Roots and Wings: Inspiring Hearts with God’s Promises
Jamie Hilton ’03 released her first album, “Roots & Wings,” this past fall. It’s comprised of original lullabies written for children, about God’s promises for their lives. Its goal: “to guide little hearts to experience God’s gigantic love” – something Hilton found to be transformative in her own life.
“[Having roots and wings] can change the way we live,” Hilton says. “If we can understand that the Lord loves us, then we are going to be courageous enough to do what He calls us to do – because we trust Him.”
Hilton had often thought about writing music. In addition to her day job, working at The Copy Image in Granger, the communication major has spent the past eight years serving as a worship leader at her church, Oasis Granger. At Bethel, she was involved in choir and music ministry teams. So, it seemed natural to want to write worship songs.
But God had other plans. Hilton wrote her first lullaby when a close friend was diagnosed with preeclampsia, a condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure that can cause complications for both the mother and baby. She penned “Little One Please Know,” based on Psalm 139:14-16, depicting God’s great love for this little life.
As more friends started having babies, Hilton continued to write songs inspired by little ones. But the idea for recording her songs for a broader audience came about shortly after the Sandy Hook shootings in December of 2012. In media coverage following the horrific event, Hilton saw the fear on the children’s faces. She was reminded of fears she had as a child, and how music helped her.
“That’s when I thought rather than just writing songs for my friends, I should record them to allow more children to hear songs inspired by God’s promises,” she says. “If [kids] had songs planted in their hearts, then they’d know God is with them.”
After she finished writing the songs for the album, she recorded at a local studio, but wasn’t satisfied with the quality. She looked for a producer in Nashville and set up an Indigogo account to help fund the project. However, she was only able to raise about a quarter of the capital needed to produce her record.
Undeterred, Hilton looked for other ways she might make this dream a reality. She connected with Matt Esau, adjunct professor of graphic design at Bethel, who was looking to start recording and producing music. Though, initially, they planned to just test out one song, Hilton and Esau ended up doing the whole project together.
“Matt connected with a professor from Notre Dame who has a [professional] recording studio in his basement,” Hilton explains. “We recorded from Granger. It was a definite God-thing.”
Hilton’s big dream for the project is not limited to selling albums. She wants to get it into the hands of as many children as possible and has even thought of translating it into Arabic and other languages for children in Muslim and Communist countries.
She says she would love to sell it in Target and see it in every major church community, adding resources for parents and churches to accompany the album. But she’s quick to point out, “Because this is the Lord’s idea, I don’t want to put any limits on it.”
One thing is for sure. Hilton’s music, rooted in God’s promises, inspires hope for the next generation.