THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS: Take Me to Church!
Language is plastic. It occupies a shape in our minds, based on our understanding. That’s why there are certain turns of phrase that we don’t fully grasp until we stand under them, until we live them. I never knew what the saying ‘the devil is in the details’ meant, until I began working on a project I truly cared about, maybe more than anything else I have ever done. Before that, that phrase was like an empty apartment on a windswept street somewhere in the city of my mind, and whatever it meant, I never cared to know.
THE FIRST SINGLE SURPRISES US
We had thought all along that we were going to release another song first. We submitted our proposal to our radio promoter, and—boom, she tells us that a whole other song, one we hadn’t considered at all, should be the first song! Suddenly, plans were being hatched for another powerful song with an energy that took us by surprise. That song is TAKE ME TO CHURCH by the unique artist Sinéad O’Connor, who now goes by Shuhada’ Sadaqat. I discovered the song when I read that she had converted to the Muslim faith, and the power of that conversion grabbed my attention as I scrolled down Twitter. I hadn’t known her music, and I was curious because it was something I myself had briefly considered doing many years before, when I too was searching for the Truth with a capital T. I immediately recognized in Sinead a powerful hunger that I too shared. As I explored her music, I felt a kinship with her. Yet she seemed like a force of nature! When I discovered she had written a song called Take Me to Church, I was curious in light of her conversion to Islam. What was up with that? Why had she suddenly transferred out of the faith that just a few years back had called her?
TO RELEASE AN ALBUM, OR TO BE A GOOD PERSON?
That is the question. The process of releasing an album, much less a single, is fraught with details, details that in the olden days were handled by record labels, but which now are the domain of independent artists, like me. How should we promote the release? When? Which? What? Why? Every question had 10 offspring, and each of these had meetings that needed scheduling and attending, emails that needed to be written, phone calls that needed making. I found myself too often growing weary and impatient under the burden of details. I needed time to write and practice music. I needed to find joy and peace in my day. But those details had me chained. Each of them involved working with people who have busy lives, and plenty of details of their own! Which meant that things couldn’t happen fast enough for me, and so I would find myself doing or saying things that I didn’t want to. I interrupted people. Was I going to act like a prima donna before I had earned the right?! I didn’t want to irritate people! How could a project so filled with the creative winds of joy be stressful? Was getting stuff accomplished more important than that joy? More important than treating people with respect, decency, and love?
TAKE ME TO CHURCH!
There’s really only one way that I come back to center. And that’s by spending time with God, by looking to Him as often as I can. For me, Sinéad’s glorious song reminded me of my own desire to sing “songs of loving and forgiving….songs of calling in the night, ‘cause songs are like a bolt of light and love’s the only love you should invite.”
Truth be told, I couldn’t take a single step on this amazing journey without looking to God for inspiration, for strength, for guidance. The devil is in the details because it’s there that we’re tempted to put the end before the means, to think that the destination is more important than the journey. Let the daily details be filled with goodness, and the end will be fruitful in all sorts of ways we hadn’t imagined …
I really hope you enjoy my rendition of Sinéad’s wonderful song “Take Me to Church.”