Listen to These Old Rough Drafts of My Songs!

Lately I’ve been absolutely SOAKING in nostalgia (reminiscing about RSW last year, mostly), and one of my favorite things to do is listen to the first versions of my now-finished songs and remember their humble beginnings. When I make music, it typically starts as a rough draft that’s terribly mixed but full of potential, and then goes through a few rounds of changes until I like how it sounds. Oftentimes, the first draft sounds pretty different.

For those of you who might be interested, here are some “first drafts” of a few of my songs. Compare them to the finished product and see how different they are!




This one deserves an explanation, lol… the first version of this song was one that I made on my dad’s computer when I was a young teenager, probably 13 or 14. I used only pre-made loops in Garageband, and the song was originally called “Conquest.” I had no plans to ever revisit it, until one day I made a YouTube video where I tried to re-make an old song of mine (you can watch that video here). I ended up liking the new version so much that I sent it to my friend JoJo to add some stuff and mix it, and then I released it for real under my WAVECAT alias. Fun!


Fun fact: the original Ableton file in my computer for this song was “i’m sweaty” before I settled on a real song name. You’re welcome.

Love Letters: The Story Behind "Walk With Me"

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WALK WITH ME

The second song on my EP, Love Letters, is called “Walk With Me,” and it features my friend Payton Epperson on the lead vocal. This is probably the most significant song on this album, and sitting down to write about the story behind it feels sobering. Words might not do this one justice.

Payton was one of my classmates in RSW last year. Despite our vastly different personalities, we somehow became BEST friends over the course of the school year, and when it came time to write a song for our songwriting class final project, we both felt led to co-write together.

A few months prior, I had gotten a prophetic word over my life about the stillness of evergreen trees. I was told that I’m like an evergreen tree, and the Lord’s presence and care and affection are like a steady soft falling snow - the tree doesn’t have to do anything to receive that. Since Payton and I had never co-written with anyone before and didn’t know where to start, I suggested that we write a song about evergreen trees.

We got together a few times to work on the song, and we just weren’t feeling it. Writing a second verse felt impossible. We kept trying to push through the lack of clarity and inspiration, but weeks went by and we just could not figure out what to do. We ultimately decided to scrap our song and start from scratch, even though we only had a couple weeks left until the due date.

We were very intentional about inviting the Holy Spirit into the writing process and getting out of his way this time. We prayed and surrendered our striving right off the bat. I then sat at my keyboard in the corner, took a deep breath, and started softly playing in the key of A flat as Payton got up and began pacing back and forth at the other end of my living room. I recorded a loop of a chord progression that was hittin’ me in the FEELS and just let it play. I took a deep breath and played a melody (which ultimately became the verse melody), and almost immediately, Payton started writing in her notebook on the other end of the room as I played various melodies over the chord progression loop.

After a few minutes of me playing a few different melodies and Payton prayerfully pacing and writing, she came back over to me and said “Can we talk about what just happened?” She showed me what she had written down. We sang through what she had, rearranged and refined a couple of lines, decided on a melody for the choruses, and the song was basically done. When we put it all together and sang through it all for the first time, we were FLOORED; literally, we couldn’t help but get down on the floor and lay there as we read the lyrics over and over. It felt like a love letter written straight from God to us… a letter that painted a clear picture of the Father walking with us through a beautiful scene with evergreen trees, rivers, blue skies.

If you’re interested, here’s a voice memo of the whole process. You can hear me playing different melodies at the beginning, and we discuss it and begin shaping the song in the second half of the recording:

We had no idea the impact that this song would have on our own lives over the coming months. Here are just a few of the many stories:

A week before our song presentation, we recorded a voice memo of the song to turn in for school. That same day, within a matter of hours, I started breaking out in hives so bad that I ended up in the ER. Payton sat with me in the waiting room and tried to distract me from the nerves. She pulled out her phone and we listened to the voice memo of our song, and it calmed us both down instantly. We both talked about how the song felt like a gift from the Lord to help us through the whole ER experience, and it was PERFECT timing that we happened to record it right before all the scary stuff started happening.

A few days after that, some crazy unexpected life changes happened all of a sudden in my life, and this song was what kept reminding me of the Lord’s steady presence and love during all of the craziness, uncertainty, and grief.

I listened to this song on repeat on the day I got baptized, which was by far the most significant moment of my life. (You can read about my baptism here)

The first line of this song is “there’s joy in waiting.” This summer was a time of painful waiting for both me and for Payton, and we both shared with each other multiple times that this song was a much-needed source of comfort through it all. It helped me to remember that the Lord was intentional and had something good in store for us during the waiting season.

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“Walk With Me” continues to be extremely meaningful for both Payton and me as we go forward into new adventures this fall. It keeps speaking into our circumstances strangely specifically and providing comfort and peace exactly where we need it. This song is truly a gift from the Lord.


Love Letters is a 3-song EP consisting of songs I wrote during my time in the Radiant School of Worship. Each song is written from the perspective of God.

Love Letters: The Story Behind "You Are Safe"

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YOU ARE SAFE

“You Are Safe” is the first song on my new EP “Love Letters,” and it is also the first song that I wrote while I was a student at the Radiant School of Worship.

Sometime within the first month of school, we had a 2-day retreat where our leaders taught us how to listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit, write down what we heard, and make sure it lines up with scripture. They worked with us individually and guided us through it so well. By the end of the 2 days, I had heard the loving voice of God for the first time, and had a whole journal page to show for it. It changed the way I prayed, journaled, and spent time with God in general, which ultimately was a game-changer in my daily life.

One day, about a week after this retreat, I was spending time with the Lord in my loft early in the morning, and he clearly spoke words of love and identity over me. I wrote them all down in my journal. I remember crying a lot because I had never thought of God as a kind & attentive Father before, but the words he said were so full of gentleness and kindness.

I closed my journal and began to go about my day. While I was folding laundry and listening to instrumental music, a new melody popped into my head, and I found myself singing the words I had written down. I thought, “whoa, I think God is giving me a song.” I rushed to my guitar, opened my journal to the words I had just written down, and began to sing the words out loud.

Within an hour or two, the majority of “You Are Safe” was written. It happened SO naturally that I almost don’t remember the process I went through to write it. I jokingly tell people that I blacked out while writing it, and in a way I think that’s kind of true, haha. I quickly recorded it into a voice memo on my phone, and then spent a few hours that afternoon recording a real demo of the song. It was important to me to have a recording of the song so I could go listen to it whenever I struggled with identity or insecurity.

The song became a monument that I continually went back to, for months after I wrote it. I listened to the recording constantly, sometimes just having it on repeat in my car whenever I drove anywhere. It put me at ease every time I was anxious. Besides a few exceptions, I didn’t show it to anyone because it felt like a special gift from God to me, and I told myself I’d never release it publicly unless God told me to (which he later did; I’ll explain that in a second). But once in a while, he’d put it on my heart to share with specific individual people. I fondly remember one particular instance where my friend Audrey and I laid on the floor in her living room on a rainy fall day as I played the recording of the song for her, and it was such a wonderful peaceful moment.

On Thanksgiving, Cory Asbury and his wife Anna invited me and a couple other RSW students over to eat dinner with them (which is SO KIND and I still can’t get over that). After we ate, Cory took us to his piano and showed us a song he was working on. I ended up showing him and Anna my song, You Are Safe. Cory made some really great suggestions that I ended up using, like adding the word “here” in the last lines of the choruses and using that same line in the bridge. So, of course, I sometimes take advantage of the opportunity to tell people “I co-wrote with Cory Asbury once.” :)

The final stage of developing this song was recording it for real, which I did sometime in March or April. I made the decision to change the instrumentation to just piano, unlike the guitar-based demo. The soft felt piano sound that I used in the final recording was almost exactly the way Cory’s piano sounded when I played the song for him and Anna.

Deciding to publicly release this song was surprisingly difficult for me. At the time, it was the most intimate song I had ever written, and it truly did feel like a sweet little secret that the Lord and I got to share together. But after about 5 or 6 months of enjoying the secret, I felt the Lord start to put on my heart that a time is coming when the words of this song are meant to be shared. The thing that finally convinced me to do it was seeing the positive impact it had on every friend I showed it to. The song already had a few testimonies attached to it by the time I even considered releasing it - God was already using the song to speak to my friends on a deep level, which is so cool. It makes me excited to see how it might speak to others too.

You Are Safe will always remind me of those first few months of RSW - a time when my whole life was being turned upside down and I was experiencing the very real love of God for the first time. It’ll always remind me of the special moments with friends when I shared the song with them, and the moment with Cory and Anna when I played it for them. Most of all, it’ll always remind me of the first few times that I heard the voice of God, and how much it changed my life.


Love Letters is a 3-song EP consisting of songs I wrote during my time in the Radiant School of Worship. Each song is written from the perspective of God.

New Song "Sun" Available Now!

Album art by Micaela Frakes-Zieger

Album art by Micaela Frakes-Zieger

This song is massively different than any song I’ve ever released before, not just in terms of its sound, but the heart and story behind the song also. It’s a monument and testament to everything God has done in my life during this incredible season of my life.

In the past 7 months, I learned how to love and pour into others, I discovered what it’s like to walk in real joy and freedom, I found my voice and my confidence, I was miraculously healed from debilitating daily headaches, I walked through some really tough circumstances and discovered whole new levels of God’s love in the process, I found freedom from deeply-rooted issues and childhood wounds that I always thought I’d struggle with for the rest of my life, and most importantly, I entered into a very real friendship with Jesus, which has been the greatest thing ever. This song reflects and represents all of this, and that’s why it means so much to me. Every word was squeezed out of a season of very real growing pains, learning curves, and new revelation.

Friends, it would mean the world to me if you played this song and really listened hard to the lyrics. “Sun” by Alanah Sabatini can be found on iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, and wherever else you get your music online.


“The Lord God is a sun.” - Psalm 84:11

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things.” - Psalm 103:2-5

RSW Blog #2: I guess I accidentally prophesied this whole thing

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Back in November, I released my second full-length album, "Overflow." This project consists of 9 songs written over the course of 2016 and 2017, and it was the very first time I wrote lyrics to my songs and released it into the world. While it was a significant milestone in my musical career to release my own lyrics, at the time I didn't think it was any more than just a bunch of words thrown together. But somehow, God had plans to use it and turn it into much more than that.

It wasn't until this summer that I started noticing a trend as I listened to the songs in Overflow. As I began preparing to move for the very first time to an unfamiliar city, I immediately saw a shockingly strong connection between the lyrics I wrote and what I was feeling in anticipation of RSW. I wrote these songs way before I had any idea what 2018 would look like, let alone what I might be doing or feeling.

Because I am a list person, let me outline for you exactly what I mean:

  • The song September was written in September 2016, when I simultaneously started at a new job and joined a new band. The only lyrics are: "I thought I knew my plans, but I was wrong. I thought this was my home, but now I'm gone."
    Fast forward to now... I was sure of my plans to go into marketing, but I was wrong - God is definitely leading me straight to a School of Worship. And I thought Metro Detroit would be my home for a while, but I'll be gone in less than a month.
    "I thought I knew my plans, but I was wrong. I thought this was my home, but now I'm gone."
    Plus, I'm moving and starting school in September. Perfect, right?
  • Past The Wall is a song that I wrote right after deciding to let go of some toxic friendships, stop caring what they thought of me, and really embrace who I'm meant to be. The whole theme of the song is basically that life is safer inside your expectations and comfort zone, but when you leave those boundaries, you find life and color and joy all around you.
    As I prepare for RSW, I find so much encouragement in those lyrics. Sure, leaving the safety of my home and friends is scary as heck, but things are going to be so much more exciting when I'm free from the walls of my comfort zone.
    "To be real, back inside the walls it's safer, but it's clear you never meant for me to hide behind my fear. So I left it all behind, and I can see you're here with me."
  • Restarting Point is an instrumental song I composed in the beginning of 2016 right after releasing my first album. RSW marks a completely new chapter in my life and I can't help but mark it as a fresh restarting point in my life.
  • Moment By Moment... Alright, listen guys. Moving has been stressing me the frick out, and it has been just a long to-do list of things that give me anxiety when I think about them (like figuring out financial stuff and getting new tires on my car, for example). But God has been teaching me to take each day & each moment as it comes, without worrying about the next. Before I know it, my long list of stress gets much shorter as I take things one at a time, moment-by-moment. There's a lot more room to trust God with the future when your main focus is on the present moment.
  • Shift actually made me cry the night I found out about RSW in the first place. After finding out about RSW in April and feeling a strong push to apply, I felt a lot of fear and doubt - I kept asking, "is this really God speaking to me? I can't do something like this. This can't possibly be right."
    I spent some time with God that evening, and as I was shuffling a worship playlist on my phone, Shift came on. The entire song's lyrics suddenly felt like God speaking directly to me. Here's a few of them:
    "Ready for change, for something more. You lead the way, I step through the door."
    "I'm casting off my doubt and fear; as I step out, I feel you near."

    "I'm facing fears. I'm crossing seas. You dry my tears. I'm breaking free."
    It was mind-blowing. Still is mind-blowing.
  • New Light became the cry of my heart right after I found out I got accepted into RSW. I mean, seriously, who am I that God would call me to all of this and take such good care of me every step of the way? I don't deserve any of it.
    "Oh, who am I that you'd give me this life? All my days I will sing for your glory."
  • Oh man, Overflow always has meant a ton to me. It's the album's title track for a reason. The melody, feel, and even the key it's in all resonate so strongly with my soul. I always meant for it to represent an outpouring of God's love, similar to a person standing under a waterfall - and as I navigate the preparation for RSW, it's reaching a whole new level of that love. Every step of this moving process keeps falling into place as I take steps forward in obedience, and I can't explain any of it except that it's Jesus providing and caring for me. I'm experiencing an actual overflow of His love over my life to a degree that doesn't even make sense. Listening to Overflow only makes me become overwhelmed with gratitude and awe.
 

I know this blog post was a lot to take in, but I really wanted to share it with you. One of my favorite parts of being a creative person is that the things I create ultimately come from God, not me - so sometimes, he just completely takes over my music and turns it into something that I'll need to hear later. It's bizarre and wonderful, and it's just another reminder that I'm literally nothing without God.

If you haven't heard any of these songs yet, they're on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Bandcamp, and basically everywhere else. Or you can click the button below to listen :)

Reckless Love Cover to be Featured on Reverbnation

It is with great excitement that I share this news with you: My new cover of Reckless Love, which has only been out for less than a week, earned a featured spot on ReverbNation's homepage AND caught the attention of their senior curating team!

Songs that earn a 7.5 (out of 10) rating or above on a crowd review get to be featured, and my Reckless Love cover made the cut with a 7.6 rating. My song is in the 93rd percentile of all ranked songs on ReverbNation, which is a big accomplishment! My feature slot will run for a week, starting on October 23rd.

Being noticed by ReverbNation's curation team is also very exciting. Being curated can open doors to all kinds of opportunities in the music industry, including (but not limited to) record deals, brand partnerships, and promotion to millions of listeners. I'm not sure what (if anything) will come from this, but it's a sign that I'm doing something right and that people are enjoying my music.

I'm very humbled and thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to me lately, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the next year takes me. To whoever may be reading this, thank you so much for supporting me and believing in me!