We had the opportunity to sit down with devoted singer-songwriter, Ahnwar Yancey. His music portrays his life experiences, both happy and sad, pleasant and painful while praising and worshiping God for His unending love, mercy, and grace.
Congratulations on the release of My Therapy! Tell us more about this collection of amazing tracks and the inspiration behind it.
Thanks so much! And thank you for this opportunity. This is really an exciting time for me. Things are really looking up and I am so happy with how things have turned out thus far. This album has been a long time coming and I don’t take this moment for granted. If I may, I also want to thank everyone who’s supported me. Your love has not gone unnoticed. I really appreciate every download, every share, every encouraging word and follow. It’s really unbelievable how things are working out. All glory to God!
Now to answer your question, this album is a collection of 11 tracks that give you a sneak peek inside “My Therapy” sessions with God. Sounds weird I know, but that’s what I would consider my prayer time with Him, Therapy! I unpack my issues, and in His own way and in His own time, His answers create breakthroughs that only He can bring to pass. Each song is a brief glimpse inside my heart on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes I’m on fire and ready to die for Him, and sometimes I’m that fair-weather fan who only comes around when I need something. I can go from hot to cold at any given moment; spiritually bipolar so to say, but at the end of the day I love him “To the End”. As inconsistent as my walk may be, one thing I can be sure of is that “God will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him”. That is the quote from Isaiah 26:3 that’s on the front cover of the project. My mental peace is in Him when I’m all over the place. This project is an expression of that.
Speaking of motivation, where do you get your inspiration on days when you’re not particularly motivated?
Lots of prayers. I get writer’s block a lot! To me, a creative headspace is a gift that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It isn’t guaranteed. If it were, the term writer’s block wouldn’t even be a thing. So, when my creative juices aren’t flowing, I reach out to the Father, who I believe is the author of creativity, and I ask Him for inspiration. Sometimes the answer to the prayer comes from a conversation I have with someone, a personal experience, something I see on TV, or a sermon I hear. His answer could come from anywhere. We just have to be paying attention.
What do you want listeners to take away from “Everything You Need” that’s included in the collection?
A few things. One, ministers have to stop neglecting the needs of their nuclear family in the name of being the provider, and or “church busyness”. I am not saying put people over God, absolutely not! God always comes first. I am just urging people to get their priorities straight. Present company included. Jesus told His disciples that “repentance and the forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem”. What was Jerusalem to His disciples? Home! While on earth, Jesus practiced what He preached, by first going to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He swept in front of his own front porch first before His Gospel went out into all the world. We should do the same.
Second, I want folks to stop putting Christians in a box, as though all we’re good for is praise and worship music. We are human beings living in this world like everyone else. We have families, we have troubles, we have triumphs, and we have the same experiences as the rest of humanity. The only difference is that we’ve been called to respond to our human experiences in a way that honors God. Therefore, give us some room to talk about other things. Stop putting the moniker of “unbeliever” on everyone who doesn’t want to remake hymns. God used the failures and the triumphs of the saints in scripture as examples and warnings, can He not do the same with my testimony? He has, and I believe He will continue to do so. If you listen to this song without the visual it comes off as R&B, and yes that is what it is… I know folks take issue with that. But at the core of the song is a man asking for forgiveness. He has offended someone, and biblically speaking, if he has offended someone and knows it, he is obligated to reconcile himself to the offended and make things right. Am I a heathen because I wanted to apply the principle of Matthew 5:23 in an R&B song? To some, probably so. But hey, you just can’t please everybody.
With all these artists out and about, how do you make sure that your sound is different and unique?
Funny you should ask because there are a lot of great artists out there. People used to always tell me that the tenor of my voice was different. I never really liked hearing that. They said “different”, but I heard “weird”. Then as I listened to the radio, I started to notice that voices like mine didn’t play on the radio. Not only that, but a lot of the voices on the radio were very similar. So, I didn’t think what I had was marketable. But! I tell people all the time, I didn’t really embrace who I am as a person until I came to Christ. Nothing has made me more comfortable in my own skin than my relationship with God. Seriously! Studying His word informed me that we were all knit together by His hand, carefully and strategically like a grandmother meticulously knitting a blanket. And that we were all fearfully and wonderfully made! Therefore, what I have is what He gave specifically to me, He gave me something unique! It’s a special thing, why run from it or be ashamed of it? So, with my new understanding, I hit the ground running. I no longer fear being different but rather embrace my uniqueness because it came from my Creator. So, to show Him my appreciation, I do my best to honor Him with the gift He gave me, that I believe sets me apart from others.
If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Wow! That’s a great question. This may seem cliché for a Christian artist, but it would be so dope if I could perform in Israel, like on the Mt. of Olives… Slim, that would be everything! I haven’t been to Israel yet, so I’m not sure the topography would be able to accommodate what I’m envisioning, but that would be my dream spot. Jesus gave the “Olivet discourse” on that mountain so it’s highly probable the acoustics necessary to perform are already there. I can see it now, stepping on stage to do “Praise Him”, “The Veil”, or even better “Coming Back” from my first Album “The Flesh Vs. The Spirit”. Oh My! That would be a very emotional moment for me because the Bible says that Jesus will return to the Earth on that mountain; So, to be there singing “One day God is coming back and I hope you have your life intact, Yeah!” I may need an “instrumental” moment on that one. Lol!
Any upcoming plans this year? What should fans expect?
I’m in the process of talking through some treatments with some folks for “Praise Him”. The people are really into that one. I wanted to lead in with that one but didn’t have the resources to do it how I wanted. Now I think we’re in a position to get that done the right way. We’re also planning on shooting a video for “Moment”, that’s expected to drop sometime in the summer. Also, it looks like some radio play may be on the horizon. So, check me out soon at a station near you. That is really exciting! I also have a few artists I want to help push. Stay tuned for that. I am also working on a talking heads YouTube channel with my Pastor called the “Good Steward” channel. We will be discussing a plethora of topics, from practical ways to live out your faith in the business world to normal theological Q&A. I’ve been approached about putting songs in movies and a few other things that are too fresh to really talk about at this time, but man oh man, I am so grateful. All of this is truly a blessing!