Christina DeLoach: From shy youth grouper to international ambassadorChristina DeLoach’s story is the antithesis of Robert Johnson’s. Whereas that legendary bluesman purportedly sold his soul to the devil to be able to play the guitar, the Duluth-raised singer believes her angelic voice was a gift from God.
Christina DeLoach’s story is the antithesis of Robert Johnson’s. Whereas that legendary bluesman purportedly sold his soul to the devil to be able to play the guitar, the Duluth-raised singer believes her angelic voice was a gift from God.
“Growing up, I always loved music,” she told the Budgeteer. “I was extremely shy — hardly spoke — but I always felt like I was meant to sing.
“When I was 15, a speaker at my youth group said something that just impacted my life; she said, ‘Don’t worry about whether or not you’re able to accomplish what God has planned for your life, just be willing and make yourself available and he will make you able.’
“So, that night I ran up to the altar and I was like, ‘OK, God, I don’t know how you’re going to do this through such a shy little girl, but here I am.’”
DeLoach, who has been living down in Tennessee for the last couple of years with her husband, Mike, was back in town for the recent Modest Home Makeover benefit concert.
“Being up on stage is still hard for me,” she confessed, “because it’s not my personality to be the center of attention, but, when God calls you to do something, it gives you the strength to do it. For me, it’s definitely a calling … it’s not me wanting to get recognized or be well-known, there’s a purpose behind it.”
DeLoach isn’t just blowing smoke: As a spokeswoman for Father’s Heart Africa, she is able to raise money for the poorest of the poor.
“I’ve always wanted to take part in something like this — as somebody who represents a sponsorship program,” the 26-year-old said. “It’s always been in my heart.”
Having already served as a missionary in Nicaragua and Mexico, she was drawn to the mission of Father’s Heart when she was introduced to the organization by a pastor at a church where she had performed. (DeLoach has been performing professionally for some time; she actually has four albums under her belt.)
“When Father’s Heart came along, it just felt right,” said DeLoach, whose family — including Roger, her father and manager — still calls the Northland home. “We got to know them and their heart for the children of Africa.”
Because of her ties to Father’s Heart, DeLoach and her husband were able to spend two-and-a-half weeks in Zambia.
“We got to see firsthand what [Father’s Heart is] doing over there with the churches and schools — and, just for me, how to better represent them,” she said. “It’s amazing to see the difference between the children that are in the schools and the children that aren’t in the schools.
“Really, the children that aren’t educated don’t have hope. You can sense it in their whole presence. They don’t really have anything to look forward to; they’re living day to day, trying to scrounge in dumpsters for food.
“A big thing Father’s Heart does is they provide daily nourishment: They serve a cornmeal porridge, but they add a soy protein, which helps with the children’s physical and mental development. Otherwise, without protein in their diet, their development is stunted.”
In addition to signing up sponsors at her shows, DeLoach aids Father’s Heart by donating proceeds from the sales of her new album, the aptly titled “Father’s Heart,” to its mission. (In fact, the organization is able to feed a child in Zambia for a whole month with each copy sold.)
“It puts it into perspective, definitely,” she said. “I mean, a little bit goes a long way over there.”
Following her March 28 performance in Esko (see “News to Use” below), DeLoach will return home to Franklin, Tenn., where she is busy readying her first stab at publishing non-secular music.
“I’m actually working on an album right now that is somewhat like acoustic jazz, and I’m going to record some old standards,” said DeLoach, who credits Frank Sinatra, the “soulful” Norah Jones and Christian heavyweights Shane & Shane as some of her influences.
As far as her main body of work goes, the singer wouldn’t mind adding to her high-profile list of friends — despite having already worked with Selah’s Todd Smith (on the 2009 track “Yearn”) and Michael W. Smith (as a back-up vocalist).
“Shane & Shane would probably be my dream collaboration,” DeLoach said. “I don’t know if I’d ever get that opportunity, but they’re people I really look up to, as far as writing and their walk of faith and their ministry.”
NEWS TO USE
Christina DeLoach will perform at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 28, at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Esko. If you can’t make it out to the show, listen to samples of DeLoach’s music at www.christinadeloach.com. While there, you can also pick up her new album; sales benefit Father’s Heart Africa.