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Surrender to the Process - An interview with Sarah Reeves

Surrender to the Process - An interview with Sarah Reeves

By Erica Boutwell on April 12, 2017

It makes perfect sense to all who know Sarah Reeves that she is where she is and doing what she is doing. But the journey it took to get her here has not been an easy or uneventful one. I got the chance to visit with Sarah about her recent single release, Nowhere, and God’s ongoing story in her life.

Having been raised in the church and music industry by her record producer father and mother, a nurse, at the age of 15 Sarah encountered the presence of God in a way she never had before. She knew at that moment that He was calling her into a life of music and ministry. She dove head first into leading worship within her local church and by 18 was signed to a label and touring the country leading worship. After some time, she met and married her husband, Philip Kothlow, and decided for a season to step out of music and sort of discover herself and “live some real life . . . away from music”. She took a job working as a preschool teacher and Philip was an electrician at the time. A couple of years into marriage, she found herself in a place she never thought she’d be.

“About three years ago . . . I remember us just reaching this point in our marriage where we were facing wall after wall, and struggle after struggle. We came to this place where we found ourselves on the verge of divorce and we knew at that point we had to make a drastic change. We were both working full-time jobs . . . and we decided to step away from those. We went away and really just kind of started over. Focused on each other. Focused on God and putting Him at the center of our marriage. We learned how to be married and fell in love all over again. During that time . . . I started putting out YouTube covers and slowly God started to open up doors again into music. Things were really starting to happen. He had redeemed our marriage and now he was redeeming my artistry again. What I thought was over was just beginning.”

Today, Philip is Sarah’s manager and together they are storming back with a fresh perspective on music and a renewed passion for worship.  Nowhere dropped April 7th in anticipation of her full album release with Word Records in the fall.

When talking about the direction of this new project Sarah said, “God has given me this specific sound . . . but there’s always been this inner battle between being a worship leader and being an artist. There’s this style that I love but I felt the pressure to always keep it straight down the middle if I wanted to be a worship leader. About a year and a half ago, a friend sent me a track . . . and I wrote this song to it that I just loved and something in me came alive in that moment. Through that song I found so much clarity as if God said, ‘Sarah, I’ve given you this sound and you don’t have to choose . . . I’ve given you this gift for you to merge the two together.’

The production is very electronic and pop and hopefully will push the limits of worship leaders to write and produce outside of the box.”

When it comes to songwriting, Sarah always tries to “write songs that come from a place of things (she’s) walked through or that would encourage other people.” Her hope is to stretch stylistically and for people to not put the stereotypical worship mindset on this project, but rather to think bigger and more creatively.

A lot of her musical style and depth of worship comes from influences such as Jeff Deyo (former lead singer of Sonic Flood who, funnily enough, introduced Sarah to her now husband), Bethel Music, Glades, Ellie Goulding, and Coldplay. Personally, some of the people who have helped shape and mold her into the person she is today are her mother, who has been a huge prayer warrior, her husband, who knows how to encourage and challenge her to be a better person and artist, and her pastors Henry and Alex Seeley from The Belonging, a church that meets in Nashville.

Given the journey that it’s taken to get where she is today, we asked Sarah what words of encouragement she would give to those coming up as artists and worship leaders now who might be growing weary of the grind.

“One thing that I’ve learned came from a message that Alex Seeley preached a while back called Surrender To The Process, and it’s just been something that I’ve clung to and have had to learn how to do. I had to let my dreams die and had to come to a place where I had completely surrendered my heart, my dreams, my career, everything that I wanted . . . and once I came to that point, He finally was enough for me. I think when we get to that point, it just doesn’t matter . . . our craft, our music, everything that we can see . . . it’s amazing. And if it happens, awesome, but if it doesn’t happen, it’s okay. Our purpose is eternity and to build the Kingdom of God with whatever He’s given us in the moment. Be faithful in those little things and surrender to whatever process He wants to take you through.”

Make sure to check out Sarah’s single, Nowhere, available anywhere music is sold. And make sure to keep an eye out for other singles she will release as her full project date this fall gets closer.

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Erica Boutwell

Erica Boutwell

Erica Boutwell is a wife, mom, and worship leader. While her first love is leading others in authentic times of worship, one of her greatest passions is developing and equipping the next generation of worship leaders. She is the Director of Operations for songwriter/producer/artist, Michael Farren, and recently joined the Here Be Lions team.