lara landon albumGet to know singer/songwriter Lara Landon — an exciting new artist with a heart for missions and a desire to encourage others through the gift of music.

In 2006, Lara and her sister started a non-profit organization, New Reality International, which is designed to provide physical, emotional and spiritual healing to those suffering from extreme poverty, disease and injustice worldwide. For more info, please visit: www.newrealityinternational.org.

Lara’s latest album, Overcome, and a music video called “I See God In You” was inspired from her mission trips to Haiti, along with a service-based tour that ministered at homeless shelters, bars, women’s rehabilitation centers and churches. From there, Lara launched a national campaign asking fans to share stories/photos of people who reflect the image of God. The images were posted on her blog: http://www.iseegodinyou.blogspot.com and some were used in the music video:

Lara Landon is definitely one to watch in 2013.

TSO: Tell about your background in church and how you got started in music.

When I was little, I was really shy. I always loved music, and I would sit at the piano and make up songs when I was just a kid.  I remember when my sister auditioned for the play, “Annie.”  My sister was the bold one and I was just tagging along. When I was there, I remember people asking me to sing and this big voice suddenly came out. Everyone was stunned and I got the part.  I started taking singing and piano lessons, singing special music at church and getting involved in musicals. It really was an unexpected moment that drastically changed my life.

TSO: What do you hope people take away from your music and from your concerts?

I really want people to feel encouraged and to have an encounter with God when they come to a concert. You can play all the good music you want, but if God isn’t involved, it won’t touch people’s hearts and change their lives. I want people to be changed when they come in contact with my songs or concerts.

TSO: Share some of the stories behind the songs on the new album.

* The song “Leah” is really about my life. The song describes this girl who is paralyzed by fear and can’t move forward. She has all these dreams, but can’t accomplish them because she’s afraid. God tells her: “If you jump out in faith, don’t worry. I will catch you. I know all the desires in your heart and your dreams because I put them there. If you’ll trust me, you will see how far you can go.” That’s my story because I was very afraid of pursuing music as a full-time career. I had to come to the point where I said, “I’m not going to play it safe any longer. I’m going to do what I feel like God is calling me to do.” I had to encourage myself to take that leap of faith.

* The song “Defenseless” is about trying to fill the void of emptiness in our lives — whether through food, entertainment or hanging out with people. In the song it says, “God, I’m coming before you, and I want only you to fill the void. I’m coming before you defenseless.”

TSO: What is your inspiration for songwriting?

Whatever God is teaching me at the moment — my life and my walk as a Christian.

TSO: Tell about the non-profit organization, “New Reality.”

My sister and I were just thinking about what we could do with our lives. We wanted to do more. We came up with the name “New Reality” because the reality of the world is often very dark, but we want people to see the new reality — the Kingdom of God. We started off in small ways, not knowing where God going to lead. It’s been amazing to see where God was taken this. God brought medical professionals into our lives, and we began taking mission trips to Haiti. God took our little desire of wanting to do something, and He has multiplied it. We’ve been able to send doctors to places like Haiti, Nigeria and Guatemala to perform life-saving surgeries — everything from removing sores in people’s mouths to cutting out breast cancer. It’s so remarkable what God has done and how He has blessed those little steps of faith.

TSO: Talk about how you were inspired to created the campaign, “I See God In You.”

When I was in Haiti, I was really impacted by seeing God in the darkest circumstances and most unlikely places. When I came home, I continued thinking about that idea — how you can see God in the least of these and how they should be treated. I feel like when we do treat people as we would treat Jesus, then they are drawn to that. It is then that we can share with them the authentic love of God.

For more info and her upcoming schedule, please visit www.laralandononline.com.