Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me. It’s so greatly appreciated. Before we begin, I know you’re technically considered a solo act, but you’ve got some amazingly talented musicians working with you when you perform. Could you take a moment to share with us who makes up the band and what instrument or element they bring?
For starters, my husband Stephen Childs is my lead guitarist. He also produced and mixed my debut album and will continue to do so for other albums to come. He did such a great job and I am so blessed to have him as my husband, best friend and music ministry partner. He is my biggest encourager when it comes to music. Secondly, Cody Smith plays bass. He also plays a huge part in the business side of the ministry. He handles all the booking, makes sure we stay on task, helps me set music goals and a whole lot more! Finally, on drums, is Dreem. Yep, just Dreem. He is the backbone of the music completely. He is so professional and keeps us all tight. One thing I want to mention about him is that he joined the band initially because he wanted to get back to God as it were. So not only do we serve others in this ministry but we help each other grow in the Lord as well.
You come from a very musical background. Your mom sang with the Four Seasons, your grandfathers were heavy in music and other members of your family have musical abilities. Being in a musical family such as this did you know from a young age that you would be a singer/performer or if not, how did you get to where you are today?
My first love was actually acting. But as an actress you also have to be able to sing and dance if needed. Once I started studying voice and singing more I quickly realized I was better at singing than acting! I was about 11 years old when I began singing regularly for all kinds of events and knew that this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a famous singer badly but both my mom and grandfather would tell me how hard the business was. They didn’t discourage me but they didn’t push me either.
When I was about 18 I formed my own hard rock band which lasted two years. Then I actually tried the cover scene for almost a year until God called me to Bible College in CA for two years. It was then that I made the switch to Christian music and now here I am.
Some people may know this, but some might not. Your dad was in the military when you were a child. At a young age you traveled around, and even spent a few years in Iceland. In your bio, you shared that this was where you first became aware of God’s presence in your life. However it wasn’t until you were a teenager that you ultimately made the decision to accept Christ. Could you talk about your spiritual journey from childhood through your teenage years and share what you ultimately realized that made you give your life to the Lord?
Yes, I was blessed with an awesome family and childhood. In Iceland, my parents made my sisters and I attend AWANA. It was a youth organization much like Young Life you could say. It was there that I had to memorize Bible verses and sit in on classes about the bible. I was about 7 years old and had no clue what these verses meant or what these classes were about. My parents decided to raise us Baptist so we attended church and Sunday school on a regular basis. I’ll never forget this little puppet dog they had called, “Prayer Puppy”. I was, and still am, such a dog lover so I was totally captivated by this puppet. I was also involved in Girl Scouts which had a lot of Christian elements to it. When we moved back to New Jersey though, I grew to not like God very much because of my self- esteem issues. I resented the way He created me because I was picked on in Elementary school and always felt like this huge nerd. In Middle School I began comparing myself with other girls and my esteem grew even worse. But when I was 15 a friend invited me to see the Easter Play at their church. After it was over I just knew that I was not right with God. At dinner a few nights later I asked my Dad why Christ had died on a cross. He simply said, “For our sins.” A light bulb went off in my head and that night before going to bed I accepted Christ into my heart. So I was a Christian all throughout my High School years which brought on new challenges but it was worth it.
Now, you’ve recorded a full length CD called Heart Cry. Could you give us an overview of the CD and share briefly what the listener should expect when they pop it into their CD player?
Heart Cry actually makes the listeners physically cry! Which I believe is a good thing because it is connecting emotionally with people. Expecially on songs like Father Song, which was written for families that have autistic children. Other songs such as Now I Can Sleep Tonight and Losing Ground seem to have the same emotional effect. Running Out of Time, Don’t belong and Created are the crowd favorites. They are the three most pop-driven songs on the album. Breaking Me Down is a personal story concerning my battles with anxiety. It’s probably my favorite song on the album musically and lyrically, plus my husband has a little guitar solo on it that I love. There’s actually a few of those on the album since my husband has a rock/metal background! Whose Side are You on? Is the epic piano-driven song off the album. Waiting For You is also piano-driven but has more pop-elements. When I wrote that song I thought of artists like Sara Groves and Nicole Nordeman. Lastly, You Never Leave is straight up rock and hits hard all the way through.
Now, your musical style is considered to be pop rock. What influences would you say contribute to the music you make?
I mentioned Sara Groves and Nicole Nordeman above. They influenced my lyric writing in a big way although my music has an edgier feel to it than theirs does. Brooke Fraser is another one of my favorite song and lyric writers. Heart has always been an influence for me vocally. Alter Bridge, Creed, and even BarlowGirl have rock elements to them that we love and were influenced by.
The song “Heart Cry” has a special place in your heart, because it was when you penned the words to this song your last semester of college that ideas for the rest of the CD came to be. Could you share the story behind this song and how it led you to write the remainder of the CD?
I was at a place spiritually and physically where I had left a career in music behind. I had my guitar with me at Bible College though because I didn’t want to give up leading worship. But one of my goals was to write one complete song. I never thought I’d ever be a songwriter though. So I sat in the cafeteria and asked the Lord to help me. I also had a certain theme I wanted to write about which was returning to my first love Jesus. When the song was complete I recorded it on my hand held recorder and shared it with some friends who connected to the lyrics. From there songwriting became addicting. Once I graduated I decided to pursue music again, but this time it was God’s way and in His timing.
Two of my favorite songs of all time “Created” and “Running Out of Time” are beautiful songs that share a similar theme of how we were created in the image of God and how much He loves us as His child. Could you talk about these songs and share the inspiration behind them?
“Running Out of Time” was the second or third song I wrote for the album. I was sitting on the floor of my room playing guitar and I began singing the lyrics, “tiny fingers in your mothers hand…” over an E chord. From there I felt the Lord was putting these words into my heart, urging me to live life for Him because time was running out. The chorus for “Created” came while sitting in on one of my husbands lectures on creationism. I was really motivated to write a song against the theory of evolution. If we evolved then we have no purpose nor value. The song is a series of statements and questions concerning life to the point of mocking the theory of evolution. The answer to these questions is found in the chorus and claims that indeed we were Created and have value.
Another song that is really catchy is the song “Don’t Belong” It’s a great acoustic guitar driven song that shares the idea that as a Christian you no longer belong in this world. Your life is in but not of this world. Could you talk about this song and share in more detail about this idea of taking the road less traveled?
The song was written from a heart that actually wanted to fit in believe it or not. The desire to fit in is found in both the Christian and non-Christian circles. The song is an encouragement from God to myself, and other believers, that it’s OK to feel like you don’t belong. Life isn’t about finding ways to fit in, it’s about sharing and showing the Gospel. When we live life with the desire to be accepted by everyone then the only benefit we reap is temporal.
As a musician you’ve performed at some pretty awesome places. Through this process you’ve obtained a lot of amazing fans. Could you talk about your experience on the road? Do you have any fun road stories?
The road is always an adventurous place because you never know what is going to happen. The most recent one to PA was interesting in that we experienced a lot of warfare. We were about a half hour into the trip when my drummer realized he forgot his sticks! So we had to turn around which in hindsight makes us laugh. When we finally were on the road we hit awful traffic and almost had to cancel the show. When things cleared up we learned that a car close to the venue had driven into the river! So there were firetrucks and police cars everywhere blocking the venue. It was a mess. But the show went great once we got to play. It was our best show yet!
Speaking of recent concerts, you recently partnered with Choices of the Heart for their annual Rally for Life. Could you talk about how you got associated with this ministry and share what makes this ministry so special to your heart?
I led worship for a women’s Bible study led by Rita Reyes, founder of Choices, for quite some time. Her and I get along so well being that we are both full Italians! Because I love her so much I automatically loved her ministry with Choices of the Heart. We need more women and mentors like her.
The primary focus of your ministry is geared towards reaching young people and the youth of this generation. With your high energy approach to ministry, what message do you want the young people to learn the most from what you do as a group?
I not only want the youth to grow in their love and knowledge of God but to also inspire them to use their own gifts, to enter their calling and/or ministry.
Piggybacking on that last question, as a teenager, you were very active in church attending Bible studies, youth groups and church services. At this time you many times would lead worship. This is something that you continue to do even today with your music ministry. There have been many definitions of worship that I’ve come across over years, but I always love asking this to people with a heart for worship: how would you define worship, what would you say is true worship and why is worship so important?
I would define worship as first a true repentance towards God. It’s a heart issue that then works itself out to how you live your life. Worship changes our whole perspective of who we are and who God is. It’s a humbling experience that brings us to what we were created to do. We were created to worship God not only in song but in everything.
Getting back to your music, a strong theme throughout the CD is the idea of anxiety, brokenness, fear and pain. In the song Layer by Layer you talk about how there was a time in your life where you were struggling with anxiety, fear, and understanding where God was in all of it. However, through this process you realized that just like an onion, God was peeling you and refining you layer by layer to be the best you could be. Could you talk about this song and ultimately what you were learning about God and His love for you as you wrote it?
Breaking Me Down as a whole is about the sanctification process. God uses all sorts of means to make us more Christ-like. In my case it happened to be an anxiety disorder. I couldn’t go anywhere without this feeling of impending doom. I had to learn to trust God that whatever happened, whether good or bad, everything was going to be alright. I still struggle with the disorder but it drives me to pray very hard and ultimately draw closer to God.
Another song that deals with the topic fear and brokenness is the song “Father Song.” The lyrics are an honesty cry for help in a dark, lonely desperate time of life. In the song you share three different examples of hurt and pain and the masks that were put on in order to show that everything was ok. However, deep down things aren’t. Could you talk about this song? Were these examples based off of real life stories or if not, could you share some words of advice and encouragement to someone who might be going through a situation in their own life similar to the ones in the song?
The lyrics of the song were actually written by a mother whose son is autistic. She wrote a book called, “Why is Collin like that?” that deals with the pain siblings feel when their sister/brother has autism. The song is a prayer to God the Father asking Him to help families whose children are autistic. Autism is a very popular and growing issue. The song is not only for them but all sorts of broken families. In the end, the prayer is for husbands and fathers to be true, godly men of their homes.
This interview has been pretty serious, so I’d like to liven it up with a few fun light hearted questions in a segment I’d like to call “Off The Cuff.” For this next part answer them as honestly as you can with the first answer that comes to mind.
Dez is short for…Desiree
Name an instrument that you’d like to learn how to play that you don’t know how to play yet?Violin
Favorite store to shop at? Macy’s
Favorite muppet? Fozzy
Better singing show, X-factor or The Voice? The Voice
Are you a morning person or a night owl? Night Owl
Most amazing place you’ve traveled to? Switzerland
Favorite Female Bible Character and why? Ruth – because even though she was Moabitess, a complete outcast, God used her in the story of redemption.
Favorite Worship Song? You are my strength – Hillsong
Cookies or brownies? Brownies!
Favorite Judge on American Idol? (past or present) Randy Jackson
Getting back to a more serious note, speaking of American Idol, you recently had the opportunity to be a judge for the Gloucester County Idol Contest. Could you talk about this experience and how you became a judge for this event?
A friend of ours is a student at Gloucester County Community College and knew I taught music. He actually hosted the contest as well. It was a lot of fun. I felt like Paula Abdul!
Now when you were younger, you taught voice lessons for the School of Rock and you also work with your husband to teach voice and record artists and groups at your own Music Studio Musically Speaking. If someone is interested in voice lessons or getting their music recorded with you, what’s the best way to go about hiring you?
Call us! 856-228-0208. We would love to set up a meeting with you.
“Now I Can Sleep Tonight” and “You Never Leave,” share a common theme of God always being there every step of the way no matter what you might face in life, good, bad or ugly. Could you talk about these songs and share the comfort and peace you felt when you realized that God was there all along with forgiveness and love?
Now I Can Sleep Tonight holds such a special place in my heart. The fall of 2010 was one of the hardest seasons of my life so far, which is also when I penned the song. I actually wrote it for someone else but in the end it felt like my own story of failure and forgiveness. God was telling me that everything is going to be OK, to just wait and have faith. I was hanging on by a thread. The song You Never Leave is all about falling on the rock that is Jesus. Brokenness and humility is what God desires. If we fall on Him He is faithful to never let go.
Now we’ve been talking a lot about your music. For those reading this that want to get a copy where can we find your music?
Amazon.com, itunes and Dezchilds.com
What’s in the future for Dez Childs?
A second album and some more Christmas music!
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the audience reading this right now?
If you are on the right path with Jesus, keep going. If you are on the wrong path with the world, stop, turn around and get on the right path. The world can only offer heartache upon heartache, where as Jesus offers life and that abundantly!
Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedules to do this interview with me. It has been so awesome getting to learn about your heart for God, your music and your ministry. 🙂
Tim Ewing is the founder of Kindred Concert Ministries. You can learn more about Kindred by going to www.facebook.com/kindredconcerts or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dez Childs is a contemporary Christian singer/songwriter from South Jersey. Her debut CD “Heart Cry” can be found on Amazon, itunes, or on her website. For more information about Dez you can go to her website at: www.dezchilds.com
To read other interviews you can go to: https://www.facebook.com/notes/kindred-concerts-for-christ/kindred-concerts-interviews/452899621425964