Meet Ginny Owens

Gotta be something more than running circles for a living
Gotta be something better than just trying to survive
Gotta be some important puzzle piece that I am missing
Gotta be something more to life

The highly anticipated second album from Ginny Owens is Something More, a timely collection of songs affirming a timeless message of love and hope. It carries a theme borne out of the wonders and worries of an instantly flourishing career, thanks to her 1999 breakout debut Without Condition, which brought extensive press, three No. 1 songs and paved the way to Owens being tapped New Artist of the Year at the 31st Annual Dove Awards in April 2000.

Misplacing some of herself in the chaos brought on by the first album’s red-hot success, Ginny had to learn there’s more to life than what sits immediately before us. Simplicity and the idea of “first things first” struck a chord. “I had to go back to that very first common denominator of realizing what initially inspired me to write. That inspiration came from my faith in Christ and the gift of life He had given me.”

In her charming, dry-witted manner, Ginny admits the emotional capital spent building momentum was more than she anticipated. “I think the interpersonal journey of that for me was diving into this business and suddenly feeling very overwhelmed. The result is that I was getting burned out quickly.”

Considering the broad-based acceptance brought by Without Condition, it becomes easy to understand how Owens responded to her new professional pressures. Not only was she openly embraced by the Christian music community, but she found general market audiences also quickly got onboard, offering Owens opportunities typically rare for a new artist. She was selected from 300 local entries to represent Nashville during a July 1999 Music City tour stop for Lilith Fair, Sarah McLachlan’s popular celebration of women in music. Ginny also performed at the 2000 Sundance Film festival and appeared on “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee” as well as CNN’S “Worldbeat.”

Reflecting on the career demands of being an artist, Ginny notes, “I learned that I was not just responsible for sharing the gospel, but that I also needed to be seeking to understand the gospel in my own life, too… The gospel must be something that impacts me every day.”

It was that desire to get back to the basics that led to the unexpected interval between albums. While her sophomore project comes nearly three years after the debut’s release, it’s clearly been a much-needed and well-deserved season of renewal. It’s also been a time well spent, as this talented singer/songwriter discovered the unbound passion of Something More. “The songs are about a hope and a love that is bigger and stronger than we are. They point out that this life will not always make sense, but that is OK.”

Musically and lyrically, Something More is the next logical step in a promising career. The 12-track album offers progressive, intelligent pop tunes that recall everything fans love about Owen’s deeply intimate and thought-provoking songwriting. This time around listeners will also glimpse her sonically-layered R&B influences along with strong melodic sensibilities and transparent, sometimes disarming lyrics that signify Ginny’s maturity. Current and fun, the album displays an artist growing in confidence and excited to try new things.

“The thread from the first record to this is that there is a lot of piano,” says the 26-year old. “Of course, the vocals and the writing style are common threads, as well. But sonically, Something More is different. It’s me three years later… It’s certainly not as organic as the first record.”

From opening track “With Me” to the closing hymn “Be Still,” the album holds reoccurring images of God’s love—both His compassionate, merciful nature and His firm discipline in the presence of human arrogance and doubt. It’s all mixed with an acute sense of mystery. No, life doesn’t always provide answers, and there is often a bigger picture we can’t see in the moment. Still, Something More finds Ginny on the now, but not yet, side of peace, wholeness… heaven… the mooring of grace despite the raging winds of chaos.

“I Am” borrows biblical characters Moses, David and Mary in the reoccurring drama of the underdog, making the point that God can use anyone in any form. “The song is about how God has always, down through the generations of the world, used very simple people to carry out His work and to make Himself known. I would not put myself in the category of the people who are discussed in the song, but I would say it is humbling to see how God would choose to use each of us in whatever it is He gives us to do.”

The mid-tempo “Run to You” is a more innocent sounding song than the circumstances under which it was completed. The September 11 national tragedy became an unexpected, and unavoidable, backdrop against which Ginny wrote the chorus and second verse of this song. In fact, she says the whole record took on new meaning in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. Like never before in recent memory has such a message of hope and encouragement been needed. “The lyrics makes sense for a time like this. They seem very relevant as we try to figure things out.”

“Though the perils of life seem so great/And hope seems so frail/You never fail/No, shadows may not disappear/But You’ve always made it clear/Truth will prevail/You will prevail.”

God’s sovereignty in times of trial has been a constant theme in Ginny’s writing, and in fact her life, from a very young age. Born Virginia Leigh Owens in Jackson, Miss., Ginny began singing almost as soon as she began to talk. Around the age of two she discovered the piano and the joy of harmonizing her voice to the instrument singing “Jesus Loves Me.”

At about the same time, Ginny became totally blind. Born with poor eyesight, doctors attempted to save her vision, but were unsuccessful. Still, Ginny affirms God has used this circumstance in her life for good. “It’s like He takes the thing I like the least about myself and uses it for His glory,” she once told a reporter.

She led an otherwise typical childhood, from being an ambitious adventurer climbing tall trees, riding bikes and playing in her family’s backyard to attending Nashville’s Belmont University on a full scholarship, eventually earning a Bachelor’s degree in music education.

But her teaching career didn’t take off as expected. Frustrated by potential employers who saw only her blindness rather than her gifts as a music teacher, Ginny shifted her attention to a songwriting deal with Michael Puryear’s Final Four Publishing (BMG), a deal that paved the way to her meeting and working with award-winning producer Monroe Jones (Chris Rice, Third Day). Sought by nearly every Christian label in Nashville, Ginny signed with Rocketown Records and released Without Condition in July 1999. As one of its top picks of the year, The Dallas Morning News said of Owens’ debut, “A 24-year-old blind woman sees the world and the human heart more clearly than any other songwriter this year.” Billboard lauded Owens as having a “sweet, vulnerable voice that draws listeners in,” noting that Ginny is “a songwriter of incredible depth and keen insight.”

With the March 19, 2002 release of her sophomore effort, Owens hopes her songs can continue to reach and impact critics and music fans alike. “My first job out there is to play good music, music that’s fun to listen to and music that is interesting and artistic. I like to do that. But also I certainly have an agenda of telling people about the most awesome gift or the most awesome peace I can imagine having. For me, that peace and hope and sense being made out of life comes from a relationship with Christ.”

Yes, there’s gotta be Something More.

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