ANNE DAVIS - Biography and Interview
Anne Davis has lived out the book of Job.
A singer/composer from Jackson, Mississippi, she was writing her own songs as a young child and singing them in the backyard to her pets. Then, in the seventh grade, at an Amy Grant concert, she had a life-affirming moment, feeling the call to be a Christian artist.
“The concert really affected me deeply,” she tells ChristianMusic.com. “I have always felt I was able to identify with her lyrics and felt she said things in a way that I was able to connect with. She … is honest about so many of the tough issues that we all struggle with.”
Davis reflects a disarming honesty and
vulnerability, both in her music and in conversation with her, particularly about her debilitating illnesses that have forced her to spend the past eight years in severe bouts of pain and depression.
“I have lived through the dark night of the soul,” Davis sums it up. “Everything that could be shaken in me was.”
She moved to Nashville after graduating from Mississippi State and was performing in all kinds of venues, including SOZOS, a music festival in Hungary dedicated to bringing together representatives of war-torn countries. It was at the second such concert that her life took an earth-shattering turn.
Contracting what appeared to be an extreme case of mono, Davis was forced to leave her friends, her church family and her career in Nashville and move back to Jackson to recover while living with her mom.
But she only got worse, and was diagnosed with CFIDS, chronic fatigue and immune system disorder syndrome. “The first year I was not sure I would be able to survive, I was in so much pain,” Davis says. Then, on Valentine’s Day, she had surgery to remove her appendix, and the doctors left for the evening, forgetting to prescribe her any painkillers.
“I was left in severe pain for several hours. I literally thought I had gone to hell. I begged the Lord to please take me. Finally, the nurses got through to one of the surgeons,” Davis says.
The pain and a slower than expected recovery shoved Davis into a “hope-deferred” despair. “I was hurt to the core,” she says. “I felt like I had somehow slipped through the cracks.
The depression led to a spiritual crisis, too. “I continued to wrestle with having a lot of anger toward the Lord for allowing me to suffer the way I had.” And, on top of everything else, she lost her best friend. “She just completely flipped out on me,” she says, “and bailed on the friendship.”
Still, though, she was determined to finish the album that she had begun when she was living in Nashville. In incredible pain, both from the illness and the treatments, and in “a brain fog,” as she puts it, Davis returned to Nashville to record the rest of “Letters, Prayers and Journal Entries.”
“Many days, I would go and prop myself up in the studio to try to lay down my vocal tracks,” Davis relates. The music led the way to her spiritual healing. “Now I am trusting the Lord is rebuilding and establishing a firmer foundation.
“I also began to come to terms with the fact that I could stay angry with God or I could finally tire of living at that place in my heart,” Davis says. “I could go to Him with my deep hurts and ask Him to begin healing my heart that had been broken into a thousand pieces.”
Early in 2007, Davis and her mother discovered a doctor, Jonathan Forester, in nearby Pineville, Louisiana, who, having once contracted Lyme Disease himself, was a specialist in detecting and treating it. He was the first doctor in eight years of treatment to discover that Davis had Lyme Disease in addition to CFIDS.
“Most doctors aren’t trained in medical school to detect Lyme Disease,” Davis explains. “Dr. Forester has determined that I probably had Lyme Disease before I ever got CFIDS.”
Though the treatment for Lyme Disease is also difficult and painful, Davis’s body is finally responding well to the treatment. “Once it is in remission, then my body should respond better to treatment for the other diseases.”
Like Amy Grant, her musical inspiration, Anne Davis plies her music “with a sense of questioning.” Her performances are described as “wearing her heart on her sleeve.” In her live performances, she often reads real journal entries to go with the songs that were composed from her journal.
And “honest and open and vulnerable”? That can only begin to describe this woman whose faith has survived --- and is surviving – a truly horrendous eight years of illness, pain, faulty diagnoses, and constant setbacks.
Anne Davis has something to say, to both Christians and “those who don’t yet have their foundational spiritual questions resolved.”
“The songs, each in their own way, make people who hear them feel not so alone,” says Davis. “I suppose if there is a hope I have after I’ve written a song, it is to leave the listener encouraged.”
By Nate Lee for ChristianMusic.com
The Anne Davis Song Video