Canadian singer and songerwriter Rhonda Louise has just released her brand new single. "Tell Me" is taken from Louise's highly acclaimed album Brave Girl. The song is heartfelt prayer to God for the auurance of his presence and comfort during troubled times. You can listen to her music here.
Ever since her childhood, Louise has had her share of illnesses. Not only was she frequently sick, she ever suffered through a near-fatal sickness. She also knows the feelings of loneliness and emotional pain, having suffered emotionally throughout her childhood and adult life. However, it is during these times, she found faith and courage in Jesus Christ.
We are honored to catch up with Rhonda for this exclusive interview.
Q: Rhonda, thank you for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself, who is Rhonda Louise?
I am a Canadian Christian musician (singer/songwriter, pianist, performer, recording artist, and speaker) from Calgary, AB. Peter and I have been married nearly 28 years and have two sons, Lee (22) and Adam (19). I also work part-time to support my family and music ministry.
Q: On your website, you mentioned that you have had suffered through many instances of sickness and even near fatal illness. Tell us more about your growing up.
Yes, I was frequently sick while growing up. After suffering meningitis at 18 months old, my parents were told I may not walk, speak, feed myself,...but there was one doctor who told my parents "She'll be a happy little girl." We kept going.
At age seven I learned of my partial hearing loss (I was unable to hear my Rice Krispies with my right ear). Surgeries were unsuccessful and so I adjusted as needed.
A misdiagnosis led to being mis-medicated from age 5 to 22, which caused social and learning/memorization/concentration difficulties.
My son's illness at 1 year (while I was 26) led to a genetic disease diagnoses for both of us (and later for our second son), which then improved my health immensely.
I've had multiple car accidents that required therapies, burst eardrums that brought complete hearing loss for a short time period, Adenomyosis and a need for hysterectomy, and an anxiety and depression diagnosis requiring treatment... There have been a lot of challenges.
Q: In your suffering, how did you come to know Christ? How has your suffering affected your faith?
I grew up in a Christian home, but accepted Jesus as Savior, at age 9, while watching Jim and Tammy Faye Baker. I was later baptized at age 14. All of my suffering has reminded me of my true identity - I am not my body or limitations, but who I am in Christ, how He sees me, and who he created me to be. While my suffering has been exhausting and frustrating, He has used all of it in His ultimate plan for my life.
Q: How then did you decide to become a singer and songwriter?
I started writing poetry at age 12, then music at age 18. I always wanted to be "a singer" (whatever that meant). I wanted to pursue music at age 18, but was told by someone close to me that I wasn't talented enough, so I didn't. At age 32, after a car accident and unable to do much, I had a lot of time to consider my life and music. I was reminded again the frailty of life and felt God's call to music. I started with a borrowed upright piano, some rough song lyrics, and a prayer for courage and guidance.
Q: You have just released your third album, what were some of the highlights in the making of this album?
My biggest personal highlight from my latest album Brave Girl is meeting my producer and now friend Mark Troyer. Mark's gentle, respectful, godly, and fun demeanor was exactly what I needed. His musical talent is ridiculous and I'm honored to have worked with him.
The moment I recorded the vocal on the last chorus on Brave Girl was momentous. I'd been praying for months to be able to sing those lyrics in personal truth and in full voice with confidence - once again, God delivered.
Q: You mentioned that the title track "Brave Girl" is one of your most challenging songs to write because it deals with your own emotional/sexual abuse. Can you tell us more?
Yes. Brave Girl was initially written as a diary song, an encouragement to myself to heal after being emotionally and sexually abused in the music industry.I quit music altogether (Who could I trust? Could I trust my own instincts?) and couldn't even walk into my home studio for over six months. My piano sat dusty and quiet.
I crafted a bracelet to wear with beads that spelled BRAVE, a reminder to be brave (in admitting the abuse to myself, in speaking about it in counseling, being uncomfortable around men, not wanting to be hugged or patted, telling my husband...). I later knew the bracelet wasn't enough and I needed to write a song for myself.
Brave Girl was written with an end goal in mind - who I wanted to be and how I wanted to see myself. It took five months to write. Once finished, I realized it needed to be shared. I have an amazingly supportive and patient husband, and I was able to receive counseling - a lot of women and girls who are abuse survivors have neither and need to know their worth, so this song had to go out.
If Brave Girl was to go public, so was my truth. I told my husband, but now needed to tell my sons, parents, sister, extended family, friends... I knew that not everyone would respond well, but I also knew I have Jesus who understands neglect, betrayal, and lack of understanding and support from those who are closest.
It's been extremely difficult to release, but also very rewarding to hear from women who have thanked me for seeing them, understanding them.
I hope to tour and share in recovery centers, churches, and groups. I'm also working on a blog - to give comfort to abuse survivors, and advice to their loved ones in how to respond.
Q: How do you think these new songs will help our readers out there?
My songs are personal and honest. I write about what I know. I love hearing from everyone, how a song spoke to them. If a song has helped them heal and grow closer to Jesus, it's done it's job. I'm curious what God will show me and what I'll write about next.
Q: Where can our readers go to learn more about you and your music?
Visit my website www.rhondalouise.net, and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.