“I came to Nashville and wanted to be Amy Grant,” she says with a laugh, remembering her decision to move to Nashville, “but that didn’t exactly work out.”
While becoming Amy Grant or getting a record deal didn’t work out in her immediate future, she followed an open door into West End Community Church, where she served as worship director for almost ten years.
Most Nashville residents would agree that music city isn’t easy to live in, for a number of reasons. But it was there that Lori grew spiritually and musically in what she considers a time of preparation.
“Instead of focusing on being an artist, I got out of the industry mindset and focused on being a worship leader,” she said.
Being a worship leader in a city like Nashville does have its advantages, like being able to watch Nashville newcomers blossom into CCM headliners. And that’s exactly what happened with Brandon Heath. “Brandon is a cool story,” she said. “He was a young musician when he joined the church and when he said he wanted to get involved, I had him help with equipment, setting up and tearing down for worship services. And he never complained!” She thoroughly enjoyed watching Brandon grow into a successful artist and compliments him, saying that he never really changed and is still the same, humble guy. In fact, when the time had come for her to release her debut album, Brandon was happy to lend his talents on a few songs on the album.
Oddly enough, Lori didn’t really plan on making an album. But when songs started coming to her, she realized that God was stirring something and inviting her along.
“I hadn’t written in a long time. I was learning to play guitar and was doing so in my devotional time,” Lori said. “Before I knew it, the songs just started coming.” She then went to her friend Brent Mulligan, accomplished musician and producer whose track record includes Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith. Together, they began to go through the songs, tweaking them and making them better.
The finished product is “Shine On Me,” a keyboard-driven acoustic album with worship songs that are usable by any church. “I wanted to keep it simple and organic,” Lori said. “I didn’t want to over complicate it so that any worship leader could use the songs in their church.” The album consists of a variety of styles with one common characteristic: worship.
“At my core, I’m a worshiper. I love the presence of God. And this album is about my life message. I want God’s light to shine on me and through me so that everything I do reflects his glory.” From this vision, comes “Shine On Me,” a project that invites the presence of God and is likely to soon become known throughout the worship community.
For more information about Lori’s music, visit www.lorimorrison.com.