In all honesty, Christian music isn’t the same as it was 10, 5, or even a few years ago. Most of the songs sound the same, and it’s hard to tell whether the artist is really praising God or just recording music for the commercial appeal. I’ve discovered that in recent years, it’s hard to find a Christian artist who has talent and is passionate about sharing God’s word….
Hannah Schaefer is an exception. Hailing from Columbia City, Indiana, she participated in her church’s youth choir as a child; later being classically trained in high school and joining any music-related activity she could.
Realizing that God was calling her into the Christian music industry, she turned away a scholarship for the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and instead pursued becoming a recording artist; picking up the guitar and learning how to write and sing contemporary pop songs. Now the 19-year-old has independently released a four-song EP that would give any major-label Christian artist a run for their money– and it’s easy to see why. Her fun personality, powerful vocals, and passion for sharing the love of Jesus make her the kind of rising superstar that you’d want doubling as your best friend.
The title track, “All the Way“ came to life when Hannah was uncertain about God’s plans for her future. Right from the opening lyrics, you can tell this song is going to be good. “Where, where am I going?” the song begins, with the narrator unsure about her future. “Wish You’d show me / Cause I feel, feel so defeated…”
However, the track soon turns into a worship song of sorts, as Hannah begins to feel more confident at the chorus. “…I believe You know / exactly what You’re doin’ / Where my feet are movin’ / I don’t have to be afraid… / Every moment, every day / You’re with me all the way.” It’s a nice reminder that we don’t have to be afraid of where our futures are headed, because God is truly with us “all the way,” and He has a plan.
Another track that I love, “Warrior“ (not to be confused with Demi Lovato’s 2013 song of the same name) is the ultimate self-empowerment anthem. Hannah immediately makes a connection to the listeners with the opening lyrics: “I know every day seems like a battlefield…”
In all seriousness, I think everyone has faced (or is facing) a battle of some sort; this set of lyrics, using similes to draw comparisons, is the perfect way to attract listeners!
The encouragement only continues from there. “But you are a warrior / Nothing’s gonna knock you out…” Hannah sings, telling the audience to “keep fighting the good fight” and never give up “even when the fight gets hard” because “the Lord is on your side / Remember who you are.”
Throughout the EP, Hannah reminds me of many artists (secular and Christian) including Bridgit Mendler, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and even Lauren and Brooke DeLeary of LoveCollide (who are also independent artists). As for the overall sound; it’s very commercial, like what you would hear on Top 40 radio stations. That’s just the type of music that sells.
There’s something different, however, about Hannah in comparison to other Christian artists. She seems to have this real passion for sharing the love of God, and isn’t recording music just for the fame and money (like so many other artists are these days).
That is what I like to see when I listen to Christian music.