‘The Voice’ contestant attributes musical foundation to Birmingham’s Mountain Brook Baptist Churchcomment (0)
May 29, 2014
By Leann Callaway
Since placing in the top eight during season four of NBC’s singing competition “The Voice” in 2013, Sarah Simmons has continued pursuing platforms that showcase inspirational messages. And she attributes her musical foundation to Mountain Brook Baptist Church, Birmingham.
“I started going to church as a little girl but really came to know God when I was about 13 years old,” Simmons said. “My mom took me to church and my big sister was a tremendous influence spiritually for me. I started going to youth group with her and that ministry really became an instrumental part of my life growing up. I started leading worship at church and it was such a blessing.”
Not only did she lead music for the youth group, she also started writing music.
“My dad was in and out of my life at the time so God really became my constant and consistent father for me,” she said. “My dad is now a very big part of my life and I’m so grateful for that.
“Ever since I was a child I realized that God had given me a gift for singing, and I knew that when I sang everything really just released from me in a good way,” said Simmons, who began traveling the country and performing with a musical theatre troupe at age 13.
“During college I went to the University of Mobile and studied worship leading,” she noted. She later transferred to Visible Music College in Memphis, Tenn., at age 20.
“I transferred to Memphis to study worship leading and then, with encouragement from teachers, changed my major to vocal music,” she said, noting it was during that time friends and teachers encouraged her to audition for “The Voice.”
“I had never watched the show before auditioning but a couple of my friends encouraged me to try out,” Simmons said. “At the time I didn’t really take them seriously.”
But her college president, Ken Steorts, was asked by the show’s producers if he had anyone to refer for a private audition and he gave them Simmons’ name. She auditioned at Ardent Studios in front of three casting directors and eventually made it to the top eight, “which changed my life,” she said.
Today Simmons desires to reach audiences around the country with an uplifting message while performing concerts.
“A lot of people told me that they hoped I wouldn’t change when I moved to Los Angeles, and I’m happy to say that I have not changed,” she said. “I don’t believe a place can really change you unless you give it power to, and the only power I give to something or someone is God. That’s how I stay grounded in the music industry. I read the Bible and constantly pray throughout the day and that helps me stay focused on Him, wherever I am.
“When I’m performing concerts I want people to know that there is hope and there is love,” Simmons said. “It’s the message of the gospel, plain and simple.
“This platform has allowed me to help others in various ways. I’ve been able to sing for several charity events, and I’m especially moved to be a part of events focused on bringing awareness to those fighting cancer and the need for help financially for research,” she noted.
“I’ve also been involved in helping organizations bring awareness to human trafficking around the world. I am grateful for opportunities to bring others closer to Him.”
Simmons encourages other believers who are appearing on “The Voice” or considering auditioning for the show to use their performances as opportunities to shine the spotlight on Christ.
“I really want to encourage other believers who are appearing on the show to keep spreading Christ’s love,” she said. “It’s the greatest commandment so we have to keep spreading it. When I was on the show, my dwelling times with God were what really helped keep me at peace. So I would encourage others to do the same — even if you’re crazy busy take some time during the day to just sit in silence. Remember that God is with you wherever you go and to rest in His plans, just like Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us.”