Mia Fieldes: Ashes Listening Party
As a 13-year-old growing up in Australia, Mia Fieldes would sit in her bedroom doorway while her sisters slept and write letters to God. “I prayed with a pen so many nights. Over and over again I would write ‘God one day I want to write songs about You that go all over the world.’"
Even at her young age, Fieldes found the choice simple. “I knew I wasn’t the best singer or musician,” she recalls. “I only played the euphonium, which is like a tuba and not at all helpful in writing songs. But I had this deep revelation that despite being an identical triplet, God was going to use me for something unique and special.”
Those letters began to fill box after box over the next few years, and God answered those prayers in ways that Fieldes could never have foreseen. At 17 she moved to Sydney, Australia where she spent the next 10 years at Hillsong Church. She began singing and writing songs that would go on to be recorded by Hillsong United and Hillsong Live. She’s collaborated with top Christian artists such as Michael W. Smith, Meredith Andrews, Matt Maher and Kari Jobe to name a few. In 2013, Mia won ASCAP and BMI awards for the hit collaboration “Proof Of Your Love,” recorded by For King & Country. Her recent song with Francesca Battistelli, “He Knows My Name,” has seen consecutive weeks as a #1 on radio.
But for all her penning of memorable gems, Fieldes has never stepped out as a recording artist—until now. Her new radio single “Fearless” comes ahead of a five-song EP, “Ashes,” scheduled for a May release. “For me it's always about serving others, bringing the right song for others to carry,” she says. "I often tell people, I'm a 'Jonathan', not a 'David.' I just want to be no. 1 at being no. 2, so it's definitely a step of faith doing a project like this. Having said that, it's not really a transition from 'writer' to 'artist'—but more 'writer' who, for this season, is saying ‘yes’ to carrying a few songs."
In choosing to say yes to this next season, Fieldes had to let go and trust God as she explored another facet of her talent. “For a long time I didn’t think I could sing—I know that’s silly—but it's funny how we let ourselves believe that we aren't good enough, and I definitely did that for a long time,” she says. “ It's actually been a great journey where God put strategic people in my life along the way who really encouraged me in the thing that I thought I couldn't do.
“Darlene Zschech was someone who always spoke life over me and made me feel like a nightingale while I was still figuring it out and squawking like seagull. My church in Nashville, The Belonging Co., has really forged in me a new confidence about singing. I've led worship for years—Hillsong was such a massive part of teaching me how to do that, but over the last two years I feel like I've had something pulled out of me that I didn't know was there. It's made me lead differently and find my feet as a singer.”
In less than two years, Fieldes has seen her church in Nashville go from a seven-member prayer meeting on a Tuesday night to a worship service that draws more than 1,000 every week. Pastors and fellow Australians Henry and Alex Seeley asked Fieldes to lead worship right from the get-go.
“I said, ‘Sure, I can do that for six people,’” she recalls. “It pushed me to do the very thing that was intimidating for me; I was really confident in writing songs for others, but I always had these doubts about singing, especially in front of people. At that point, leading for 6 people was the best door God could have asked me to walk through, because I felt no pressure except to be myself and lead some songs in a basement in sweat pants. I love how God always has a way of walking you into what He has called you to—despite your uncertainty."
All roads lead Fieldes to worship, whether she’s before an audience or behind the scenes. Fieldes also has a sharp, inspired vision of what that means. “Worship is a response,” she says, and repeats the phrase: “It’s a response. I don’t want to complicate it. One of my biggest joys is giving people songs they can respond with in their own way. Songs where they go, ‘That’s something I’ve always wanted to say but maybe didn't know how.’ When I can give people some sort of framework for their own unspoken prayers, or faith for the season they are walking through, there’s nothing better than that.”
To that end, Fieldes seeks to encourage others as she sets the stage for encountering Jesus. “I’m not thinking 'How can I impress people with clever lyrics or intricate melodies. I'm thinking of the contractor who’s had a hard week at work, or the mom who’s just found out her kid has ADHD, or the 12-year-old girl who’s really lonely at school. How can I make it easier for them to see God and give them something that’s going to help them lean into Him and what He's saying? Lifting your eyes is always harder when you’re going through something difficult. But if you give people songs where they can lay their cares in the hands of God, look to His kindness and remember that He is with them, that’s a wonderful thing.”
Her heart for pointing people to Jesus reflects her 10 years with the worship team at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia. One lesson she treasures from that time was learning how to craft accessible songs that draw people into a place of worship. “People might not always stay for a 30-minute sermon, but they will often stay for a three-minute song,” she notes. “Music has a beautiful way of disarming people and speaking to hearts. My highest goal is never 'cool' or 'impressive.' I always go for accessibility, especially when it comes to corporate worship, I’d rather have people singing the same line over and over and getting revelation from God, than being dazzled by rhymes and melodies.”
She adds: Your songs can have amazing production and the right parts, and all of that’s important in helping to make it beautiful. But ultimately, I want to write songs everyone can own. I want it to carry the same thing for a 16 year old playing it alone on guitar in their bedroom as it does for a stadium of 20,000.”
Incredible as it sounds, it doesn’t matter to Fieldes how big the crowd is—4 people or 40,000—so long as the music helps in forging the greatest relationship of all. “I just want people to know Jesus, because if you have Him, You have everything: All the joy, all the hope, all the love, all the goodness—everything.”
Today, just as in her teenage years, “I believe in the power of songs,” Fieldes says. “I have seen them become such a massive part of my own journey. So many times when I felt like I couldn't pray it, I've been able to sing it. I just want to keep bringing songs that play a part in the journey of others … that in someway, the words or the melodies would be moments in their story of overcoming, rejoicing, trusting and knowing that He is everything He promises.”
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