maria graft

maria graft

BandChristianPop

the music is about ministry. it's not about money or fame. what we are trying to do is inspire people, help them to know how much they matter, that God is absolutely crazy about them, and that life is all about second chances and it's never too late for them.

Biography

Born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, my parents considered me a “musical prodigy” from the time I could speak (that’s parents for you). I sang songs standing next to my Dad in the car on the front seat at the tender age of two (long before the days of required car seats). By three, I was plunking out nursery rhyme songs and lullabies on my toy piano (oh, those were the days!). My first stage experience occurred when I was only five, singing and dancing in front of about 1000 people with a Flamenco dance troupe where I was a soloist singing in both English and Spanish. I fell in love with performing — singing and soloing in choirs from elementary school through high school. I turned to writing secular songs and poetry in high school as an outlet for the typical emotional turmoil that teenagers often experience. Feeling a void in my life, I competed at the state level in vocal solo performance, jazz choir, women’s choir, show choir and theatre to keep me busy and to try to fill that void.

In college, I seemed to take some needed time off from music. My entire four years at Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois) failed to provoke me to write a single song. Perhaps it was because I was too busy studying, but more likely it was because I experienced a happiness and contentment with life different from ever before. With music still being a powerful outlet for me, I joined the University Singers where I met the love of my life, a young man from Barrington, Illinois, named Michael Graft. By January of 1987, I knew that I would marry this young man (although he was not quite aware of this yet). I had stopped going to church many years before, and it was Michael who encouraged me to return. It was because of Michael that I was reacquainted with God—the first big step in my spiritual journey. We were wed four and a half years later and settled down in Barrington in September of 1991. It was also here that I began my journey in music ministry at my church and home base, Holy Family.

It wasn’t until October of 1997 that I began a true relationship with Jesus, however. While at a Darlene Zschech concert, I felt the Holy Spirit’s power for the first time. I heard the song, ‘So You Would Come’, and I finally understood that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was for me personally—that no matter how I had failed in my life, regardless of what I had done in the past, this was a new beginning and that I was forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ. I couldn’t do anything to make Him love me any more or any less! He loved me, and I was His child. I asked for His forgiveness and knew that He was MY personal savior! That was only the beginning for me. I delved into God’s Word- the Bible. I couldn’t get enough of it! And that’s when the music began to flow once more.

Through the Holy Spirit, an outpouring of music came to me. I found myself humming new melodies and words of praise to Jesus every day. It was difficult to keep everything straight in my head! I had to begin writing it all down. And then, I knew that God was taking my music ministry onto a more serious path. Then the Labor of Love project was born. I have three wonderful children– Christina, age 10, Annie, age 8 and Michael, III, age 7. Their most popular requests make up the Labor of Love CD—including the lullaby I wrote for the kids, entitled He’ll Be There. My children were the ones to ‘approve’ the final form of the lyrics for the song. When the song was finished, I played it for my husband, Michael. He cried and said it was the most beautiful song I had ever written. That was, and still is, the best compliment I have ever gotten! Michael is my toughest critic. He tells me what I want to know, but most importantly, he tells me what I need to know—like it or not. He is my truest and most devoted friend. He was a great support to me throughout the production of both the Labor of Love and Running Home projects. I could never have done this without his love and support. The Running Home CD is a project that consists of many of the early songs that I wrote when I became a born again Christian. I am so excited about this project. The music is very personal and introspective. The listener gets to peek in at a portion of my spiritual journey. It’s like peeking into my journal. You get to know all the good, bad and the weak sides of me. The Lord has given me something to say through my ministry. I am so blessed that He has given me this opportunity. I know that God will honor it and do incredible things with it.

I consider my church community my ministry base. But while I love ministering to my community, my recent passion has been prison outreach. After months of praying for the Lord to open a door in prison ministry, He finally did. This small and neglected segment of our society is in such great pain. I want to be a part of ministering to that segment. It is my prayer that God will take my music

Lyrics

You Are God

Written By: Maria Graft

You Are God
(from Psalm 90)
Words and music by: Maria Graft

From everlasting to everlasting You-You are God/and I’ll sing for joy and be glad always for You- You are God//Lord a thousand years to you are like a day gone by/or like the hours that slip by in one night/You’ve been our dwelling place throughout the generations/before the birth of mountains or earth// From everlasting to everlasting You-You are God/and I’ll sing for joy and be glad always for You- You are God//Precious King You’re the only one who knows my heart/You alone are my heart’s desire/though the world may compete for my attention/You alone make my heart sing

©2003 doolittlemusic/ASCAP/All rights reserved/Used by permission

Running Home

Written By: Maria Graft & Morgan Cryar

Running Home
Words and Music by: Maria Graft & Morgan Cryar

Lately Lord I’ve lost that fire that once consumed me/return me to that place/It seems that I have strayed so far/I got distracted/tell me that it’s not too late to say//I’m running home to you/because there’s nothing left to do/my soul is parched/and I need a place to rest/yes, I’m running home to you/to the home that I once knew/please quench this thirst and fill me once again-so that I might see your face again//forgive me Lord for placing You last on my to do list/You should have been number one/Lord I’ve wasted so much time/and now I’m empty/help me feel your peace once again///I know that you’ve been waiting for my strength to fade away/so that I can stop pretending and come back home to stay

©2003 doolittlemusic/ASCAP/All rights reserved/Used by permission

Break Me

Written By: Maria Graft

Break Me
Words and music by: Maria Graft

There I am again chasing all around/And there I am again- no time to slow down/And when I’m down because I can’t do it all/And I forget to call your name//Won’t you break me/won’t you break me from the binding chains of I and me and my/and won’t you bring me to my knees/So that I can rest upon you and know that you are God/so that I can rest upon you and know I need you, Lord//There I am again thinking I’m in control/and there I am again/I’m on a roll/and when my world seems to turn without a hitch and I forget to call your name///Break me so that you can build me up again/break me so that you can cleanse me of my sin/Mold me in the image of You- anew

©2003 doolittlemusic/ASCAP/All rights reserved/Used by permission

The World Through Your Eyes

Written By: Maria Graft

Little one with dirty feet
Who would know your smile could be so sweet
And who would know you’d bless me, too
Do for me more than I feel I’ve done for you
Give me things that will always last
A smile, a touch, a little laugh,
a chance to have you sittin’ on my lap

(Chorus)
And see the world through your eyes
To see all I fail to recognize
All the love there is to share
Simple joys we can bring when we stop to care
And see the world, see the world through your eyes.

Little one in this homeless plight
Who would guess you could be so full of life
And who would know you’d teach me, too
‘Bout a life I thought, I thought I knew
Teach me things that will always last
To smile, to laugh, play a soccer game
To have a reason to say your name

(bridge)
You’ve changed me
You put my heart out on my sleeve
Rearranged me
Now I’ll never be the same

‘Cause I’ve seen the world through your eyes
And seen all I failed to recognize
All the love there is to share
Simple joys we can bring when we stop to care
And see the world, see the world through your eyes
To see the world, see the world through your eyes.

To see the world, see the world through your eyes.

Discography

labor of love (kids/lullabies/praise & worship)
running home (original, contemporary Christian)
broken in to Christmas (Christmas)

Set List

one set of about 10-12 songs
songs are original from the running home cd
some Superchick tunes and some rockin' versions of popular praise and worship like, Shout to the Lord