Anne Wilson

 

Singer/songwriter Anne Wilson always dreamed of becoming an astronaut. Excelling in math and science, she visited NASA when she was in 8th grade, further heightening her enthusiasm for the profession. She had a plan. She would graduate from college. She would meet all the requirements and complete all the training; and one day she would be on a mission to space. Her aspirations of exploring galaxies light years away seemed within reach until one fateful night in the summer of 2017. And suddenly, everything changed.

 

The youngest of three siblings, Wilson grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, in a Christian home. However, it wasn’t until she was in middle school that she came to know the Lord for herself. “I didn’t really know Jesus personally. It was more following a list of rules, and if I go to church on Sunday, I’m good,” Wilson shares. “But when I was 12, for the first time in my life, I understood who God was and felt His presence. I really fell in love with Jesus. He completely saved my life, and I began to pursue Him.”

 

Her unwavering commitment to Christ came at just the right time. Three years later, tragedy struck, and had it not been for the cornerstone she found in her faith, she says the events that took place might have destroyed her.

 

In the wee hours of June 7, 2017, police knocked on the front door of the Wilson home and shared news no family ever wants to receive. Wilson’s brother, Jacob, had been tragically killed in a car accident. He was only 23.

 

“It was such a dark moment in my life. I remember feeling so hopeless and devastated and broken,” Wilson recalls. “I was so incredibly overwhelmed with emotions that I literally couldn’t even cry.”

 

Standing in her living room, just minutes after her dad had given her the news, she heard the voice of God.

 

“I heard God say to me, clear as day, ‘Anne, are you going to trust Me?’ I turned around right in that room, and I spoke to Jesus, and I said, ‘Jesus, I trust You.’ And then God spoke again and said, ‘I’m going to give you what you need to push through this tragedy,’” Wilson remembers. “All of a sudden, the weight of death was lifted fully off my shoulders, and I felt like I could breathe. I had this assurance that God was going to pull me through this tragedy to the other side.”

 

In the agonizing days that followed, Wilson watched both her sister and her parents grapple with grief. “It was really difficult for me to even get through the day,” she admits. “It was very hard to get used to life without my best friend. It was hard for my mom and dad to process how to live without their son.”

 

Wilson often retreated to her room, finding solace in worship. Having played the piano since she was 6 years old, she began playing the melody for Hillsong Worship’s “What A Beautiful Name.” When her parents overheard her singing, they asked if she would perform the song at Jacob’s funeral.

 

After prayerful consideration, she reluctantly agreed. Outside of occasionally leading worship for her youth group at church, it was the first time she had ever sung in front of an audience. More than a thousand people gathered for the service honoring her brother that day. “I sat down to play, and God said, ‘This is what I’m calling you to do. I’m calling you to praise and worship my name,’” Wilson shares. “Up until that point, I had never dreamed of being a singer or singing for God.”

 

Without warning, it was as if God released her dreams of dancing among the stars and replaced them with a new dream—a dream of writing and recording music from a place of deep pain and authentic worship.

 

The video of Wilson singing “What A Beautiful Name” at Jacob’s funeral was passed on to a friend of a friend, who happened to be an artist manager. Intrigued by Wilson’s mesmerizing voice and visible hunger for Jesus, the manager contacted Anne six months later. She eventually signed a deal with Capitol Christian Music Group.

 

“Now, almost four years later, I literally could not imagine doing anything else,” Wilson admits, “and it blows my mind every day that I have a record deal and that I’m putting out music. It’s insane.”

 

Following her brother’s death, Wilson began journaling as a way to process her emotions. Those journal entries became the building blocks for lyrics—lyrics that belie her 19 years on the planet. Currently living in Franklin, Tennessee, she references past entries as she crafts songs for her debut EP.

 

Her first single, “My Jesus,” was literally ripped from the pages of her journal as she quickly realized that any time she wrote about her relationship with Christ, she always described Him as “My Jesus.” For Wilson, Jesus is personal. And her introductory song is a warm invitation to experience Jesus in the same intimate way.

 

“When I came to know Him, I quickly realized that Jesus is a personal Jesus. Through losing Jacob, I saw that more than ever. Jesus was specifically there with us through every single moment. He was carrying us through every single second of tragedy, loss and grief,” Wilson shares. “What I really want people to know and understand when they listen to this song is that Jesus can be personal for them, too. He can be their Jesus, too; and He’s going to carry them through every tragedy and every loss they go through.”

 

Rootsy instrumentation surrounds Wilson’s captivating vocals on the deeply personal anthem she co-wrote with Jeff Pardo and Matthew West, reflecting her musical influences—the southern sounds of country royalty like Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton married with the heart-on-your-sleeve transparency of Steffany Gretzinger and Lauren Daigle.

 

It’s a sound she’s quietly honed in the wide open spaces of her grandfather’s farm in Kentucky—the final resting place for her brother and a special plot of land that holds fond memories of time spent with him there. Wilson often retreats to the farm to write and connect with her Savior. And just like she feels God draw closer to her through the natural surroundings on her family’s acreage, she hopes listeners feel His presence through her songs.

 

“I want people to come to know Jesus more intimately through my music. I also pray that Jesus would heal people’s hearts through my music and that He would enable them to let go of any anger or resentment they’re holding toward Him through my songs,” she emphasizes. “It’s really not about religion; it’s about relationship. I want people to know they can have a personal relationship with the Lord when they hear my songs.”

 

It’s this personal relationship that’s changed everything for Wilson. Loss doesn’t define her story. Instead, God used a moment of unspeakable tragedy in her life to write a far greater narrative—one that speaks to the power of holding to an anchor in the midst of the storm.

 

If anyone wants to know what a genuine relationship with Jesus looks like, all they have to do is take one look at Anne. Her smile is evidence that joy comes in the morning, and her voice is proof that God’s plans are better than our own. She might not be exploring the stars like she imagined she one day would, but the hope she radiates shines brighter than them all.