Singer-songwriter Lara Landon’s career began with opportunities most only dream about. Landon’s debut album, Beloved, was produced by GRAMMY® award-winning talent Michael Omartian (Amy Grant, Christopher Cross, Rod Stewart). In fact, the Beloved recording process proved to be not only the chance of a lifetime but also breeding grounds for her artistry, as she was able to work with well-respected songwriter/producers like Jason Ingram, Plumb and Mitch Dane. Beloved solidified Landon’s identity in Christ and resonated with fans as they, too, discovered how they could become His beloved thanks, in part, to successful radio single “Closer,” which stayed on the charts for most of 2010.
If Beloved conveyed Landon’s revelation about who we are in Christ, her sophomore project, Overcome, speaks to our authority as His beloved to triumph over life’s most difficult circumstances. Landon has taken that message on tour and abroad, serving the least of these with New Reality International, the non-profit she and her sister co-founded in 2006.
“Being on the road, sharing my songs with people in different settings, has allowed me to see the real needs they have,” shares Landon. “ I was able to see how they were hurting, how they needed encouragement, and how God was moving in similar ways all across the world.”
Meeting needs firsthand—whether it be in Haiti on a mission trip or in church singing—is a significant part of the Riverside, California-native’s ministry and has undoubtedly had a profound effect on her. But Landon affirms the depth of her songwriting was most influenced by the three years she spent singing at Nashville’s House of Prayer. “I loved the world that opened up to me at The House of Prayer,” says Landon. “I never thought I could sing and pray for hours on end. I learned how to make up Scripture songs on the spot, and I began to feel the depth that could come from using God’s Word to pray and intercede.” The songs on her new record reflect Landon’s time spent in the Word and a sensitivity to the needs and diversity of her fans.
In 2011 Landon submerged herself in writing and recording songs that reflected the past few years and her new life experiences. “I wanted this album to truly reflect my heart and, most of all, I wanted to offer it up at every stage to God for His approval,” she says. “I promised myself, for this project, I would try my best to quiet the voice inside my head that was concerned with what people would think and focus on what I thought God was directing me to do.”
The subsequent album is covered with Landon’s fingerprints, reflecting her intuitive lyrics and unique melodies. Overcome showcases an eclectic yet cohesive pallet of lush arrangements and melodic, piano-driven pop, venturing into the folk realm but ultimately more reminiscent of fellow female innovators Imogen Heap, Plumb and Kate Bush. It’s evident Landon was not afraid to explore new stylistic elements by incorporating Hebrew lyrics, Middle Eastern percussion and Spanish guitar. The songs are intentionally sequenced to tell the songwriter’s story, leading the listener through a musical journey from desperation to hope.
“My desire was that this record, as a whole, would tell a story,” says Landon. “I wanted to take people from a place of confronting their humanity and weakness on songs like ‘Better For The Breaking,’ ‘Defenseless’ and ‘Falling’ to being encouraged by tracks like ‘I See God In You.’ Toward the end it’s all about victory and empowerment—I want listeners to literally be declaring ‘we will overcome’ and ‘the spirit of the Lord is upon me’ as they sing along in their car.”
Although she spearheaded most of the project herself, Landon collaborated with some notable names as well. Steve Wilson (Josh Wilson, Johnny Diaz) co-wrote and produced “Leah,” a song that mirrors her personal story. “In the bridge, Leah is looking at somebody she wishes she could become, not knowing how to get from who she is to who she wants to be. But God’s saying, ‘Someday you’ll be that girl,’” Landon explains.
Mitch Dane (Jars of Clay) co-wrote and produced first single “I See God In You,” a song inspired by her mission trips to Haiti as well as a month spent on a service-based tour that ministered at homeless shelters, bars, women’s rehabilitation centers and churches. Landon comments, “God is everywhere...we see Him in the faith of a child, the strength of a
mother that’s battling cancer, the love that was shown by a group of volunteers on a mission trip. We can serve Him by simply opening our eyes to the people He’s placed all around us.” Brian Hitt (MIKESCHAIR) and Krissy Nordhoff (“Your Great Name”) also boast credits on the album, proving Landon keeps good company.
The songs culled to form Overcome were intentionally handpicked as songs Landon felt were God-breathed. She feels that anything less is not authentic. “My goal is to let God move through me, through my life experiences,” she says. Those experiences take root amidst the current of Landon’s everyday life—leading worship at her local church in Nashville, Tenn., staying active online interacting with fans, touring and working with her non-profit. Today, she continues to be a leader in ministry, mentoring other women through KINDLE, a Christian music and leadership experience that inspires women from every generation to come together to celebrate their talents, prepare for service, and faithfully live out The Great Commission.
Whether she’s meticulously crafting lyrics or ministering to the physically and spiritually needy, authenticity reigns supreme with Landon. Her main goal is to be an intermediary. “I’ve learned over the past few years that my job, and success to me, is connecting people with God and connecting God with people—whether that be through hands-on service, or a simple melody that I’m playing on the piano,” she says. “I’m a connector, and if I’m doing my part correctly, I will disappear and leave people face-to-face with their own heart and the heart of God.”