Fearless During Life’s Journey
Born in Starkville, Mississippi, Jasmine Murray grew up as the youngest of five children. Her birth wasn’t a picturesque moment with family surrounding the precious bundle of joy. Instead, her mother nearly died in a rather scary and frightening experience. Jasmine fought for her life in neonatal intensive care (NICU) for an entire month before she went home to what became a single-parent home. Without a father figure, Jasmine looked to God to define fatherhood for her, “I realized as a young girl, I had to realize that Christ was my Heavenly Father,” she says. “I grew up knowing God’s love but understanding God as ‘Father’ was different.”
Her love for music began at an early age where she started singing along with the car radio, gave mini-concerts at home and sang in church choir. Through the uncertainty and chaos of her childhood, she found strength in music. “Music has been a part of my life since I was a little girl,” she says. As she began to spend more time performing on the stage, her confidence grew until she auditioned for “American Idol” at age 16. She loved Pop music and got a taste of a Pop Musician lifestyle while in Hollywood for the filming of “Idol.” “I love performing. I love being in the studio, and that was my first time getting to experience it all, and it was so incredible. I felt like, ‘Yes, this is the life’.”
After receiving national media coverage with appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “Live with Regis and Kelly,” Jasmine pursued a songwriting publishing deal which didn’t work. After having been on the fast track to fame with everything going her way, she was taken aback by not getting published. So, she stepped back, took a deep breath and returned to her roots.
Jasmine returned to Mississippi to attend school. She paid for college entirely with her earnings from being named Miss Mississippi. She then placed in the top 10 in the Miss America contest. Her talent and fame followed her, but she held on to her failure. In the midst of success, Jasmine would be paralyzed by fear and anxiety. Time and time again, an inner voice told her that she was not good enough and that she never would be. Jasmine wisely speaks about how we all have vulnerabilities, “Some are clearly seen from the outside. Mine were on the inside; I secretly battled fear and anxiety. I know it looks like I had it all together, but I didn’t.”
During this season, God called Jasmine to lead worship at her church. “That experience was just so incredible. It took the focus off of me. I felt like God was using me to help people to connect with Him. I felt like God was saying, ‘I want you to use whatever I’ve given you to glorify me’.” By being able to set her own fears aside, Jasmine realized how many other people struggled and she wanted to become a voice of encouragement for them. Still feeling like writing music wasn’t for her, she started a nonprofit organization called 13 Going on 30. The organization mentors young girls to be who God created them to be at their young age. Jasmine traveled to schools and churches speaking to girls about valuing their worth. Jasmine’s hope is to encourage girls not to desire, act or look like a 30-year-old, but to accept who she is now. The underlying goal of the organization is to help teens embrace their age, preventing them from making mature decisions with grave, life-altering consequences.
While her relationship with the Lord grew deeper and Jasmine’s definition of success began to change, God renewed the opportunity to be a songwriter. Despite her success and support, fear and anxiety crept in again. One morning before a writing session, Jasmine suffered a panic attack in the parking lot. Several minutes later, she pulled herself together enough to walk in and meet with the two other writers. One of the writers asked her what was on her heart. Unexpectedly she answered, “I wanted to write about fear.” Jasmine didn’t let them know why, but moments later she found herself in tears. Jasmine explained, “This is what I’m dealing with. I have serious anxiety, and I feel like I’ve been in this season where I’ve let fear overtake me.”
Immediately the writers offered to pray for her and the song Fearless arose. “I feel like it’s something that a lot of people can relate to,” says Jasmine.“The enemy didn’t want me to go in that session because he already knew what God had planned. The song is just a declaration saying, ‘I’m not going to be afraid of whatever is coming or going to happen. I’m not going to be afraid of it’.”
The apply titled debut album “Fearless” provided ample opportunity for Jasmine to delve into songwriting. Jasmine feels like the songwriting process is crucial for an artist because it provides significant opportunity for God to speak through the singer. “Artists who have a role in writing have a special connection to the songs, and the audience can feel that. I want to sing about things that I know. I want to sing about things I can connect to and help others connect to as well.”
The essence of “Fearless” and Jasmine’s music ministry to demonstrate to others that they are not alone. “I feel like I’m on a journey, and it’s a privilege to be able to share that with people,” Jasmine says. “I know this is my purpose. I’m where I’m supposed to be. I want to reach people with the message God’s given me.”