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2013 Award Winner: Kierstyn L. Marlow

Kierstyn Marlow intends to make her career in music and songwriting. It looks like she is already on her way: Her song "I'm With You" was awarded first place in the 2013 Christian Songwriting Awards!

Faith and music are two key elements of Kierstyn's life. Christian music is proving an ideal way for her to bring them together.

Kierstyn talked about the award in a recent email interview. "Receiving an award for the music God has blessed me to write is such an honour and privilege. I intend to pursue a career in the secular music industry, working as a Christian artist. The award helps me have more understanding as to how God is intending to use music in my life."

Kierstyn sees songwriting - and singing - as a craft to be honed. It was an easy choice for her on how she will use the $1000 scholarship: "Education is very important for me. I want to keep expanding my skills and knowledge in singing and composition!"

Faith is the foundation

But while we think carefully how to study to improve our music skills, we sometimes overlook the need to be just as careful and deliberate about choosing environments that help our faith grow too.

Kierstyn's approach to nurturing both her talent and her faith was to choose Trinity Western, a widely respected Christian university near Vancouver, Canada. Trinity aims to provide education that challenges the highest standards set by any secular institution - but enriched by a context that acknowledges the Lord who created all knowledge, and who is the source of all creativity.

The story behind the song

This great combination of faith and musical talent is certainly reflected in Kierstyn's winning entry, "I'm With You", which she wrote in 2013, and recorded with Cassie West on piano.

Kierstyn explains: "The lyrics to this song are about the outcasts. They are about the one person who thinks they have it all together. About the person who is constantly changing their point of view. And about the Christian who is not completely in Christ." She is able to address Christians, but also a wider audience of anyone in trouble, anyone that is struggling.

"These lyrics share that God is always with them," continues Kierstyn. "Though it may look like the world is stacked up against them and though the world may actually be entirely hating on them, God isn't. Christ is someone you can always depend on." Aspiring novelists are often told, "Write about what you know!", and Kierstyn has been able to draw on her own struggles - and her own experience with Christ's faithfulness - to make her song real.

A song that is well-written and true to the heart is good, but a Christian song needs more. Being true to scripture is at the heart of the DeoSound awards, and the biblical message in the song certainly resonated with the judges. Kierstyn explains the scriptural foundation, "The Bible says that nothing can separate us from the love of God - not strife nor pain nor the weight of the world. God has an enduring love. Just like how after the flood, God gave us an everlasting promise, God only allows bad things to happen if He has something even greater that will result from it." The scriptural less certainly comes through in her song.

Kierstyn's hope is that her song will encourage people towards Christ, no matter where they may stand today.

Where now?

Kierstyn is continuing her music studies, but also looking for ways to gain additional experience, and bless others as God works through her talents.

It is always wise to remain on the lookout for every opportunity to serve, learn, and contribute. Kierstyn has pursued many avenues, and the DeoSound award was not the first recognition for her music: Another composition of hers was selected for a Christian cable TV show, and she has performed at the Voices of the Nations annual outdoor summer concert in Toronto, Canada.

Kierstyn has also been open to charity and fund-raising performance, putting her talents to a worthy use, while also gaining additional experience and exposure.

We look forward to hearing more from Kierstyn Marlow, as God continues to work in her life, and bless us through her music!

"I'm With You" - Kiersten Marlow sings out good news in her first-place song!

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