If you haven’t heard of or attended a Lite Brite Artist Nite showcase yet, you’re definitely missing out on one of the coolest yet underrated things to do in Nashville! These evening events, usually held in cafes, feature several talented Christian independent singer-songwriters who are a part of a larger consortium. Created and organized by Eleni Naomi, a talented vocalist and pianist who plays in the vein of Christian swing jazz, Lite Brite is packed with music diversity in one live session. It’s incredibly refreshing to hear musicians and singers of different cultural backgrounds worshiping Jesus uniquely and collectively–say a gospel singer followed by one who sings folk. But at the end of the night, the music depicts a beautiful mosaic of worship, which I imagine reflects what our praise will be like in heaven.
I also enjoy that the topics of songs, stylistic singing and presented challenges can be unconventional; you may not hear this type of music on mainstream platforms or celebrated on the Billboard charts. However the versatility of these issues are relatable–whether it’s a difficult season in our relationship with Christ, or nuances about faith that may not be discussed in a sermon.
At a Lite Nite event at Lipscomb University in late September, I had the pleasure of hearing Alice Summer sing about her longing to hear and feel God’s presence in her song “Lately.” Her sweet vocals and self-accompaniment on guitar contrasted with the raw emotion of feeling the distance of God. Take a listen:
It can be a difficult balancing task in songwriting to be authentic about your all-time lows without being misunderstood as one who is lacking in faith. Should songwriters always end with praise to remind them of God’s truth in every song? This topic of Christian music being more inclusive about the valleys in life was a part of a discussion at our last Scripturally Sound Meetup event (stay tuned for a post about it). I got a chance to talk to Alice about how she tackles writing authentically about hardships and her overall songwriting approach.
“I begin with emotion and what I’m feeling at the moment,” Alice begins, “but then I look to see what God says about it.” Alice searches through her topical bible or bible app for inspiration. Sometimes the lyrics of songs may “go negative” initially and then they are refuted with scriptural references. This search for God’s truth was what boosted her confidence, as a Belmont graduate who loved songwriting but majored in Christian education to be safe and “more practical,” as she describes on her website.
“My confidence grew when God showed me how to capture lies from the enemy and replace it with His truth.” she tells me. “I do not accept lies.” Through this process she’s discovered that “the enemy’s lies don’t change much.” Other times the lyrics of her songs explore only those challenging times, but she distinguishes those type of songs from worship songs that she sings in church. As a worship leader at Christ Life Community Alice is at times requested by friends to sing songs that get a lot of radio-play. Sometimes the songs’ lyrics include doubt or ask tough questions. But she declines to sing them. While she understands that doubt can be a part of the Christian journey and has welcomed singing about those emotions in her songwriting, in a house of worship, she says the songs must offer hope.
To learn more about Alice’s next event or to get her CD, visit here.