The Reluctant Composer By inSpire with Trina Feliciano

Photo: Trina Feliciano
We asked Trina Feliciano about her songwriting efforts and the impact that music has made on her life.

inSpire - Trina, you have been involved in music for a number of years. When did you decide that you wanted to actually use your music as a form of ministry, and what inspires you to keep doing it?

Feliciano - My mom said I was making up songs since I was two years old. As soon as I was able to write, I would write songs all the time. I was terribly shy though, and hated when my dad would try to get me to sing my songs for total strangers. So, when I was about 10 years old, I burned all my songs that he'd saved in a drawer and simply stopped writing. In High School, we were required to write poetry, and I decided to write about death and monsters so that my parents wouldn't be proud of what I wrote and try to show me off again. I think my poor English teacher was worried for my mental health. Anyhow, it was up at Camp Cedar Falls, after my junior year, that I wrote my first song after many years of denying my ability. The song was called, "Lord, I Need Your Hand". I had begun to find out who Jesus was for myself, and music was such a natural way to express what I felt for Him. Since then, I write when I feel inspired. It could be something I feel, something I have read, a sermon that moved me...usually just a message that I feel needs to be put to music. I write what moves me and blesses me, and then I share what I've written when I can, and hope that perhaps a few more people might get something from my songs too. I keep on writing, because it is part of who I am. It's kind of like 1 Cor. 9:16. "Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!"

inSpire - It seems like the hardest part for many budding musician is to figure out to put their songs on CD. If you are a creative type you just want to make music, not have to fiddle with computer software and recording equipment. Yet, studio costs are so high many artists cannot afford it. What have you done to get your music out to the public?

Feliciano - I just do what I can afford. I record my songs onto a CD with just a raw vocal or my husband playing guitar. Then I send a few at a time for the arranger to make the music tracks. Once I have enough songs for a CD, my husband books time to record in a studio for laying down the lead vocals, it'll take several more months before we have money to go in and do background vocals, and then again for mixing and mastering, and finally reproduction of CDs. Usually, doing it this way takes about 3 years. We don't really have a budget to speak of, especially where recording is concerned. Whatever time it takes to get a good sound, we just take that time. I know some people are using kickstarter.com which allows people to solicit prepayment for products so that they can fund their project that way. I have put my albums on cdbaby.com and they are also available on other music download sites. I also make many of them available for free listening on youtube.com when I make a music/picture presentation. This is a great venue for spreading the gospel. It allows me to also share songs that I won't necessarily put on an album. I have actually never done well at selling my CDs. But, it's not about the money anyways. It's about the sharing.

inSpire - If you could have your wish, what would you like like to do musically that you have not been able to do?

Feliciano - Work with a great producer and use a full orchestra on my tracks. Now THAT would be fun! 

Visit Trina Feliciano online

This interview was conducted by Rich DuBose, Director of Pacific Union Conference Church Support Services and the inSpire project. All rights reserved © 2012 VisitInSpire.org. Click here for content usage information.