There is this thing about music that it almost reflects the human body. I find it relatively synonymous with my heartbeat and its lyrics echo the vibrations in my soul. To me and to many, music has been a teacher and a safe haven. Music fills the air and our space without effort. We feed so much from it as its rhythm swims through our cerebral cortex. Why do you think AirPods generate over $10 billion in revenues?
Once, I was seeking refuge in music and I came across a ridiculously talented, sweet-toned and cardinally well-contented singer. Born Vanessa Obunde, she is the founder of “The Soul Minds Scars” Community on Patreon. And as we are about to find out, she has a unique perspective on music and a resolute calling. Let’s now meet her.
Have you always been interested in music? Was there a particular song/performance/artist that made you say “Woah! I want to do that!”?
If it were not for my mother’s choice to enroll me in piano classes at the age of five, I would have been much slower to discover my interest in music. It granted me the foundational tools I needed to explore music in ways that I was deeply intrigued by. At the age of seven, I became a hardcore fan of Cece Winans. My father filled an mp3 player with almost every song she had released up until that point and I would spend hours trying to pick up on what made her sound so powerful. Her 2002 Dove Awards performance of “No One” made me absolutely certain about becoming a singer. I was captivated by her stage presence and massive passion for worshipful storytelling through song.
I was listening to your Original Song ‘My Lemongrass’, and I have to say you are a delightful songwriter. Yet, you do more of covers and medleys of other songs than your original ones. How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Thank you for your kind words. You’re right! I tend to do more covers because I don’t write many songs each year. I think I also tend to think less of my own music, but all that is changing gradually. As a Christian indie songwriter, I would describe this music as contemplative, thought-provoking, and soulful as I explore different aspects of the sojourning Christian’s battles. I don’t tend to stick with a particular genre but it gravitates towards a more acoustic-driven sound. Whatever carries the lyrics best is what I go for.
I saw some of your drafts when preparing for your devotionals and I can only imagine how involving that is. Can you share some of the ‘behind the scenes’ in your creative processes while making music and devotionals?
The writing process behind both the devotional and the songs is pretty much the same. It is very involving. It doesn’t happen outside of time spent in the Bible as well as reading the works of mature Christians. I make a habit of harvesting words as I read quality literature; the kind that presents what is good, true and beautiful. For me, lyrics are a priority. The musical arrangement comes from lots of experimentation.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
A prolific writer once said, “The only thing that’s bad for writing is being interrupted. You have to have time to write.” I believe that a great deal of my struggle with writing comes from all the other things that make up my life. I’ve been working to create a lifestyle around writing and reading widely. I think the more I read, harvest words, and act promptly about writing down insights, the better I will be with starting and completing writing projects.
You and your husband, Mr. Boehm, are collaborators in songwriting and recording. How did this partnership begin and was the bond immediate?
Come to think of it, my husband and I have always bonded and worked around music. My first musical encounter with him was before we officially met. He fixed my guitar strings, without asking at a church camp after a camper had messed with my instrument. We both shared a love for congregational worship and led worship at a youth service early on in our relationship. Currently, we partner more as music teachers as well as within “The Soul Minds Scars” sessions that we started in 2019. We don’t have as much songwriting and recording experience together just yet. He inspires far more than he realizes.
If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would that be and why?
A fellow Christian indie artist named Trulah! She’s about my age with the kind of voice that many wouldn’t solely dedicate to exclusively God-glorifying, scripturally sound music. It would garner far more attention if she chose otherwise. I deeply admire her humility and strong convictions. I love every one of her songs, her choice of words, and her use of scripture in her latest EP. That is a rare combination these days.
Who are your main musical influences?
Some of the names I’m learning from are Trulah, Jonathan Ogden, Jon Guerra, Keith and Kristyn Getty, and CityAlight.
You have an online community on Patreon, ‘The Soul Minds Scars’ famous for your music videos, events, devotionals, and podcasts. What is the idea behind the title and what do you seek to achieve with this?
The name “Soul Minds Scars” was coined by my husband. It reflects the common thread in all my music and writing. We are all aware of the scars that, both the brokenness of others and our own have wrought. At the core of this brokenness is sin. Genuine worship flows from confession of our sinfulness and repentance where we, individually and as a body, seek to abide in the author and perfecter of our faith. My hope is that we would gather in intimate settings to express all this in song, storytelling, and reflecting on truth.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted content creation and Sharing?
There is so much motivation for content creation. One knows their audience will be able to easily access whatever they put out as long as there is interest. It definitely doesn’t beat the live performance experiences for musicians, but as long as one has a clear vision and is willing to be vulnerable to a certain degree, wonderful interactions are possible!
Does your content (Music, videos, devotionals et al) fit into your local scene?
I think others will have to speak for me on that. I don’t believe that it fits, because I don’t bring much hype to the table. The combination of Christ-centered, Bible-study oriented, reflective music/podcast/devotional are all not popular. So my audience is not a large one, but I’m super content with that. I don’t see it as an obstacle, but rather a part of what it means to be on this path. I have every reason to press on.
Do you listen to ‘secular’ music? (Non-Worship songs) What are some of the conditions you have that determine the kind of music you listen to?
I haven’t always listened to it and I’m grateful for the long period of time that I limited myself to Christian music. I’ve come to see the difference between most mainstream secular music and music that stands the test of time (usually the classics). I find the content of classical music, jazz standards, theatre-music, old-school ballads more likely to portray romance and life in a sweet manner rather than the raunchy stuff that sells more. I am drawn to music that is thoughtful and captures beautiful themes, whether old or new. However, I cannot feed on secular music. It doesn’t satisfy.
Are you a fulltime musician and online content creator? What else do you do?
I am currently a music teacher to children and teens alongside my husband. I look forward to being able to give more of my time to being a musician and writer in the near future with the help of my patrons.
What are you working on right now? Any plans for future releases, gigging, or touring?
I’m excited to be on a break from teaching and ready to dive into songwriting. One of my goals for this year is to record “Satisfy Us,” written in 2019 and to work towards the release of an album, produced alongside my brother.
Coronavirus has disrupted normalcy in life for the better part of 2020. How has it affected you and what have you been most proud of learning during this period?
COVID-19 has definitely affected the music sessions we had started to host in 2019. The sessions were my main way of sharing original music in a space where I was comfortable performing and speak freely. Not sure how to go about those now.
My husband and I have grown so much in this season and are more open to songwriting together than we’ve ever been in the 6 years we’ve known each other. I know good things will come from that.
What makes you feel inspired or like your best self?
Learning more about the One I live for, seeing the results of my own consistency and the fruit of focus.
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
I’m not sure what I would change because what’s trendy defines what sells successfully. It would mean changing people and their interests, which I can’t do. I’d rather not identify with the industry for that matter. I’m a bit of a lone ranger in that sense. 😀
You can join her Online Community and get access to awesome devotionals, videos, music and other content here:
Luck you because you can also find more content on her social media pages: