The debate of the ages: is the life we live about “I” or “We”? In this pursuit of the self we forget the One who created us in the first place. It's easy to forget that whatsoever we're doing, it's because of the life that God has blessed us with. We're each his handmade creation. Our lives, goals, actions, purposes, they are all his, not ours. It was never about us. It has always been about Him - the Almighty God. Sounds great, but HOW? And WHY? Read on for perspectives from our Saturday League conversation with singer-songwriter, Vihan Damaris!
Q. It’s important to start from the beginning to better understand your journey. Tell us about “the little Vihan” and what was she like while growing up?
A. I grew up in a family of believers. My parents gave me the best that they could. As I entered my late teens and college, I began to contemplate about the reality of God. I would think, “Is God real?” Is this THE GOD? My parents always encouraged me to take my questions to God and I would do that.
Q. At the age of seventeen you went on a 40-day fast. Not something an average 17-year-old would do! Could share something about that?
A. So I was led into this fast when I was 17 years old. It was not willingly. And my mindset when I went into the fast was to decide once and for all that I don’t wanna be in between, either I will find God and will have a relationship with him for the rest of my life or I’ll find that it’s not true and just get done with it!
Q. 'Love India' is such an inspiring song. It strikes feelings of patriotism within and challenges us to do whatever we can for our country and our people. What was the inspiration behind the song?
A. When I was in college, I would do a lot of gigs, almost doing music full time. So I had this gig on 15 August. I started thinking about what songs I could play on that day and suddenly I started to think and feel everything from poverty to corruption. I was overwhelmed, so I asked God, “What do you think about this pathetic situation that our country is in?” Here's what I sensed he said. “I love India. I made India, I made your people and I love them all. The question is do you love India? Are you willing to spread my word and let people know the love that they are worthy of?” This was the main inspiration behind the 'Love India' song. My friend, who was in film and I went around the city to connect to people who felt left out. It was a really inspiring journey to spread the word of God to them.
Q. Your songs are so wonderful to listen to. And you put a lot of thought into the songwriting process. Can you tell us about your songwriting, the inspiration and how do you approach it?
A. So the songs that I write are either my prayers to God or messages from God to me. Sometimes I have these conversations with God and he sends me these messages on which I later start writing songs. The tune comes first. I start playing with some chords and I try to note my emotions. And the entire process happens almost simultaneously. That’s why I believe it's a gift from God because I’ve never learned songwriting.
Q. We generally think about getting a job as soon as we finish college. What did you want to do after college? How did God lead you into what you wanted to do after finishing your college?
A. I took Communication Studies, which I was not at all good in! I’ve always hated the thought of doing something that I’ve no passion for. And my parents supported that too. I thought I needed to work for a couple of years and I was also ready to do that. And then I asked God, “What do you want me to do?” And the answer came - worship. It's been a great journey so far, trusting in his process and spreading his word through my songs.
Q. Here's a thought: 'Songs can go where sermons can’t.' Can you elaborate more on that and tell us about the power of music and songs in impacting people?
A. From very early people have been very appreciative of me when I played in front of them. Music just has that power. It can touch hearts, where convictions fail, where convincing fails. Singing the word of God has that power.
Q. You are very active on social media. Your Instagram account has a lot of posts which integrate your family members too. Can you share what the journey has been like for you to bring your parents into your life of social media?
A. To be honest, the little Vihan was very arrogant. I knew that there was talent and my parents had always appreciated it. It was in my primary school when I started getting kicked out of my own elitist groups of friends which I was part of because I started hanging and talking with kids who were “not so cool”. And it was during that time when I took a step back and realized the importance of humility. Since then, God has made me so humble. He made me realize that it’s not about me or my talent or anything that has to do with me. I’d realized it’s about Him. It’s not about us, it’s about God. Everything I had was because of my family, the people around me and God. And bringing my family into my social world is just a natural part of who I really am. I am what I am because of them and God. Not to mention, that people really love seeing the off-camera life!!
Q. You have recently started Haven Fellowship and are a pastor there. It would be very inspiring for other women out there if you could share what discouragements you faced in the journey of being a pastor and how you overcame them?
A. I’ve received much less criticism that I thought I would! But there was one incident when two of my close friends sat me down and questioned me about it, telling me that it was against the law of God. Like always I approached God and asked him what was a legal answer to that. And God put forward the story of Balam and the donkey. The message from that story was if God could use a little donkey to save Balam’s life, then why not me, whom he has created equal to men. That was all the answer I needed!
Follow Vihan Damaris on Instagram: @vihan_damaris