Christina Paul may be a new name to many of us. However, if you have been a fan of Christian music in India, Paul is already a household name in her home land. Having released seven Christian albums in Tamil, Paul has been at the front lines winning souls for the cause of God's Kingdom. In the year 2010, Paul and her husband Paul Jeyasingh founded "Christ for All, Ministries," a Christian organization that sends out missionaries to the darkest parts of India. "Lord of All" is Paul's debut album sung entirely in English.
Featuring 11 songs written singlehandedly by Paul herself, the album is helmed by Grammy and Dove winning producer Phil Naish. Naish has had a seven-album relationship with CCM's superstar Steven Curtis Chapman, where he drove numerous singles of Chapman's all the way to the penthouse position of the chart. And over the years, Naish has had also produced albums by Carman, Sandi Patty, Point of Grace, Steve Green, Michael Card, the Martins and many others.
We are very honored to catch up with Christina for this Hallels' exclusive nterview.
Hallels: Thank you Christina for your time. You have an interesting background coming from India. How did you come to know Christ and became involved as a Christian recording artist?
Thank you for taking the time to read about my background and to listen to my music. My family has been Christians for 7 seven generations now. My great-great-great-grand father was a devout Hindu. He had a heart-wrenching testimony...due to an epidemic illness, he lost so many of his kids and only had 2 kids left who were also infected by the disease. He was so heart-broken and by the love and care of a British missionary, he heard about Jesus and prayed to Jesus to heal his 2 kids and that's when God's abundant love and grace touched his life and healed his kids and he served and lived for Jesus ever since. I have a very Godly heritage...·
My great-great-grand father, Dr.Abraham Pandither was a sidha doctor and was also very talented in both Indian and western music and he has written a book called, Karuna Mirudha Sagaram, where he has devised the grammar for Indian/Tamil(eastern) music. He found and demonstrates how there can be 24 shruthis in an octave. He did so much research and found out the formula for formation of raagas and he describes in that book. It is such a wealth of information. His book was awarded the state award and now it is nationalized and the government owns the copyright of this book after paying us a royalty for his work. He has also written so many worship songs that are sung in Churches throughout India.·
My great-grand mother, Mrs.Maragadhavalli Duraipandian (youngest daughter of Dr.Abraham Pandither) has elaborated on her father's work and has written a book, Karuna Mirutha Sagaram-New Raagas where she writes and elaborates on new raagas. She has been awarded by the Indian Governor as the 'First Indian Lady' to pass ATCL in Trinity College of Music, London for both Piano and music theory.·
My grand father(mom's dad), D.A. Thanapandian(son of Mrs.Maragathavalli Duraipandian) was a renowned musician who dedicated his life for God and music. He has written 3 books on history of Tamil music, a research book on flute, and a book on New Raagas - for which he got the state award as 'Kalai Maamani'. He also worked as a dean of Music Department in Tamil university.·
My other grand father(my dad's dad), Dr. Thavapandian was a sidha doctor and was very talented in Music and he dedicated his life just writing songs and singing for God's glory and had a famous choir called, The Immanuel Musical Association through which we went throughout India and sang for God's glory.·
My Dad, Dr.T.A.G.Duraipandian is a sidha doctor and he is a renowned musician and has written and composed 100s of songs and has performed throughout India. He has recorded several albums featuring him, my mom and our Immanuel musical association(IMA) and he has also featured me in many of the albums.·
My Mother, Mrs.Mallika Duraipandian was a signed artist by one of the biggest labels in India, HMV records. She was signed for Christian Devotional songs and was active in her early years. And her songs are still preserved and played in Christian Radio. She has written and composed so many Indian songs that we have performed and recorded. And I have learned music from my grand-mother who taught me to sight read music and taught me to play piano. I have learned Indian classical and western classical from my dad. I had a very protected life, growing up in a healthy Christian home. I gave my heart to Jesus when I was little and I have lived for His glory ever since. Though many secular opportunities came my way, I decided to dedicate my talents for His Glory for what I do for Him is what that matters.
Hallels: You have released quite a number of albums in India. Are they all sung in English? What's the Christian music scene like in India?
My Indian albums are all in my language, 'Tamil'. Tamil is the language that is spoken in our state, 'Tamil Nadu'. I should say that Christian music is growing. Only 5-7% of the Indian population are Christians. Out of 1.2 billion total population in the country, if I am calculating it right, approx. 84 million Christians (that's 7%). So, the Christian Music industry is growing.
Hallels: Your new album "Lord of All" is also being marketed in the US. Did you approach the making of this record differently?
Yes, of course. I had envisioned to produce this project for the U.S. audience. And I had the best people in the Christian Music industry working on this project and I am so grateful to God for making this possible.
Hallels: On this album, you got to work with Grammy Award winning producer Phil Naish who has had worked with Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael Card, Wes King, Point of Grace and many others. How did you get to work with him?
I have always been an admirer of his work. After much prayer and seeking God's will, I approached him when I was ready with my songs....and God orchestrated every step from there on. It was such a big blessing working with such a great talent...he is the real deal !! I couldn't be happier!
Hallels: How would you describe your style of music?
Hallels: I have to say I have been singing to your song "Come Holy Spirit" after hearing your album, it's definitely my favorite track off the record. What would yu say would be your favorite song? And why?
I have written and composed my songs inspired/lead by the Holy Spirit. I have a few songs that are very dear to my heart.....·
Lord of All - I am pouring my heartfelt praise to Him who is everything to me....this may sound so cliché....and just another praise song...but every time I sing it, it brings tears to my eyes as I experience His love, His brand new mercies that He gives me every single day, His protection, His provision, His Grace flowing through my every breath of life and I can go on and on and I don't know where to end...
From a musical aspect I love the orchestration and the magnificent string arrangements in this song by Kristin Wilkinson. The musicianship in this song is brilliant!!· Touch Of Grace- I have written and composed this song when we, as a family were going through a difficult time and we could feel God's grace just hover over us and protect our family. I felt His touch of grace and assurance and helped us get through those tough times.From a musical aspect, I really love the chord progressions that turned out in this song....and as far as the chord progressions, this is my favorite.·
How Long O' Lord - definitely one of my favorites....I have written and composed this song the same time when we were going through a difficult time as a family. It's based off of scripture, Psalm 13. Our God never fails and does not let us suffer more than we could bear... yet, in our trials and tribulations we were still crying out to God, How Long O' Lord, how long will you forget me?.....but at the right moment He reached out and helped us out of that situation. Every time I hear that song I am reminded of God's goodness and His protection and His unwavering love in our lives.From a musical aspect, for the most part I wanted my songs to be different musically so that it does not sound stereo typed...so, you'll find songs that are different musically....I love the arrangement of this song....hats off to Phil's great work and I love the awesome string arrangement by David Davidson.
And of course, I like the other songs too..., and like you mentioned so many people have written to me about the song, Come, Holy Spirit....I think the message and the simplicity of it is most appealing to people.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to purchase "Lord of All" or find out more about you, where can they go?
To learn more about my ministry, please visit, www.ChristinaPaul.com And my music is available right now in iTunes and at my website. Soon, my CDs will be distributed nationwide through Family Christian Stores.