Did Joy Williams Change My Life?

Can someone you've never met change the course of your life? I think so. Well, because it happened to me.

In the fall of 2002, (yikes--that sounds so long ago) I was a junior at Biola University in southern California. I was a Communications major with an emphasis on media studies. Media studies was the closest thing to being on a stage and in the entertainment industry that I could "study" so that's what I picked. I knew that I loved performing...loved being on a stage...and that I loved music but never knew how or what I was going to do with all of it.

My roommate at the time had told me that she was thinking about going to a music program on Martha's Vineyard.  I immediately thought of people studying the violin, and opera singers in fancy white gloves playing the hand bells...but no, this was different...this was no ordinary music school. It was a school where you took classes on songwriting, performance, studio recording, etc. I liked the sound of that.

So, my little brain began to turn its wheels. Was this crazy? Do I want to leave all my friends in sunny So-Cal to go to an island in the dead of winter in New England? Would I even get accepted if I applied? I would be calling myself an "artist" if I went? Do I have what it takes, etc, etc, etc. I was restless. Nothing seemed to settle within me. The deadline for applying was soon approaching and I would need to record a demo of myself to send along with my application. That.seemed.impossible. Overwhelming. Terrifying. I'd never recorded a demo.

As I walked into our administration building, I noticed that on the quad outside they were setting up a teeny, tiny little stage. I didn't pay much attention and walked in. I swear my head was completely filled  with the question: Should I go, should I not go? Do I go? Do I stay? Ahhhhh. Questions. Wheels turning. All the time. I walked out of the building and standing on that little stage singing her heart out was a blonde singer with powerhouse vocals by the name of Joy Williams. Yes, the Joy Williams that is now half of the Grammy winning, harmony slaying duo called The Civil Wars.

I froze. I stood on the quad and tears just began streaming down my face. I immediately knew that I had to go to this music program. I had to sing. Watching her on that stage, something just sunk into my bones. Literally in an instant I knew that I had to go to this music school or at least get rejected trying.

And the rest is history. I went into a tiny little TV production studio and had my friend Brent Kredel record my demo. Got accepted. Went to that crazy little music school and met this other crazy girl named Jill. We've been doing music now for 10 years. Whoa.

So, can a person you've never met change the course of your life? Yes. I never met Joy, but her being on that stage, that day, dramatically changed the course of my life.

Weird right?

Has someone you've never met changed the course of your life?

-kate