Athens-based Heather Pillsbury won top honors at the 2017 Gospel Music Association’s IMMERSE event in Nashville, TN. This ninth annual conference for developing artists, songwriters and worship leaders featured the best and brightest emerging talent in the industry. Heather was Female Artist/Writer of the Year, performing her original song “Walked on Water”.
A native of Athens, GA, Heather is a Choral Director and Elementary Music Teacher at Athens Christian School and the Director of Worship and Media at Life Church of Athens. She has a Bachelors of Arts in music from Truett-McConnell University.
Heather discovered IMMERSE simply via a Google search. She felt compelled to attend a worship conference, and upon discovering IMMERSE, she was immediately drawn to the event, sensing it as a great way to develop and receive instruction and support. “So much of what I do as a music teacher and worship leader means pouring into others,” she explains. “I was drawn to Immerse because it seemed to be a fantastic opportunity for me to learn from others and be poured into, and it definitely did not disappoint.”
IMMERSE is the only event of its kind where attendees receive hands-on training directed by music industry leaders, as well as intimate concert experiences with some of Christian music’s leading artists and songwriters. Staying true to the Gospel Music Association’s mission to expose, promote and celebrate the Gospel through music, IMMERSE seeks to inspire creativity, foster community and advance education, while keeping its focus solely on Christ.
“From the moment I arrived, I felt the Lord's presence,” Heather shares. “From the times of worship, to the workshops, to the interviews, to the feedback from the judge's during the reVIEWyou competition - it was evident that everyone hosting and everyone participating had a singular goal of working together to further advance the gospel through music - and that's something I can get on board with. I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to attend.”
At IMMERSE, Heather participated in the challenging, three-day reVIEWyou program where leading songwriters and publishers worked directly with attendees to develop undiscovered talent through critique and mentoring. The reVIEWyou competition cumulates at the Grand Finals, where three finalists in each category perform before a panel of judges made up of professional songwriters, managers, artists and A&R reps, as well as a live audience. This 2017 competition was hosted by Comedian Bone Hampton, and featured guest artist Chris August, a three-time Dove Award winning artist and songwriter. reVIEWyou judges for 2017 featured John Mays (Centricity Music), Dan Michaels (Fair Trade Services), Stephania Wilkinson (Red Alliance Media), Ian Osborn and Cash Callaway (The Infinites Music) and Michael “X” O’Connor, Full Circle Music.
Since attending IMMERSE, Heather is preparing to move forward with her music and writing. She is currently writing and recording her debut full-length album, Prone to Wander, which will feature 10 previously unreleased original songs.
Jordan Shababy at Shababy Productions is producing the project, with a target release date of early 2018. Prone to Wander currently has a GoFundMe account to help raise funds to complete the recording. To donate, please click here. To hear more of Heather’s music, please see heatherpillsbury.com.