All is Well for Debbie Fortnum
by Marika Siewert
All is Well is the brand new album release from recent GMA Canada’s Female Vocalist of the Year-nominated recording artist & songwriter, Debbie Fortnum. While her credits, nominations and history as a veteran musician are impressive, what stands out is the light, the hope, and the gumption of a wife, mother, and believer in Christ who has lived through personal “hurricanes” and still stands to praise God on the other side of it all. Her journey is real. She is not ashamed to tell it, bringing a message of life and healing whatever your own story may be.
I first encountered Fortnum’s voice on Brian Doerksen’s Holy God album, and even back then, her voice meant something to me. Today Fortnum’s music is a glimpse into the stories of her life, as she continues to bring songs of hope and inspiration to those who may be walking through their own “hurricane” situations, but can take heart knowing that there is a God who brings you to a place of healing.
Local music producer Philip Janz put his talents to Fortnum’s album, arranging complicated strings and vocal tracks that bring out the spirit in her sound and songs. The album is an inspirational anthem. All is Well, is out March 8th, very fitting for International Women’s Day, and you can check out her website for more information on where she is performing in the next few months (www.debfortnum.com).
M: Debbie, please tell our readers a little bit about who you are, and a little of your story.
D: I’m a daughter of the King of Kings, the wife of Rev. Scott Fortnum, mama to Moriah (20), Shanna (19) and Noah (16). Born in Regina, while my Dad attended seminary, I was blessed with a musical gift at age five. It’s been my endeavour to use it for the glory of God to encourage and challenge the Church, peak the interest of all audiences – even unchurched, and bring the love, joy, peace, hope and healing of Jesus.
M: Can you describe some of the journey of how this album came to be?
D: All Is Well definitely came forth from the ashes of a very difficult time and subsequent healing. We were hit like a hurricane almost seven years ago, and it was a painful season of life and marriage indeed. God faithfully carried us through and miraculously rescued us. During the past seven years of healing, I have spent thousands of quiet hours alone with my Saviour, just allowing Him to restore my soul. All of these songs came out of the quiet restoration times where He was powerfully present in my pain, and in my healing! In fact, there were times that He was so present that my little puppy dog would feel Him in the room and become so afraid that she would jump up into my lap trembling! I on the other hand, would be filled with indescribable peace, and the knowledge that everything was going to be okay.
M: What is your hope for the reach of these songs?
D: I truly desire to bless the Body of Christ with a massive infusion of theologically strong and musically rich encouragement! It is meant to inspire encouragement and worship in the heart of the believer and in those who are eagerly seeking God. It is meant to lavish the love, joy, peace, hope and healing of Christ into dry, desolate, hurting souls via His Holy Spirit. This world isn’t getting easier to live in. For many, it is becoming harder to live in. I want my music to make it easier to live, easier to see the beauty of God even in the sometimes horrifying mess of life.
M: Are there challenges you face as a female Canadian Christian artist/mother and do you have any encouragement to other mothers and career women pursuing music?
D: Many challenges! I am a recovering work-a-holic, recovering perfectionist, and a recovering pleaser! I have had to learn how to say “no” a lot. Sometimes I have to take two Sabbaths a week. I now guard my alone time with God with my life! And my husband, family and my relationships are top priority. So even when there are hundreds of emails and FB messages waiting for me, I have come to realize that I am only one person with very limited capacity to please everyone, or to do everything “right.”
M: Why did you make this album?
D: Two reasons. a) I simply wanted to do everything I could do to honour God for being so incredibly faithful to me and my family, especially during these past seven years. This album is an offering of worship to Him like no other album I have ever created, and I have nine of them now! He rescued us. He didn’t have to. We should have become a statistic. I know the stats, and I know how many families don’t make it. I even went through “survivor guilt” because we just shouldn’t have made it, and I deeply feel the pain of those who haven’t been able to weather their storms. There were even times in the recording studio that I had to stop recording and fall to my knees weeping because the painful memories were literally being submerged by a speechlessly overwhelming waterfall of gratitude!
But secondly, b), I wanted to do everything I could to “recycle” all that I’d learned, all that I’d experienced from God during my hurricane and literally become hope for other wounded soldiers who are floundering in loneliness and despair. To me, giving the gift of healing and hope through my music makes me feel alive inside! I am hearing stories of people being healed (physically, emotionally, spiritually) through my music, and it is just so humbling.
M: What does the next year look like for you?
D: The spring will be full with the launch of the CD on International Women’s Day in Kamloops Alliance Church’s weekend worship services, and then an Alberta Tour that includes ministering with and teaching alongside Brian Doerksen at Prairie Bible College in Three Hills, Alberta. It also includes a Lower Mainland Tour of various churches in their weekend worship services and Women’s Ministries events! This summer, Scott and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary and enjoying a little more time with our awesome young adult kids!