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Wendy Schettig
by Jon Fisher
Contributor on 2012-05-09 16:16:21
CMADDICT Contributor Jon Fisher talks with Pennsylvania independent artist Wendy Schettig about her extended tour, the songwriting process, and new album "Rise".

1. “Rise” was a few years in the making. Can you tell me about your writing process and where you find inspiration for your songs?

I come up with ideas in lots of places, but maybe most often during a walk or in a quiet time reading my Bible. Then I just toss the idea around my head for a while till I have enough material to write about. Then I come up with a few lines that really capture what I’m trying to say and write around that. The melody comes harder for me than the words, but lately I’ve been trying to write the melody around what the words are saying... that way something I want to emphasize might have a particularly strong twist in the melody. I am always looking for a new way to say something with words that flow smoothly but aren’t words you can anticipate. My lead guitar player has helped in several songs by simply changing one chord to make it unique.

2. I think that “Romans 8” might be my favorite song on the new CD. I love the sound – how did you work with your band to come up that sound?

I love that one too. Actually that was mostly Steve on the keyboard. I told him I wanted a sort of celtic sound, sort of Uilleann pipes with a deep bass that rearranges your insides, and Steve nailed it. It took a lot of tries, but once he got it, we knew that was the sound we wanted. Then Mike came up with this awesome lead guitar part that just blew me away. It took several sessions that seemed close to what we wanted, but not quite right... then when we found it everybody knew it.

3. You recently played a CD release concert. How did that go?

It went really well. I had enough people telling me they were coming that we took a chance and moved the location to the church auditorium next door to the cafe. I’m glad we did because there wouldn’t have been enough room in the cafe at all. I brought in a few people who recorded with me in the studio to play on the songs they played on... so we had a guest cello and viola player, fretless bass and my daughter on harmony. That gave the night some variety. Then we gave away a bunch of CDs. It was a lot of fun, but more so I’m really glad to have this CD finally completed and out there.

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4. Is there any particular favorite of yours on the new CD and why?

It’s hard to say because I like them all for their own particular reasons. The title track “Rise” is near and dear to me because the story behind it is why I’m back playing music again. But then again I really love “Only You Remain”. I love to sing that song and get lost in the message of how amazing God is. Then again, “What Mercy Means” is an incredibly personal song about healing an overwhelming shame that I had because of a past abortion. The healing I experienced when I gave that one up to God is why I wrote that song. It’s hard to choose which one I like best. I’m very pleased with the whole album.

5. You play a number of covers in your set. Do you have any particular favorite song by another artist and why?

My lead guitarist and keyboard player are classic rockers, so they can really take a classic rock song and jam till there’s no tomorrow. We have a lot of fun with “Take Me to the River” by Al Green, and “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield. When I’m solo, I think “Broken Things” by Julie Miller is a favorite. She really describes the way it was for me when I needed to find God.

6. Do you have any plans for a more extended tour to support the CD?

Oh yes. I plan to take it to Maine, NY and Delaware (where I already have supporters) and hopefully farther reaching than that... no limits to where I’ll sing! I think these songs are different than much of the Christian music you hear out there. I also think it speaks a lot to the ones who are still searching for God. I didn’t grow up going to church so my sound is more like the folk and blues music I grew up with. I would love to sing where I can reach those people. I remember what it felt like to not know how to find God. It would be a gift to me to be able to tell them.

7. I know that you used to lead worship a number of years ago. Are you still doing that?

Yes, but not like I used to. I lead worship for several women’s Bible studies and help out with the worship team on Wednesday nights at Calvary Chapel where I go to church. I also lead worship occasionally as a guest worship leader at nearby churches when they want something different.

8. What has it been like giving up nursing to record and perform full time?

Fantastic! As a nurse, I was ignoring my real calling. I was following my desire to help people but I substituted God’s calling with one that made a regular paycheck. Take it from me, that’s a really bad idea! If you have a passion that you know comes from God, ignoring it will only make you crazy. I became so depressed and frustrated that I finally broke down so completely at work one day that I emotionally couldn’t handle even one more moment as a nurse. Just thinking about going back chokes me up. I absolutely know God called me out to do music and I love it! Believe me, starting all over at my age is not easy... and I’m barely making any money, but God has been with my husband and me, and we’re getting by (so if you’re reading this, buy a CD!).
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9. You recently were in Israel. What was the most impressive thing about that trip?

It was really something. So many things were impressive, but I guess the most impressive... or should I say impressionable, was that I realized how personal God is. Over there the land is ancient. You’re standing on things that are thousands of years old and you know God is familiar with every detail that has happened there since He gave Abraham His promise in Genesis 12. God is still watching 4000 years later and as you see the remnants of every conceivable Bible story you’ve ever read show up right in front of you, you end up thanking God that little old me from New Britain PA in the year 2012 is still somebody He cares enough to save. Blows my mind. I’m so grateful!

10. What is your favorite passage of scripture and why?

Jeremiah 20:9 “But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” That verse jumped out at me about 3 years into my nursing career and haunted me for 9 more years. I knew that fire was my music, and I was trying to hold it in. It became such a fire that it broke me. Now as a full-time musician, I have no doubt I am doing what God made me to do. I just wish I hadn’t resisted God for so long. How foolish. But God doesn’t dwell on stuff like that, He just picks us up and gets busy with us. I’m ready to do whatever He wants me to do and loving every minute of it.
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