Though Christa Wells didn’t write her first full-length song until the age of 15, she demonstrated her interest in music at the age of one when she hummed the alphabet song in near-perfect tune, to the delight of her mother. A few years ago she came across her very first recording: a cassette tape with her seven-year-old voice creating melody lines for nursery rhymes she’d found on the pages of a children’s book. Much like the GarageBand recordings she puts together today in the wake of a creative outpouring, they were simple in their production but conveyed the essence of an artistic spirit, expressing life in lyrics and melody.
Few things are more satisfying to Christa than sifting words into phrases and pairing them with music so that ideas and emotions can become common places among listeners. After years of playing piano and singing in church and school music programs, she finally attempted to write her own original music and was thrilled to discover this creative outlet. Her method was untrained and totally her own when she arrived at Anderson University, Indiana, in the fall of 1991, where she took English literature and music classes, including Gloria Gaither’s songwriting course, which contributed to a more solid understanding of the writing process.
Throughout those years, Christa wrote her own music while singing back-up for others and performing other writers’ music in a band called Same Rain, which she and some college friends had formed together. She then married fellow Anderson alum Toby Wells and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, eventually leaving Same Rain and heading east to Raleigh, North Carolina. But under the influence of gifted writers such as Natalie Merchant, Over the Rhine, Patty Griffin, and Sheryl Crow, she was unable to resist the pull of her grandmother’s old piano in the living room and continued to build her own catalog of original songs.
In the fall of 1999, a conversation with a successful songwriter in Nashville led her to the decision to focus on songwriting rather than performance and make that her vocational aim. She began co-writing with her sister, Mandy Rogers, and with Tiffany Arbuckle Lee (Plumb), hoping to expand her skills and find a publisher who would see the potential in her songs and represent her in the industry. Providentially, in autumn 2001, her friend Jeremy Lee of FlatRock Management, began to talk with her about his vision for some of her songs. In Jeremy, Christa found a publisher who would champion her songs within the Nashville music community, despite Christa’s geographical distance.
With Tiffany Arbuckle Lee (Plumb), Christa co-wrote two songs ("Real" and "Go") for Plumb’s album, Beautiful Lumps of Coal, as well as “Day by Day” which was a number one single released by Point of Grace on their album “24.” “Real” was the first single released from Plumb’s album. In 2006, Christa was recognized for her song “Held,” released by Natalie Grant on her “Awakening” album, and named Songwriter of the Year by the Gospel Music Association. Other songs include “Me” co-written with Plumb for her lullabies album, “Bring It All Together,” co-written with writer/producer Shaun Shankel and “Our Hope Endures,” co-written and recorded by Natalie Grant (an upcoming single from the album Relentless).
In addition to writing for signed artists, Christa and her sister, Mandy Rogers, independently released a full-length album of original music in 2006 entitled “A Rogers/Wells Project: so much to tell you.” The project, which includes Christa’s recorded version of “Held,” has opened doors for the sisters to perform their own music and share the stories behind the songs. In the last two years, they have performed together and individually in several states, as well as other venues such as Studio B television broadcast and a sold-out round at the infamous Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 2007, Christa was involved with an effort to raise funds to benefit military families through AFF (Armed Forces Foundation). Her song “Before the Tree Comes Down”, a tender tribute to our servicemen and women and their families, spawned the idea for Hope Christmas Ball in Raleigh, North Carolina, and to contribute to the cause, Christa produced a Christmas EP to be given to donors of the event. Lisa McClowry, Chicago-based singer and songwriter, also recorded “Before the Tree Comes Down” and released it worldwide online, with proceeds donated to AFF.
At this time, Christa lives with her family in North Carolina, writing and sharing her music locally, as well as traveling to Nashville periodically to write and record. She is also committed to ongoing work with Masterpiece Ministries based out of Lebanon, Tennessee--whose mission is to provide summer camps for young artists, encouraging them toward excellence and Christ-centered living. In January 2009, Christa will record her first solo project, which will feature some collaborative performances with other talented Nashville artists. Her favorite color is gold, her favorite food is Thai, and she is usually reading four books at a time.