The journey of an up-and-coming Kentucky singer-songwriter born out of tragedy
By MARK MAYNARD, Kentucky today
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (KT) – Anne Wilson was always looking for the stars. She just never dreamed it would be as a contemporary Christian music artist.
The 19-year-old Kentucky native aspired to be an astronaut until a tragedy in her life changed that course. Her brother’s death in a traffic accident four years ago was heartbreaking, but it opened up a part of her that she had never known existed – a moving singing voice that could be used for God ‘s God. in a way never imagined.
Anne faced the death of her 23-year-old brother by sitting at the piano and singing. It was unusual, says his father Kent, because his parents only heard him sing hymns in church. While she was a competent pianist, having learned from an early age, she was never a performance singer, he said.
Her mother heard her play and sing and was so touched that she asked Anne if she would sing at Jacob’s funeral. She first said no, that she didn’t think she could get away with it, but then told her parents that she would.
“I went up to my room and locked myself in,” she said. “It was difficult to deal with everyone at home. I remember asking God, “I know I can’t do this with my strength. Let me understand, ‘and He did it. I had a peace that came over me, that’s how I knew I had to do it.
For example, the first time Anne Wilson sang in public, it was in front of 1,200 people at her brother’s funeral. Her rendition of “What A Beautiful Name” was fascinating. She used friends who played the violin, guitar, and keyboard to complement her singing. “It was really a show of worship,” she said.
The music was so good and moving that they were then asked to make a video with the same group of friends, which included his sister Elizabeth on the keyboard. It became an overnight sensation on YouTube and was ultimately the link that got him to contact an agent in Nashville.
“That’s what started it all,” Anne said. “It went viral within a few months of 2017. A lot of things started to happen quickly. God has done a lot of miracles.
Once she graduated from high school last May, she became more involved in her thriving music career than she had ever even envisioned. Anne has since moved to Nashville and has had to adjust to being “an adult grown up and having to figure out what life is like.”
Three record companies were making offers and it became a whirlwind career move to Nashville for the teenager who first had to finish high school at Veritas Christian Academy in Lexington. NASA will have to wait.
She started writing music with some of the biggest names in Christian music. Matthew West collaborated with her on the hit song “My Jesus” which was released earlier this year and skyrocketed the charts and became one of the hits of the year. The “My Jesus” music video has over 4 million views on YouTube, 12.9 million views and 290,000 shares on Facebook. His three-singles EP, “My Jesus,” became Capitol CMG’s biggest debut single release by a new artist in nearly 10 years. Wilson also entered Spotify’s USA Viral 50 chart with her hit song for 10 days.
“It’s amazing how God worked in her life,” her father said. “My wife (Lynn) taught our three children to play the piano. My mother did the same to me. Anne hated it the worst of the three. Now watch how God uses it.
Anne Wilson’s schedule is booked with shows every weekend, and she writes music two to three days a week with some of the world’s greatest Christian songwriters, including West and Jeff Pargo.
Her father said that if her path had not been changed by God, she would have done so as an astronaut. “She really cared about it and was a very, very good student,” he said. “She could have pursued him and probably would have hit him.”
Anne said she is always intrigued by space and if ever the opportunity arises, she would love to take a trip to the stars. “I have a huge passion for this,” she said. “If something happened and I could go into space, I would take it.”
Meanwhile, his musical career continues to soar. On August 10, his live EP with “My Jesus (Live in Nashville)” was released by Capitol Christian Music Group. It contains five songs recorded live from White Dove Barn in Nashville, including a Little Big Town cover of “Boondocks” and a new song “No Place Like Home”. Celebrating the release, Wilson also kicked off the live video performance of “No Place Like Home”.
The new song, “No Place Like Home,” is about her brother and their memories together on her grandfather’s farm in Knox County, Kentucky. It’s his favorite song so far and the one West has collaborated on as well. It was written on the same day as the hit “My Jesus”.
“It came together in about 10 minutes, which is such a testimony that God gave us this song,” she said. “It’s my favorite song and the most special song.”
Anne said she’s still a Kentucky girl at heart and plans to build a house on this Knox County farm where her grandfather and grandmother own hundreds of acres. The memories of the time spent with her brother and sister there are rich and vivid, she said.
“Barbourville is my favorite place in the world,” she said. ” I want to go back there. I love our farm. The three of us (brothers and sisters) are very close. Mom and Dad emphasized how important it is for us to stay close. We were each other’s best friends.
While Anne has moved to Nashville and has a busy schedule, her parents still live in Lexington. They were members of the Andover Baptist Church when the children were young. His paternal grandmother is a member of the First Baptist Church in Barbourville.
Anne will be on the Big Daddy Weave “All Things New” tour and she will be making her stage debut at Opry on September 4th. Meanwhile, she continues to write and record new music for a debut album in the coming months.
“I want God to do what God wants me to do,” she said. “As Christians, we are here to bring people closer to the Lord. Jacob’s death changed my perspective. Everything I do on earth, I want it to glorify God. I surrender to Him. I don’t know what the future looks like, if it will be a long career, or if it will be over soon. Whatever he wants me to do.
When asked what his brother would think of his overnight success, she replied that he would be “super proud of me. I know how he was. He was so proud of me and my sister even with it. the smallest things. He would probably be with me because he always wanted to protect me. I think he can totally see me and he’s totally with me.