Andersen wrestles with pragmatic issues of Christian songwriting

by John Osborn  sports editor

For most people, the idea of public performance elicits reactions ranging from mild tension to potent agoraphobia. For Autumn Andersen, senior communications major, music and the performing arts are and always have been a defining passion, the grid through which she processes life.

“I have always loved performing and so that comes out in two areas of art,” she said. “I love writing my own original music and performing it for others, and I love performing in drama and musical theater. I would say music is more of my ‘thing,’ but I just love performing in any form.”

Andersen’s relationship with songwriting began at an early age. “I started a song writing notebook when I was eight. My first song I ever wrote was called ‘Around the World’ and the basic message was me telling a boy that I couldn’t date him because I had to travel to all these different countries,” she said. “I was ten when I asked for a guitar for Christmas. I got a really cheap one, and it sat in my closet until senior year of high school. In middle school, my friends and I formed a band named ‘Blameless.’ We recorded songs on cassette tapes on my karaoke machine in my basement. We eventually had to stop because the teachers at my school thought having a band in sixth grade was too exclusive and we got in trouble.”

Middle-school setbacks aside, Andersen was surrounded by supportive family and friends who helped her to develop her talents. “It was something that I loved and they never complained about, even though I quit playing soccer after thirteen years to join my school’s musical,” she said. “I started teaching myself how to play guitar when I was a senior in high school. Even though I was horrible and my songs were sub-par, I decided to upload myself to YouTube. All of those videos are long gone, but I still upload my videos to a small audience.”

That small audience includes viewers of Zooey Deschanel’s Facebook page and Perez Hilton’s website — Andersen has been featured on both. In addition, she recorded an EP two years ago that’s available on iTunes and plans to record another EP this spring.

Andersen said she finds music to be a catharsis and a means of praise. “Music is how I process life and it comes out through my songs. Music is the main way I communicate with God,” she said. “When I first started teaching myself guitar, I was in a weird, lonely stage of life. Writing songs in my private life are literally my prayers to God. It is the one way I can ensure that I will be totally honest and completely vulnerable. Just like people connect through writing in journals or praying out loud — I have found God through the art of song-writing.”

The future, although not fixed and certain, holds lots of hope, Andersen said. “I pray that one day God will use my music to further His kingdom. I don’t know how He will use it yet, but there is a purpose behind all of God’s gifts,” she said. “For now, I will continue crafting my skills and be constantly wrestling with what it means to be a Christian song-writer, so that I can serve God to the fullest.”

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