Christa (Rogers) Wells BA '95 wrote the song "Held" as a gift to three of her close friends. The song touched more than her circle of friends, however, it led Wells to recognition at the 37th Annual Gospel Music Association Dove Awards ceremony last spring.
"Held" is a heart-breaking piece about suffering, healing, and God's faithfulness. "All three of [my friends] had experienced some pretty tragic losses," explains Wells. "One of them had lost a baby at birth, and my other friend lost her infant who was just a few weeks old. Another friend of mine, a mentor, lost her husband in her 30's." After talking to them and hearing their testimonies, Wells hung on to every word they said about their experiences. "I was just in awe of them," says Wells. "In spite of their horrible situations they were very strong and joyful women. Their testimonies of God's faithfulness during those times were just amazing, and I had to do something with that." Wells wrote and recorded "Held" for her friends who had experienced their worst fears--losing someone very dear to them. A few years later, Christa's publisher heard the song and loved it. Natalie Grant agreed to sing "Held" and recorded it on her newest album Awaken.
"A lot of people wanted to change the lyrics to make it easier to hear," says Wells. "It's a very tragic song and it has some hard content, but that's how I wanted it to be. It's very unconventional in that way, and God did what he wanted with the song despite what everyone said."
At the awards ceremony held at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, Tenn., on April 5, Wells and Chris Tomlin were both nominated in the songwriter of the year and song of the year categories. While Wells won songwriter of the year with "Held," Tomlin won song of the year with "How Great is Our God." Natalie Grant, who sang "Held," won female vocalist of the year.
"At the night of the awards I actually missed my category," laughs Wells. "I wasn't even there when they announced that I had won. We had some mixed information as far as how the night was supposed to go. We were at dinner during the pre-show and apparently they announced songwriter of the year at that time due to lack of television time. I didn't even get to go up on stage to receive my award . . . which was actually fine with me because I probably would have embarrassed myself."
Now that Wells has accomplished a goal that many artists strive for, she is looking for continued peace and happiness with her family.
"I've already seen God give me fulfillment with music and opportunities to use my talents," says Wells. "One goal of mine is to see my kids grow up well-balanced, happy, and healthy with a desire to serve God. Musically, I want to be able to respect myself and earn other people's respect with my art." Wells couldn't care less about commercial success. "If I don't have another hit song that's fine. I don't want to have 100 hit songs that are mediocre. As long as I feel like I've been true to the art and true to God, I feel happy with what I've done."
Outside of writing occasionally, Wells is busy selling her latest album, leading songwriting workshops, and spending time with her family. Wells recently recorded an independent album with her sister, Mandy Rogers, called A Rogers-Wells Project: So Much to Tell You.
"It was fun to do that project with Mandy because we could write whatever we wanted to write and sing whatever we wanted to sing," says Wells. "We were just trying to find some artistic satisfaction, and I'm really happy with it." Wells also leads workshops for a non-profit organization called Masterpiece Ministries. Based out of Lebanon, Tenn., their mission statement is to encourage and equip young artists to use their art for the glory of God. As an artist and creator herself, Wells believes that we are designed to be creative people. "Something to remember is that God is the master artist and creator. This frees us up as Christians to be a little braver and really pay attention to the world around us."
— Amanda Steiner [Signatures, fall, 2006]
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.