An Interview with Allison Durham Speer
Earlier this week, Allison Durham Speer launched the GodSong Music Academy.
Daniel: Most of my readers know that you have a connection to the Speer Family, but many are new enough to the genre that they don’t know the connection. How are you connected?
Allison: I married into the Speer Family in 1989. I married Brock and Faye Speer’s son, Brian. He played guitar for the family for five years and retired to continued his education at Trevecca Nazarene University. He was an accountant at the Benson Company and several companies as he aged. He now owns and manages a recording studio. He is an engineer and producer. It has been an adventure to be in the Speer Family. What giants they are in our field of expertise, and as saints of God. I learned the importance of education from Brock, Faye (and my beloved). I also learned from them what it means to love and respect one another in marriage. They were lovers and partners eternally.
Daniel: I would venture to say that most of my readers have seen you on Gaither Homecoming videos, but probably some do not have any of your solo recordings. If I could talk my readers into purchasing one of your solo recordings this week, which one should they get?
Allison: My last recording “The Holy Hills” is my best work to date. I have a new recording in the works, at present. It is called “The Writer”. I have co-written every song on the new one and am excited about the possibilities for the project. “The Holy Hills” is my first attempt at production. It has three Dottie Rambo songs and several new titles, as well. It has a celtic flare and is musically diverse.
Daniel: This week, you announced a new venture, GodSong Music Academy (www.godsongmusicacademy.com). What is the vision of this academy?
GodSong Music Academy is a training ground for musicians who want to be better communicators from the stage. We have seen, over the years, a “cut and paste” mentality in Gospel music. What I mean by this is that many performers just repeat what they hear another group or singer say and do. In digging beneath the surface though, we have found that most of those who are just mimicking another’s blueprint of music have very deep spiritual threads running through their lives. They just do not know how to tap into those core emotions and then articulate them with music and speaking. With just a basic communications foundation artists develop a right sense of their calling and the ability to captivate an audience with their performance. This increases their invitations, finances, audience base and ministry opportunities. It is worth investing in musicians if we can teach them to be ministers in the realm of the church. At GodSong we train people in each aspect of ministry- music, speaking, writing, voice, appearance, people skills, fund raising, booking, management, recording, etc.
Daniel: I understand this academy arose out of the Elijah School of Performance. Are there any differences in focus or emphasis that prompted the name change?
Allison: Yes, this Academy has several different tracks of study that one can pursue. Voice, writing, speaking, instrumental performance, and managerial areas will be available. We are developing an online curriculum for members to access classes and video events that will further their learning. A person may want to take voice from a coach with a teacher through Skype, or continue music theory through the internet classes. I will also be available to help people with segues, writing, speaking and designing their musical sets of concerts. A master class of GodSong will be available later in the year and we will also take Godsong staffers on the road to do smaller conferences in other areas of the country. This is an exciting new model of education that will build ministry teams who will do music specifically designed for the church. Now days people do music that appeals to the throngs of positive country lovers and the church. We are targeting the musicians who really feel called to work specifically in the church. We are developing a record label, publishing company, and online magazine, as well as the conferences.
Daniel: How long does the academy last? Where is it held, and how does someone sign up?
Allison: GodSong is in June 26-29 (Wed.-Sat) 2013, at Grace Church of the Nazarene in Nashville, TN. The web page www.godsongmusicacademy.com has a registration page and more information about our staff and seminars. We keep the attendance at a number of guests small enough to allow me to work with every person individually. Each person gets to sing several times and receive coaching and instruction on how to augment the performance to make it dynamic. We also have a panel of music professionals who come in on Friday afternoon to hear every person and give their advice and critiques. We have seen three GodSong attendees hired to full time groups and several go into full time ministry because of the direction received at the conference. This year we are offering voice lessons from a vocal expert named Ben Waites. We are also planning to have a professional songwriter, a comedian, a graphics designer, an instrumentalist, a producer and a record label executive, as well as other professional singers. We develop the community and allow those who are there to grow by mentoring them.
Daniel: Thank you!