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It Takes Grit With Rachael Lampa

Her name is Rachael Lampa. She’s going to be making new music and we’re excited to talk about that. Plus, we’ll dig into two nonprofits that are very close to her heart. She’s is going share what she’s learned about God and his love throughout her journey. Rachel is going to remind you today that you are loved and purposeful, no matter what.

Special thanks to Northwest University for sponsoring the Passion Meets Purpose Podcast!

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Purposely. Your life, God’s purpose. Listen at

Rachael Lampa: I love how I get to see how creative he is. And it’s not always just this obvious, big, you know, Sunday morning moment. It’s sometimes, it’s just this little seed of joy. That’s, why do I feel joyful? Why do I laugh now? Why do I smile now? You know, just getting to see little pieces of the story.

Sarah Taylor: Her name is Rachael Lampa, and maybe you grew up listening to her music in the late nineties, early two thousands. I remember it, listening, because I was in high school at the time, and so, it was so exciting to hear that Rachael was going to be making new music again. We’re going to certainly talk about that. We’re going to talk about two nonprofits that are very close to her heart, and she’s not the only one involved. Her whole family is as well. And she’s going to share what she’s learned about God, and his love through that process. And so, we’re going to begin because Rachael, you are so prompt. Military precision.

Rachael Lampa: I was literally shopping five seconds ago on state street in Santa Barbara. And then I was… I have to time this exactly right. And I just dropped, I just kicked my kid outta the car, and my husband outta the car. And I was like, one o’clock… let’s do this.

Sarah Taylor: Where are, where are they being kicked out to?

Rachael Lampa: They, we, we pulled up to the little, we have a little rental house…. wasn’t the side of the road or anything.

Sarah Taylor: Okay. Just needed to double check there. And how long are you in California for?

Rachael Lampa: We’re just here for a few days. We’re actually with the Ripp’s, with Andrew Ripp and his family.

Sarah Taylor: Oh yes, of course.

Rachael Lampa: Yes. He’s there in Santa Barbara for a month. And so, we’re coming.

Sarah Taylor: Now, this is funny because I had requested from Andrea to also do a podcast with Andrew. And what she said was he’s on vacation with his family in California, but Rachael can do it. So, how did that work out?

Rachael Lampa: Oh, I guess I’ve got a little more grit than he does… Or he has better, or he has better boundaries. I don’t know.

Sarah Taylor: I’ll take the first one, cause we’re so thankful to talk to you. So, part of your gifting obviously is music, but another is your heart for this nonprofit. And I want to talk about both. Yeah. So, for someone that hasn’t followed your story, why don’t you give me the 90 second story of, you know the, was it Estes park, Colorado?

Rachael Lampa: Yeah. Okay. Yes. Good job.

Sarah Taylor: Okay. so just a little bit about how you started singing at such a young age and then we’ll start talking about the break you took and what happened next.

Rachael Lampa: Yes. Okay. Awesome. So, I grew up in Louisville, Colorado, which is basically Boulder, Colorado. And I was always the singer girl around town and got asked to sing at coffee shops and, you know, national anthems and all that stuff. So, I got, you know, I got asked to sing at this little coffee shop in Estes Park, which was nothing new to me, except for that they were like, can you sing Christian music? And I actually didn’t grow up on Christian music. So, I went and found the karaoke tape for the preacher’s wife movie. The whole soundtrack and I sang in this coffee shop, but I, and what I didn’t realize was this, this coffee shop was next door to the Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith show, at this conference, this Christian music conference that goes on in, at this park. So, I was, I was 14 and I was basically scooped up there and just got approached by record labels and the whole thing. And that’s where, where my, you know, I started listening to Christian music. I started understanding, oh, I can sing about my faith, because I, you know, had been going to church my whole life and had just started to really embrace my relationship with God. And, and then this this whole world of. You know, Christian music came up and I was, oh my gosh, I can do all of this.

And so, yeah, that’s how I got my start. And just through all my teenage years, I was just touring and recording, and you know, going back and forth from Colorado to Nashville, and ended up doing that for seven, eight years straight until I took a break.

Sarah Taylor: And you took that break. Got married. You have your son, and you were telling me when we were at dinner, you were telling me you have a tie to the Pacific Northwest. Remind me what that is.

Rachael Lampa: Yes, my husband is from Eugene, Oregon.

Sarah Taylor: Okay.

Rachael Lampa: Yes. And so, I love it up there. And then actually, when we were dating and stuff, he lived on Mercer Island, so that’s right. We were all up there. I also learned how to love coffee while I was visiting. So that’s a big deal.

Sarah Taylor: I hope you feel endeared whenever you think of the Pacific Northwest.

Rachael Lampa: I love it. I love it so much.

Sarah Taylor: Okay. So, your husband, who’s also, he’s a therapist, correct?

Rachael Lampa: Yes. He is a therapist.

Sarah Taylor: Can I just ask you the cliche question? If you guys are having an argument, do you ever feel he’s just sort of analyzing you.

Rachael Lampa: Oh, you know it! You know, well, you know what it here. So, at the beginning, when he was learning about it, that’s when that stuff was happening. And then it was all of a sudden, I was, oh, we gotta, we gotta go ahead and take care of this pretty early. So, there’s, we, we totally, I mean, I have to, I have to call it out in him all the time.

Sarah Taylor: Mm-hmm

Rachael Lampa: But he’s gotten a lot better. And actually, part of schooling is, his schooling was make sure that you don’t do that all the time in your personal life. So right. Yeah. We’re getting, we’re getting better and better at it. And then sometimes I’m, can you, can you verify this situation?

Sarah Taylor: Oh, nice. OK. So, you basically ask and, and is it helpful to have?

Rachael Lampa: Oh, my gosh. There are times where I, I’m, it almost makes me madder when we’re already in a fight and then he comes up with a great solution and I’m, dang it. yeah. It’s, it’s a, it’s an up and down thing. Yeah.

Sarah Taylor: Well, okay, so you took that break; married, family life, and then I think your friend Andrew is the one that you were talking with about wanting to maybe dip your toe back in music, but not knowing where to start. And he presented you with a really beautiful opportunity.

Rachael Lampa: Yeah, well, yeah. So basically, you know, during that break, I was never really sure if I wanted to step back into music or not. I had a lot of identity stuff to work through after being on stage all through my childhood years, basically. And trying to figure out, you know, all what all the voices in my ears meant, in my head meant. And finding God’s voice and making sure that’s turned up the loudest and, you know, sometimes it gets confusing. And so, I sort of was, I, I don’t think I’m going to do music again. And so, I was, I’m, I’m in a small group with Andrew Ripp, and his family. And then also my friend, Ethan Holtz who is a big, big writer.

Sarah Taylor: Yeah. Written half the songs that we play on our radio station.

Rachael Lampa: Yes. Yes. Absolutely a hundred percent. He is, he is just writing all the great songs. But even then I was just, nah, I’m good. I’m good. I’m good. But I was sharing my story and I was also sharing a story of these women that I work with, that are incarcerated, and all these stories started to really bubble up in me, and, and I felt they were starting to, I was needing to share it. And so, I was, I was sharing with my small group, and Andrew and Ethan were just, Rachael, you are still an artist. You’re still a writer. You’re still a singer, and you need to write about this stuff because you still have, you still have so much to say. And, you know, and I, I think I needed somebody to see me as the, as the per, as the person first, as Rachael first, and then as the artist. Yeah. You know, in a, in, in order to even imagine, you know, doing this again, full blast. And so, that’s just what it’s been. It’s been friendship first and people first, and we just, we just write songs for fun. And then, you know, if we, if it’s, if it’s pulling at our heart to share it, then, then we’ll put it out. And that’s where perfectly loved came from and, and where more songs are being born.

Sarah Taylor: That’s really beautiful and makes perfect sense.

Rachael Lampa: Yeah. It’s, it’s felt so just it’s felt such release and just so free. I. Again, before, when I was younger, it just started to feel, had a lot of pressure on it. And a lot of, and there, the, the creativity, you know, was starting to get, you know, further and further away from the heart, you know? And so, now it’s, we are starting with the heart every time, and we are starting with, you know, feeling, knowing, and I’m accepting that I’m loved and purposeful, no matter what. And then, and then I can share it, you know, instead of the other way around. instead of being, okay, I’m going to share this. And then if people like it, then I have purpose. Then I have value, you know? Just flipping, flipping a script that I needed to flip for years.

Sarah Taylor: It takes a, sometimes it takes a while to get to that point. And yeah, I just, I love that so much. Another thing, obviously that has played into your, having something to say, and a new understanding of God, I can’t wait to talk to you about this. Where did the inception idea of this nonprofit that you and your family began? Where did it start? When was the first little ember?

Rachael Lampa: Yeah. So, me and my brother moved to Nashville just in the midst of touring and stuff. We, we eventually just picked up all our stuff from Colorado and moved to Nashville. And my brother moved into this house that was in this, this, it was not even a real house. It was this half house. And He had a lot of people surrounding the house that were sort of living on porches, and living you know, under, you know, little underpasses and stuff like that. And my brother started to get to know a friend that was, was living in someone, in, in an abandoned porch. And he was, you know, obviously experiencing homelessness, and he was, my brother just wanted to befriend him and figure out what his story was and figure out how to help him. And it was really, it was a really clumsy process, cuz we were, well, do they, do we just wanna give him money and run? You know, how do you do this? And when we actually, we, we started this friendship with him and, and we realized he didn’t really want our money. I think there were sometimes where we would make meals and hang out and stuff, but the second, we started trying to give money, he was, he got offended.

And so, it just really spoke to us cuz we were just, we, we are not taking the time to understand each other. Not taking time to understand people who are in need, and who, who are in really really tough circumstances. And so, we, through that friendship, we learned a lot about how to care for people that are on the streets. And so, one Thanksgiving, you know, we made too much food and brought five meals out to the downtown Nashville area. And we started to pass, pass out food and start making friends. And they brought friends, and we brought friends, and now we’re 14 years later and we have, basically it’s every Monday night we have this block party for the unhoused people of Nashville to come out and just get food. Get clothes, get haircuts, get showers, we have a shower truck. And, and, and, and on top of all that, or, you know, first and foremost, it’s, it’s the friendship we have. We are, we really, emphasize building friendships and community and walking with people and letting them walk with us too. And just building a, you know, a, a real relationship with people that are in, in hard times.

Sarah Taylor: 14 years later, that, I mean, that has to be a full-on commitment. Where was the moment for your brother and you where this, this turned into something, this is going to be part of our life’s work?

Rachael Lampa: Oh, my gosh, it snuck up on us. We fought it so hard. We were, we were, cuz we were both on the roads. We were, okay, what night are we even home? Okay, Mondays. On Monday we usually get home from the road, on Sundays or Mondays. And so, we were, let’s do one Monday, you know, or some or something like that. And God just really both of us, you were just, no. No. More, more than that. And we were, OK, two Mondays a month, and then we, and we, we both were just, why is God saying every Monday, literally every Monday for 14 years. We have been there; somebody has been there. We have amazing, amazing volunteers and friends and, you know, we have four siblings, so one of us four is usually there, but it is solely run by God.

There is no way that we would’ve been able to keep this up for 14 years unless his hand was just guiding people’s hearts and pulling people together. And the community and the care, we, I think the turning point was really just, as things continued to grow, we, we felt more and more out of, not out of control, but with our hands open, you know? And I think just the more we opened our hands, the more we felt God was able to move. The more space he had to move, and and keep this thing running. And yeah. Now my sister and my brother, they’re the heads of the thing. And we’re actually, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re able to house people and we’re able to, and we also work in jails and we have this program called The Wild Ones that I, I really started to plant my feet in called the wild ones. And we would go into the jails and, and work with the women there. And so…

Sarah Taylor: How did that come about?

Rachael Lampa: Yeah, I dunno. Yeah. My, it started out, we would, every Tuesday we’d go into the local jail just cuz a few of us had a heart for, for that. And Every Tuesday we’d go in and we, we thought of this name called The Wild Ones because we wanted to teach about the Bible, but we wanted to teach about the wild ones of the Bible. And the ones that, that pushed against, and the, the ones that were, were, were, you know, making big moves. And, and Jesus, Jesus being the wildest one, right?

He’s the one who, who was making the, the, the big, the big moves and pushing against the system. And just trying to, to say, Hey, you, your spirit, your wild spirit, the whatever, whatever got you here, whatever circumstances got you here, whatever decision you had to make that got you, here it is okay. And God created you in a beautiful way. And he, and, and when you start to learn more about his heart, you start to learn more about you, and not… we wanted to meet people where they are and say, you’re not a, you’re not a, I mean, about to quote my own song, but you know, you’re not a problem, you know? And you’re not, you’re not a mistake.

Grace is this beautiful thing that needs to be talked about in jail, you know? And so, we really wanted to, to introduce that, that program into jails and ended up, you know, creating this whole thing where we, we basically were going in every five days a week and spending time with these girls. And that’s where a lot of my songs came from. And a lot of their stories and a lot of the wave just watching people see God for the first time. And uh, yeah, I could just go on and on forever about The Wild Life.

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Sarah Taylor: You know, anytime anyone’s ever applauded you and said something, oh, that’s such great work that you do, you’ve said that you’ve needed these women almost more than they’ve needed you. Tell me more about.

Rachael Lampa: Yeah. It’s just every time you, every time I feel I walk into any scenario where I’m, I’ve got something to say, I’ve gotten, going to save this place, you know? I walk in with my, you know, my plan. I just end up my heart just gets softened and and broken even sometimes. And, and I get more, I get more from, from the vulnerability. From the strength, from the just absolute resilience and, and just grit and heart, you know, from these girls. Yeah, I just, I’ve learned so much more from them than, than they ever learned from me.

And I think, I think the biggest thing too, is just the collaboration of, of our collective stories. Of stories, of privilege, of stories, of struggle, of knowing God, not knowing God knowing a version of God, and just all of us coming together and listening and, and in nonjudgment and in and in love, it’s been healing for everybody. Everybody involved. All the volunteers, all the teachers, all the guides and all the inmates, it’s just been a really beautiful collaboration and it just teaches me more about the world and how to, how, how to be brothers and sisters, you know? And how to actually live as a family of God. And yeah, I mean, it just, it, it. It brought me back to life in that way.

Sarah Taylor: Is there a particular story, a moment, a person that you can share, just that highlights that?

Rachael Lampa: I mean, there’s a lot of stories of just of people that come in not, they, they hadn’t cracked a smile, you know, in two weeks, the whole, you know, the first two weeks of the program. And just not saying much. And there was one girl that just, yeah, just very, very quiet and very reserved and openly, , you know, I’m not really here for the God stuff. I just wanna have something to do, you know, and have a, have a group of people to interact with or whatever. And by the end of it, she, she even had this little we made this little video on our website and by the end of it, she, i, I smile. I laugh now. She’s, you don’t understand that’s a really, that’s, that’s not normal for me. you know, and, just even hearing somebody say wherever she landed with, you know, or wherever that seed is, you know, that was planted in her. , whatever it is, she’s she knows there’s joy. She knows she feels the joy part of that. And I love how, creative God has been. , I love how I get to see how creative he is. And it’s not always just this obvious, big, you know, Sunday morning moment. It’s, sometimes it’s just this little seed of joy. That, Why do I feel joyful? Why do I laugh now? Why do I smile now? You know, just getting to see little, little pieces of the story, but she really touched me. I just loved, you know, I loved when, I loved how honest and just straightforward she was and how, how God just was, just breaking through and breaking that smile out and all of that.

Sarah Taylor: So how do you understand God different from going. Behind prison walls so often.

Rachael Lampa: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s, it’s really just the ways without being, you know, too cliche about it, it’s , he, you, you can feel him weaving himself through, through the bars and through the, the, you know, the thick cement walls. He lives there. He lives in there. He says, come, come visit me in prison. He is there. He is Palpable. He, I, I think I know I’ve said this word three times, but I just, I feel this is the word it’s, he’s gritty, he’s got grit. He’s not just this you know, this person that we, that we meet every Sunday, and that we, we, you know, follow the rules for. He’s this he’s gonna get down on the, on the prison floor and sit with you in your tears and in your pain and in your regrets. And he’s gonna, and he is gonna sit right next to you. You know, he is gonna, he’s gonna… he knows your tears and I, I needed to see. Yeah. I needed to see that, that reckless way that God loves. You know I needed to see it, that, that palpably, that, that, yeah, just that, that, that visually, I guess to really understand him, and I still have so much more to understand, but I I’m really grateful that I got to see that.

Sarah Taylor: How does it lend to your songwriting, your collaboration with Andrew, with Ethan, when you, when you write? How does that impact the story that you want to tell the world through music?

Rachael Lampa: Well, yeah, I, I think, I, again, this is, this is a perfect story of how I always get blessed more than I bless. But I came home with some stories of, of the girls, you know, and I’m, oh, she, you know, this girl went through this thing, and she came out on the other side and she is doing so great. And she’s going to, you know, get her kids back when she gets out and this whole thing. And I’m telling this story of all of her triumphs and stuff and, and her struggles. And then I remember that that’s also me, you know, in so many ways. That’s also my story. Maybe not all the details of it, but there, I, I also, you know, struggled with self-esteem seems to, and, and Identity stuff.

And all these things that can lead us to so many crazy destinations. But the it’s, once you figure out that, we’re all , we’re all just children, you know, in his eyes and he just wants to, he just wants to love, love us, the connection of our stories. It’s, you could, I could sing this song to, you know, to five year old me, I could sing it to 25 year old me. I could sing it to 35-year-old inmate. You know, I, I, it’s just, there’s a story that God wants. And, and a song that God wants to sing over us. And he it’s for all of us, we’re all in this together. And we, you know, that’s the point. I think that’s the thing that God is teaching me is he, he just wants us to come together. He wants this oneness. Hmm. And unity. And so, yeah, I think every time I sit down to, to, to write a song, I think about how is this Holding us together? How is this pulling us towards him and towards each other? And that’s where my head goes.

Sarah Taylor: It makes me think of a quote. I think it’s by Philip Yancy. He, someone asked him, can you summarize the Bible in a sentence? Yes. And he said, God gets his family back.

Rachael Lampa: Oh, oh my gosh. I love that. That’s beautiful. Yeah, I just, I gotta write that down.

Sarah Taylor: I thought that was just the most beautiful summary. And I feel that’s what you’re describing.

Rachael Lampa: Mm. Yes. I just think that there’s so many little ways that we make room for each other when we just stop for a second and slow down and hear each other out and stay for another few minutes. And even hold our, hold our tongue for a few minutes, listen longer. Just that whole thing. I think it does. It makes and, and, and, you know, even, even with the Bible, it’s, stay with the Bible a little bit longer. Read less, read a smaller portion of the, you know, don’t try to read a whole chapter. Read a little bit of it and just hold it. And I think you’re right. I think you, you start to. Draw closer to your father and to your, your, the children of God. And yeah, I love that.

Sarah Taylor: Okay. So, it’s called The Wild Ones. And then does your, the nonprofit that your sister and your brother head up, does that have a name for people to find?

Rachael Lampa: Yeah, that’s called People Loving Nashville. Okay. So that’s the, yeah, that’s our, that’s our big umbrella.

Sarah Taylor: Okay. Well, before I let you go, cuz we talked about all the important, beautiful things so yes. Yeah. I wanna know, I heard a while ago, this is totally just a left turn at the end of the podcast, but…

Rachael Lampa: Go for it. Love it.

Sarah Taylor: You said that your ultimate collaboration would be with Stevie Wonder.

Rachael Lampa: Yes.

Sarah Taylor: And you got to meet him, and I need to hear this story of how that happened. Was it multiple meetings?

Rachael Lampa: Oh, my gosh. Well, okay. So, I got to see him play a lot, and I got to stand side stage and, cuz I was singing background for an artist that was, we were on the same track, touring track. So, I got to…

Sarah Taylor: Who was the artist that you were singing? Who are you singing background for?

Rachael Lampa: His name is Hozier.

Sarah Taylor: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. You were on SNL, which we also need to talk about at the end. Okay. So, oh my gosh. Yeah, it was so funny on that SNL episode, I’m watching you in the background rather than him. I’m, there she is. There she is.

Rachael Lampa: Oh my gosh. Oh, it’s so crazy. I know. I CA that that’s bucket list moment, for sure. Yeah. So, and another part of me taking a break was me kind of singing backgrounds for others, which was this, this perfect way for me to be singing and, you know, feel, I always feel close to God when I sing, even if I’m singing karaoke in my car. So, I was, I wanna sing, but I don’t know,. I don’t know what I wanna sing about anymore. I don’t know where I’m at with that. And so, just this, this fun way that I was able to keep doing that. So yeah, I thank for this artist named Hozier. Yep. Got to see Stevie Wonder. And then we sang at the Grammy’s with Annie Lennox, and I spotted Stevie and I just, I swallowed all the pride.

Sarah Taylor: You did it. You had that moment. Everyone has this moment, if you’re ever faced in that moment. And it’s, do I say something or I don’t? And what was it that compelled you to do it?

Rachael Lampa: Oh my gosh. I just, he was, he is my ultimate. He was, I. I don’t, I don’t, I never do the, the pictures thing. I’ve never really been flustered enough to do, to really be like, I need, I need, I need to take a picture with you. So I, I got, I got the, the attention of his assistant and I was just, I gotta, can you please? And I mean, they, it was my worst nightmare. His assistant was just not having it. He was rolling his eyes at me and I was, I don’t care. I gotta, I gotta have a picture with him. And I got to, you know, have, you know, have10 words with him, but it was enough for me.

Sarah Taylor: I love it. 10 words. Do you even remember what they were?

Rachael Lampa: Oh, definitely not. I was, Nope. it was probably a, how are you? What’s your name? This is my name. I wonder if I even remembered my name. It was very quick.

Sarah Taylor: Oh, that’s so great. Well and then you did, you did do SNL. And you, I think I also heard you say once that, you know, if you ever added another thing to your plate, you would do some sort of an SNL, that’s part of your personality. You would want to do something like that.

Rachael Lampa: Oh, my gosh, I would, that is my total dream is to just be a funny girl comedian.

Sarah Taylor: So, you must, you must have loved being on that stage.

Rachael Lampa: My gosh, I literally, I mean, that is a bucket list moment, to be in that, in that world. I remember I was, we were getting ready to go on stage and Chris and the, the hosts were Chris, and Bill Hader. Oh. So, they’re literally running their lines in the hallway and I’m just sitting there basking in. Yeah. In Kristen Wiggs glory. Yeah, it was, it was, it was a moment for me. I had, I was not cool at all. I was not playing it cool at all.

Sarah Taylor: So, you’ve had two bucket list moments happened. So, you gotta say one that hasn’t happened yet. Let’s just put it out there.

Rachael Lampa: Oh, oh, oh, okay. I need to create more bucket lists. When you have a five year old, you’re just, you’re kind, you’re on their bucket list. , you know, now, it’s , okay, Disney world, you know, Disneyland, the whole thing. I mean, okay. I, I still haven’t sung with Stevie, you know?

Sarah Taylor: Okay. Okay. So, we need a redemption, a redemption of the 10 words.

Rachael Lampa: Yes. Yes. We need to turn that into, and we need a song.

Sarah Taylor: All right. Yes. All right. Well, you got plenty of time, and thank you so much for taking the time to share all of that with us today.

Rachael Lampa: I, I love telling that story and I love getting to know you, and just, I loved our dinners, you know, in Florida it was just, I was, this is so God’s, God’s placement to just place us across the table for each other. and I just, yeah, I’m, I’m so happy that we got to chat more.

Sarah Taylor: To Andrea Clyde at Boxer Poet, for setting up this interview. And of course, to Scott Karow, our fabulous producer with Tera Firma, and as always, I’d love to hear from you about your passion, your purpose. Perhaps you’re on the next episode, which I will see you again in two weeks.

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