The Power of Storytelling Through Music

By September 9, 2015News

Alanna Story—a Midwestern-based worship band focused on creating a powerful, energetic atmosphere for others to encounter the presence of God—will be sharing their stories through music at this year’s Alignment Conference. Meet them below.

The most frequent questions we get asked as we travel is, “Who is Alanna Story” and “where does the name come from?” They’re both great questions! Hopefully our answers always do more than just define the origin of the name, but give greater insight into who we are as artists and what we have always felt called to in music.

The Story Behind Our Name

So the first word, Alanna, comes from a combination of our names—Ally (that’s me) and my sister Anna. There’s nothing too deep about that.

Anna and I have been buddies from a young age and always shared a passion for music and creating. Even as a young girl, I have loved how music can lift the spirit and change the atmosphere in a room. Something inside me especially stirs when the people of God begin to sing and lift up the praises of God. I am convinced that music gives us a glimpse into something heavenly and, for as long as I can remember, that has captured my heart. And Anna, the main songwriter in the band, has always had a strong desire to craft words in a fresh and poignant way. As an English and art double major in college, she felt compelled to hone her gifts as a writer—still a very important piece of our band’s DNA.

The second word, Story, initially came from our desire to give context to the words we were singing. We are pastor’s kids, and so the desire to preach naturally runs in our blood. Over the years, this has become more and more a part of who we are on and off stage—not just singers and songwriters, but also storytellers and teachers.

I can tell you that looking back on the four albums we have released so far, each has captured a season of our journey when the Lord was speaking to us and revealing fresh revelation. For example, our first album—“Keep Breathing”—is a collection of songs that describe a time when we felt like all we could do was “keep breathing” and how the Lord was faithful to us even when it was difficult to see what He was doing. We share that story at our shows, and it’s amazing to see that context give life to the songs.

How God Has Used Our Stories in Song

We’ve found that stories have a way of breaking down walls and meeting people in their own brokenness and pain—even if the circumstances are different. Our hope in writing songs initially began as a way to respond to what was happening in our lives and processing some of the pain we were experiencing. As the Lord has been faithful to open doors, I think our songwriting has progressed to hopefully help others unravel what is going on in their own hearts.

We’ve seen that happen while playing our song “Confession.” We wrote the song after the Lord was convicting us to confess and ask forgiveness for some areas of sin that could have easily gone unnoticed—busyness, fear, and a critical spirit. We’ve seen God use that song, though, to help so many others see areas in their own lives where sin had crept in unknowingly.

People are being set free, and that is the joy for us in writing songs now. As He is faithfully breaking and transforming us, we want our songs and stories to be used to draw people closer and closer to Him. We want people to fall more in love with Jesus and for His presence to be more and more alive in His people. (Can you sense the passion in our hearts for this?)

How the Setting Impacts Those Stories

We have always felt it important to create atmosphere when we play, whether we’re in a beautiful old cathedral or a living room. Atmosphere is a huge part of how we receive a message or experience, right? For us, we have always tried to bring some ambiance to our stage setup, mostly through lighting pieces that our awesome husbands (who are also both in the band) create for each new project.

People may wonder sometimes why we spend countless hours crafting these pieces and lugging them to and from shows. It’s certainly not a requirement for being in a band and, when you already tote around so much equipment, it can feel like an added stress. However, the energy and atmosphere that these pieces create makes it well worth it. We truly love to create spaces that move people, and I think we will continue to do so as long as we can.

So that’s a bit of who we are. We feel blessed to do what we love and to do it with people we love. God has been so good and faithful to bring fresh revelation in our lives and allow us to offer it to the greater community of believers and non-believers in fresh, challenging ways.

As you look to build your church’s story at the 2015 Alignment Conference, we look forward to sharing some of our stories firsthand. Until then, God bless!

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