Amy Grant, Michel W. Smith, and DC Talk. These were the “big time” concerts I attended every year as a kid, at Reunion Arena in Dallas, TX. How things have drastically changed…thank God.

Growing up as a preacher’s kid meant having a glaze of guilt brushed over me if I varied my radio from any station other than KLTY, the local Christian station. So, being as stubborn as I was, and still am, I would sit up late at night, while my parents were asleep, listening to any and every radio station other than the one my parents wanted me to enjoy. I can remember my dad walking into my room one evening without me having enough time to change the station from the country music I was letting invade my ears. “Kristen, this stuff is worse than rock. All country music talks about is drinking, and inappropriate relationships,” declared my dad.

It wasn’t until college that I began to really develop my own taste in what I found to be “good” music. Naturally, being in college introduced me to a whole world of artists I never would have known about had I decided to not go for more education (that was never an option in my house). I still, however, never really viewed music as having the ability to be life changing, or even just moving. Yea, in chapel I might shed a tear or two during an emotionally tugging praise and worship service, but that was usually just because I was guilty of some sin that was present in my life, not because of the music. It wasn’t until my third year in college that I slowly began to realize that music had the potential to become a very thick thread in the blanket of my life.

Standing outside my dormitory, I was waiting on a guy to pick me up for our first date. A girl asked me whom I was waiting on. “Dan Smith,” I replied. “Oh, he is that rapper,” she said, not realizing how horrified I was at that statement. What was I getting into? I hated rap music. I didn’t even consider it real music. Why had I asked this guy out? Yes, I asked him out first. Dan finally showed up to take me out on our first date. He was 45 minutes late.

About three years later, Dan and I got hitched. All along the way, Dan had educated me on various aspects of rap, or hip-hop. Mainly, he showed me what good, and well thought out lyrics were. During our second year of marriage, we moved to Atlanta so Dan could begin touring with Mars Ill. We were making the morph of music becoming a full time job instead of just an extracurricular activity.

Over the next handful of years, Dan turned music and touring into our main source of income. It is hard to explain the evolution of music in MY life without sharing major parts of HIS as well. Blame it on the whole marriage thing. He toured all over the world, and eventually went on a “Tour of Homes” throughout the US and Europe. As his music developed and evolved, the sound of hip-hop was barely heard anymore, so Dan began to call his new sound, “Talk Music.” Now this was a genre of music I could really appreciate.

In 2006, I decided to go on Dan’s Christmas tour just for fun. I figured that two weeks on the road with four guys would be enough, and I would never want to go again once it was over. Quite contrary. I loved it, and wanted more. I had gotten a taste of something I really liked, and couldn’t stand the thought of Dan getting to do this all the time while I was sitting at home, not touring. I had just finished my master’s degree in Counseling, and wanted nothing more than to not use it.

Remember, I’m stubborn. I overheard Dan talking to someone about how he was planning on hiring a bass guitar player for his band. What did I do? I saw an opportunity and took it. Unbeknownst to Dan, I went out and bought a Fender Jazz Bass and an Ampeg amp. I had never played any sort of guitar in my life. Over the next two weeks, I learned the Listener Project set, only. I’m not kidding, those were the only bass lines I could sort of play. The way I saw things, Dan had to hire me now, and in turn, I got to continue touring.

It’s been almost a year since then. I’ve been on five tours now. Don’t worry, I have become much better at playing bass since that first tour. Not only has music become a huge part of my life, it has also changed my life, literally.

Music I currently listen to on a regular basis:

Explosion In the Sky
The Arcade Fire
Sigur Ros
Sufjan Stevens