Jacqui Carter is a lady with many hats. The Melbourne-based primary school chaplain and case worker is also an outdoor adventure enthusiast and singer-songwriter. Her latest album, It’s What She Leaves Behind, works through pain and brokenness to find hope.
What’s the story behind your new CD, It’s what she leaves behind?
The album is a collection of songs based on stories of people I know or know of, including friends, family and people I’ve supported in my work, as well as my own story of living with depression and anxiety.
The songs tell stories of people living with mental illness and the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. They are also about people fighting addictions, homelessness, and custody issues, or ongoing hardship and perpetual heartache.
On the album cover I quote US actress Amy Poehler, who said, ‘Continue to share your heart with people, even if it is broken.’
A mother who is trying to leave an abusive partner suggested to me that, ‘We have all been hurt. We all have our own stories.’ And there is always hope in every story.
How did the songs come about, and how long did it take to record the album?
The project started in early 2016 and was launched last month. Each song took a short amount of time to write, often less than 15 minutes. However, that was the result of years of thinking and reflecting on the themes that wind their way through the album.
Writing the lyrics and preparing for the launch was part of an honest search for what it means to be broken, and how to discover hope and meaning in that space.
The title track was written several years ago and is based on a poem by Australian poet Sandra Renew. It anchors the rest of the album. Working through writer’s block, I found inspiration through poems, photo collections, the news and social media, and the ‘Love Makes a Way’ advocacy movement.
What was your motivation for the album launch?
The launch was about having the time and space to share the stories and the songs in a safe, supportive and intimate setting with family and friends. Sharing stories can connect with people meaningfully and significantly.
It also served as a fundraising event for Birthing Kit Foundation Australia (www.bkfa.org.au/), which provides safe birthing kits and education to women in remote communities in developing countries. So far we have raised $2,260.
What part does your faith play in your music?
We are all broken in some way. We all have things in our lives that make us feel vulnerable, anxious, insecure or weak, and we often try to cover our brokenness. We’re embarrassed that someone might judge us, but Jesus looks beyond our brokenness and offers healing and restoration. It is in our weakness that we can experience God’s strength (2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 10).
My faith has only started to make sense as I have started to work through my own brokenness; there is always room for healing and wholeness when we allow the space for it.
Instead of asking God to ‘fix’ us, I have learnt to see how God works within our brokenness, and amidst the brokenness in the world around us. Hope never gives up on us.
The album can be purchased or streamed online at jacquicarter.bandcamp.com/album/its-what-she-leaves-behind.
Hard copies available from Jacqui Carter Music on Facebook.