The Reason I Sing By inSpire with Jackie Esposo

Photo: Jackie Esposo
We asked Jackie Esposo about her music ministry and the impact that music has made on her life.

inSpire - Jackie, God has obviously blessed you with musical abilities that not everyone has. It is a gift that you are giving back to God to use. Please tell us about your background and how you developed your passion and skill for music.

Esposo - I started playing piano at the age of 3 1/2. My mom was my first teacher. She taught me pretty much everything I know. She was and is my inspiration! I was classically trained, and also learned how to play and sing hymns together at a young age. My earliest memories of my childhood were always centered around music. My mom had me and my siblings involved in a kids choir, "Children of the King", which she directed. When I turned 7, I began accompanying different choirs and started to gain experience in my musical journey.

At the age of 12, I got my first paying "gig" at a Congregational church in Fresno, Calif. Various jobs playing for Congregational, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, and SDA churches helped pay for my tuition during my high school and college years. I would arrange music, play piano and organ, and occasionally direct the church choir.

The major I chose to study in college was music. I studied music performance with an emphasis in piano. After my studies in music, I switched gears, entered the world of health, and graduated with an A.S. in nursing. I wanted to combine the two majors and study Music Therapy at NYU. But God had something different in store for my life.

Through a series of traumatic and life-changing events, I realized that God wanted me to enter full time music ministry. As my relationship with God deepened, so did my appreciation and passion for music. I realized that God had been preparing me for the times that we live in. He wanted me to use music to further the Gospel and to tell others to get ready for His soon return. I saw that the musical experiences I went through from the age of 3 1/2 until now, helped me reach more people in so many different ways. From my experiences with classical, choral, jazz, gospel, southern gospel, country, contemporary Christian music — it has opened up many doors to share Jesus. I like what the apostle Paul said,

"...I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings" (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).

I think of music in that way.
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inSpire - Do you write music, or do you mostly play other people's songs?

Esposo - Yes, I do write my own music but I don't consider myself a songwriter. I have a lot of different melodies and tunes that go through my brain on a weekly basis. I try to record them on my iPhone so I won't forget it. Then, I'll go through the tunes and see what lyrics go along best with it. I just wrote a song last week based on Psalm 25.

I also love rearranging hymns. They really inspire me — the music, text — everything about them.

Being an accompanist, I mostly play other people's songs. But lately, I've been trying to make more of a concerted effort to write more original songs.

inSpire - So, you've joined up with another musician, Josh Cunningham, and the two of you got married. Your home must be incredibly musical. You are both musicians in your own right, but now you can also function as a duo. Are you both pursuing music full-time, or are you on another track?

Esposo - We are involved in full-time music ministry and currently live from a suitcase. When we do get a chance to play and create music together (outside of concerts and ministry events) it's really great and exciting to learn, appreciate, and blend our styles together. It's difficult to get those moments to work on music (ironic, since we are musicianaries) because of all the traveling we do but we do look forward to the day where we can really devote time to playing and creating music in our own home.

inSpire - And you are also helping with evangelism in the Central California Conference?

Esposo - Yes, I've been traveling with Evangelist Taj Pacleb and the Revelation of Hope team since 2009. I'm part of the group called "The Revelation of Hope Singers." I believe you did an interview on one of our members, Beejay Crisostomo. He gave his life to Jesus the first summer that we held meetings in Hawaii. Traveling with Taj and the team helped me in a tremendous way when I was at the lowest point in my life — and put me in contact with people who share the same love and passion for Christ.

inSpire - Thank you for helping make the world a brighter place with your musical gifts. We wish you and Josh the very best in your ministry.

Visit Jackie Esposo online  |  Songs of Ascent

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