CCM 18 SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION 1 Christian artist…do you think this defines you? or do you differentiate your art from other art “out there”? Because I record albums, there’s automatically an “artist” label on me. But I really consider myself a worship leader. The platform of my local church is my favorite place. I love the privilege I have to lead God’s people into His presence. 2 how does God influenCe you as a person, an artist and as one who ministers? I would have to say that God is more than an influence. He is the inspiration. I only do what I do because of Him. I am always seeking a way to bring everything God is into my songs and the experience of my worship. I have found that simpler is better when writing songs and when expressing God’s love to people. God loves us and He wants to be everything in us and through us. 3 reGardinG your latest album, how is it different from previous albums or projeCts that you have worked on? Well, I produced this one on my own for the first time. That was interesting! The other thing that’s different this time around is the rock, gospel feel where as before my sound was primarily gospel. It’s definitely a mix of sounds. My hope is that there’s something for everyone on this project. I will tell you that this is the first project that my three teenagers are actually sharing with their friends! They’ve been so excited about this new sound for me! 4 musiCally and lyriCally, what was the inspiration behind this album? Musically, I wanted to create a new vibe that was driving and upbeat and easy to sing on Sunday morning at my church. As I was writing, I kept asking myself, “What would the church sing?” The theme of this album is taken from the title track “Pressing On.” The lyrics to the song are “I’m pressing on cause I don’t want to live an ordinary life...” We live in a society that is distracting to the point that we can lose our way. When it comes to adversity, our culture’s theme is: “only the medicated survive.” The reality is it’s when we face difficult times that we have to make a decision to get up and move on. We have to say to ourselves, “I may not have all the answers to where I’m going tomorrow, but I can’t stay here.” That’s why I wrote the song “Pressing On.” It basically says when we follow Christ, He gives us the strength to “Press on.” I have read countless self-help books in my lifetime, which have all been great resources, but my greatest resource through difficult times is Jesus Christ. 5 what does worship mean to you? That’s a big question. I like to define it this way... having a heart after God. It goes beyond singing and music, clapping and dancing. It’s a heart that’s surrendered. The music is secondary. I want to be where God is and since the Bible says, “He inhabits the praises of His people,” then I want to be in His habitation... in His house. 5 Questions with Mary alessi