Published in 2012 August Edition’
by Jennifer Campbell And Rhonda Frye
Some people are born with an innate love of music. Others are blessed with the talent to be able to share their musical talent with thousands of people. A select few have the gift of being able to also balance the responsibilities of being a wife and mother, all the while maintaining a busy schedule of traveling across the country. This artist is no stranger to Southern Gospel Music, having traveled with the Nelons for five years and then Jeff and Sheri Easter for 12 years. Now, she enjoys her third year traveling as a soloist. This special individual is none other than Charlotte Ritchie.
Charlotte says of her solo career, “I’m really enjoying the solo thing. It is different, but I am enjoying it!” She said you don’t really realize how much planning goes into everything, since you are the only one planning your set, talking on stage, and seeming as if you have done all of this for years. She said, “It’s a LOT! You can’t turn to anyone else for help; you just have to do it.”
Even so, she has definitely risen to the challenge. People are embracing her with open arms and she is grateful for their support. “It’s really been amazing because even though I’ve been in the industry for a long time, when you start something new, you’re starting over,” said Charlotte. “People have been so kind. We have just been busy since day one and that’s a huge blessing! We’ve been very thankful for that.”
If you ever have the opportunity to sit down and chat with Charlotte, you’ll find out that her heart is as a big as the state of Texas. Not only that, but her love for God is greater still. She gives God all of the credit concerning her solo ministry. “God has opened a lot of doors for us,” Charlotte stated. “That has been our prayer from the beginning. God, You open the doors for us and we will go! And He has, so that’s what we’re doing.”
Charlotte is very excited about her latest album produced by Ben Isaacs called “Windows in the World.” It has 13 songs, featuring some older classics and some brand new ones as well. One favorite is a rearranged version of “Walk Right Out Of This Valley,” a song she was well-known for when she traveled with the Nelons. She is thrilled to reintroduce this song on her album, only with a different twist and as she says, “a cool arrangement.” It also includes “Consider the Lilies,” a beloved title written by the Hemphills, as well as an old Phillips, Craig, and Dean song called “There’s a Little Bit of Morning Outside.”
“I’m so excited about it,” Charlotte said, “because I feel like it is completely me. I think it’s a good representation of who I am and the message I’m trying very hard to get out. I’m just super excited about it. The whole record is just so special to me.”
Charlotte is also thrilled to introduce audiences to the very first song she has ever written, as it is featured on this album. She said she has just started writing songs and she is very encouraged by all of the positive feedback she has received after singing her original songs in concert. “It is an incredible feeling,” Charlotte shared. “I’ve wanted to write for a long time. I’ve always been just very afraid to put my thoughts out there. I guess I just didn’t have any confidence.”
Charlotte had a little encouragement from Sonya Isaacs, who helped her overcome her fear of writing her thoughts down. Charlotte said, “One day Sonya [Isaacs] and I were walking and I had this song – most of it written. She and I were walking one day and I was telling her about it. Actually, I had finally got the guts up to tell her what I had written. She said, ‘Charlotte, that is really good! If you want some help finishing it, I’d be glad to help you.’ So we finished it and I am just thrilled! I hope to do more writing because I really enjoyed that whole process. You sing songs you’ve written from such a different place! It’s from personal experience. It’s something you feel from your toes.”
Needless to say, Charlotte is beaming with joy over this new project. She said, “This whole record is just so special to me. Each one of these songs are special to me but for different reasons. I just poured my heart and soul into it.”
Charlotte is excited to be releasing a new Christmas CD this year! Charlotte’s husband, Greg Ritchie explains: “Last year, Charlotte released a Christmas EP and people responded well. We are completing a full length Christmas project this year. It is sort of a jazz album and it fits Charlotte’s voice so well. We have traditional Christmas songs like “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and other songs like “Come On Ring Those Bells,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,” “Jingle Bells,” “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas,” and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”.”
Greg added that the production of the Christmas album, DECEMBER is a collaborative effort of friends. “We are producing it, Gordon Mote has helped, and we’ve called on Kevin Williams as well as Ben Isaacs.” The album is now available: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/december/id579396009
When she is not traveling and singing, Charlotte is first and foremost a wife and a mother. She has two children named Landon and Jayna. Charlotte added, “I am just amazed. They are good kids, especially for what we put them through – all that toting them around and all that kind of stuff we do. But, they are good kids. They are opposite, completely opposite…Oh my goodness! That kind of gets crazy after a while! My daughter is three and it’s all I can do to keep up with her!”
In her spare time (when she has some!), Charlotte enjoys scrapbooking. She said, “It’s something my mom did and she was excellent at it! She was a crafty person – just made beautiful scrapbooks. So I have continued that and really enjoy it!”
As she spends most of her time ministering to others, Charlotte shared how she personally gets fed spiritually. She said she and her family go to a church in Tennessee that broadcasts the services online, so she can still experience the service when she is away from home. She said she also listens to podcasts and music and reads books.
“A lot of times I will just lay down with headphones in my ears listening to either a great sermon or great music,” Charlotte shared. “Everyone needs a chance to listen to others to be able to hear something from a different perspective. Even though it’s the same message, hearing it from a different perspective makes you think of things you’ve never thought of before.”
Even with her success as a solo artist, she still gives praise where praise is due. Charlotte said, “God has been good to me and blessed me so much! I am blown away when I look at my life! When I look at all things God has allowed me to do and allowed me to have that I couldn’t have dreamed this good! I am so thankful! I am so, so, so thankful! And as each year passes, I miss my mother terribly, but I’ve had a wonderful mom, and a lot of kids don’t have that. So I’m thankful I had her for 31 years of my life. I’m thankful that she was able to teach me how to be a great mom and a great wife. I am overly blessed and I try not to take that for granted.”
Charlotte said to be sure to check out her website at www.charlotteritchie.com. While you’re there, feel free to read her blog and find her on Facebook and Twitter. Oh, and be sure to check her schedule so you can see her when she is near you!
Charlotte Ritchie is one special woman. She is a wife, a mom, a friend, a singer, a songwriter, and so much more. Most importantly, she is a child of God. While her life has had its share of victories as well as its share of defeats, Charlotte continues to trust God and keep Him at the center of it all. She knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that God’s plans are greater than our own. This is very true, for Charlotte, for you, for all of us. His plans are perfect. So follow Charlotte’s example and keep your eyes on the King of Kings. If you do, you’ll always know that something awesome is waiting on the horizon!
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