New artists snag spots on Camp, MercyMe tours
When Christian music star MercyMe brings its “The Hurt and The Healer Live” tour to the University of Southern Maine’s Costello Sports Complex on May 4, one of its opening acts will be upand coming new artist, Moriah Peters.
The tour will offer many Maine contemporary Christian music fans their first glimpse at the 19-year-old singer/songwriter from California, whose album, “I Choose Jesus,” debuted this week.
As a senior in a large Chino, Calif., high school, Peters found herself in the minority as a Christian. There were only a handful of other Christians and she found that most were agnostic, atheist or following another religion.
“I realized very quickly in that environment that you have to take a stand on what you believe in,” she explains in a video interview on www.MoriahPeters.com. “People won’t always necessarily agree with you, but they will respect you for saying something and for having a foundation.”
“I was ridiculed, interrogated by my classmates. They got to me. I wasn’t prepared to answer a lot of those questions. I grew up with Christianity, but I had never had to defend it before.” She explained that students and teachers would ask her so many questions about her faith that she felt she didn’t have enough answers. It drove her to question God.
“I asked, ‘God, are you real? Do you even exist?’ I look back glad that I was able to ask that question because some people go their entire lives without even wondering about what they believe in.”
Then she came to a profound realization: “If there was not a God, then nothing mattered. But if there is a God, then nothing else matters. And I need to choose to follow him.”
And that’s the genesis “I Choose Jesus.”
“I’m so excited about this project — and that song in particular,” she says with an infectious smile. “It’s the song that every other song was held up against. It’s the song that represents who I’m called to be, not only as an artist, but as a daughter of Christ. I’m called to be bold. I’m called to be strong and I’m called to speak the truth in love about who God is and what he’s done in my life.”
According to a media release from the concert promoter, “The stories behind this young artist’s songs are what make them so genuine, honest and easy to connect with.”
“One day when we go to heaven God is going to say ‘well done, my good and faithful servant,’ she says about the song ‘Well Done.’ “This song is about staying heavenly minded. It can be a hard thing to comprehend. When I’m going through a crazy time, when I’m frustrated, when I’m down, I have to remember I’m living for something above all this, something that will last for eternity. In the song, I say “I’m going to run this race to hear you say, ‘Well done.’” The road is hard sometimes, but whatever I go through, at the end of the day, it will all be worth it to hear “well done.”
Singing comes naturally
Though young, Peters is not a newcomer to the music scene. The daughter of a musician, she notes that music was always a passion. “I still have a notebook of songs I started writing in the fourth grade.” She began singing as a 6-year-old.
“I remember going to my dad’s band practices. He played bass at my church. I’d be sitting in the pews singing harmony and would sing really loud so they would hear me. I’ve always loved singing. Even to this day people ask, ‘Why are you singing all the time?’ It’s just a natural thing. It just comes out.”
As she focused on high school graduation, Peters’ mother encouraged her to audition for “American Idol.” After five months of preliminary cuts, she came to a crossroads, according to her bio. “The judges loved her voice but wanted her to be something she wasn’t. Though she was hurt and disappointed at first, Moriah soon had a new opportunity that would allow her to be herself and stand up for what she believed in, while still getting to follow her musical dreams.”
After the auditions, a man approached Moriah, commenting on both her talent and her heart for serving God. He connected her with a friend in Nashville which ultimately led her to a record deal with Provident Music Group. She soon began working on her debut album with acclaimed producer Ed Cash, who worked with Chris Tomlin, Steven Curtis Chapman, Dave Barnes and Kari Jobe.
Preparing to record her first album, she wrote or cowrote more than 50 songs drawing inspiration from a variety of sources including her family, her own relationship with Christ and experiences she’s walked through with other young girls while leading her high school Bible study, her bio notes.
“‘Know Us By Our Love’ is a song about my mother,” she said. “She moved to California when she was 21. She barely got by and worked so hard she didn’t have time for herself, but she seemed to always make time to serve others.”
The album’s closing song, “Bloom,” is a final boost of encouragement to the listener. “I wanted ‘Bloom’ to be the last song on the album; a final reminder to be patient and keep believing as God works through our lives and seemingly hopeless situations,” she said. “Sometimes we just see the surface of our circumstances not realizing that God has a wonderful plan for us.”
“I wish you could see you were made for more. Your wildest dreams can’t compare to what God's got in store. Just keep believing you’ll see a new season soon, you’re turning into something amazing … you were born to bloom.”