Irish Contemporary Christian Singer/Songwriter Angela Mahon just released her new EP 'Towards the Light'. We spoke to Angela about how she started making music, songwriting from the heart, and how God can transform lives.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
Well, I am from Ireland, and currently living in the Sunny South East. I am married to Robert, who is also a musician. For as long as I can remember, I got involved in music making because I sang, all through my childhood and teenage years, every day and even with the sweeping brush around the kitchen floor. My pocket money was spent on CDs. Music and Song were always a way for me to make sense of life and continues to be the same even today. But it was only when my life hit rock bottom in my early twenties, that my music making began to come to the forefront. I felt compelled to turn to God for the first time because I was completely lost in life and felt so unloved. As I began to walk with God and realise that he cared and loved me, my life began to radically change. That's the thing when you begin to realise and even start to believe you are loved your whole demeanour and mindset change, you become a new person. It was at this time I realised that I needed to study music formally and I ended up taking a degree in music as a mature student. All through my 20’s I was writing songs and my first major project was the album Divine Friendship completed in 2008.
Tell us about your new EP 'Towards the Light' and what the inspiration behind it was?
’Towards the Light’ is my second release, after ‘Divine Friendship’. Divine Friendship is a beautiful album mostly with songs that are an aid to prayer and to help bring us closer to God, with one or two of the songs being slightly biographical. ’Towards the Light’, however, is my own reflection, through song, of the time in my life when I had a full conversion to God. As a result of chronic depression, feeling completely unloved and a breakdown of physical health, with no sense of identity or meaning in life, I cried out to God. I began the journey of faith that eventually brought me deep into the heart of God. I began to write lots of songs reflecting back on this time in my life. I really felt a call in my life to explore this time in song and to bring it all together in this EP, so that, I could bear witness to God’s action in my life and to send the message out to everyone, especially those affected similarly. The message being, that God cares and Loves us we just need to let him in.
Which is your favourite track on the EP and why?
Tough question! I love them all, the EP would not be complete if any were omitted. However, I especially love Track 3 “When I Found Love’. It’s a big powerful ballad that tells the love story between my heart and Gods. It has been said to me that it’s like a love letter, heart to heart, and I guess upon reflection that is exactly what it is. There was something missing in my life, and that void was Gods love in my heart, a love that I can now give witness to because it transformed, renewed and restored me. When I Found Love- WOW! I’ve never looked back, to realise you are loved and to know this, is Powerful.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
What I would really like people to take from the music, is that if God could bring about a complete change for the good in my life, He most certainly will be able to transform your life, too. No matter how far from God you may believe you are, there is still always hope, always a way for God to enter - allow him in, give it a go, see what happens when you allow yourself to walk with God.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I believe my style is unique! It’s Heartfelt Christian Worship, a sharing of my own personal stories and relationship with God through song. I am a singer songwriter and my songs are always strongly led by the vocals, especially on this EP. The lyrics are equally important, too, as I always try to write from the heart and tell a story in my songs, ‘When I Found Love’ is a great example of this. ‘Break Free’ also weaves a story that lots of people have told me they can identify with, too. Overall, my songs are acoustic, featuring piano, bass, drums and strings and can be calm and meditative or upbeat and driving.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
I’m a big fan of the music of Christy Nockels, and I especially love how the stories in her songs unwind beautifully. River of Grace is one of my favourite songs of hers.
Away from music, what keeps you busy?
Well, I have 5 young children - twins, aged 10 down to my youngest aged 2. My husband and I run our own Music School here in rural Wexford, we accommodate around 200 students each week. I’m the musical director of our Parish Choir, and am a founding member of our local musical society, in which I will be playing the role of Anna in our 2020 production of The King and I. Our kids are very much involved in music, too, so you could say, I eat, sleep and breathe music!
What is your favourite album of all time?
MeatLoaf ‘Bat out of Hell’ it was my first album I ever bought and I just loved the energy and lyrics.
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?
Ha Ha well I’ll have to pick one my own. At the moment, I’m all about seeking the purpose for our daily lives so for me it would have to be 'Towards the Light'! Some people say they prefer to not listen to their own music, but I just love listening to the final product of a long creative process. My kids are always asking for my songs to be played and they identify very much with each song as they were part of the process, too!
What does the next year hold for you?
Over the next year, I have some concerts lined up, as well as playing the role of Anna in ‘The King and I'. I also have a single coming out for Christmas on the 22nd November, called ‘It’s Christmas Eve’ the Pre Save is coming soon. Another big project I am currently working on is writing lyrics/songs that will feature on my first Christmas album for 2020. I have already started work on this project and look forward to the entire process of it all coming together for release about this time next year.