No stranger to the struggle of how to balance work and family, Canadian Christian artist Ileen Laura’s hopeful and inspiring new single “Sit Beside Me” documents the process she and her husband went through as they figured out how to prioritize her music career amid their family responsibilities.
“Back in 2020, the pandemic had just become a reality,” the Toronto-based singer/songwriter recalls. “Schools were shut down and, as a high school music teacher, this meant planning for school music concerts and festivals was put on pause.”
Within quarantine, time became all Ileen Laura’s for a moment, and she began to consider her life and her purpose — concluding that something was missing.
During one of the first evenings in the stay-at-home order, she and her husband were discussing why she stopped writing music after they got married, and got into huge disagreements. “I had been blaming him for missed opportunities,” she shares. With previously released offerings including “Letters To My Daughter” in 2013, and “Joy” in 2010, as well as having opened for Walk Off The Earth, Justin Nozuka, and at the Scene Music Festival, she had also just assumed her music career was now behind her — despite her husband’s willingness to support it.
“I wrote ‘Sit Beside Me’ after hearing my pastor speak one Sunday at our church on the subject of ‘Spiritual Gifts,’” she says. “He spoke about the fact that, as Christians we are all given these gifts, but it is up to us to use our gifts to glorify God.
“It was as if he wrote the sermon just for me. I realized I hadn’t been using my gift at all.”
A year later, she had written a full-length album, fully recommitting herself to her craft and higher power; I Am Yours is set for release this Spring 2022.
For its part, “Sit Beside Me” begins with a tinkling piano that gradually becomes richer and more full-bodied throughout the song’s progression. Punctuated by moments of dramatic percussion, Laura’s voice is clear and soaring as she sings with fondness and conviction about the church sermon that finally brought her back to her music.
Let’s take a minute to find the words before
Things just get out of our hands and we shut the door.
I’m going to the church steps where I’ll hear him preach,
You can sit beside me and we can hear him teach.
Sing with all of your might,
Let all of the words fall out of your mouth,
Hear the bells let them ring for all of the lost, lost souls.
“Sit Beside Me” is available now.