Some are apprehensive of change and don’t welcome it with open arms. It can
bring hardships and difficulties – or new things to learn and re-learn. Others,
however, view change as a chance to spread their wings and fly... to learn and
grow from the past – to take advantage of new adventures and discover the
exciting opportunities that lie ahead as the stories of our lives unfold.
If you ask Kristin Schweain about change, she may have a thing or two to tell you.
Raised in a very musical home in Jackson, Missouri, Kristin grew up with a dream of becoming a professional musician. Following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Frederic Spies, who was an accomplished jazz pianist, she began playing the piano as a child, and wrote her first song at the age of eighteen. After graduating from highschool, she studied both classical voice and piano at DePauw University's School of Music in Indiana, at Missouri Baptist College in St. Louis, Missouri, and at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.
While attending school in Nashville, Kristin answered an ad on campus to audition for a local trip-hop band. Following her audition, Kristin was invited to join the band and they named themselves Fleau. “I was excited to join the band, because in so many ways, I loved what they were doing artistically. It was our mission to break the mold of the typical formulas of pop music by incorporating down-tempo electronic and hip-hop beats with smooth jazz inflected melodies.” It was a surprise then when Kristin was approached by Norman Miller, future manager of ZOEgirl, after she was spotted by someone from Sparrow Records’ A&R department at the band’s showcase. Miller elaborated on the new girl group he was trying to establish and extended an invitation to Kristin to join the group. Excited by the prospects, but hesitant because of stylistic differences and her commitment to Fleau, Kristin agreed to join the group after much prayer and encouragement from those around her. Not long after, ZOEgirl was born. “I was excited to embrace this new opportunity with Alisa (Childers) and Chrissy (Katina), whom I had just met, but felt so connected to in such a short period of time,” says Kristin. “ZOEgirl was not what any of us were ‘looking for’, yet we knew in our hearts that God had something really special in store for it.”
When ZOEgirl burst onto the music scene in 2000, the group immediately earned the title as the fastest-selling debut artist in Sparrow Records' history. In 2002, the threesome accepted the Dove Award for Gospel Music Association's New Artist of the Year. With seven album releases and a string of radio hits, ZOEgirl has toured with acclaimed Christian artists such as Clay Crosse, Avalon, Natalie Grant, Newsboys, TobyMac, and Jump5. Then, in 2006, Kristin and band mates Alisa Childers and Chrissy Katina decided to venture into different avenues, and after the group’s final performance that winter, Kristin was faced with new questions about her future and the many changes that lie ahead. With all of the successes and accomplishments of ZOEgirl, and always working as one-third of a group, Kristin was left unsure of her career as a solo artist. “My work with ZOEgirl brought security and familiarity,” says Kristin. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I knew that I wanted to pursue my own solo career, but I was a bit intimidated stepping out on my own, not knowing what people would think of my music. So I decided to start in the place where I am most comfortable and feel I know myself best... at my piano.”
February 13th, 2007 brought more change and excitement when Stella Rose Elisabeth, Kristin and husband Ryan’s first child, made her entrance into the world. “Motherhood,” says Kristin, “has completely changed my perspective of life. I look at things in an entirely different way now – a much more unselfish way. Nothing calls you to attention more than being a parent. It’s beautiful and challenging all at the same time.”
Then, in May of 2008, Kristin accepted a position at St. Paul Lutheran Church in her hometown of Jackson, MO as Associate Music Director leading worship at the contemporary service. “I know God has called me here for this season and has a great deal in store for me,” Kristin says. “I am hopeful and open as this new chapter in my story begins.”
There’s no doubt that while listening to Days Of Eden, you will be drawn in by the captivating lyrics and soaring melodies, coupled with the smooth, angelic vocals of a person whose life has gone through a long journey of changes and seasons of faith. From This Is Life, an up-tempo piano-driven song about the ups and downs of life, to Emma Prayed, a raw and sentimental ballad about a young woman whose life takes a dramatic turn as she prays for the very first time, there is sure to be a song for everyone on this project.
Ranging from songs that were written years ago, to material that was written primarily for this album, you won’t be surprised to feel a connection with Kristin as you walk with her through her own personal journey of faith and hear the stories of loved ones that surround her.
The title track of the record, Days Of Eden, for example, was written by Kristin in her early days of ZOEgirl. Knowing that the song wouldn’t fit the stylistic genre and go well with the other material the group had recorded, Kristin was sure it would eventually have its time and serve a purpose. “Days of Eden is a song I have literally waited years to record, and as I was preparing to make this record, I knew that its time had finally come. I have always felt so strongly about its message, and knew it would be the perfect title track for my album.”
No matter where you are in your journey of faith, allow Days Of Eden to bless your heart, refresh your mind, and captivate your soul. Be courageous to observe life’s questions left unexamined – choose to welcome change with open arms as your story unfolds and be thankful for the opportunities that God has given you.
“I’ve realized recently more profoundly than ever that I've turned many pages in my life without really seeing what was written, and there has been much substance overlooked and blessings missed by my skimming through the content,” Kristin says. “However, God's promises are true and because of His word and His story, I know that my ending is great. It's all the chapters and pages that unfold to get me there that I want to be thankful for... that I choose to be thankful for.”