How would you like to write
a song for your wife, record it, leave it in a conspicuous place for her
to find and then get a reaction that is totally contrary to what you expected?
Well that is exactly what happened when pop star Mark Schultz wrote the
tune “1,000 Miles” for his wife Kate. “My wife makes it so easy for me
being married because she is so giving and good to me. I think a lot of
people say that their first year was so hard and for me it hasn’t been.
What I am trying to do is model the unselfishness that she models. It works
so well,” he said.
The couple just celebrated
their first anniversary and have often found themselves on different schedules
due to Kate’s work as a doctor at a local hospital and the singer’s tour
schedule. That being the case Schultz decided to get creative one
day. He related to me how he got up early one morning while his wife was
sleeping and recorded the song “1,000 Miles” on his computer. He set the
headphones and the recording by the door so Kate would see it before she
left for work. “She went downstairs, saw the note and put on the headphones.
I thought any moment she is going to come up here (to the bedroom) and
tell me that I have won the best husband of the year award,” he said. Not
realizing that her husband was peeking in on what was unfolding Kate hit
play, listened to the music and started dancing around.
Schultz thought to himself,
“That’s weird; my song doesn’t have much dancing to it.” He saw his wife,
“dancing, laughing and smiling. I thought, ‘That’s not what I thought she
would do.’ Then she left without saying anything or running back upstairs
to give me a hug or anything. I ran downstairs to see what the problem
was. She had hit the wrong button and was playing U2’s “Beautiful Day.”
She thought I was just sending her off to work with a great song.” He then
broke into laughter.
Schultz’s most recent CD
release Broken & Beautiful on the Curb Records label is filled
with personal anecdotes. None is more personal than the song “Everything
to Me.” The lyrics discuss his feelings about being adopted and his gratitude
for the choice his birth mother made to opt for adoption rather than abortion.
“Everything to Me” first
began to take form after a conversation that Schultz had with some ladies
backstage following one of his concerts. “I found out they were from an
adoption agency and helped facilitate adoptions,” he said. The conversation
got around to the fact that he is adopted and the ladies asked if he had
ever met his birth mother. When Schultz replied no they were curious as
to why he hadn’t tried. “I hadn’t thought about it much and I have great
parents. I said half jokingly (to the ladies) I figure if my birth mom
had wanted me she wouldn’t have given me up in the first place,” he said.
He continued, “One of them
looked at me with sad eyes and said, ‘You need to know something. As a
birth mom if you are young and not married the easiest option is to go
in for an abortion.’ She said to me, ‘If that was the case you and I wouldn’t
be having this conversation right now. Another option is for a birth mom
to say I don’t think I can give this baby the best life but it is my baby
and I am not letting it go. Maybe she keeps you and you don’t get all the
opportunities that you have enjoyed so far in your life.’ She said, ‘Your
birth mom carried you for nine months knowing she was going to give you
up for adoption to a family who could give you love, take care of you and
give you the best life possible. She had to make the hardest decision
of her life and that is to let you go so you could have a better life.
It wasn’t because she didn’t love you that she gave you up it was because
she did love you that she gave you up to such a great family.” Then he
added, “That just hit me like a ton of bricks. I said, wow you are exactly
In the days that followed
Schultz kept reflecting back on that conversation with the ladies from
the adoption agency. “I thought about what I would say to my birth mom
if I ever had a chance to meet her. I went through in my mind imagining
trying to meet someone that I didn’t know. Tears started running down my
face and the only words I could come up with were thank you for this life
that you have given me,” he said.
The song was co-written
with Cindy Morgan who had just given birth to a child. “She said she couldn’t
imagine giving up a child. She said that was a wonderful thing your birth
mother did for you because I don know how that would happen,” Schultz said.
In God’s providence a short
while later and with the song only half written Schultz was asked to perform
at a benefit function for an adoption agency. “I said I am just going to
throw this song out there and tell me what you are thinking. Afterwards
a lady came up to me and said, ‘You don’t know me but there is a young
lady here in the audience who is a birth mother and she is expecting.
She came to our adoption and preplanning agency and told us she was going
to have an abortion. After she heard your song she has decided to (carry
the child to term) and give her child up for adoption,” Schultz said.
The songwriter’s reaction
was not surprising, “I was blown away that GOD would write a song for me
that would change someone’s life enough to make them decide not to have
an abortion but to give the child up for adoption. That is pretty cool.”
Schultz was in the car with
his parents when they heard “Everything to Me” for the first time. He describes
the scene, “My mom was sitting in the front seat and she reached out to
hold my hand. Her face turned red and her eyes got really misty. She started
crying. I thought, ‘I hope she thinks it is okay and is not disappointed
in me.’ My mom was just overwhelmed and she thought it was a beautiful
song. She kept saying to me, ‘Can I hear that song again? I think they
(parents) are really honored because it not only honors the birth parent
but it honors my parents that have given me such a great life.”
Schultz gives a lot of credit
to his wife for “Everything to Me” and the song “She Was Watching” appearing
on the album. “It is really good to have her feedback because they might
not have been on the record had I not been married. I saw the way they
affected and impacted her so I decided to put them on the record,” he said.
Schultz outlined for me
the theme to “She Was Watching,” “It is about a girl growing up and watching
her dad. At one point in the song her dad thinks she is sleeping but she
has one eye open watching him pray. In her mind she is thinking, ‘I want
to be like this. I want to be like my dad.’ At the end of the song he is
walking her down the aisle when she is getting married. He lets her go
but she pulls him back and whispers in his ear, I’ve been watching and
I have been waiting to find someone just like you.’ It is about how special
the bond is between a daughter and her dad and how important that role
Just prior to my speaking
with Schultz in early September he was having a conversation with a couple
of the members of his band concerning the importance of role models. Two
of the members of his band have daughters. The subject centered about the
importance of a young person having a good grasp of priorities and values.
“If a girl just thinks she wants to be popular with guys then anything
(can happen) just so they will like her,” Schultz said.
Schultz believes self esteem
plays an important role in where a girl sets her limits in relationships.
In 2005 Schultz became the lone male participant in the Girls of Grace
Conferences organized by Point of Grace. When he spoke to the teenage girls
in attendance, “I talked about how wonderful my wife is because she knew
who she is. She waited for me (before having a sexual relationship). She
was able to do that because she knew who she was and what she wanted. She
has a good head on her shoulders and she is a godly, godly woman.” He gives
credit to his wife for providing some insight into the female psyche.
Looking ahead to the prospect
of being a father someday and perhaps of a daughter he said, “Am I terrified
to raise a girl? Yes. I am so grateful that I have a wife who is a great
role model and great friend to me as well as a lot of young women.”
In poking fun at himself
Schultz feels the young women attending the conferences paid closer attention
to the content of his songs such as “Walking Her Home” because he isn’t
an eighteen year old stunning looking guy (his words not mine!). He joked
with me that it probably helped the cause that he is a bald thirty-five
He says “Walking Her Home,”
“is about a couple I met when I first moved to Nashville. On the first
date the dad said to the guy, ‘this is my only daughter; make sure you
never leave her side on this date.’ If you cried the first time you heard
Randy Travis’ country tune “Forever and Ever Amen” then you better get
out a big box of tissues before spinning “Walking Her Home.”
I have had several conversations
with Mark Schultz over the past two years and my impression is still the
same as when I first spoke to him. He is a really humble guy, who creates
awesome tunes that find a way into your heart because they come from deep
within his own heart.
By Joe Montague, exclusive
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.