Sometimes the hardest road imaginable really does lead you home...
Brandy Allison grew up in small town South Carolina, the baby girl of blue-collar cotton mill workers who married young and raised a family on love and hard work and not much else. An entertainer from the get-go, Brandy was a little firecracker that loved to be the center of attention and the light in her daddy’s eyes.
But all too often, life has a way of cutting through the innocence. And that is exactly what happened to Brandy who, like many young people, ran headfirst and headstrong down the roughest path possible.
Drug abuse, depression, young love gone wrong... serious consequences came early, but Brandy’s life seemed to take a turn for the better when she met and fell in love with a country boy named Josh. They married and were happy together, but drug dependence kept them running in circles. Five years down the road, things were looking up. They began exploring the Bible together and were planning to start a family. Blue skies were just starting to part the gray clouds overhead when tragedy ripped her world in two. Josh was killed in a motorcycle accident, and Brandy became a widow at the tender age of 27.
“I remember the way my body felt when I got the news,” Brandy says of August 20, 2010, the day her husband died. “I hadn’t talked to God in more than 10 years, but I remember praying at the hospital, ‘You will not take him from me! You will not do this to me!’ as if I had this whole thing under control.” But in that moment of unbelievable desperation, God held her and gave her strength she’d never known.
“In that instant, everything changed for me,” Brandy says. “I surrendered my life to God, knowing that without Him, there was no way I could make it. I was a weak person, dependent on drugs, and Josh had been my life, my security, my whole world. But I woke up the next morning, realizing that the strength in me was from God, and that somehow God had changed everything.”
“You hear all your life that God is with you, but when you have nothing left and there He is, you can feel the Truth.”
In the months that followed, Brandy—clean and sober for the first time in years—began the hard work of rebuilding her life. She sought solace in the music of her youth, country music, but so much of it reminded her of Josh. Then one day, scanning the dial for something different, she ran across Christian music unlike anything she’d ever heard in church as a child.
“Born Again” by Third Day. “Blessings” by Laura Story. “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns. Other songs by Amy Grant and Francesca Battistelli. “I couldn’t believe how powerful these songs were,” Brandy says of the discovery. “The message of Hope was so real... the lyrics reached out to me in my grief.”
It was the first time Brandy thought that maybe she could somehow share her story through music. Music had always been an escape for her. Perhaps now it could be a path back into the life she was meant to live.
Slow forward to 2012, and the possibilities grew into reality as Brandy began working with producers Mark Liggett (New Kids on the Block, Blessid Union of Souls) and Jerry Lane (Blessid Union of Souls, Shanice) on a six-song EP. Walkin’ On Faith expresses the lessons she’s learning on the journey of grace. “Every song is a conversation, something I have to sing about, something I’ve experienced on this road to healing,” Brandy says.
The first single, “My Hallelujah,” a Billboard Top 10 Soft AC hit and one of Christian Music Weekly’s Top 40 Inspirational songs of 2012, reveals the simple prayer of a young woman who has learned to see beauty in the ashes of her life. The essence of the song is the heart of the entire collection, an offering of gratitude for the second chance she’s been given.
The title track and newest single, “Walkin’ On Faith,” echoes both the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of Brandy’s story. “Even though God has done this amazing thing in my life, I still have struggles,” she says. “I still have to surrender my worries and fears every day, to put everything in God’s hands and believe that He is enough. This is my story, today and every day.”
The song’s music video—which follows a couple’s journey from estrangement to resolution—further expands this theme, offering encouragement for all who are heartbroken, worried or simply weary. Driven by an infectious, upbeat chorus, the storyline depicts the ultimate message Brandy wants to convey: Hope is alive, no matter the circumstance.
In these and other songs like “Trust In You,” “Your Word” and “Like You Do,” Brandy’s voice—at once a softened, beautifully patina’d powerhouse—shines with life and renewal. And she’s nurturing the hope within, growing in relationship with God, digging deep into Scripture to make that connection stronger by the day. “No matter what you’re going through, if you lose your house or your job or someone you love, God is always there with you. But to really know Him, to build on the relationship with Him, you’ve got to get into the Word. That’s what God uses to make us stronger.”
“Everything that has happened in my life has been God’s design,” she concludes, “and if I can be a voice that says ‘with God’s love and mercy you can overcome anything,’ it will be worth all I’ve been through... I’m singing with my whole heart now, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.”
This Carolina girl raised in a cotton mill couldn’t have imagined the twists and turns of a life that would ultimately lead her to Christ, singing about His love and redemption around the country. Both happiness and hardship have paved the way for Brandy Allison, and the road has led her Home—right where she belongs.