For Krissy Nordhoff, writing for someone else wasn’t necessarily in the game plan. “When I originally wrote Your Great Name, it was for a worship compilation CD my church was recording and another member of our worship team ended up being the vocalist. That was the first time I had ever heard anyone else sing my music; I had always written for myself in the past.” Little did she know that in a few short years, Your Great Name was going to have further implications for her career that extended beyond learning how to release her music to the voices of others.
Krissy grew up in Michigan and began writing songs at the tender age of 5, adding piano playing to her repertoire shortly after that. When she was 21, she moved to Nashville with a dream in her heart much like the majority of Nashville’s transplant-turned-local population. Her career started as an artist pursuing a career in Christian music, which led her to record several albums and tour behind them. She decided to walk away after an incredibly tiring tour run that culminated in playing 3 dates in one day, 2 of which were a 4 hour drive from one another. “At the time, I had my husband and 2 sons on the road with me and I was just exhausted. I decided not only did I want to step away from touring, but I also wanted to stay true to myself and I’ve never really been comfortable as an ‘artist’” she recalls; “I have always preferred performing worship music since the focus is not on me.” Realizing that being true to herself was more important than any ‘artist’ career, she now admonishes other writers to do the same: “Don’t ever compromise who you are in order to propel your career. If worship is your ‘thing’, then go for it full force!”
Shortly after stepping away from the road, she learned of her third pregnancy, a daughter; which solidified her decision to stay home and focus on writing. It wasn’t long after that when her church decided to record the compilation album that led her to present Your Great Name as one of the CD’s offerings. The song was inspired through a miraculous healing of Lyme’s disease, a condition she had suffered with for over 2 years; naturally, it was a song that was close to her heart. When someone else was chosen to sing the song on the album, she realized for the first time that her decision to focus on writing was the right one. “I realized in that moment that God can still use my heart and the message can travel; but it doesn’t always have to come directly from me.”
That attitude of surrender was the catalyst that ultimately took the song on a roller coaster ride. Krissy’s husband, Eric decided to get behind the song and really focus on pitching it to all of his contacts, one of which happened to be Natalie Grant’s manager, Mitchell Solarek. “Mitchell called back and we were given an immediate ‘yes’ that the song would be put on hold for Natalie’s forthcoming album, but it still took 2 years from the time that Natalie recorded it until the time it was released as a single.”
Waiting for a song to be picked up, or even noticed, is trying on any songwriter. Krissy explains that for her, finding rest in the waiting is all in the attitude of her prayers. “I heard a story about a songwriter who had a near death experience and when he went to heaven the angels were singing one of his songs. When he asked the angel about it, the angel replied: ‘We’re not singing one of your songs, we just let you hear one of ours.’ That story completely changed my perspective on writing. I used to pray for creativity and for the ability to move my music forward in the marketplace. Now, I pray that I will just ‘hear’ what is going on in Heaven.”