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TRACEY EVISON: Jasmine Murray overcomes struggles with anxiety to release her debut album, ‘Fearless’

['Tracey Evison reviews Tenth Avenue North’s new album, “Followers”.']
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Jasmine Murray, a young woman from Mississippi, just released her debut album from Fair Trade Services & Provident Distribution.

Murray worked collaboratively with a number of artists on “Fearless”, her first full-length project. “Fearless” is a collection of songs produced by the combined talents of Colby Wedgeworth, Jeff Pardo, TeddT, Jordan Sapp, Seth Mosley and Mike “X” O’Connor and Chuck Butler. Many of those same artists also collaborated on the songwriting of this project along with numerous others. As a result, “Fearless” is a bit like a “best of” compilation of pop/Christian music, touched by influences of all the fine artists who were involved with this project.

As a winner of Miss Missippi, a Miss America contestant and an “American Idol” finalist, Murray is no stranger to the limelight. With that, one might expect Murray to be a confident individual.

However, she says “We all have chinks in our armor. Some are clearly seen from the outside. Mine were on the inside; I secretly battled fear and anxiety. I know it looks like I had it all together, but I didn’t.”

As a result of this, “Fearless” is the perfect theme for Murray’s first full-length album.

The title track speaks to Murray’s struggles with anxiety. “I wasn’t given a spirit of fear/ I was given the power of love...I wanna be fearless….because I believe You’re with me now/ Bring on the unknown/Lead me and I’ll go/ Come set me free.”

“Into Words” is a worshipful pop ballad. Murray’s rich vocals sing out the heartfelt lyric, “I keep on trying to define Your love/ but I can’t describe the indescribable/ I can’t put You into words ‘cause I know it’s not enough...Your grace and mercy are so much more...than I deserve.”

“Vapor” speaks to the theme of James 4:14b – “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Murray sings, “Can’t take it for granted cause life is way too short/ to gain all of the world and lose your soul. I don’t wanna waste my time….only wanna give my all until there’s nothing left...And finally live for something greater/ Life is just a vapor.”

Then, “Who You Love” is a wonderful affirmation of God’s love, while “Rest of My Life” is a pledge to serve Him in return for His wonderful affections for us.

I have to say, Jasmine Murray has proven herself with this first project. She speaks to many of us who also struggle with anxieties and reminds her listeners that, with God’s help, these can be overcome.

While a skeptic would likely say her pop stylings are designed for radio play, they are nonetheless well crafted and supported by some absolutely beautiful singing. I am certain that Murray will stand out in the crowd as her career progresses.

Tracey Evison, a musician and educator on P.E.I., writes this column for The Guardian every second Saturday.  She can be contacted by email at trevorandtracey@pei.sympatico.ca.

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