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Jenifer Thigpen

Jenifer Thigpen's self-titled debut album is an intimate set of contemporary worship songs that point to the truth of the ultimate sacrifice made by God through Jesus Christ. "I wanted to begin my solo career with worship because it is what I am most passionate about. I love leading people to the feet of Jesus. In His presence is where our joy is at it’s fullest and I think that joy is something people seek to find every day, and especially in the times we live in right now."

Jenifer Thigpen studied voice for years prior to transferring colleges after receiving a vocal scholarship to Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. While at Liberty, she had the unique opportunity to begin singing with a contemporary Christian college group, which eventually evolved into a last minute audition for the now defunct contemporary Christian Gospel Music Association hall of fame group TRUTH. "I will always hold dear to my heart my 2 years in TRUTH. I've heard so many alumni describe it as 'Christian Singer Boot-camp.' You live on a 35-foot tour bus with no other home base with 15 other people 24 hours a day for nearly 2 straight years. You sleep on the bus, eat on the bus, travel on the bus and then get back on the bus with the same people at the end of the night. You really get to know people from the inside out spending that much time with them. Not only did I meet my best friends there, I acquired another family. I really learned what the word “ministry” means. There was nothing glamorous about occasionally showing up at a church and singing to an audience of 15 people after being fed pizza or lunchmeat for the 7th night. You really got a clear picture of what it meant to bring the gospel, no matter the size of the stage or the amount of people in attendance."

After 2 years, Jenifer left Truth and married her husband, Ryan, and they settled in Orlando, FL. Not long after that, she received a phone call from Chris Springer, the head of A&R at Integrity Music asking her if she would be interested in becoming a part of the Women of Faith Worship Team. Women of Faith is the nation’s largest women's conference, which tours approximately 30 major cities a year and has seen over 4,000,000 women attend in its' 13 year existence. "I was ecstatic to get the opportunity to sing with Women of Faith. It was and still is such a huge part of my life. To get to lead those thousands of women in worship every weekend and be poured into by the outstanding women on the platform is something I have never taken lightly. I just became a human sponge, soaking up every bit of it."

With the 3 years spent leading worship for Women of Faith came calls to sing with other artists and recording opportunities. In her career as a singer, Jenifer has shared the stage singing back up for or substituting in the vocal line with artists such as CeCe Winans, Roberta Flack, Kirk Franklin, Sandi Patty, Avalon, Point of Grace, Martha Munizzi, Travis Cottrell, Anthony Evans, and Natalie Grant, and the world-renowned Walt Disney World a capella group, The Voices of Liberty, just to name a few. She has recorded solos and background vocals on albums for Integrity Music, Brentwood-Benson, Hollywood Records, Word Music, and recorded multiple national commercial spots for Walt Disney World as well as lead vocals for major release movie trailers.

In 2006, Jenifer considered herself to be at the pinnacle of her professional singing career. It was then she began to feel the nudge toward something more. "I felt like the Lord was calling me to solo ministry. Most people would jump at the chance for that, but I was scared to death. I had spent my whole life singing in groups and the thought of branching out on my own was incredibly overwhelming and frightening, so I ignored God. Yeah, I admit it. I stubbornly ignored Him. I was comfortable where I was and didn't want to move."

In 2007, Jenifer saw her professional life beginning to unravel. "A new record company took over the reigns of music at Women of Faith and my worship team was replaced. I was devastated. My whole life, I put so much of my worth in my singing accomplishments and when it was removed from me I literally didn't know who I was. The fact that I wrapped my entire existence in that is sad, right? But very true..." Soon after, every singing connection she had was removed from her life for varying circumstances, until she was left with only a non-music related personal assisting job. "That year, I was so mad at God. I kept thinking, ‘I worked so hard, spent my whole life serving You with my voice and this is where You brought me? For it all to end here, like this?’ I literally went through a period where I didn't even know who I was anymore. I had put so much of my identity in music and when it was taken from me, I realized without it, I had no self-worth or grasp of my identity."

She spent many months in tears and in prayer, searching for answers as to why God would bring her to this place. "It was in the midst of that the Lord brought some verses to me that ministered to me right where I was. It's Hosea 2:14-15. It says, 'Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and I will make the Valley of Achor [Trouble] a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth...' The Lord spoke so clearly to me in that instant. I felt like He said to me, 'Jenifer, I lead you here to this desert. I wanted you here so I could show you who you are in Me, and where your true worth comes from. What you think is your desert is Me, removing all your other options so that you will finally step into the Promised Land that I have already taken possession of for you. You just have to trust Me and know that I love you and am going to pave the way for you.'"

The road that was paved led her back to God-opened doors in music ministry and to her passionate, debut worship release, featuring 11 songs declaring God's faithfulness, love and compassion. "I finally know who I am, and it's not who anyone else says that I am based upon my talents and abilities, or my accomplishments, but I now can say that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am loved, Jesus thought I was worth dying for, and no matter what comes my way, because of the Lord's compassion I am not consumed. His word is filled with His love letters to us and I am ready to take that message to others and lead them to Jesus' feet, where they can see for themselves how worthy He is of our love in return."

June, 2009