Singled Out: Christa Wells' Shine
The seed of the song came from me looking at my brother and two sisters and about how different we all are. We don't look alike or have the same talents. It took us a lot of years to figure out what each of us was born to do and to get secure in those things. At this time in my life, I'm becoming a "big sister" to younger girls and aspiring singer/songwriters, and one of the most common problems we all share is comparing ourselves to other people. We waste SO much time - I know I did - worrying about what we can't do and how we feel inferior to others. I really believe every one of us was made by God to do something to add beauty to the world, in our own unique ways. We have to encourage each other to go do that.
That's what I wanted to say, but it took me a while to figure out the approach. I wrote and discarded many versions before one day, while driving, I started singing the chorus lyric in a whole new way. Getting away from the piano helped me break out of the patterns I kept gravitating to. The resulting chorus is a lot more rhythmic and catchy.
Lyrically, it's all fragments of truth from my life and lives of friends. In the first verse, the metaphor "your house is full of unfinished rooms" is actually taken from the fact that my literal house really is unfinished, because I am a starter and not a finisher of home improvements. "You think you're recognized by your faults, but the mirror that you hold is false" - simply true about all of us. Even physically, we don't have a real idea of what we look like to others - we notice the flaws others usually don't even see.
My favorite part about the lyric is that I was able to use the image of the light shining through a prism and creating all these distinctive colors. When I was a kid, my favorite aunt was very exotic and well-traveled. She'd collected small crystals from Europe and hung them in her bedroom windows. In the morning, we would be enthralled by the rainbows all over her walls. It was cool to find a place for that memory.
There's a super cool story behind the video for this song as well. The short version is that in July 2012, James Holmes walked into a Colorado movie theater and started shooting people. One of those people was a young girl named Bonnie Kate, and while she was recovering in the hospital, someone passed her an older song of mine called "A Thousand Things" which really spoke to her and her family during that time. Her friend, Max, reached out to me with her story and we stayed in touch. I wrote a song on this album called "This Thing is Not Going to Break You" for Bonnie Kate...and months later, Max - a film producer - produced a music video for "Shine" down in their hometown of Baton Rouge, LA. It was a pretty amazing experience and I'm thankful for the way people are responding to this song.