Anne Wilson’s journey into music has been one of redemptive plot twists. Before the breakaway success of her viral hit “My Jesus,” Anne was just a sister mourning the sudden, tragic loss of her brother.
Anne was 15 when her brother Jacob died in a car accident. Despite never being drawn to music before, Anne found herself compelled to worship through song as she processed her grief. The very first time she ever sang publicly was at her brother’s funeral. Just a few years later, she had a record deal— and a hit that offered comfort to others walking their own grief journeys.
We follow that journey from heartbreak into hope on this episode of Trevor Talks, soaking in all the wisdom that this 20-year-old songstress has to offer.
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Anne Wilson 0:00
God doesn't have a limit on what he can handle. And so the Bible tells us over and over again to lay our burdens at the feet of Jesus, and He will take them off of us. And I think that's something that I would really encourage people to do to lay your burdens at the feet of Jesus, don't be afraid to just surrender everything to him. And I think when you take your hands off of your future, and you take your hands off of, you know, maybe the process of grief, or you just stop trying to control it, then you're going to see this shift and how God's going to just take it all off of you. And there's going to be such a peace and comfort comes there. And when I decided to surrender my grief and loss to the Lord, that's when everything was lifted. And I just felt this peace that I can't explain. And this joy and I started having joy again, and happiness again. And I started feeling just I just started feeling things again, and for so long, I was so numb, but then it's like, I just saw just such a shift when I decided to surrender everything to God. And he really did. Like take it all off of me.
Trevor Tyson 0:59
What's up everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of Trevor talks. And I can't believe that this is episode 101. We're finally in the triple digits. Naomi rain last week, and this week, we've got such an incredible guests for you. Today's guest has been all over the country over the past few years touring, as well as flooding Christian radio with her music. Her hit single My Jesus earned her a spot in the Rolling Stone top 25 trending chart. Spotify is viral 50 and also landed her the Billboard Music Award for top Christian song among other accolades, that if I were to list them all off, we'd be here all day. So just being honest, her story has been a perfect example of God's healing power. And she's here to share it with us all. Please help me welcome, Miss and Wilson. And it's so awesome to have you here today. Thank you so much. It's so good to be here. Of course. And like I said in the intro, you've been touring a lot. In fact, you just wrapped up the my people tour with we the kingdom and Crowder. It has to be insane being on a primo are as common. Everybody else calls it a tour bus, traveling the country with some a Christian music's biggest stars. Like, that's incredible. For a 20 year old, it has to feel insane. It does. It's so surreal for me. And I grew up listening to Christian radio. So to be on tour with like all of my, you know, biggest inspirations and stuff. It's just really surreal for me. Well, it wasn't all that long ago, when music first started to become like that big thing for you. You've only been singing like in front of people for like five years now. Right? Yes, in June of 2017. I sang for the first time at my brother's funeral. And that was kind of the moment that started at all. And so I've been seeing for a little over five years now. Well, I'm excited to dive into your story. But first, I want to talk about your latest record Sunday sermons. It's just came out earlier this year. And it's been dominating the top of the charts. And again, with you being so young as 20, God obviously has an anointing over your story. And I'm excited for people to hear it if they haven't already. I got told you before we started recording, I heard a good bit of it on Well, that's good podcast last week. And I was like, All right, so you're gonna say to rob all the way back down to Trevor talks like holla. Let's go. I'm excited. But before we dive into your story, I also want to just dedicate this episode to Jacob, like his story, his legacy is carrying on through your career. And God's provided so much healing, obviously, in your life, to be able to just stand on a stage and share that story almost every single night of your tours. And it's just phenomenal. Because there's so many people out there that are struggling with grief and trauma and things that they feel like they can't get over. And God has given you that redemption story through your music. So absolutely. further ado, I'd just like to step back and make this and Wilson talks and let you share your story with us. Yeah, that's so sweet. Thank you for that.
Anne Wilson 4:16
Yeah, I mean, my story is pretty bittersweet. I lost my brother in a car accident five years ago. And
Anne Wilson 4:24
I mean, it's, you know, what you think it would be very traumatic, very tragic. And Jacob and me and my sister Elizabeth, we were very close growing up, and I was like, 15 when he passed away, so I didn't get a ton of time with him when I was older, and you know, more of like, in the teen years only got a few years with him. But Jacob really made a massive impact on my life, and was just a really good brother just a really good brother figure for me and just loved me well and supported me and encouraged me and so losing him was incredibly tragic and just really heartbreaking. But that's kind of how God brought me to
Anne Wilson 5:00
Music. And prior to that I had never sang in front of anyone before, really been interested in music. And when my brother passed away, I started to just worship the Lord like I never really had before. And I just started to fall in love with singing and playing the piano and worshiping God. And I did it for
Anne Wilson 5:20
just for quite a while it was like every day that was just like what I did. And it was almost like my form of medicine, in a sense, like processing the loss and getting through it. And all I really wanted to do was just worship God. And it brought me so much peace and comfort. So one of the days after my brother passed away, I was singing and worshiping. And my mom overhears me singing, and she comes in the room. And she was like, and what, what in the world are you doing? I did not know you could sing. And I was like, Mom, I'm not singing, like, I don't, I don't know, like, I don't know what this is. It's not like a, like, a passion or whatever. And I was like, I really don't know, this is I'm not a singer. Like, I'm just worshiping God. And so then she asked me if I would be willing to sing at the funeral for my brother. And I was just like, taken off by that question. And I didn't know, like, what that what that would even look like or anything. And so anyway, I ended up praying about it. And I felt like God wanted me to sing at my brother's funeral. So I did. And I sang in front of 1200 people. And that was the first time I'd sing in front of anyone, my parents never heard me saying, sister, and never Jacob never heard me sing, just wasn't something that I was like, into or passionate about. And I was raised on Christian radio. So I like I was already a Christian. So I love God, and I have this passion for Christian music, but I didn't really, I just didn't really see that as a career or something that I would want to do. And so that was just really, really special. Just, you know, having that moment on stage. And during that performance of the song called What a beautiful name by Hillsong. That's the song we did. I heard God's voice speak to me clear as day. And he said, and this is what I'm calling you to do. I'm calling you to praise and worship my name. And I just remember, like sitting there on that stage in front of all these people. And knowing in my heart that music was what he was calling me to do. I didn't know if that would be a worship leader at church, or what I'm doing now or something else. But I knew that music was what I was supposed to be doing. And so as hard as it was to be at the funeral that day, I left that day, knowing like, this is my passion. This is my calling, and started pursuing music. And then over the next six months, God started opening some really big doors. And I met a manager in Nashville, who then develops me as an artist and put me in songwriting rooms and CO writing sessions. And then by the fall of 2019, which was just two years later, a little over two years later, I signed a record deal with Capitol Records. And that really was like the beginning of this incredible journey. And I'm still very, you know, new and like fresh to the scene. And it sounds really weird that I'm even saying, that was the beginning, because I feel like I'm still at the beginning now. But um, I started writing songs, and then over 2020, obviously, that was like a crazy year for all of us. And I actually graduated graduated high school in 2020. And so I finished up high school, and then with the world, you know, felt like it was ending, it was crazy. But I finished up high school, moved to Nashville in August of 2020. So I've lived here for two years, and just started saying, God opened these massive doors and, and then we wrote My Jesus and wrote the record and just felt like the songs were what the world needed to hear. And then we released my Jesus in April of 2021. And then within like, I think it was like four days or something, it had 9 million views on Facebook, and we just like blew up and went viral. And I was so shocked by it, didn't expect it. But it all kind of circled back to just the fact that God didn't waste my brother's tragedy, and that he brought so much beauty out of it.
Trevor Tyson 8:59
What a story and losing a sibling is something that nobody anticipates happening in their lifetime. And I can't even begin to imagine the pain and hurt that you were going through. You have a video on your YouTube channel, just kind of walking through what actually happened on that day being woken up and going into the living room and seeing your parents and the blue lights and everything. You've been very vulnerable along this journey. And one thing that I'd really like to ask is like for someone who is going through something traumatic like that, just out of the blue from nowhere, and there's no blueprint to how to do like go through grief, grieving process or anything like that. But if someone's newly going through a traumatic experience like that, what are some things that you wish you would have been told or known going into that season and overcoming grief that you're experiencing,
Anne Wilson 10:02
I would say that, you know, there's a lot of like, there were a lot of moments that were just, I was just really hard on myself and I want to match, like, I expected me to just be more healed or more content, or happy or whatever. And if I wasn't, then I would like get down on myself and, and, you know, make myself feel bad about it. And I think grief is something that we don't really understand. And we can't really grasp but because it comes in waves, and it comes out of nowhere. So one day, you're great and happy. And the next day, it's the worst day of your life. And that's the thing with grief, as you have no timeline for it. And there's not really like a fix for it, it just naturally comes in different ways. And so I would really encourage people out there who are walking through grief or loss of whatever, whatever that is, to really just be patient with yourself and allow God to really work in your life to heal you. Don't be afraid to lay down all of it at his feet. Because there's, like God, God doesn't have a limit on what he can handle. And so the Bible tells us over and over again to lay our burdens at the feet of Jesus, and He will take them off of us. And I think that's something that I would really encourage people to do to lay your burdens at the feet of Jesus, don't be afraid to just surrender everything to him. And I think when you take your hands off of your future, and you take your hands off of, you know, maybe the process of grief, or you just stop trying to control it, then you're going to see this shift and how God is going to just take it all off of you. And there's going to be such a peace and comfort comes there. And when I decided to surrender my grief and loss to the Lord, that's when everything was lifted. And I just felt this peace that I can't explain. And this joy and I started having joy again and happiness again. And I started feeling just I just started feeling things again. And for so long, I was so numb, but then it's like I just saw just such a shift when I decided to surrender everything to God. And he really did, like take it all off of me.
Trevor Tyson 12:00
So good. And again, like losing a sibling, you can't imagine that but just the fruit of God's grace and God's healing power that he's had on your life. Through your music, you're able to encourage millions of people with your story and Jacob story in the story that your family has been going through. And one thing that really kept going through my mind hearing your story is when you get asked to sing at a siblings funeral like that, especially when you've never sing in front of anybody like that. That had to be nerve wracking. And I find found it very encouraging and actually like something worth sharing, that you didn't do it alone. Like, you don't have to face these trials. And these hard times alone, you actually got a group of friends to go sing it with you. And that's such an encouragement, especially when it comes to grief and mental health. You don't have to face those alone, no matter if it's singing in front of 1200 people for your first like audience or for say, like you were able to honor your brother with your friends. And if someone's out there struggling with like, you didn't know music was your calling at that point in time. But if someone's out there struggling with like, I don't know what my calling as I feel like it says, But I'm way too scared to go after it. What would your encouragement be to them with opening up to people and sharing that anxiety with them?
Anne Wilson 13:22
Yeah, absolutely. I would encourage people walking through that to really clean to Well, I think there's, there's two things number one is like clinging to the people around you is really important. I remember really struggling with depression and anxiety when I lost my brother and I had never been someone that struggled with anxiety before. Just didn't grow up ever having that, you know, issue or anything and, and then when my brother passed away was like, everything changed. And I was anxious all the time and really walks in depressed, depression, and just really struggled in that area. And I found that cleaning to the people next to me was really just incredibly helpful. And just always, you know, being able to rely on people was a really amazing gift. But also counseling was a really big thing. For me. I feel like some people don't talk about it a lot in the Christian world. But counseling really changed everything. For me. I started going to counseling about a year and a half ago. And so not that long ago. But actually, for the first time, like the holidays are really hard for me. But for the first time in five years, you know, last Christmas was not hard, and it was joyful again. And because I went to counseling and faced the trauma and the you know, tragedy, everything changed. And so I think there's something too about counseling that's really, really helpful for some. And then the second thing I would say is just clinging to God during those times of depression and anxiety. And I know that's kind of some people might say that and you might not think much of it, but there's something really really powerful about clinging to God laying everything and his feet and And like having him be your savior, having him be your father, having him be the one that pulls you through, you know, the Lord is stronger and greater and mightier than we could ever be. And he has a bigger plan. And so he sees the perspective that we never will be able to see. And I love the whole, you know, picture of the fact that we don't know what tomorrow holds. But we know the One Who holds tomorrow. And we don't have to worry about anything. And so I think as you're walking through depression, or anxiety or anything else, being able to just know that God's got it God's got you, being able to go to bed at night, knowing that you're taking care of and that there's someone fighting on your behalf, which is Jesus, I think that's a really beautiful picture that in my own life has been just really something that I've clung to, especially as you know, I walked through losing my brother and all the other emotions that came with it.
Trevor Tyson 15:52
Yeah. And, wow. It's like, how do you segue from that, because you've just got so much wisdom, especially at 20 years old, which I'm talking like, I'm like, 35, or something, I'm 24. But you just got so much wisdom to share with the world. And it's gonna, it's already making such an impact. The last time I looked on YouTube, my Jesus had about 19 million views or something like that. And excuse me if it's more, but that's what I remember. And it's insane. So for a 20 year old girl from Kentucky, the other day, I saw on your Instagram page that you got your vinyl in the mail. And once it looked amazing, a gold vinyl, and it matched the aesthetic that was like, oh, yeah, that Sam Wilson's like, it just matches the brand. So for having a record or receiving a Billboard Music Award and all of these things, how do you keep your focus directly on Jesus versus everything else that comes around it? One thing that musicians I hear time and time again, and it's like, when it does become a business, it kind of shifts your focus a little bit, and you have to like course, correct on that. So is that something that you've gone through? And how do you keep on the right path with it?
Anne Wilson 17:06
Yeah, that's really good. You know, it definitely becomes a business for sure. For me, I guess the difference is, like, I didn't grow up wanting to be an artist. And so this isn't something that I've dreamed of my whole life. And so for me, all of the stats and the gold record, and all those things, they mean so much to me, but they're not my biggest goals. In life, my biggest goal in life is not to have a Grammy or to have a number one song, my biggest goal in life is really just to let Jesus kind of leave my life and maybe just be a follower of him. That really is my goal, when I think because of my loss of losing my brother, that's really, the perspective that I have on life is just, it's all about Jesus, it's all about serving Him, it's all about doing things for him. So I was in that's kind of the difference is that a lot of people probably struggle with that more because they wanted to be an artist. And that's that none of those are bad things. But for me, I always, I always have this perspective of if everything was taken away tomorrow, if all of the stats and all of the gold records and whatever it's like, I would still be who I am. And I would still know that my worth is in Jesus and not in any of those stats or any of those awards. And, and that's a really, you know, that that can be hard. Obviously, that's not how I am all the time, it's super easy to fall into the things of the enemy, and being in the music business and having success can definitely get, you know, tricky, but I also surround myself with people who are that hold me accountable and check in with me weekly, and pray for me and you know, kind of keep me grounded in who I am. I also bring out my parents a lot on the road. And I have a lot of people with me that just know that knew me before the success and that are able to really hold me accountable for who I am and what I believe in. And, and so I think that's kind of really my, what my focus tends to be is just keeping grounded, and then also just intentionally making time to spend with Jesus and making sure that I'm opening his word every day and that I'm keeping myself humble and grounded. And again, just the whole fact of just that I'm a child of God and no stat or anything changes that. I remember, like, I felt a lot of the weight of after my Jesus was such a big, big success. A lot of artists, you know, fear for their next song. Well, their next song be as big as the first and my next song wasn't as big as my Jesus. But there was something that I remember someone said to me, a friend said to me, and they were like, your success of mine, Jesus didn't change the way that God viewed you. He views you the exact same as before my Jesus and after my Jesus and it will be the same with Sunday sermon, so be the same before and after. And that really freed me is knowing that God doesn't view me differently based on my success or the awards, I win. But at the end of the day, I'm just his child and he loves me just as much and that's also the freedom of getting to do Christian music. Is that out helps carry the weight of like, oh, it's all about me and my glory. But it's like, no, it's all about him and his glory and I don't have to do any of the other things or, or carry that weight. So sorry, I like went off on a tangent, but I felt like that's yeah, for me that's what's really important and how I really tried to keep my focus.
Trevor Tyson 20:17
No, that's awesome. And just to talk about the record Sunday sermons, you've literally got such a sound, it's unique. It's country is full, you can tell your southern girl is awesome. But for people that haven't heard the record yet, what would your elevator pitch before like are we think in a combination of Crowder and Gretchen Wilson? Are we going more on the Toby Keith side? What? What's your elevator pitch for Sunday sermons?
Anne Wilson 20:49
Yeah, um, so I feel like that's well, Sunday sermons that song in particular is definitely the probably one of the most country songs on the record. Maybe a couple of others are more but definitely has this like whole a little like, so my favorite artists are Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash. So like, I feel like a lot of the record has a few touches, and Dolly Parton Johnny Cash. And then I also feel like, I really like Morgan Wallen as a just a new country artist. And so I really love his music. And he's definitely an influence on the record. And a lot of it is a lot of it too, is bluegrass, because I grew up in Kentucky. So I grew up listening to bluegrass music all the time. And we'd go, you know, literally like down the street, and there'd be some festival going on with bluegrass music. And so there's definitely touches of that. But I really just grew up on literally Christian music and country music. That's it. So all of my music is very much country influenced, as well as you know, just the foundation of Christ in all of the songs. So
Trevor Tyson 21:50
that's so awesome. And as we come to a close here, I feel like we could talk all day. But obviously, time is of the essence, when it comes down to it. If there's somebody out there struggling right now, whether it be through their mental health or grief, their loss, anything that's causing discomfort and uncertainty in their life, what would the message from an Wilson be?
Anne Wilson 22:16
I would encourage you to put God first right now, as hard as it is. In these moments, I would encourage you to worship God in the midst of all your pain and your grief. Because when we, when we decide to worship the Lord and our deepest moments of pain, I think those are the most beautiful moments. And that's where he actually kind of blesses you in a way that you just it's very unexplainable. But when you choose to lay your your burdens down your suffering down your all of your, the things you're carrying, and you decide to worship him in the midst of that. There's just such beauty that comes out of that. And so I would really encourage you, as hard as it is, I would encourage you to trust God right now in these moments, to know that God is holding you and his hands he has tomorrow in his hands, he loves you. You don't have to prove anything to him. He's patient with you. He's kind with you. And all you have to do is wholeheartedly put your trust in him and he's going to take care of the rest. And I think that's just not even just for when you're struggling. That's just kind of a life. motto for me is knowing that no matter what I'm walking through that God holds all of it and that he has the greater picture in store that we will never have. And I'm glad we don't have that. I'm glad we don't know what tomorrow holds because we wouldn't be able to handle it all. But God does and he's got it all. So I'd encourage you to cling to him spend time with him trust him rely on Him and allow Him to be the father that he is to all of us.
Unknown Speaker 23:50
He makes a way with Ray no way razzes up feminie in the grave. A no senator that he can save let me tell you bad mad Jesus.
Trevor Tyson 24:01
So obviously from that, you know that I will never be an n Wilson. What's up guys, welcome to this little after segment from this interview with the wonderfully amazingly beautifully talented and Wilson. And I just want to start off and acknowledge like yeah, this was a little more of an heavy episode, you know? Like, it's, it's a lot to go through grief and trauma and just the mental space that comes with that is hard and and is paving the way for other people to know that like, hey, just because you've gone through this doesn't mean that God can't use you. In fact, he is going to use you through it. So if you're going through that season, or maybe you've been through that and you can relate. I hope this episode encourages you. Wherever you're at. I wanted to meet you exactly where you are. Trevor talks is real people, real topics and real Stories for no other reason than God's grace. I wouldn't be here without it. You wouldn't be here without it and wouldn't be here without it. And I'm walking away super encouraged. And again, I know that there was a lot of heavy stuff tackled in this, but I want you to leave with an enlightened spirit and knowing that God can use you exactly where you are, no matter what you're struggling with, or what is going on in your life for your head. God's got you. He's got a plan for you. And I want to remind you guys to go check out Anne's debut album, my Jesus which is out everywhere and it also features her doing the song by Jesus with Crowder as well as a song called Mama's that she did with Hillary Scott from Lady A. So there's a lot to look forward to in this record, go check out that gold vinyl we were talking about. And if you're struggling and you need some extra help, love encouragement, go check out our friends at death to life. At death, the number two life.com Somebody wants to speak with you. We love you so much. And I'm so grateful for all your support. And I can't wait to talk to you guys next week. We're in the triple digits y'all. Trevor talks. Is it a baby anymore? It's a thing. 101 episodes. Let's go. We'll talk to you guys next week. Bye now.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Singer/songwriter Anne Wilson knows the healing power of music firsthand. The lyrics of Hillsong Worship’s “What A Beautiful Name” became a lifeline for the Lexington, Kentucky native after her brother was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 23. Although she spent much of her childhood behind a piano, Wilson sang in front of an audience for the first time at her brother’s funeral. It was at that moment that she realized what she was born to do. A video of her moving performance organically circulated, eventually landing her a record deal. With a mesmerizing voice and a visible hunger for Jesus, the 20-year-old relies on personal journal entries and time spent in nature for songwriting inspiration.
Wilson’s introductory track, “My Jesus”—which she co-wrote with Jeff Pardo and Matthew West—is a warm invitation to experience her Savior in the same intimate way she knows Him. She released a debut three-track single—also titled My Jesus—for Capitol Christian Music Group in early 2021 and followed it up with a live EP, My Jesus (Live in Nashville). Her song, “My Jesus,” charted on the Spotify Viral 50, Shazam Top 200, and Rolling Stone Top 25 Trending charts. Her story was also featured with the Religion News Service and The Washington Post. She made her Opry debut on the iconic stage in September 2021. Wilson was featured in Billboard Magazine as the October 2021 Chartbreaker artist, and Wilson’s “My Jesus” received a 2022 Billboard Music Award for “Top Christian Song” of the year. Her debut album, My Jesus, released April 22, 2022.