Stephanie Newton's debut album on Creative Soul Records, Fairytale Life, reveals an artist who's not afraid to talk about the ambiguities of everyday life, while proclaiming faith in a God who cares about every detail of our lives.
"As a modern woman, I struggle with juggling the responsibilities of wife, mother and career. I think most women can relate to that. As I view all my roles through the lens of my faith, I realize I'm constantly striving to know God's purpose for my life and to understand how I fit into His plan," says Newton.
The songs reflect this faith journey by exploring the travails of a suburban mom in a sometimes light and humorous way. Cuts such as Keeping Up With the Joneses and Fairytale Life reveal a wry sense of humor, while underscoring spiritual truths. It's the recurring theme of the album that Newton jokingly calls "desperate Christian housewives."
Sincere ballads and worship songs round out the selections eliciting a response of smiles one moment and tears the next.
"In daily trial or deepest need, You are there surrounding me.
I see glimpses of Your face. I'm wrapped up in Your warm embrace.
As You send me these moments of grace."
"For this project I definitely wrote from my heart. It's a snapshot of my life. One minute I'm frantically making peanut butter sandwiches and changing diapers, the next minute my girls run up to hug me and I'm awed by how good God is. And then there are the moments that are hard, the moments when just putting one foot in front of the other is a real struggle. I admit my faith can falter at those times and I wonder if God is there. I wanted to write with honesty about all those moments, knowing that every one is infused with His grace."
Producer Eric Copeland who also co-wrote several of the songs on the album saw real promise from the first time Stephanie came to Nashville.
"I knew there was something different here," says Copeland, who is also president and founder of Franklin, TN-based Creative Soul Records. "The first time I heard "Moments of Grace", I knew Stephanie not only had a knack for writing a powerful song, but that this fresh perspective of a modern stay at home Christian woman, trying to keep a house and children in today's world was a powerful ministry."
Newton is also an experienced worship leader and musician who has led worship at a suburban Atlanta church for over ten years. Her years leading worship in the local church have prepared her well for ministry as a solo artist. Her intimate vocal and keyboard style, and her honest songwriting are reminiscent of Nichole Nordeman and Sara Groves. She grew up singing in a small church in Kentucky, with her grandmother's rich alto voice in her ear, an influence that is evident in her subtle southern overtones.
Stephanie's hope is that as she sings about her experiences as a "desperate Christian housewife," others can find something they can take away that encourages them in their faith.
"The song Worship You Again talks about how God invites us in to share in His kingdom as His children. That's an awesome thing to remember when you're slogging through a tough day wondering if your life has significance. It's something I call a sacred mystery - that the God of the Universe would want to be intimately present in my life. The intent of this album is to describe the joy of living that reality in a crazy, turbulent and sometimes funny world."