Sixteen and a Christian Music Queen

by

Charles White


So, what do you want to do when you grow up? If you ask Bethany Dillon this question, she’d probably tell you that she wants to continue what she has been doing for the last couple of years. For those of you not familiar with Bethany Dillon, she is a talented young singer/songwriter whose music is soaring up the Christian Charts. Some might say she’s sixteen and a Christian Music Queen.

 

This new force in Christian music lives about an hour from Columbus, Ohio along with her mother, father and two siblings. The middle child of five, Bethany grew up in a musical household. As long as she can remember, she was surrounded by music.

 

“My mom has always been a huge U2 and Beetles fan and my dad loves Merle Haggard and George Jones. Ever since I could talk, I loved to sing. I thought I was Aretha Franklin when I was little. It was really disappointing to find out that I was white,” Bethany relates as she begins to laugh.

 

When she was about ten years old, Bethany discovered the music of Dove Award wining singer/songwriter, Jennifer Knapp. Hearing Jennifer made Bethany realize that she wanted to be a performer. Five years later, Bethany had matured in to an artist far beyond her years. This maturity combined with her amazing talent led EMI to sign her to their label.

"I sat down with her family and listened to her pray," recalls CMG’s Vice President of A&R, Brad O'Donnell, on Bethany’s official website. "I could tell that Bethany possessed a rare honesty and genuineness as an artist. She had no agenda. That day, she was just 'being'. I knew that hers was a higher calling, and [EMI CMG] wanted to be a part of that.”

“Bethany is a deep well of creativity, which is the hallmark of a great artist," he related. "You can see in her a Holy ambition."

Although Bethany dreamed of being a musician, she and her family never actively pursued a record contract. Instead, success found Bethany.

“Being signed isn’t something that I had pursued,” Bethany explained in a recent interview with Person2Person Christian E-zine. “It just kind of happened. For awhile my parents were in this place of ‘What are we doing.’ But Mom always asked me, ‘Do you think you would miss high school or being home on the weekends or going to school dances?’ To be honest, I don’t know if I would at all.”

 

However, Bethany has quickly learned that being a professional musician isn’t all fun and games. She immediately began to realize that she was a teenager in an adult’s world. 

 

“The biggest challenge so far has been being sixteen in a world full of adults and having all of that responsibility,” She stated. “I feel the weight of what God has called me to do on my shoulders all the time. My label, my family, and my friends have tried to support and encourage me and it is awesome, but it is also really important for me to rationalize things and realize that I’m still sixteen and have to do normal things like put away the dishes when I come home. God has used a lot of people and circumstances to humble me. It has been a challenge to swallow my pride and be teachable.”

 

Although the business is filled with a tremendous amount of pressure, Bethany is quick to admit that the ability to be a professional musician is a gift from God.

 

“God gives really good gifts and music is my gift,” She explains. “I feel that it is important to use what God gives you. Life is life. You live it. I feel pressure and great moments of joy. I feel very thankful and very undeserving of all of the things that God has put into place. For teenagers and people in general there is pressure, this is just a different kind of pressure that most people don’t experience. I enjoy it. I wouldn’t want to do anything else. I am honored to be a part of this thing called Contemporary Christian music. I’m along for the ride.”

 

You would think that a sixteen year old singer would name meeting the greats of Christian music or performing in front of thousands each night as the source of her greatest joy. Although all of these things are exciting for Bethany, her greatest joy lies with her family.

 

“Coming home, being able to let your hair down and put on your PJs tops all of it,” Bethany explains. “It really gives me joy to come home. That gives me the greatest joy because there is nothing that my family expects of me. There is so much freedom in people that really know you; know you on your bad days and your really good days.”

 

Although only sixteen, the world has already taught this talented singer a few lessons about life. What lessons would she like to share with other teens?

 

“I would encourage my generation to seek God.  I encourage teenagers and young people of God to be in The Word and to imagine, dream and really love people. Don’t find your worth in looks or clothing or popularity. Really seek the God that loves you for who you are. He is never disappointed with you.”

 

We all have a talent. It might be fixing cars, designing skyscrapers or simply being awonderful friend. Bethany Dillon’s talent is the ability to take a guitar and her amazing voice and create something wonderful. Each of us has the ability to create something wonderful simply by using our talents to touch the lives of people around us and share the love of Christ with everyone that we meet. It doesn’t matter if you use a guitar or a gear box, you are always a success because God loves you just they way you are, no matter your talents or your flaws.