Seasons change. There’s a softness and tenderness that fans of Maggie B will find true to her faith. She’s a lady growing in the knowledge of God spending herself for other – the greatest gift of all.
Margaret Becker. Some people would say Margaret Becker was an overnight success when she moved to Nashville. That’s because her seven years of paying dues were spent in fear & trembling in New York City singing in clubs, as a private music teacher and even bill collecting for Sears. “All I knew was that I didn¹t have a peace about pursuing other things,” Margaret reminisced. “I tried everything else but to do this for a time. I just didn’t have peace.”
She was under qualified, over qualified, trying everything from selling insurance to becoming a
missionary, but, they all turned her down. She went to college for nursing thinking it would be advantageous in ministry. “It only took one semester to know that wasn’t it,” she retorts.
By the end of seven years, Margaret had put out fleeces, saved money, and committed herself to six months in Nashville. Within three weeks, she walked into Sparrow Records office with a 4-song demo and the rest is history. Major tours, multiple albums and two books followed – everything a successful entertainer could want.
It’s clear Margaret values her long relationship with the people at Sparrow Records. But as in all relationships, people grow and sometimes they grow in different directions. Over the past two years Becker deliberately unplugged certain areas of her life including departure from Sparrow. Not to leave the music, but to tone down the full-time-artist persona and the perpetual motion of being on the road. “[That lifestyle] doesn’t allow other interests or investments, like into other people,” she remarked. “Personally, professionally – mentoring young artists.” The word Relationship is a
recurring theme in the Body of Christ, one Margaret Becker’s life now mirrors.
“I want to do this because I really feel God is calling me to do other things that are more supportive of other people not necessarily all focused on me. In leaving Sparrow there is an incredible story of mutual support and respect.” Her awe for the years and friendships with the professional team that help build her career is obvious in her explanation about the changes underway. “That platform allowed me to do what I needed to do then.” They gleaned from her as an artist and now she is going to glean from her experiences and put something back into the industry some of what was given to her. “Maybe some of the artists I put myself into will come back to them.” Full circle.
Margaret still sits on the Sparrow Board working with other musicians and industry leaders helping peers in the industry that have hard times such as illness or family death. They disburse funds to projects that involve music, Christian principles, and a good work. They also present scholarships to students with a focus on the Christian music industry.
Another philanthropy causing excitement in Becker’s life is the Nashville Cultural Center for the Arts. Industry artists living and working in East Nashville community are helping to bring the cultures together. Life long residents and recent transfers, new money and poverty are functioning as a community through their love of music. They’re going door to door to invite kids to the East Nashville Academy campus. “It’s bringing the community together through the children with
a Christ-like cohesiveness,” said Becker.
Her new label, Cross Driven Records is very supportive and offers Becker a different platform similar to what her heart has been longing to do. For the past 5 years Margaret has been touring in more intimate environments and arenas where she thrives ‹ where she feels the energy ‹ an environment particularly good for a songwriter. Her former records have all had major production and orchestrations and the fans often asked about a CD capturing that experience. Dennis Disney with Cross Driven Records felt the intimate sounds would fit perfectly with their label goals.
The new focus gives her time to hear the Holy Spirit and respond to the immediate needs of others. “God was saying you have to trust me. Mentor, befriend, play with a band or solo, build relationships… male and female…” The Holy spirit just has to let her know who. ” [He was saying] I need you to be flexible, go to universities, indy festivals, speaking engagements.”
Margaret is also working on her 3rd book about how all of life is pointing you one way but Holy Spirit is leading you in another. “Jesus tells the disciples to get into the boat at night and go to the other side -and he falls asleep. Go to the other side… they don’t really know what¹s next. It’s dark, the boat¹s sinking and he says go. Because there is a transition, and you have no idea [what’s ahead] … it is a little fearful, and you must go. That’s basically what he did to me, ‘go to the other side.’ Where?… I don’t know. It’s night time, I have no resources, I just know that I’m in the boat. That’s all I need to know.”
“So, making that transition in our lives is what the book is about, what I’m speaking about,” Margaret explained. “When you make that transition, part of what it brings out is a confidence in not only hearing God’s voice but understanding what you were designed to do. Out of your giftings you won’t be flaying. If your giftings become your template for ‘yes and no’ …. where you’re moving where you’re not moving – you will be a lot more sound and your peace will be there.”
“I’ve worked harder than I’ve worked in a long time, I’ve made less money, and I’m happier. I feel like I’m getting a lot more done. I’m working out of that template and I feel more like I’m plugging in to what God has for me at this point. Now I believe I had the other stuff at that point, but there was a definite shift and the cloud moved. I had to move, too. I don’t want to miss God’s perfect will.”
One constant that still remains at the heart of Margaret Becker was a seed planted in 1993 by World Vision. Her passion cries out for the multiple generations being affected by AIDS in Africa. It’s not just about the lives being lost but the potential for world economic change caused by the rippling effect from the shaking of the continent.
“At the current death rate, one-third of the continent will be wiped out in the next ten years. Kids are living on dirt spots on the road because they have no adult to care for them. There is no awareness of the disease. Prostitution is rampant. With the tribunal system, there’s not a lot of fidelity. It doesn’t matter if you go in and feed the children, they have AIDS and no one is stopping that problem. World Vision is working with a cultural campaign aimed at this issue, teaching why you don’t want to have risky behavior. They are introducing a Christ-like morality campaign.”
Becker is no stranger to the statistics and doesn¹t shy away from her opinions about how changes can occur and must. Since World Vision began their program, the incidence of aids in that country has gone down 40%. Becker believes abstinence is the answer and not bringing in the Western culture. Helping them to know where their own pitfalls are found.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to this problem. Even without the health or moral issue, economically if 1/3 of its people are lost and goes deeper into poverty, that’s going to affect the global balance and affect us. It threatens to undo 50-60 years of building that culture. The middle generation is dying off first leaving in some cases the grandmother, who never had any skill structure, now raising 18 grandkids from all her different children. A $4 pill can help a woman prevent her passing AIDS onto her child.” It’s that simple and that challenging.
Where the road will lead Margaret is through an adventure in Christ. Learning to trust, to love, to lean not on her own understanding is what this season for Maggie B is all about. Her album Just Come In is a reflection of that place in her life. Songs and music by up and coming artists Kelly Minter and Sue Samuel are also a part of Margaret Becker as she spreads her producing wings and broadens her sphere of influence.
Don’t stop watching and listening to this lady. She’s just beginning to fly.
For more information about the writer, go to About Vicky Branton