Chelsea Amber has lots to celebrate and thank God for over the years. The Christian singer/ songwriter has released four albums, been recognised with 20 music awards and performed alongside chart topping artists like MercyMe, among others. While life tends to get hectic for the Canadian artist, the 34-year-old admitted this past year was a chance to slow down and focus on family.
Currently based in British Columbia, just an hour outside of Vancouver, Chelsea realised during the 2020 quarantine period she was more of an introvert than she originally thought. “I was actually okay being home, even though there were times I missed being on the road and meeting people,” she said. “I figured I would struggle more with that than I did, so I guess I’m an outgoing introvert.”
She used the pandemic as an opportunity to develop herself, create new music and write new songs, which she’s hoping to elease in 2021. “I just tried to use the time to develop and prepare for next year,” she explained. “I actually took August off from most of our music commitments. It was a nice chance to breathe and to assess what on my to-do list do I wanted to continue with and what I could let go of.”
One thing Chelsea decided to move forward with was ‘Christian Guitar Girls’, a Facebook group specifically for women who want to play guitar in the church or write Christian songs. “I just decided to start the thing that I’ve been looking for,” she said. “It’s growing slowly and we’re now more than 100 women. It’s just exciting to see this little group of really cool women, who are passionate about Jesus and playing guitar, come together to encourage each other and talk about songs that they’re learning.
CHELSEA’S JOURNEY IN MUSIC
Chelsea began her music career 15 years ago. Growing up, she admits she always wanted to be on stage and envisioned herself performing alongside her church’s worship team, however, she never imagined all the adventures God would bring her way.
“There was never an audible voice from God like, ‘Start performing now’, but I do remember in 2005 I went on my very first mission trip and for some reason, when I got home that summer, I just felt like it was time to start pursuing my music. It was just this still small voice and a peace I felt that God was leading me in that direction. And so it began.”
Chelsea started off playing at small events around her hometown in Halifax, Nova Scotia. If someone was looking for a singer at a coffee house or charity event, she’d raise her hand to perform. “I just began looking for opportunities to play the songs I had written,” she explained. “This one time I was playing at a coffee house and a guy from Music Nova Scotia approached me after I was done and said, ‘Hey, have you ever thought about recording?’.
Soon after, Chelsea learned about a grant she could apply for to get recording studio time. “God opened that door so that I was able to put out my first album in 2007. From there, I just continued learning more about the music industry and exploring my own voice. I tried to develop my singing and songwriting, so there were constantly new things to work on. I don’t think you ever really arrive, you know? I feel like there’s always more to improve.”
HER FAITH-FILLED FAMILY
Chelsea was in fact born into a God-fearing family. Her paternal grandfather, Thomas Norman Nisbett, was actually the first Black Anglican priest in the island of Bermuda. Chelsea herself recalls making the decision to follow Jesus at age seven. While in Sunday school one day, she was selected to be ‘Queen’ for the day. “I was sitting at the front of the room and they put this purple cape on me and this tinfoil crown,” she recalled. “That day, the lesson was about heaven and they asked all the kids to close their eyes and raise their hands if they weren’t sure if they were going to heaven or not. I wasn’t sure, but the problem was I was Queen and felt like Queens wouldn’t raise their hands to ask questions. So I kept my hand down. Then on the ride home from church, I asked my mom about it in the car.”
Chelsea’s mom recognised ‘a holy moment’ and pulled the car over to the side of the road to talk to her about how no person is perfect. We’ve all made mistakes and done wrong things and because of that, we were separated from a perfect God. But God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to come and die in our place, pay the penalty that we owed, so that we could live and have a relationship with Him – both now and forever, her mom explained.
The power of the Gospel message changed Chelsea’s life. She said she’s grateful to have such a steady relationship with God and described it as “the kind of relationship that carries you through the highs and lows of life”. “I know that no matter what I go through God is going to be there with me,” she said. “I think my faith really came into its own in my early teens.”
“I went to a great youth group at that time and they encouraged me to pursue music by having me on the worship team. It was during those years I really started spending time with the Lord on my own.”
THE BUMPS ON THE ROAD
Chelsea said one of the biggest challenges she’s had to overcome in her music career is her mindset. As can be expected in the entertainment industry, you have to deal with discouragement and wondering if what you’re doing is really impacting souls for the Kingdom. “Sometimes you wonder ‘Is this really blessing anyone’, but I’ve had to learn to trust
God. My purpose – and everyone’s purpose – is to glorify Him. Our individual calling is where we do that. I’ve learned the result is really up to God. If He wants to put me on huge stages, or if he wants me to put me in front of a small audience of ten people, that’s up to Him. I just have to trust that if I’m glorifying Him and honouring Him by being faithful to what is right in front of me, then I can find peace and satisfaction in what I’m doing. I just have to trust that God is honoured through me just showing up and using my gift.”
On the flip side, Chelsea admits one of her favorite things about being a musician is the people she gets to meet – from fellow musicians to attendees at concerts. She said she appreciates the “rich friendships” she’s made doing music; she also gets a rush from hearing the finished recordings of her songs for the first time. “People see the awards and stuff, which is also great, but I enjoy the things people don’t necessarily see, like the deep bonds you create and the excitement of somebody emailing me to say, ‘Hey, this song really spoke to me’. I love the feeling of knowing that God is using this music to help somebody or to encourage them.”
For more information visit: www.chelseaamber.com