What does your faith
bring to your music?
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?
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necessarily for fame, but for historical reference for my children.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
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
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
How can Catholic
parents help their children select music which will help enhance their
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
What words of wisdom
would you offer to Catholic Moms looking to pursue their dreams as you did
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
Ellen, thanks for taking the time to answer these
Thank you! It was my pleasure.
To Order Ellen's Music
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