I got to speak with Ginny Owens, for Sunday Spotlight, about her EP “Sing Hope in the Darkness” and book “Singing in the Dark” that released in 2021, as well as new music coming this year, and her personal story. 

Ginny Owens is a singer/songwriter, recording artist, author, speaker, laughter enthusiast. She has been in the music industry for 22 years now- spending the past two decades sharing her heart with listeners and readers. Her unique musical style and inspirational lyrics transcend genre definition and have taken her to diverse venues, including the White House, the Sundance Film Festival, Lilith Fair, and the National Day of Prayer in Washington, D.C. Ginny has also taught as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Belmont University, served as a worship leader, partnered with nonprofits, and authored two books.

Take a listen to the interview below. 


How did you get started in Music? 

I did. We had an old decrepit piano that came to live in our house when I was two. Our church was getting rid of it, and my parents were like, no, we’ll take it. And so it was really out of tune and had broken keys, a few broken keys, but I just fell in love with it and started learning to play by ear, started learning to play, like, the songs I was hearing at church and at preschool on the piano. And so that was kind of my first venture into playing instruments. And then, of course, I also loved singing. Everyone in my family liked to sing and taught me to sing, so I definitely spent a lot of my growing up years just enjoying music and kind of waiting till everyone else was busy doing something else and going to the piano and playing and singing and creating songs. Yeah, music was kind of my solace. It was kind of my calm in the storm and my place of peace. So I really just really fully embraced music very early on. I was a very shy kid, though, so even though I loved music so much, every time I got on stage, I would just be so terrified. I would always just promise I would never get on stage again if God would just help me get through that moment on stage. But God has a sense of humour, and we’re glad.

When was that ‘AHA’  this is what I want to be doing for the rest of my life, moment?

That’s such a good question. I remember vividly when I was eleven, writing my best friend in school a note and pretending that I was living in La doing music. And I was writing back to her and I was just sort of laying out all the things that I was doing every day. And I didn’t know anything back then but recording songs and going here and there, and she’s just like, you are so weird. It was kind of always in me. I started writing songs when I was seven and I think it’s because God knew it was going to take a long time for me to actually write a song that was something people would want to listen to. Yeah, but I think it was actually beyond that. I don’t know that there was a moment when I thought the Lord just opened doors and I finally realised, oh, I think this is what I’m doing. So it was very strange. I moved to Nashville to go to college and when I got there, I realised everyone around me wanted to be in music. And I thought, wow, whatever kind of dreams that I had of my little songs being shared, I think I’m going to have to do something more practical. I don’t think that’s going to work. So I guess I’d say the dream was always in the back of my mind, but I don’t know that I sort of had this strong, urgent call. I was timid and tentative enough to just say, well, we’ll see where the Lord takes it.

Michael W. Smith was a huge part of actually bringing you into the music scene, correct?

Yes, that is correct, Michael. I’m trying to think I won’t tell the whole story, but my music publisher at the time, I began writing songs for a company and that person introduced me to Michael. And Michael had heard some of my songs and really liked the lyrics and liked what I was saying. I will never forget meeting him after a day at my day job and going out to meet him at Rocket Town Records. And it was one of those mornings I had gotten up and thrown a hat on and hadn’t washed my hair. And of course, that would be the day I meet Michael Debbie Smith. So it was that kind of day. But he was awesome and always very encouraging. He signed me to Rocket Town and allowed me to do some touring with him, which is really special, a lot of fun.

When you moved to Nashville, you originally were going to go to school. Were you going to go to school for music or were you really trying to follow a different career?

It’s a good question. Yeah, I got a scholarship to a school in Nashville. OK. But I was really planning on majoring in something like psychology or youth ministry. I did not want to major in music. I think it took two weeks for me to change my major to music. It did not take long at all, but then I decided I was a performance major. But then I also got a music ed degree because I kind of thought that I would be a high school choral director, choir director. That was my sort of goal. And I thought it would be great if I could write some songs and share those on the side. But during college, I didn’t really have aspirations of doing music one day. So, yeah, it was just kind of thought it would be a fun side gig, and I planned it to be a cool high school teacher. That was my kind of goal.

I mentioned this before, but we talked about how you’ve now, since starting out, not even wanting to necessarily do music as a career, but you’ve been in music now 22 years. What is it that’s kept you in music?

Oh, because I love it. I absolutely love music. I love getting to share the hope that I have in Jesus with others through story and through song. And I think songs are a lot more accessible sometimes than just speaking words. So I am so thankful to have the opportunity to just communicate that hope in songs. And I love creating those songs, I love sharing those songs. I love everything about the process of making and sharing music. It’s just my favourite, so I keep doing it because of that. And I love just getting to meet people here where they are. Their stories help me to find inspiration for new songs. I feel like in some ways, I love all of it much more now than I did even 20 years ago when I started. So I think being able to have had some years to do it now has been really special and has really strengthened my desire to communicate truth well, but also my desire to be a good songwriter and a good performer and to have meaningful relationships with people along the way. So, yeah, it’s great. It gets better every year, so I keep doing it.

Have you found that you’ve had to adjust the sound of your music or the lyrics of the music when it comes to music with the way that societies changes or the needs of people?

It’s such a good question. I think in some ways the sound doesn’t change that much because my voice doesn’t really change. However, the sound changes in other ways. Right. I do think with time, that’s 20 years. So the music has changed, of course, in the world. So of course my music needs to change. I think I tend to love singer songwriters, so there’s still a lot of that. Probably most recently, I have written more sort of worship music and music for quiet time or for the church, which is different than before, I would say, but other than that, yeah, I would say just adjusting the musical style and updating instruments and things like that that you do along the way. And I love to listen to music, so it’s fun to current things that I like and. Let’s. Let’s make those sounds. Yeah, but I probably have the desire for me. The desire to just communicate truth and peace and, and God’s hope to people. That has not changed. It’s probably just gotten clearer over the years. So I think those lyrics are still hopefully coming through in my music and hopefully more deliberate, more, maybe better, maybe stronger these days, even just, you know, you hope as a songwriter or as anyone in life that you’re growing with each year that passes. So that’s always my hope for sure.

You talked about how music brought you peace and you hope and you calmness and wanting to then do that with your own music. And you released a new EP last year called Singing Hope in the Darkness. I think it was just another reminder of how much peace your music can bring. But when you posted it on your social media, you actually said that this was an EP to use during your reflection time in Prayer, which is sort of what you just talked about, adjusting your music to different needs. Can you talk a little bit about this EP and the heart behind it? 

Yeah. So I wrote the songs on this EP during the pandemic and wrote an accompanying book at the same time. And my hope was each of these songs would be that they were either songs that the church could sing together or songs that we could meditate on the words. As we’re sort of walking through this season of uncertainty and beyond the pandemic, even we face this uncertainty and this sort of heaviness and mystery and where is God in our pain? Where is he in our darkness? And so every song sort of points to, I think, an aspect of of who God is and how and how he is present, how we can find him in our darkness, what in faithfulness looks like, what it looks like to think about the fact that we will be with him face to face, like his his infinite promise, all those different things. So. So each song sort of explores some truth about God that I think we can sing in whatever kind of challenge or difficult situation we might be facing. Yeah.

And you mentioned your book that you wrote alongside it as well. Did you mean for those to be released at the same time? Were you writing one and another one? You know, one of them kind of sparked from that. What was that process like? 

Yes, they were meant to be released at the same time. And the book came first. So I was just doing something new and trying to write out in long form. You know what I believe we can do, how I believe we can find hope in Scripture in our dark times, how we find God in the pages of his word. And so that was. That was very important. It was a lot harder than writing songs, I learned, but it was a very important process for me to walk through and to just to learn to kind of and to share some of my story in that way, and then to hopefully lead people to words of hope from the scriptures. And so the album, then the EP just ended up kind of being a, I guess an overview of that sort of a, a consolidation of a lot of those ideas into five songs and, and really kind of thinking if we’re going to sing hope in the, you know, in the darkness, what does that look like? And so, yeah, the themes of the album are very much connected to the themes of the book.

Now I also know that you’ve released a couple of singles since then this year, once one with Leslie Jordan you have your song worth is not in what I own yet and I was another one but through Christ in me. Yeah. So I have a question. Is this in light of a potential new album, new EP, what does music look like for you this year? 

Yes, you are so right. So those three songs are the first three on an EP which is called Be Still and No. Yeah. Like Songs of Prayer. And so it’s kind of a reflection. It’s it’s, you know, as I’ve been actually finishing seminary in the last few months, I just I personally needed songs, you know, to meditate on that are full of hope and full of the truth of who God is and and who I am in light of that. And so and that there will be five songs and so we will be releasing number four pretty soon here, which will actually be the title track and then one more after that. So yeah, so that’s, that’s the current EP and then we’ll start releasing another one.

Can you just tell us a little bit about your personal story? You were diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease, correct?

Yes, I had all kinds of stuff wrong, wrong with my eyes. Yes, haha, that’s the medical term, wrong stuff with my eyes. So it was hereditary. And so I inherited everything from cataracts to glaucoma to just several things that were not great. And that but I did have a limited amount of sight so I could see people and colours. I was learning my colours. And when I went in for a surgery at three and it was what they call the cryotherapy treatment, which is kind of a freezing treatment. And the doctor thought it would sort of at least maintain my vision and turned out it actually took my vision away. Also it turned out he was not a good doctor. But, you know, God had other plans. And I certainly was young enough to adjust quickly to my blindness. So my mom’s that I was out playing with my friends again in a few weeks and just, you know, adjusted to the lack of vision, lack of sight. And so, yeah, it was one of those things. I was young enough and then was very blessed to have people that could teach me to read and, you know, learn Braille and then all the technology that I could learn to use and, you know, over the years. So it was great. It was also character building. I had to learn to write my lesson, my assignments for school and Braille and then typing out for my professor or my teacher so they could read them. So, you know, you learn a lot, patience and otherwise in those situations. But yeah, this was pretty early on for me.

Do you still struggle with being blind? 

You know, I think the thing that I struggle the most with is not actually blindness, but other people’s reaction to it. You know, blindness is absolutely not the biggest deal in my life that I can do. I cannot drive a car yet, but pretty much, you know, most other things I can. Find a way to do it. And like we’ve said, I’ve been blind long enough to, you know, to just be comfortable with that. And so, yeah, I don’t really struggle so much with that. But I do think, you know, the hardest thing is just society’s discomfort with blindness and you know, you meet kind people who are curious and interested and and in that, it kind of reminds me that I want to react that way to other people and be curious and interested. But yeah, I think that’s probably the most challenging part is just sort of navigating people and, and sort of trying to convince them that I’m okay. I don’t actually have three heads. I just can’t see you. Yeah. So yes, I’ve learned a lot from, you know, from walking that road. But, you know, we all have our struggles. And, you know, if I’ve learned anything from that, it is that I always want to be open to knowing other people and hearing where they are and learning from them. Because I know what it’s like when there’s sort of a fear and instead of a curiosity from others.

Speaking of bringing hope to others, here in Australia we raise funds for something called Miracles Day, which is where Australians unite to give the miracle of sight to blind people from cataracts in the world’s poorest places. And we’re running it this Thursday to try to raise awareness and raise funds for these kids. Is there something encouraging that you could say to the listeners out there that are sort of, you know, hesitant to put money towards something like this or even speak into what it would mean if if you had the opportunity for someone to have donated funds to be able to give you your eyesight back, what would that have meant to you? 

Yes. What a wonderful cause. I mean, how wonderful that restoring sight only cost $33. You know, I mean, if that’s the case, yes, everyone should participate in that. I mean, if we can restore any part of a person’s body to wholeness in that way, we should absolutely do it and participate even when it’s not miraculous. Say so. But yes, I think what a great opportunity I mean, why not? Why why not? We definitely have a wonderful opportunity to just be able to provide the means necessary for people to see the world around them. You know, I know that as a person that can’t see, I know that there’s you know, you can live an extraordinarily full life without being able to see. But I do think if the solution is that simple and that inexpensive, then let’s all let’s all jump on the bandwagon. Let’s all participate in giving sight. That sounds like a wonderful idea.

Tune in every Sunday from 12-3PM for more Sunday Spotlight with Abby!