Singer-songwriter Ellie Holcomb, 31, is a child of the PCA and a child of music. Raised in City Church of East Nashville and in RUF at the University of Tennessee, she is the daughter of music producer Brown Bannister and wife of musician Drew Holcomb (of Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors). That combination has led to a refreshingly honest and Scripture-based approach to music.
How did you decide that music was something God was calling you to personally and not just something your family did?
I knew that pursuing music is a costly endeavor … but, I loved writing and making music. In college, I wrote a lot of heartbreak songs. I would sing them in the stairwell in the dorm. Inevitably, I’d look up, and there would be girls lining the stairwell. After that, girls would sit down and tell me they were going through the same struggles. Through this, I learned that music is a bridge builder and has a mysterious and beautiful way of connecting people.
You worked for a couple of years as a teacher. Why did you leave that to become a full-time musician?
I taught high school English for two years. I got married during this time. My husband, Drew Holcomb, was a traveling musician and was gone for half of the year. He asked me if I would consider touring with him and his band. It was a very hard decision to make because I loved what I was doing. At the same time, I always wondered what it would be like if I didn’t try music. While I was trying to make the decision, a friend reminded me how my RUF pastor would talk about the revealed and hidden will of God. She asked, “Can you love and serve the Lord if you’re a teacher?” I said yes. She asked, “Can you love and serve the Lord if you’re a musician?” Yes.
At the time, I thought it would be a yearlong diversion. It’s turned into seven years of making music.
Your album “As Sure As The Sun” resounds with the theme of God’s presence in the midst of pain and suffering. Where did this album come from?
It began when I started memorizing Scripture with a friend who was struggling with depression. In an effort to kick back against many of the lies we believe, we desperately need to hang on to what was true. As we began memorizing God’s word, it began changing us. I started sitting in God’s word and letting music come out of that. I began to see the songs that emerged in this album as little banners in my heart that could point me homeward.
Tell us about your choice for the album title.
Recently, I have become more certain of God’s presence in the midst of unanswered questions. In Hosea 6:3, the promise is “as surely as the sun rises, he will appear.” I just love that the promise isn’t “as surely as the sun rises, everything will be easy and there isn’t any suffering.” I think the promise would be really false if it was anything other than a reminder that God is with us. Although I have struggled with many doubts, I do believe Jesus walked out of the grave, and that changes everything.
For more information visit ellieholcomb.com.