27 Oct The Story of The Secret Place
I beat Covid. My family beat Covid too. What once was a looming threat is now a story of God’s faithfulness. We live to sing another day!!!
I made it home a week ago and immediately I began to think about how I’d like to spend this gift of health, time, and soundness of mind. The idea of putting on a Holiday show and streaming it LIVE from my studio came to me!
This idea sparked soooo much excitement in me because last year, God gave me my very own studio for Christmas. Okayyy I know some of you are not very fond of my talks about faith, but bear with me.
I used to have a studio in my bedroom when I was around 20yrs old. I called it my Cardboard Cathedral. I taped cardboard boxes everywhere and glued foam padding to them for soundproofing. I was determined to grow as a producer and make a Christmas album for my family’s singing group. It actually worked!!! That year we sang in the mall for the holidays and sold the CDs I produced in my Cardboard Cathedral!! I told myself that year “one day I’m going to have a real studio, and Cardboard Cathedral will be neither an accurate nor appropriate description of it.” So I thought of a name in that moment and I came up with The Secret Place, inspired by the scripture Psalm 91:1.
For 5 years I had this dream, and I even tried my best to make it come true. My sister found this huge industrial building about a mile from our house.. it was mostly vacant and parts of it was abandoned. It had what seemed like hundreds of rooms, and my siblings and I would go there to explore and have photo shoots. I thought to myself surely I can afford a nice small space in this huge building… there were other tenants, just not very many.
Each space had so much character and seemed perfect to house my dream studio, however my hopes deflated when I contacted the Super and he said the building wasn’t up to code and so by law they’re not allowed to start new leases.
I checked in with the Super every 6 – 12 months for the next 3 years and finally last October I called and he said they’ve got their licenses from the city and they’re able to rent a space to me. I was ecstatic!!! I went to explore the building to find the perfect space and when I found it I sealed the deal immediately! My dream became my reality!!…well almost.
The problem was, I picked a spot with the most potential but perhaps it was the least functional. It desperately needed to be renovated. Windows were busted, boarded, and taped with plastic bags, I peeked through the plastic and saw the skyline of New York City. My heart leaped with joy! This is it!! This is The Secret Place!
The renovation process began and the contractors were taking forever… it was fine though since I was out of town that fall writing songs for another Artist for most of November and December. I made it home around the 2nd week of December and saw that progress was barely made to my studio. I said to myself “ I need to be in my studio writing songs no later than January 1st 2020, even if I have to renovate this place myself.” Christmas was around the corner so I knew the contractors that the Super hired were probably going to move a lot slower because of the Holidays.
I spent a few days doing research, calling around, watching DIY home improvement videos, and examining my budget. After that I got to work! My friend Connie and I went to Home depot, rented commercial grade equipment, purchased supplies, and started renovating The Secret Place.
We pulled some all nighters. I was there by myself on Christmas Day, after eating Dinner with my family, I went off to sand the wood floors… I sanded them all night and made it home around 7am. I felt like a crazy person lol.. I couldn’t think of another person who would be in there on their hands and knees sanding floors on Christmas Day. I’d come sooooo far and the only thing standing between me and my dream were some windows and wood floors.
That week The Secret Place was built. I cried. Such a beautiful gift the Lord gave me. Practically speaking, some of you may say “well….it looks like you treated yourself for Christmas and invested time and money into acquiring this space, you didn’t need or have a miracle” and to that I’d say you are right in that I did invest my time and money into this space… it certainly did not drop out of the sky, but the Lord was with me. And I know it’s because He was with me, that I could dare to expect my dream to come to past. I worked hard, did my best, and God did the rest! … and it happened the week of Christmas.
It’s one year later and my team and vision have expanded. We haven’t stopped building, dreaming, or believing. I’ve been blessed with incredible friends and family who dare to believe alongside me, and together we’re going to make a magical Christmas experience this year. Okay well… “magical” is not the right word. Santa Clause flying across the sky in his sleigh, led by Rudolph and his flying reindeer friends, is magical. This year we need something stronger than magic to pick us up, something we can really count on when a eviction notice comes in the mail, or when you’re standing at the cash register and your card gets declined as you try to buy groceries for your family, or when another senseless murder of another black person, or any person for that matter, occurs. Not to mention all of the deaths from sickness that broke our hearts this year. Believing in Santa can’t answer these things, so I won’t even try you with that …. not this year at least. This year we need GRACE… and so I will do my very best to deliver to you for Christmas, everything I know to be true about the gift of Grace.
With Love and excitement,