For the past couple of years, I’ve written a weekly music column and have had the privilege of interviewing some incredibly talented people from all over the world — from the United States to Finland to New Zealand.

Each musician I’ve interviewed has had something different and important to share.

The biggest thing I’ve taken away from the interviews is that what we do can be so much bigger than just what we do. It’s all about the way we serve. It’s about where our hearts are and seeking to give more of our hearts each day.

That applies to everyone, not just musicians or artists.

To the teacher, mechanic, student, receptionist, doctor and mother, what you do can be so much bigger if you choose to believe it and let it be so. Developing and sharing your gifts in whatever you do will bring great fulfillment and joy to you and to others.

Each musician who’s experienced success has also had to carve out his or her path in spite of bumps in the road. They’ve done it with persistence, practice and faith in God.

This is my last Mormon Times column because my path in life is taking a new direction for the next few months. I will miss highlighting the amazing talents of musicians because there are so many people out there making a difference with their talents. I hope each of you will continue to seek out music that lifts you and let music be a positive power in your life.

Here are a few favorite quotes from various musicians I interviewed.

  • “It is my dream to create experiences for audiences that will allow them to feel the same feelings that I feel when I watch a brilliant piece of theater. That feeling that catches in my chest and lights me up inside, urging me to be a little better and to reach for my dreams. I believe in the power of musical theater to do that for people. That is why I do what I do.” — Becca Schwartz
  • “My model is the Savior. How would the Savior handle performing? That’s been my goal for many years. … Could I play with humility and yet confidence born of that humility and the same love and compassion … that the Savior would play if he were playing my part? … So I’ll start by reading scriptures and do some pondering, and then that’ll lead me into prayer where I ask the Lord to help me grapple with these conflicting motives and to have my motives pure. ... When that really happens, the Spirit can actuate us in ways that we really could never do on our own. Performances can be more exhilarating, and more energetic, more focused than ever. So many years I did that before performances; it’s almost become a way of life. … It’s about service.” Ray Smith
  • “(If I could share one of my songs with the entire world, it’d be) a beautiful piano arrangement of ‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives’ accompanied by a huge string section. Why this tune? Because no matter if I lived or died, I can’t deny what I’ve felt and know concerning Jesus, the Redeemer of the world. I have a new heart beating in me, and I can still feel God’s love — it’s not some physical thing, it’s a spiritual power. And I share that with everyone, not just the Mormon Times. I can’t deny his love.” — Paul Cardall
  • “Our goal is to help children know that they always have the power to make their own choices, that the path of peace leads to happiness and security, that weapons do not equal power and safety, and that violence is not the answer. Sometimes a song can give us the strength to turn away from that which is wrong. Our goal is for these children to become instruments of peace.” — Liz Shropshire
  • “I just wanted to be able to tell the world that even in the darkest moments there’s always hope. That hope comes through the Atonement and through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.” — Rob Gardner
  • “There are a lot of things in life that are hard. One thing that kind of irritates me is when people say, ‘Well, I was going to be in the music industry, but my wife doesn’t want me to because it doesn’t coincide with living the gospel.’ I think that’s a cop out and an excuse. I think a person can make good decisions regardless of their career. I see it all the time. I see it with Tim and Brad. I see it with friends of ours. It’s just a choice you make.” — Matt Lopez of country trio Due West
  • “I share my music ‘cause I can’t help but not. It just comes out of me. It's how I mourn, rejoice, cope, laugh, love. It's my primary emotional outlet. That being said, it's not just therapy. I love the craft of writing amazing and clever, but concise and emotive lyrics. I love the concept of creating something that never existed before. … I love always having my antennas up for new ideas, lines, phrases. … My goal is to make people feel something — to help them let loose and jam, to help them love a little more, to be confident in chasing their own dreams, to attempt the difficult.” — Ryan Innes
  • "Some of the world's music is wonderful. But too much of it portrays evil to be something good or inevitable — even normal. Not all battles are fought on a battlefield. And not all soldiers dress in camouflage. Ivoga and I join forces with others doing what we can in our part of the vineyard to combat evil through the talent we have been given. Gifts come with responsibility, and we are well aware of that.” — Niu Ta’ala from New Zealand
  • “Our faith changes everything. What keeps me going is the fact that we believe in our songs, sound and vibe. This world needs more positive role models, and if we can be that — even in some small way — we'll do all we can to get there.” — Chad Truman
  • “I think that we all carry responsibilities through the talents that we have been given to take care of each other, lift each other and make each other feel good. Some talents are more on display than others and sometimes I wish it wasn't that way because it's the small, what we would consider ‘insignificant’ talents that really make the world go around.” — Richard Parkinson
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