(By Kylie Berry)
As I look back over my past, one truth stands out: God has been my fortress.
I grew up singing. My early years were filled with lessons, singing in church, striving to succeed. The pressure of trying to always be more weighed heavily on me. Sometimes the voices of the people in my “music world” made it harder for me to hear the voice of the One who loved me most.
Anxiety and depression impacted my life, making high school and college hard to get through. Music and God were the only things that kept me going. But the striving was killing me.
And six years ago I ended up in the hospital with only my keyboard and clothes. I found comfort in singing worship music to God, so that’s what I did...all day, every day.
Although music was the passion of my life, a few months later, I opened my hands to God and prayed, “God, if you don’t want me to make music, it’s ok. I want Your will more than anything.” Right after that, I got a call from my agent and manager who let me go. God also took away my desire to strive for success in the music world.
There was so much pain connected with music; I would sit at the piano and cry. And pray. God was there, in that lonely, broken place. He was my fortress.
When COVID hit, my husband and I moved in with his parents, and when he went to work, I would sing, and think, and pray. I wanted God to lead. I wanted to fulfill His purposes for me, not anyone else’s. Little by little, He brought healing.
I’ve always loved the sounds of “cinematic production,” but in the past, I struggled with incorporating these sounds into my music because I was always told how strings can sound “dated”; how they weren’t current or trendy.
Then, I fell in love with an artist named “Ruelle” who uses those sounds to create beautiful music. She inspired me.
As I experienced God’s healing in my heart and my mind, I sat down at the piano and started writing and everything just flowed out. In the past, I’ve always gone through stages where I’d have so many ideas and then stages where I’d have nothing to pour out. But this time, my songwriting came from a place of overflow. God had literally turned my world completely around and was healing me from so many experiences and beliefs about myself!
This song, “Fortress,” is different because this is one of the very first songs I wrote that is completely my own — lyrics, melody, and I even worked on the production. It was healing to sing because it’s pure truth: God has always been my Fortress through EVERYTHING.
He’s been my rock and my safe place, He’s held me together, He’s planted my feet on a firm foundation. He’s a place I know will never leave me but will always be there for me to run to.
This song is the very first one that God poured out of me on my journey of creating a new album. He reminded me of all the trials I had gone through throughout my life and showed me where He was in the midst of all of it. He always gave me just enough hope to get through to the next day.
Even when I had wandered aimlessly trying to find hope in other things, He stayed right by me calling me home. He reminded me daily of His goodness, His peace, and His faithfulness. He not only found me in my darkest places, but He also brought me out of them. He reminded me that every trial I’ve faced was a huge step to healing and an even greater understanding of the reason He created me and what He designed me to accomplish.
The writing of “Fortress” happened quite quickly. It was a one-shot writing time between God and me. I sat down to write and the words poured out of me. I remember showing my husband the song when he got home and he loved it; he could tell how happy I was to have written it and how special it was to me.
Click here to hear Kylie's song: "Fortress"