It has been almost a year
since I last sat down and chatted with pop music's femme fatale trio Carried
Away. During that time the ladies have acquired a backup band, hired Derek
Anderson as their sound engineer and road manager (formerly in same capacity
with Third Day), and launched a major tour across the United States.
Pam told me, "Early in the
year we toured with Bryan Duncan, in June with Avalon, did some concerts
with Big Daddy Weave and this summer some gigs with Casting Crowns." All
of those dates provide pretty impressive credentials for three young women
who only began their professional career a year ago. Equally impressive
is the fact they have accomplished so much when the granny of the group
is Colleen Walker at the tender age of 21. Her cousin Christine Prankard
is 20 and Colleen's sister Pam is 18.
"Each time we toured with
one of those artists we learned something new. The thing that is really
cool is you can learn from the people who have gone before you. They've
been really good role models for us as we watch them on stage," said Christine.
As she rolled her eyes Christine
continued, "Before we met artists like Casting Crowns we used to be in
awe of them. Once you meet them you realize these are just regular people
like us. It's really cool how all of those groups have been really humble
and they are just like everybody else. It's just what God wants us to do."
The tour, however, has not
been without its challenges as one gig in Denver, Colorado, experienced
a power failure. With the concert scheduled to begin at seven o'clock and
power not restored until nine-thirty that night, the group improvised and
took the audience out to the flag pole where they performed an acoustic
set. The crowed extended their warm appreciation to Carried Away for their
A look at Carried Away's
website www.carriedaway.ca reveals the trio is in the midst of a cross
country (USA) tour. They signed on for a series of gigs with the prestigious
Shoutfest tour. By the time you read this they will have made stops in
Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky. Future gigs include Arkansas,
Texas, Illinois and Florida. Some of the other artists on the tour include
ZOEgirl, Thousand Foot Krutch, Newsong, Skillet, Grits, Sonic Flood, Jars
of Clay and Seventh Day Slumber.
This past year has been
fun and provided the members of Carried Away with a steep learning curve.
Pam, who can often be seen front and centre onstage sharing her faith,
said, "I think one thing that has surprised me is how much fun touring
is. I really didn't know if I would be able to handle it and being with
the same people all of the time but I really like it."
Pam continued, "I think
(playing with the) band has been a really good growing experience for us
musically. I think that it has really helped us develop as a group. It
can only get better from here." The band consists of Phil Cox on drums,
the bassist Kyle Whalum and guitarist Jason Fitts.
Colleen, the funky, bubbly
keyboardist, listed adding the band to their signature harmonies as a personal
highlight. "It has definitely been different traveling with a live band,
but overall it has been an awesome experience. It has been a good
change as the band brings so much energy and enthusiasm to the songs. I
really feel it gives a new dimension to Carried Away." She also noted Anderson's
contributions, "It's great to have Derek as our sound guy because he's
so awesome and organized."
Christine, who is perhaps
the most introspective member of Carried Away and plays acoustic guitar,
expressed surprise at the time demands. For all you young budding artists
out there take note, "There is a lot of work. You have to practice all
the time and you have to keep up with ordering your merchandise. There
are just so many responsibilities that you have in a group. You can't go
on vacation when you want to or see your family as often," she said. Christine
added that while it may seem like a huge sacrifice to some people, "It
isn't because we were made to live out God's dreams for us."
In addition to the songs
from their debut album, three of which were written by the ladies, they
have added the edgier tune "Story of Life" to their repertoire. They were
approached with the idea of covering Sierra's "Story of Life" by their
manager Scott McReynolds. "When we heard it, we loved the song. The melody
is catchy and groovy but the words are also so real. It's been a big hit
ever since we added it," Colleen said.
As you have become better
known has the fan mail started to trickle in? "We get tons of fan mail,"
said Colleen, "We write each one of them back personally. It's very important
to us because we don't want someone putting words in our mouth. We write
them back tout suite. I write a lot of them but we all take turns."
Pam filled me in on the
type of fan mail they receive, "We get asked do you ever get nervous on
stage or are you famous?"
Colleen joined in, "We respond
that we don't think of ourselves as being famous and if we ever wanted
to be famous we would be in the secular industry."
Sometimes we make the mistake
of assuming Christian singers and musicians have all the answers and don't
require any special attention from God. Carried Away wants you to know
that isn't trueat least not with them. Pam the youngest member of
the group and just a couple of courses shy of high school graduation said,
"I think God has been taking me on a little journey. He has taught me to
trust him and to put everything I have with Him. It's a little scary starting
out in the music business because you don't know what God is going to do.
I just have to give everything to God and He will take care of it because
He has full control of my life."
In Christine's life she
has been learning; "What it means to be a woman of God and what He wants
a woman to be like. He wants us to be beautiful inside and out."
Colleen's lesson is an ongoing
one, "God continues to remind me that even though I fall and mess up He
still loves me anyway."
Just how does a touring
group balance their spiritual, professional and personal lives?
"I always think that you
should start your day off everyday in the Bible, in the Word. I always
believe that He will show you what the balance is in your life. I just
take one day at a time," said Colleen.
Christine shared from her
own personal experience, "Your spiritual life is important and I believe
that is the most important because your relationship with Christ determines
your eternity so that should reflect in what you do and how you live your
life. A verse I always refer back to is Romans chapter 12 verse 1 "And
so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to
God. Let them be a living and holy sacrificethe kind he will accept.
When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? (NLT)"
So where do we head from
here Christine? "You don't know where you are going to be later on in this
life God only knows that and so we are just taking it one step at a time.
We do have plans of making another CD and things like that but we are just
taking it one step at a time. If God wants this to happen then it will
happen and He will just keep opening doors."
"We are still trying to
grow as artists and find out who we are on stage and who we are in Christ.
We don't know what he has in store for us and if He tells us to stop we
are going to stop. We just want to reach as many people as possible," said
Colleen's poignant remarks
contain a message for all of us, "I used to look at other Christian artists
and say they have made it and they are at the top. In this short amount
of time I have learned that you are never going to make it (to the top)
because when you are in the ministry, God is continually showing you things
about your relationship with Him. As we do this we are learning so many
things. Five years down the road I hope I am still learning and still growing."
You can check out Carried
Away's website for tour dates.
By Joe Montague, exclusive
Pictures By Joe Montague,
exclusive rights reserved
Joe Montague is an internationally
published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory
of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18.
All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.