my 10 year old adjust to the harder curriculum of 5th grade.  So, He is giving me bits and pieces to keep me going.  I know it will come together in time for the 4th CD!

Who are some of your favorite singers? That is really tough!  I am a talk radio junkie and believe it or not, I don't listen to music that much.  I will tell you that I love all kinds of music...and I mean all kinds.  My CD collection consists of classical, country, bluegrass, Christian, Classic Rock...you name it.  I really love Rich Mullins and Alison Kraus.  Most of the time, I love the music and know the song but I don't know the artist.  I know I am weird that way! 

How can Catholic parents help their children select music which will help enhance their spiritual development? When I speak to various groups, whether it is children or adults, I like to ask the question: "If Jesus was standing next to you, would you still be listening to that music or watching that show on TV?"  A huge question!  If your answer is "no", then you shouldn't be watching it...because Jesus is already there!  He is especially there if you have taken Communion!

What words of wisdom would you offer to Catholic Moms looking to pursue their dreams as you did yours? Place your children and spouses first, give it up to Mary and let God take care of it.  When you TRULY give your dreams up to Him, that is when your life becomes meaningful.  He may only want you to be a mom right now but that is the most noble thing that you can do.  He may want you to pursue that dream so pray for guidance and for the ability to listen to His will.  Nagging feelings usually mean you need to do something.  But pray, pray, pray!  I pray the rosary a lot....and I put my ministry in God's hands. 

Are there any parting thoughts or ideas you'd like to share with our CatholicMom.com readers? Just that the world says that we have to have it all...we don't.  God made us women for a reason.  He didn't make us asexual blobs.  He intended us to be nurturing, multi-tasking, sensitive and strong morally. We have to embrace what we were meant to be, following the example of the holy women of scripture.  Strive for simplicity in your homes...it will give our families greater joy than we can imagine.  I would also challenge mothers to make a daily journal and each day write their "to do list" then say a prayer to Mary and give our list to her.  Then, the next day, reflect on all of the great things that happened the day before.  You will find that Mary's plan may have been different from yours!  I remember that one time at the end of the day, I was kicking myself for all of the things that I didn't get done.  The next morning I took out my journal and began to write all of the great things that happed the day before and realized that it was a day where my youngest son was having a "needy" day.  I held him a lot that day....that was why I didn't get a lot done!  Mary knew what my family wanted and I was set free from the worldly to do list and re-focused on a spiritual to do list.  Wow! 

Ellen, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.  Thank you!  It was my pleasure.

 

To Order Ellen's Music

visit www.ellenmusic.com

Read more CatholicMom Music Spotlights