Young Mum Ellie Holcomb is a master of multi-skilling. Known for her sweet vocals and inspiring lyrics, now that she has two small children Ellie says she grabs any chance to write music anywhere, anytime.
She says the urge to compose often comes when she is cooking dinner or pushing her daughter on the swing—a scenario that will sound familiar to any parent with a creative bent.
“There’s been a lot of ‘I’m going to write this song and you’re going to be crawling around at my feet and dancing as I’m writing it’,” she reflects on her website.
Nashville-based Ellie is the daughter of noted music producer Brown Bannister, and initially studied a degree in English at the University of Tennessee, followed by a Master of Science in Teacher Education.
Starting her musical career with now-husband Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors in 2005 lit the spark for her to develop into a solo artist and composer.
Producing her first solo album Magnolia in 2011, she followed this with As Sure As the Sun in 2011, and in 2014 she was awarded Best New Artist at the GMA Dove Awards, which honour outstanding achievements and excellence in Christian music.
But it was her album Red Sea Road in 2017, reaching number three in the US Christian charts, that came from a place deep within Ellie’s soul.
Faced with the plight of several close friends who had suffered tragic losses in their families, Ellie wrote her heartfelt lyrics:
“We will sing to our souls/ We won’t bury our hope/ Where he leads us to go there’s a red sea road/ When we can’t see the way, he will part the waves/ And we’ll never walk alone down a red sea road.”
God draws near and makes a way for us to carry on when we feel that we can’t go on any longer.
Ellie says she wanted to remind people that God draws near and makes a way for us to carry on when we feel that we can’t go on any longer.
Just as Ellie began recording Red Sea Road her father received an unexpected cancer diagnosis.
“The circumstances were not good, and yet we sensed God’s nearness and felt peace when it made no sense to feel that way. It was a powerful season that marked my heart forever,” Ellie says.
Today her father is cancer-free and, while Ellie knows this isn’t the end of every cancer story, she says that Jesus always draws near to the broken-hearted, and she wants to express that in her music and continue writing and performing.
“It’s still hard to leave my kids, but at the end of the day I just want to be faithful to the work God has called me into, whether that’s being a mum, writing a song, or travelling to perform.”