The lyrics are not strictly autobiographical, but I wrote it about “me … and everyone else” who was in some form of church ministry, big or small. Ministry is a calling, but it can be dog-eat-dog at times, toxic at times, a big strain on mental health at times (a topic that is more comfortably discussed today than it was in 2003). This song is about that journey. The change from self-doubt to certainty mid-song is abrupt. But that transition in actuality represents varying periods of growth for each person.
This month marks 20 years since the song release of my composition, “If I Can Move the Mountains”, performed by Joyce Malana. Here is a new lyric video for the song:
One thing that singer-songwriters do without knowing is write melodies that fit their vocal ranges. With me not being a singer, I didn’t have that constraint – this melody clearly was meant for a singer who could hit the wide range of notes and also touch on the required dynamic changes as the song progresses.
Joyce was my pick, once the song earned its place in the “Papuri! Northwest 2003” album-in-work. 5 years earlier, I had accompanied her on keyboards (an Aaliyah song) for my friend’s debut party, and I knew our paths would cross musically again. I think others were considered for the vocal role, but I insisted on having Joyce as the singer.
The song eventually won a songwriting grand prize when it debuted with all the other album’s songs in August 2003 – and perhaps I was as surprised as everyone else. But the real “prize” is how this song encapsulates, bluntly, some of the toughest parts of ministry – and how it has encouraged various people in their walk with God over the years.
Aug. 23, 2023