Hi Aarksara! Congrats on your debut album “Made it Through”! How did you get started with singing?
Ever since I was 8 years old, I’ve had an interest in music. My parents, brother and sister were all musically inclined, so I grew up around music and I thought that there was just something so special about singing that I really want to learn about. So, that’s how I started singing — singing in church, in the choir, in school. Any opportunity I had, I just wanted to do it because I felt that it was so fun — there was something in music and singing that made me come alive.
What is the story behind the album?
Music was just a hobby so it was never a focus for me and I expected to get a corporate job. But one day, I found a lump on my tail bone, and it was so excruciating. It caught me off-guard, like literally overnight. I was driving back from Bible Study one night and I couldn’t turn my back. I didn’t know what was happening and I still had another 10 more minutes until I was going to reach home. I was crying and I literally felt locked — I couldn’t move at all!
When I went to the emergency room the next morning, the doctors said that they needed to operate immediately to release the pressure on the lump. The doctor put in local anaesthesia but it didn’t work. So I felt every single cut he did on my body and I was screaming the clinic down. I think the nurses were freaking out and the doctor also felt bad for me. I had a total of three surgeries in the span of one month and the final surgery was a big one where they said that it would just take me two weeks thereafter to recover.
Little did we all know that things were going to go downhill.
I ended up having to see the doctor every morning for 9 months and it got really exhausting. I fell into severe depression and was suicidal too. I had nights crying out to Jesus for Him to reveal Himself because I didn’t see, hear, or feel Him. Every night, I opened my Bible, read the Word over my life and just cried. I had a piano then and I did worship nights — just me and Jesus. Through those nights of worship, I would sing unto Him and worship Him. That was when I really started to write music.
Finally, at the end of 9 months, I got the all clear from the doctor! During that time, I got offered a contract with Integrity Music Asia Pacific. Before I knew it, I was in Nashville, Tennessee recording and producing the album with Rusty Verankamp, a Grammy-nominated and Dove Award winning producer. I remember pinching myself and saying, “Lord, who am I to be here?” The album was released and launched officially at a women’s conference in Perth, Western Australia with guest speaker Darlene Zschech. I was incredibly honoured to be the guest worship leader.
So yeah, this was how the album came about, and the title track is called “Made it Through” because I really felt like, “Wow, God, we really made it through!” I didn’t think that I would make it.
MY ONE AUDIENCE IS JESUS. I REALLY DON'T CARE IF PEOPLE FORGET MY NAME OR FACE.
Wow! Sounds like this album was really an unexpected venture. Where else has singing and worship leading brought you?
It’s been an amazing journey and honour to lead with people like Don Moen and Lenny LeBlanc, and I recently led at a conference with Pastor Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker, and Randy Clark. I have been blessed with the opportunity and honour to lead at big conferences with crowds of 8,000 to 10,000 people, but I have also sung for just two people. Ultimately, it is not about the numbers, because my one audience is Jesus. I tell people all the time that I really don’t care if people forget my name or my face but if they remember the encounter they had during worship, then I have done my job.
How do you find time to worship God privately and not just publicly when you’re leading worship?
I believe that we can have a relationship with Jesus — He is my very best friend. Even when I run errands, I will have a chat with Him. At other times, I will walk, talk, and pray. But I do also have times when I just sit down and read the word of God, especially before I lead worship or go on trips. I bring a little keyboard with me that I plug into my MacBook and just worship Jesus. Ultimately, you cannot lead people where you have not been — the secret place is so precious to me.
I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS — HE IS MY VERY BEST FRIEND
You have led worship at many women’s conferences. What is one message burning in your heart for young women like us?
My heart for young women is to love Jesus completely and to pursue a life of purity, not perfection. As girls, we love having attention and affection from the opposite sex, but God has been telling me that He holds my heart and is the only one who will and can love me completely from the inside out. My heart really burns for young women to be completely in love with Jesus and to pursue after Him. Living a life of purity is possible, but you have to stand your ground and know who you are in Christ. You are a daughter of the Most High God; live like that!