Sharpening the Arrows of Our Quiver—An Interview With Louisa Wendorff
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
At our last global conference we were thrilled to host the Wendorff family and their daughter Louisa, a Nashville-based musician who’s caught the attention of Grammy-award winning singer, Taylor Swift that has opened up doors for greater influence. From their family to yours, learn more about the transformational habits that prepare you to walk out your dreams with success.
Raising Children who will stand before kings—or queens of pop music!
To become an agent of transformation, you need to think differently from the crowd. If you are a parent, one of those ways is to see your children as keys to advance the Kingdom of God rather than fearfully sheltering them from the world. If you are a young person, you can think differently by realizing that it is through honoring your parents rather than rebelling, that you can become a true revolutionary.
During the family night of our Global Conference last October we had a wonderful example of parents and children partnering together to be world changers. Dave and Kristen Wendorff shared how Harvest Evangelism and the International Transformation Network have influenced their perspective on parenting. They shared how they gained the understanding that one of the primary roles of a parent is to speak life into their children and encourage their potential. After years of cultivating this culture within their family, they have watched their kids gain confidence, poise and vision for what God has put inside of their hearts to take to their sphere of influence.
From this place of partnership and loving support, Louisa, the Wendorff’s oldest daughter, had set her heart to bring love and redemption into the music industry, an area many parents would either dismiss as impossible or discourage for fear of the consequences of fame. Instead of cutting down Louisa’s visionary spirit with fear or doubt they partnered with God, seeking Him for his timing and provision for her career, because they believed it wasn’t just her dream but God’s dream for her!
During the conference Louisa sang the title song from her EP “Arrow,” a song inspired from a gift of an arrow necklace that reminds her to always pursue her “true north.” This small token has become foundational to her mission statement as an artist. Just as the arrow rises above the skyline unhindered, we are intended to be shot into the world to influence and empower others to walk in the fullness of who they were created to be.
For Louisa becoming famous was never the focal point of her journey, but little did she know that only a few weeks after our conference her acoustic mashup of two popular Taylor Swift songs would catch the attention of the Grammy-award winning singer. Swift tweeted on Louisa’s video with just one word, “OBSESSED!” and within a matter of hours her video became a YouTube sensation gaining over 17 million views within the month. Top radio stations and leading industry publishing houses such as Time, Billboard and Glamour rushed to share, tweet and retweet her story. She was even invited to preform on the E! Red Carpet during the Live Countdown to the Grammys. Album sales from “Arrow” have climbed to the #2 spot on iTunes singer/songwriter charts while doors have begun to open for future creative collaborations.
Alex Heigl of People Magazine even went as far to say,
Taylor Swift anoints new favorite mashup …
What an interesting choice of words.
Taylor Swift Mash-up with Devin Dawson
We were able to catch up with Louisa for an interview where she shared with us her perspective on the new found spotlight, the creative process and her core values that have prepared her for this new adventure.
TOW: What defines success for you right now?
L: Meaning and purpose. One of the most exciting things has been hearing how my music influences others. I’ve been so touched by the response of those who follow my music. I get to hear how I have inspired them to pursue their dreams, to learn guitar or how my songs have strengthened them during difficult situations. If I can help someone else walk into who they are, if I can be part of making their dream come true – I’m all about it. That’s success. It’s not about me, yes it’s my name being thrown around, but it’s my team, the people I’m working with—their rolls are just as important as mine—and if through that we can touch others, that’s what success is.
TOW: At Transform Our World, we talk a lot about making the world a better place, how do you want to influence people inside and within the industry, to make the world a better place?
L: Mostly, by being myself and I think so far that has inspired people. I just want to be grateful and caring whether I’m talking to a fan or professional. For example, during a recent interview with a fashion magazine, I stopped to ask the girl interviewing me about herself; I wanted to get to know her because I think she is awesome too! I didn’t think anything of it, but she was surprised and told me it made her day.
Also, perfection is what the industry expects and my message is different—it’s okay to be raw and vulnerable by being yourself, making mistakes, and to not listening to the lies that you hear but instead, speaking life and truth, to yourself and others. I want to be a role model for young girls especially to love themselves fully for who they are, as is. I’m not perfect, I have a lot of things that I want to work on and I want to use those things to be vulnerable and maybe help someone else who is struggling with the same issues.
Being that the music industry is so competitive I want to partner with others and be excited for their successes not trying to be someone more important because I’m “famous” now. I believe that’s the essence of my faith and of my personal relationship with God—to live in community and connect with others.
At this point I’m so honored to have the foundation from my family, friends, faith and upbringing. I’m just so grateful that people and companies would reach out to me, that I can be part of what God is already doing. I just want to stay in that place and I believe that will influence others to do the same.
TOW: What’s your creative process and your secret to producing excellent work?
L: My creative process comes out of emotion/feeling. I typically begin with a melody or lyrics that really pull on my heart. When I get inspired the ideas start flowing. That is where the idea of this “mashup” came from. I wanted to make something new and different that was reflective of my style. Blank Space & Style were two of my favorite songs on Taylor Swift’s album; I began playing with mixing these two songs together. It was a very unconventional move for an artist—and I worked really hard to make it excellent and have it reflect my own personality. I thought it would be cool if Devin Dawson and I sang the lyrics at the same time, so I coached him a bit and we were able to create this beautiful harmony between the two of us.
Also, when it comes to my work everything is very thought through and playful. I’m an artist and a partner in an entertainment label. Everything we create is sent through a filter of our branding, making sure it is consistent to our identity and voice – everything – interviews, songs they all go through this filter to make sure they reflect our DNA.
TOW. How has your family’s connection to Transform Our World and the International Transformation Network (ITN) prepared you for this season?
L. I attended my first transformation conference in Argentina when I was in 7th grade. I actually sang there on stage. It was there that my faith in God came alive and it opened my eyes to how big God is. I learned a lot about faith and trust, not stopping or despising because of small beginnings and using every step whether I failed or succeeded as a learning opportunity. It allowed me to dream big with God and realize that my plans were small compared to what He wanted to do.
TOW. You mentioned that you have had resistance and opposition from others as you’ve set out to accomplish your dreams, how do you stay confident and focused on moving forward?
L. Yes, I’m sure it’s true of everyone, there are always people who will try to discourage you or outright resist you if you dream about doing something big. The people who criticize you are often not the people you expect. Sometimes well meaning friends who don’t understand what you’re trying to do can be very resistant. For me, I’ve found it critical to make sure I surrounded myself with positive people who are filled with hope and have the same vision. Also, I have to stay grounded in my faith. My team and I pray together a lot. We need to maintain our connection with God to keep our true north and not compromise. Every time I walk into the studio, I give the whole process to God. It takes the pressure off of me; I don’t worry about success or failure; that’s His role not mine. My roll is just to be faithful to who I am and what I feel called to do.
TOW. It seems like your parents have been instrumental in creating a culture for you to grow and explore. How would you encourage parents to shepherd their own little “dreamers”?
L. My parents let me walk through things without overprotecting me. There weren’t a lot of harsh rules but instead they taught us how to hear from the Lord for ourselves. They were always there to help, guide and correct us but they really empowered us to take ownership of our faith.
They also disciplined us but it was in a very loving, forgiving and supportive environment. If I made a mistake, it was about moving on from there not dwelling in condemnation and shame. They spoke life into me to the point that I fully believed in myself, that I could do something myself not just always rely on them.