Husband and wife duo Travis and Diana Schuler have just released their latest single 'Everything Beautiful'. Louder Than The Music spoke to this musical couple to find out more about what inspires their music, and discovered how a 'chance encounter' with their neighbor led to this new single.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourselves and how you got involved in making music?
Diana - I am a mom, a wife, and an artist for the Lord. I have always loved being creative through music and art. I accepted Jesus into my heart at the age of seven but it wasn’t until after graduating high school that I fully walked with Him. After rededicating my life to the Lord I realized that He had been training and developing me in my skills, gifts, and talents as an artist all along. I have always had a passion for singing and would practice for hours a day at a young age, yet I would also hide my voice from everyone. Although I eventually joined choir in High School, it wasn’t until after graduating from High School that I finally took a step of faith and joined the worship team at my church’s young adult home bible study. It was there that God truly started to help me step out of my comfort zone so that I could share my voice with others in a more purposeful way. After taking that step of faith, God started waking me up during the night with new songs in my heart. To this day, God is still growing and stretching me in so many ways, as a songwriter, and musician.
Travis - I started writing poetry when I was a teenager and started turning those poems into songs shortly after. I come from a family of musicians so being creative was always encouraged in my household. After Jesus saved me in my early 20’s I turned my passion toward writing and performing worship music. I was part of a touring singing ensemble while attending Trinity Lutheran College, we wore the school colors in our suits, and toured various churches promoting the college. It was tons of fun and that is where I really started to grow as a worship artist. My first co-write occurred while on tour, and I even got to preach my first short sermon to a large group of highschool kids after a performance. After graduating college I moved to the Los Angeles area where I met Diana and we started serving on a worship team together and writing new songs.
Tell us about your new single 'Everything Beautiful' and the story behind it?
Diana - ‘Everything Beautiful’ was written as a prayer and a proclamation song of God’s faithfulness. It was inspired through the loss of our dear friend and neighbor Beverly. Out of all the places we could move, God moved us right next door to Beverly, an 80 year widow who shared the same birthday as me (March, 11) and the same last name as my biological father's last name. It’s always so interesting to me how God connects people through little things like this. Years before I had met Beverly, there was a time when so many things in my life had been taken away from me in order to find true contentment in God alone. Through that time, God had given me a scripture to hold onto, Ecclesiastes 3:11- He has made everything beautiful in its time... So as I sat in my backyard mourning over the loss of my friend, I prayed and said “Lord, I need You to wipe away my tears,” I said this two times and then God whispered a melody in my ear and put Ecclesiastes 3:11 on my heart. He gave me a new song in my heart to help my family and I cope with our loss so that we could also share it with others who may need joy through their mourning as well.
Diana, you've also released a solo album recently, 'Words of Your Melody', what inspired that?
‘Words of Your Melody’ was God inspired. He would just wake me up at night with new songs in my heart years before I even recorded my first album. I just kept studying the Bible, praying, and spending quality time in worship with the Lord and He kept encouraging me to press forward and not give up on the songs I was writing. Then in 2006/2007 I felt the Lord leading me to go to the School of Worship at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in California, where I met Danny Donnelly my producer for ‘ Words of Your Melody.’ Danny had come to me and said he had felt like God wanted him to work with me. God truly provided every cent needed to fund the album. At the time I was barely making any money and had no idea how to record an album, but God did, and it was His timing for me to take the first step in recording. So, the whole theme of this album was guidance because there were a lot of new things I was learning, facing, and growing in. I needed his perfect directions in my walk with Him.
Any plans to record more music together as a duo?
Yes definitely. We would like to release at least several more EP’s.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
Diana - I would describe our style of music as more of a blend of blues/rock, jazz, and contemporary worship. Some of my influences growing up were Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, India Arie, Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill and Stevie Wonder. Later, after graduating high school is when I started getting really into Christian artists and some of my influences were
Lauren Daigle, Charity Von, Sarah Kelly, Kim Walker-Smith and I can keep going because there are so many artists that I love.
Travis - I think we make worship music that rocks. For me I was always influenced by artists that are also great lyricists. I grew up on Alt and Indie Rock so I loved that deep poetic lyricism combined with big voices and distorted guitars. Later on in life, Chrisitan Artists like Jeremy Camp, and Mark Hall from Casting Crowns became significant influences on me as a vocalist.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Travis - I think we would both like to write with Kari Jobe. She has such a passion for worship. I think would be an awesome time of fellowship and I’m sure a great song would be written as well.
Diana - I agree with Travis and I would add, Chris Tomlin because he just seems like he would be fun to work with and Sarah Kelly because I love her rocker style.
How would you define success in your career as artists?
That God changed lives through our music. That he would comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. We want to have a spiritual impact in the world during our short time on it. So if The Holy Spirit ministers through us we would consider ourselves successful.
What is your favourite album of all time?
Travis - That’s easy! Words of Your Melody by Diana Schuler... and Give Up by The Postal Service is pretty good too.
Diana - That is actually a hard question for me because I like so many, but I will pick Five O'Clock by Elva Frye. Not only is she one of my friends, but she has a beautiful soulful sound, and her songs are very worshipful. We also share the same producer from my first album.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
Came to My Rescue by Hillsong United. 1) It’s a wonderful worship song 2) It’s a song that we would want stuck in our heads while stranded on a desert island because it is a continual reminder that there is always hope of being rescued someday :)
What does the next year hold for you both?
We are already planning for, and God willing, hopefully starting on our next project in 2020. We have already begun the writing process and are super excited about the quality of the songs. We want to theme the project on the power of God and write big tunes that pack a punch.