Phil Stacey Goes 'Into the Light'
AN IDOL SEASON
Phil Stacey had quite a following as an American Idol finalist in 2007, Season 6. He auditioned for the popular talent show at the urging of a friend. Phil’s friend from college was getting married, but Phil could not attend the wedding because of his obligations with the Navy. Phil asked his friend what he could do to make it up to him. His friend said he would forgive him if he would audition for American Idol. When it came time for Phil to audition, his wife was giving birth to their second daughter. With her blessing, he went to the audition. Out of 103,000 contestants, Phil placed #6. Since then, he has continued his service to the Navy, toured with American Idol, done some music ministering tours, and released two solo albums.
The experience Phil had on American Idol was one of the highlights of his life. Although he was a pastor’s son, knew God at a young age, and had been singing for most of his life, he found he still had a lot to learn. He says, “More than anything, it taught me how desperate I still am -- how desperately in need of God’s mercy and grace I still am. After so many years of being actively involved in ministry, the American Idol experience taught me that I don’t have it together, that I am utterly dependent every single day on the grace and mercy of Christ.”
When he was on the show, he went from January to October straight with no days off except for Easter Sunday. He found that it is important to be around other Christians, making time for the Word, pray, attend church service, and help with what the local churches are doing. He also learned that it’s not about him; it’s about what God is doing. Also when we are weak, He is strong.
Phil received a letter from a woman who was on the verge of divorce and saw a performance which Phil says was not his best. One of the judges did not say nice things about him. The camera showed Phil’s wife smiling at him and Phil smiling back despite the comments. This inspired the female viewer to go to Christian marriage counseling. Now, the marriage is restored and the couple is attending church.
INTO THE LIGHT
The theme of Phil’s second album Into the Light is Psalm 46. This passage says, “The Lord is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.” “I think that's an important message for us," he says. "We need to understand that we do have a destination. My destination is heaven, and everything that happens until that point is just the journey in getting there. In this life, we're going to have mountains and valleys and right now is a time when a lot of people are experiencing those valleys. I just want to reach out to them and tell them, 'Take courage and know that God is still on the throne no matter what your situation is. He's not shaken by it, He's completely in control.' "
The single “You’re Not Shaken” has made Billboard’s Top 20 Christian Songs Chart. Phil has said of this song: “This is my Job song. I wrote this with a couple of other guys, and the idea behind it was Psalm 23 – ‘Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear because you are with me.’ Job had lost everything and there was really nothing left to hold onto, but in the midst of it he said, ‘You give. You take away.’ This is a song that says whatever this life may throw at me, I know that God is in control. Even in the midst of my trials right now, even in the midst of what’s going on in my life and I see no way out, my faith is in the Lord. God is not shaken. He’s still on the throne. He’s still going to be able to pull us through this.”
A RICH GODLY HERITAGE
As far as Christian influences go, Phil did not have to look very far: "Both of my grandfathers were pastors and my father is a pastor. They were incredible Christians, great examples of integrity. They weren't religious people; they were relationship people. They had a great relationship with Jesus. I saw that and I wanted that in my life. I got saved when I was very young."
At the age of seven, Phil accepted Jesus as his Savior and was involved at church, was a counselor at youth camp, went on mission trips, and sang. Not only was his father a spiritual influence, but a musical one as well. Before his father became a minister, he professionally played keyboards and trumpet, and he instilled in Phil a passion for music.
From a very early age, Phil knew he wanted to use his voice in ministry. Phil grew up singing in church and later attended Lee University in Cleveland, TN. He became part of its highly acclaimed Lee Singers. Phil also earned a spot in Second Edition, Lee's even more exclusive touring group.
In addition to performing, Phil took a job at a local recording studio where he learned the more technical side of the business by producing independent projects. Also during college, he was exposed to a wider variety of music beyond the country and gospel that he'd grown up listening to with his family.
Phil always wanted to sing Christian music and almost signed with a label after he graduated from college, but God had another plan for him. After college, he and his wife, Kendra, moved to Denver where he took a job as a music minister. Phil says, “There were times along the journey when I was wondering where in the world God was taking me. Now I see why He took me through all the turns and I’m so grateful that He did.”
ROCKIN’ FOR UNCLE SAM
Like most Americans, Phil was deeply shaken by the events of September 11, 2001. He decided to join the Navy to serve his country. Phil enlisted in the military, and they ended up putting him in as the lead vocalist of the Navy Band Southeast. Of this experience he says, "It was an incredible experience and I carry that with me everywhere I go. I've met some amazing people and walked through unforgettable experiences including singing at memorial services for some of our fallen heroes. I'm incredibly honored to have served in the Navy."
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