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Michelle Tumes Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Michelle Tumes lyrics)
Michelle Tumes Biography
A few years ago, while running along a harbor, Michelle Tumes gazed up at an olive tree and begged certain questions of God ... questions that everyone contemplates ... about her purpose and her future. She had hopes of a husband and of an ability to share her love of songs with other people. Today, Michelle has married and recorded her third collection of poignant songs on an album appropriately titled, Dream. Filled with all the childhood wonder Michelle has never lost, this album also reflects the artist's emerging confidence and happiness in seeing some of her lifelong dreams fulfilled.
As a child, Michelle began singing in the schoolyard for her friends at lunchtime and before long was playing classical music and singing in choirs and school plays. Although she was very shy, music was her outlet, a way of expressing her relationship with God and the beauty she found among the rural setting of her Australian homeland.
Years later, armed with her demo recording bought with money from her sister's paper route, Michelle eventually found her way to Nashville, where her music soon caught the attention of Sparrow Records. Her career took off with the launch of her debut album, Listen, in 1998. The record produced three number one singles, and earned Michelle a Dove Award Nomination in 1999 for New Artist of the Year. Since then, Michelle has recorded two subsequent number one singles, "Hold On" and "Heaven's Heart" and established career sales in excess of 360,000 units.
With the release of Dream, Michelle offers her same tender brand of songwriting, this time with a slightly more upbeat flair. A progression from her last two albums, this collection of songs is slightly less introspective in nature, erupting with exuberant lyrics and sounds.
"This album has a lot of joy in it," Michelle describes. "It's almost carefree and yet it still addresses a lot of the issues of the journey of faith. But I just wanted to incorporate some faster songs as well as songs that really soared and that had more rhythm and happiness to them."
Similar to Michelle's past two albums, the songs on Dream still possess the ethereal qualities that captivate and transport the listener but with a more evolved feel to them, a sign of Michelle's ability to stretch the boundaries of both herself and her listener. On Dream, the lead vocals are strong, and stacked with a myriad of sounds. Layered voices echo in harmony. The rich, impassioned elements of each song reflect Michelle's thoughtful method of bringing her music to life.
"I have to be moved by an idea or a melody that's kind of ticking around in my head," Michelle explains. "I have to be arrested by it and then I'll take that spark of inspiration and go to the piano and really flush it out. To me, that's the part that requires the most discipline because sometimes I sit down and nothing comes out. I really labored over this project until every element was there that the song was meant to say."
The vision for the album evolved out of the title track "Dream," a song that was born from one of Michelle's recent performances. At a New Jersey concert for high school students, a preacher spoke prior to Michelle's set, and his exhortation planted the idea for a song that summons the universal imagination to go exploring.
"He talked about God giving us all a dream and not being afraid to pursue that dream," Michelle recalls. "That really touched me because I've struggled with the fear of being in front of so many people and wanting to really diminish that fear. He seemed to explain it so eloquently and simply and I thought, 'Wow, I've got to write a song to express that to other people so they're not so afraid.' Because I feel that we can live up to more of the potential that God has put in our hearts if we abandon our fears, and that's really what the whole album stemmed from."
All of Michelle's songs are written during intense moments of contemplation as she ponders the meaning in her life, her surroundings, and the journey she's on as a Christian, a songwriter, and now a wife. For this artist, every song is like a child, with unique characteristics and hours of nurturing poured into them. As a unifying thread, each song on Dream reflects Michelle's deeply felt belief that a song must be both divinely inspired and musically stirring.
"A song has to move you," Michelle explains. "Whether it's to tears or to happiness, or just causing you to reflect and come to terms with who you are. I feel that all my songs have to be inspired by God in order to be worth singing, because it's God who created music and put this desire in me."
These songs not only expose the ideas of one songwriter, but even more intimately, they overflow with inspiration that seems to search every heart and meet every need. "Dream" is a song that boldly challenges us to surrender our fears and embrace our potential. "Everywhere You Are" encourages those who are missing their loved ones. "One and Only" promises God's everlasting love to all his children. "Blessings Flow" worships and prays for God's limitless blessings to be bestowed. "Love Shines Through" offers an intimate snapshot of childhood faith. "Image Of" comforts as it touches the lonely soul in need of compassion.
Michelle's emotional yet invigorating songs transfer effortlessly to her concert setting where she sits perched at a piano in the darkness and sings from her heart. With Dream providing a diverse new collection to share with her audience, Michelle's concert performances will continue to reveal her humble tranquility, while also exposing some less familiar aspects of her personality through the fast-paced pop tunes explored on this recording.
"The concert experience covers the gamut of emotions. I really feel that the songs offer a fully-rounded performance," says Michelle. "I want to express the feeling that no matter where we are in our journey, let's just relax and be in the presence of God and be happy. I hope I can connect with people in that way."
Because her songwriting is so transparent, Michelle finds it important to perpetuate that vulnerable communication with her fans. Talking with audience members after shows helps challenge Michelle's sometimes quiet and reserved nature and also encourages her as she approaches new songs, travels away from the refuge of home, and seeks fellowship among the people she comes across.
"I talk in depth with people after concerts and they have shared some really amazing and even sad stories with me, but it's been great that they seem to have found a lot of peace from the music," says Michelle. "People inspire me. My relationship with God as it's manifested through my relationships with people inspires me too."
Finding enlightenment and comradery on the road is a familiar comfort for Michelle, having traveled with such seasoned artists as Jaci Velasquez, Fernando Ortega, and beginning this fall, Out of the Grey and Twila Paris. On tour, Michelle thrives on the opportunity to interact with other artists, to learn from each other and to share experiences. Another way she has offered herself to her peers is by writing for them. Michelle has penned songs for several well-known artists including Sixpence None the Richer and Point of Grace.
At the root of her many talents, Michelle believes her calling is embedded in the music she first embraced as a child sitting in amazement before God. Her hope is that with this new album, she'll not only be able to share her music with people, but that through it, a little piece of a dream that she holds onto will shine through.
"I hope that from this album people hear the message of being true to yourself and doing what you feel you've been placed on this earth to do," Michelle expresses. "It's hard, but it's so important to be content with who you are and to pursue excellence over and over again." Dream is an album that effectively pursues such an excellence and finds it bursting forth from a deep well of faith and imagination.