Music an Inspriration of Life - October 11, 2013
By: Jennifer Goodson for Brake5
I want to introduce you to, Coty Sloan, a friend of mine who is an exceptionally talented violinist and vocalist. Coty Sloan is an amazing talented man of God who walks in humility and the anointing of God. I met Coty in 2008 while on a ministry trip to a little town in Minnesota. I will say that after my visit to this seemingly small town I walked away with more inspiration, more creativity, more understanding of the ‘out of the box’ art that needs to happen within the Body of Christ.
Coty’s new album, Anchor of Hope, will be released in 4 days and I wanted to give all my readers of Brake 5 the opportunity to get know Coty on a personal level and know his heart towards God and his talent. I hope you enjoy the small candid interview below and are encouraged by what Coty has to share. Be blessed . . .
Coty Sloan uses music to paint pictures. It ’s an unusual way to describe it, but that ’s exactly what his music does. You know you have found something unique when a sound or song is capable of saying something more powerful than words could express, or when a melody evokes an emotion that actions could not produce. As Coty explains, “The beauty found in seeing sound move through people and impact their hearts, it is the power of God, moving through music and song. I’m so grateful to have discovered this for myself, and I am impacted in a profound way every time I am given the privilege to see that work through and impact others who are listening.” Coty resides in Dallas, Texas and aside from music, he owns a small business called ‘Sloan Travel Co,’ which provides people the opportunity to tour the Celtic Isles of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, experiencing and being impacted by the wonder of God’s beautiful creation in the earth.To hear Coty’s music or to visit his website please click on these links:Website: www.cotysloan.com
To order music: https://squareup.com/market/coty-sloan-music
What do you feel is the role you play in the Body of Christ?
My role in the body of Christ has actually become more simplified the further along on the journey I have been. The long and short of it is that I believe that as a musician and worship leader, it is my responsibility to create an atmosphere where Jesus can come and do whatever He sees fit to do. Sometimes He’s specific with the purpose behind a song or with what He’s wanting to do within a service or house meeting, but all in all, I create and write music from a place of personal experience; where when the heart begins to open, healing can come, peace can come, and hope can come. I simply do my best to create an atmosphere where God is welcome and where people feel comfortable to be real and transparent with their Creator.
What would you suggest to any upcoming artist who is pursuing their dream of wanting to become the ‘next best’ or to someone who wants to be used of God with their talents?
Being the “next best?” That’s always a scary thought because that involves comparison. As an artist, you have to have conviction. Honestly, when it comes to pursuing your dreams, get inspiration from Holy Spirit, and then RUN! There have been avenues I’ve pursued that have worked and those that haven’t, but in the long run I’ve never been disappointed because I tried and failed, only if I didn’t put myself out there, and try.'
What would you say to encourage them to fulfill their dream?
Stay pure, be mold-able, and remain obedient. The road to a fulfilled dream may be a long one. I first dreamed about and wrote my first song for ‘Anchor Of Hope,’ over 5 years ago. It didn’t happen overnight. There was a process that happened along the way that enabled it to be what it is today. I think that the effectiveness and reach of this album will be much further than I ever dreamed it would be in the beginning stages, simply because I had to let God have it, over and over again. It’s so easy to get vision and then clench your fist around “YOUR DREAM” so tightly, trying not to let anything slip out of your control, but dreams fulfilled in partnership with the Lord… they are so much more rewarding and effective. There really is no comparison.
What would you say to worship leaders or those who aspire to become a worship leader?
Love God, love people. That’s kind of the same recipe to having a successful life in Christ as well, but I have been extremely patient, and it was God’s molding in me. I have a real desire to connect with God in worship through music; and it brings my heart so much joy to see other people connect with that desire.
I’m not at all trying to become the next big thing and mold myself into some mega worship-recording artist; I need to be “me,” or else it’s all a sham. How do you sing a song that you really have no grasp or understanding of? Being a worship leader is more than singing songs. It’s about real communion with the Creator of the universe and assisting people into exploring the depths of God, which happens as He reveals Himself to us in that place of worship.
How do you deal with pride, selfishness within your art form?
Whew, Jen, you’re keeping me real grounded with this one Well, simply put, none of this is mine. He has given me a gift, and if for a moment I slip into a trap of being selfish with it, or prideful in it, I know that He can and will remove Himself from it. He’s the prize I’m not. People express their gratitude for my craft, and I express my appreciation for their kind words, but it can’t be about me, or it loses the real power. There is an opportunity to reach the very depths of people’s hearts and souls, and to see eternal change happen, and that is only due to what the Holy Spirit is doing, the minute I take ownership of it, it becomes something that will momentarily touch someone’s heart, but fades away in a moment. Why have something momentary when your effect can last a lifetime?
When and how did you first become interested in music?
It was at a school assembly, and a string quartet came and played for the entire school. I was in the 4th grade and thankfully young enough to still know what the ‘Pink Panther’ cartoon was. Well, the quartet played the theme song, and I went home and told my parents I wanted to play violin. Surprised at my decision, they agreed, and that is where it all began.
How long have you been playing music?
Last month began my 20th year of playing violin, (that’s so weird to even say, let alone think about), and as far as singing goes, I’ve been doing that all my life, but not really publicly until the release of this album.
What are your musical influences?
I love creativity! So, my influences and admiration for creativity is vast. Currently I’m really enjoying Loreen (an incredible talent and singer/songwriter from Sweden), The Lone Bellow, Colton Avery, Andrew Erhenzeller (seriously, do yourself a favor and buy his album now), Emili Sande. Then I kind of have a tier of artists who I highly respect, and they include: Sara Groves (one of my all time favorite songwriters… I covered 2 of her songs on my album coming out,) Hayley Westenra, David Phelps, (incredible voices), Adele, Laura Hackett, Brian & Jenn Johnson.
Is anyone in your family gifted musically?
In my immediate family, surprisingly not really. My mother and father both were not musicians, although they both love music, they did not pursue it themselves. Dad dabbled a little bit on the guitar, but you go a little further down the line and my Grandfather does play the guitar quite well.
Where have you traveled, played music throughout your life?
I love to travel. As you know Jen, I own a travel company called ‘Sloan Travel Co’ and we do worship tours to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. (www.sloantravel.co) – Then I have also been to Belize,the Philippines, Canada and Mexico. Then I’ve been all over the United States, but, in November, I am going to be touring New Zealand for about 3 ½ weeks and I could not be any more excited if I tried to be.
What have been your best and worst experiences?
Wow, ummmm, (thinking time), one of my very best experiences was when I was part of a worship team, and we were ministering at a conference in Bacolod, Philippines. There were about 500-600 people and we were hitting hour three, of our worship set. Everyone was on the floor crying out for God to come and move in their nation, one that has been plagued by political corruption. So, as we’re playing music, we just stop because people are fully engaged in prayer, we’re exhausted, and together we’re just entering a place of deep intercession. I’m not laying on my back on the stage and I begin to hear a noise coming from the ceiling of the room. It’s really soft but then starts growing in intensity. It sounds like a choir singing in a three-part harmony. I look out, and everyone is praying and declaring things over their nation, and I look across to my friend Sarah and I point to my ear, as to say…. “Do you hear that?” She nods yes, and I lay back down. For the next 30 minutes I listened as an unknown number of angels sang above the room. It was one of the best experiences of my life to date. Something happened that day. Something significant.
Worst experience… well, let’s just say when people, including myself, are no stranger to hurt, pain, and struggle. I think all too often, we’re programmed that as Christians, we can’t have human responses to things, or as public figures, you need to hold it together. I’m trying to break that down, especially with where I am headed musically. I am no stranger to hurt, as many of the people reading this aren’t a stranger to it either, but my worst experiences have helped to produce a product that I believe is going to bring healing and hope to a lot of people. So, it is with the Lord, that he is so very capable, and it’s even his pleasure to redeem even our worst experiences.
Tell us about Anchor of Hope.
I’m so excited about this project. It’s felt like a LONG time coming, so the fact that we are just days away, is mind-blowing to me. Anchor of Hope is an album of songs that deal with the reality that life isn’t always easy, but that Hope can always be found. It is a collection of songs that I hope accomplish a few specific objectives. That people find hope, that the character of God is further established in the hearts of people, and that it spurs the heart to want to worship.
Anchor of Hope is a story, both mine, and the listeners. It comes from my own journey, as well as those close to me, so . . . it’s quite personal in a lot of regards. Each song has it’s own style, own message, and own purpose. The most perplexing thing is that it really doesn’t fit into one genre, but it all works together and reflects me as an artist. I just think that in the day and age we are living, people need to be resolute about finding their hope in Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 6:18-19, it says that for those who have fled to God for refuge, they can have full confidence knowing that God is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. God promised that He would be that for us, so it’s all about anchoring ourselves to what is eternal, what is steady, and what is secure.
What do you think is the message behind the album?
“That everything will be made beautiful. That hope can always be found. That there is purpose in the pain. That the journey is extraordinary. That God being sovereign and unexplainable is an okay thing. Hope is here for people everywhere, because HE IS HERE! HE IS EVERYWHERE! It just takes a heart willing to admit it needs Him, and then, in an unexpecting moment, there He is ready to rush in like a flood to heal that broken place.”
What does it take to create an album?
TIME. DETERMINATION. ENERGY. MONEY. It takes a lot. I was really grateful to have the financial support from 90 people who pledged on Kickstarter to help get the album going. The workload behind the scenes is so intense at times, but the moment I get to hear from someone about what it did for them… it all becomes worth it. While I believe that people will find hope in the moment, I’m believing for even greater numbers to find an be anchored to hope in Christ that changes the entirety of their journey with Him.
What is your favorite piece on Anchor of Hope? Why?
Hahaha. I’ve been asked this a couple of times, and it’s not possible to answer. I’ve tried to come up with an answer but I can’t. I love them all because they all mean something to me. I’m more interested to hear what becomes the listener’s favorite and why.
What do you believe makes your music different from others?
Honestly, I think that boils down to discovering, knowing, and being comfortable with who I am. And I’m not all the way there yet, but I’m not really trying to copy anyone out there, or their approach to making an album. I think it’s rare to have so many different styles on an album, for sure. I mean, the song ‘Monet’ is this Italian opus style song with beautiful strings and a full instrumental piece at the end, while the song ‘Closer’ is a pop worship ballad, and ‘The Sea That Forgets,’ is a front porch folk song with Banjo and Mandolin. So, there is a little something for everyone. I am floored and excited at how it all came together and still bares the same common thread of hope restored.
Who has been a great inspiration to you in fulfilling the avenue of music and your calling?
There are a few people for sure. If I get into names, I would be worried to leave people out. But, there are a few people that have believed in what was on the inside of me, even more than I believed there was at one point. And they kept me going, even when I felt at times there were many more who didn’t care about what was on the inside. I’ve been out of the music scene for a few years now, and just coming back is like starting all over again. But, even when things weren’t moving forward, those few people helped keep me walking forward when I couldn’t see what was before me and my faith and trust in the dream was seriously wavering. But, they kept me going, and eventually hope sustained me, and the gratefulness I have in my heart for those people, that will never leave.
What other albums or pieces have you created in the past
Anchor of Hope is my first vocal album, but second album overall. In 2007, I originally released, and then re-released in 2011, a violin-led instrumental album called, ‘Melodies of the Spirit,’ and I still love it to this day. There is something of a timelessness that happened with that album, and even as fads come and go in the music world, I believe that this album will be fulfilling its purpose for years to come.
What songs of yours are you most proud of and why?
Well, I’m proud of all of them. It’s like that “favorite song” question all over again. Hahaha. But, I’ll say that I’m more in love with the way the songs came to me than the songs themselves. I think the story of how they were created is what in part, makes them so beautiful to me, and makes me proud of them. That being said, I really love the song ‘Closer,’ and ‘Monet.’
’Closer’ is a song that deals with the complexities and unexplainables about God that I’ve dealt with, but also the simplified heart cry of someone saying, “I don’t always understand how you work, and how you do what you do, but I just need to be closer to your heart.”
‘Monet’ is a song with great depth. It is a story that to me explains one of the workings of God, and that is, the restoration of the heart. The song talks about this treasure that someone has locked away, and when an artist opens it up, he finds a “blackened, stained,” Monet. The song then walks through the restoration process saying “The artist takes pleasure, it is His delight, to come and restore, to make new.” At the end of the song, the artist (who is a picture of Jesus,) places the restored piece of art back in it’s box, locks it and hands the key to the owner, entrusting him to take care of what is so important to the artist. Then at the end there is a beautiful instrumental number that I played violin and sang things in the background (really high things,) but it’s almost a moment of reflection for people to take in what happened and process the song. God is beautiful and I am constantly captivated by how He loves, and how He works in the lives of people.
What do you believe to be your next step of your journey?
My next step is to keep moving forward on my journey with Him. I really gave up on trying to look too far down the road, because every time I did, it was something completely different than what I had anticipated. But, in the next year, I am believing for open doors to start traveling and doing music more than ever before, and I know for sure I will have Sloan Travel tours to Ireland (April), Scotland (July), and Wales (September), next year. I also already received an invitation to go and minister/tour in Fiji next June, so I’m beside myself with excitement looking ahead at what might be coming.Aside from all that, I’m looking forward to writing more, and seeing what the next step is musically. I just want to be obedient and to make music that brings something of significance and creates the atmosphere for God to come and move. That’s what I know to be true. Links to purchase Coty Sloan’s music or book him for an event.Website: www.cotysloan.com
Physical Albums: https://squareup.com/market/coty-sloan-music
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