With so many great artists, singers, and leaders around the world, we are constantly influenced by someone else’s voice and sound. Following trends and mimicking other people can lead to forgetting who we really are and expressing what is inside. Morgan Faleolo and Brittany Mondesir are worship leaders at Bethel Church and part of the Bethel Music community in Redding, California. Morgan and Brittany have a rich history with the Lord and have journeyed through finding their identity and purpose in Him. Here they give us 3 ways to find our sound and discover what we carry that is different from everyone else on the planet.
Embrace Who You Are
I used to hate my voice. I’ve been on a journey learning how to love myself in a greater measure and embrace who I am. I used to make jokes about myself and what I look like all the time, not thinking anything about it. A friend of mine stopped me recently and told me not to talk about myself like that. When I thought about it, part of why I made fun of myself is because it was funny, but what I didn’t realize is that I was trying to tear myself down before anyone else did.
If you want to find your sound and grow in your identity, you first have to be okay with yourself. Are you okay with how you were created, and how you came out of your mother’s womb.
Your voice isn’t separate from you; your voice is who you are.
Embrace who you are, your sound, and how you were born—because it’s something you can’t change. There’s no one else like you on the planet. When you embrace who you are, you will grow to be more secure and free in who God has created you to be. It’s your job to believe in yourself first, not to wait for someone else to tell you that you’re amazing. Before you even give yourself the title of worshipper, singer or songwriter; you should learn how to love yourself as a son or daughter.
Don’t Compare Yourself
I’m still in the process of finding my personal sound. One thing that has helped is choosing to stop comparing myself to other people. There are so many amazing singers and artists who are giants in the music industry, and it’s easy to mimic what they are doing. I have to choose not to compare my voice and even my personality type to someone else’s but love myself the way I was created.
I love to be inspired by other people and find out what kind of music moves me. It’s a beautiful thing to celebrate someone else’s expression, but there’s a difference between being inspired and comparing yourself. When you are influenced by something, that doesn’t mean that what you have is not good.
Influence becomes comparison when you begin to change things about yourself.
When finding your sound, don’t look to someone else as your standard. Learn about what your own goals are and aim for that.
There’s a lot of talk about being authentic, but the pursuit of authenticity is rooted in becoming something that people don’t realize they already are. Stop trying to be authentic—just be. If we are trying to chase after authenticity, that’s a sign of insecurity or unawareness of who we really are. The only thing you are expected to be is yourself. Authenticity should be rooted in the identity of who God calls you to be.
What Does God Say About Your Sound?
The best thing I could have done to find my sound was to ask the Lord what my voice does in a room. I used to get really frustrated with myself and feel disappointed after worship sets, thinking that I didn’t scream as loud as I should have.
One day I sat on my floor and asked the Lord what my voice does in a room. He showed me a vision of an arrow with raindrops and told me that my voice pierces hearts but also refreshes them. Up to that point, I hadn’t asked God what He thought about my voice because I was afraid of being disappointed.
When He showed me that vision, I was able to see myself the way He sees me, and have greater appreciation for my voice.
Anytime I feel frustrated or start to go into that spiral of comparison, I remember the picture He gave me.
It’s vital to know what your voice does in a room, but also the unique gifting and anointing that you carry. When I walk into a room, what do I bring with me? Is it joy, peace, or breakthrough? When I speak, what happens? My singing voice isn’t different than my speaking voice, and what happens when I walk into a room is the same thing that happens when I walk onto a stage or write a song. Singing, speaking, leading and even just being who you are is all a part of what makes up your sound. Learn how to partner with what God is already doing through you and your sound.
Whatever it is that God shows you, let that be your anchor, because lies and comparison will come in to try and steal that.
Other people can affirm you and what you carry, but don’t rely on someone else’s affirmation. Find God’s words and let that be the core of who you are, and who you are becoming. If I don’t find my value from Him, I will be like a feather that blows to and fro in the wind. When you realize what it is you are called to bring when you speak, sing or write music, there is a weight of responsibility that comes with it. There’s a higher standard you’ve been called to, and it’s your job to steward that.
Things to Try
There are a few practical things you can also do to find your voice and your sound. Here are some things that we have tried.
Pay attention to what moves you.
Whether it be works of art, poems, books or music, figure out what you like. What instrument sounds are you drawn to? What colors and clothing styles do you like?
Try experimenting and listening to different genres of music, not for the sake of trying to be different, but to just get outside of your box. Try singing or playing something different than you’re used to; if nothing else this will help you determine what you like and don’t like and you’ll discover something new.
Focus on Truth
Print out Bible verses that speak to who God says that you are and your identity. For example, “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14). Going over these things daily will keep you from being swayed by opinions or comparisons.
A songwriter is a storyteller, and the writer is taking the listener or reader somewhere and showing them something. Find stories that you enjoy, whether it’s a fiction book or a movie, and familiarize yourself with the elements of a story. From there you can tell your personal story through song.
Find Your Life Message
What is it that you find yourself talking about most? What are things that you value the most that you could talk about for hours? Why do you do what you do, and what drives you to get up every day? This is probably your life message that the world needs to hear. You have been set apart for something great. Songwriting is an avenue for you to broadcast this message.
Learn more about songwriting, leadership, and worship at WorshipU.com