This is a pretty typical evening for us. This setting, this house, this life — it’s the birthplace of all my songs. I know the drama of it (not too long ago, someone was crying while someone else was getting yelled at). I know the joy of it. I also know about the completely confusing, sometimes difficult, and often hidden struggles of family life.
I’ve been making music and writing songs since I was in elementary school. I started taking piano and singing in choirs in second grade. I performed in a few musicals. I played keyboards and sang bass in my family singing group through middle and high school.
And by the time I was thirteen, I was gigging as a pro musician. I played weddings for $35 each. Sometimes the bride would have to drive me to the hall. I played jazz at parties and in clubs when I got a little older. And since 1998, I’ve been working for my church, leading worship and playing keyboard with the band.
I’ve had several songs recorded by other artists, but the music that really calls to me are the simple stories I’ve been writing about home, family life, and living authentically in the real world. My EP, Paradise, starts with a song ripped from my 1980s childhood, “Daredevil Hill”. Another song, “Dysfunctional Family”, starts off with a scene straight from an afternoon spent with a family photographer. “Pretend” is all about being a dad and playing with my little ones. (Bonus: I do some mouth percussion!)
The heart of the album, though, is in two songs. “Walking Through Paradise” came to me when I started realizing how often I take my wife and kids for granted. And my sister, Stephanie Bills, sang with me on “Life Is More”, a song that contains my life’s prayer. It says:
“We can wrap our arms around each moment
Grateful for each breath we get to take
Hearts and eyes
To the ones we get to love along the way
Life is more than a race
So much more than a mountain to climb
It’s wider and deeper
Richer and sweeter
Life is more
So much more”
I hope these songs mean something to you. I hope they lift you out of the daily grind of waking up early, working all day, and taking care of the people around you.
Most of all, I hope we can start a conversation. Listen to the songs and tell me what you think. I can’t wait to hear about your life, what you’re going through, and what you’re learning as you go. – Cory