All could have been stripped away in a single day in 1997 when his best friend, Rich Mullins, was killed in the automobile accident that changed Mitch McVicker's voice forever.
"I think I started noticing (my voice) very well could have been healed four years after the wreck. I know my voice was knocked down to 15 to 20 percent and it had taken me 24 years for my voice to grow to that point. It's not surprising to me to have someone say, 'Well it will take a few years for it to grow back to where it was.' My voice is different now, but I couldn't expect anything more. It is just up to me now to use what I've been given to become a better singer," he said.
The now-happily-married McVicker simply embraces what he's been given without questioning.
"I don't know why Rich was taken from the body of Christ and why I overcame the obstacles I was facing so I could remain. I think we get caught up in all the logistical matters of life -- the what, where, when and all of that ... and God tells us to move forward and embrace what we're given. I know Rich is embracing what he's been given right now and so I try to embrace what I've been given. What have I been given? What do I get to do? I get to stick around, to love," McVicker said, as he reflected a moment on the past.
No BitternessThere is no bitterness for the tragedy that forever changed him. "I'm glad for Rich and I'm just glad for me," he said.
He has learned life is just "walking by faith trusting you're doing what you need to do regardless of the outcome." He found out about continuing to walk by faith this past December when his record label, Spindust, folded.
"Spindust is now, Spin don't," he said, laughing. "With the whole wrench being thrown in the recording process, I am just trying to figure out what to do, how to do it, how to fund it and where to go." But, he isn't letting the latest thrown wrench stifle any of his creativity or of the maturity that has emerged as a result and guided a now-wiser Mitch. And, he wants to be sure his songs lose nothing in translation.
"I am sure if someone compared the songs on this album to past albums when this album comes, it will be a whole lot different than what I was doing six or seven years ago. But the essence is the same and I hope the tunes are just as catchy," he said.
Does he ever think about what Rich Mullins would say about this new work in process?
"I think about what his reaction would be to pretty much every song I write and it is truly intimidating. He was the best -- the very best. It's good to try and live up to his investment in me. I know comparison isn't a healthy thing...so I go, "You know this is not going to be a Rich Mullins song. But every now and then, what has rubbed off on me will show itself. I'm thankful for that influence. When he was around, I was always trying to make him proud of me, so I hope that's still going on...," he said, laughing again.
Subconsciously, maybe he is simply applying what he learned from his mentor and best friend and it's seen in the carefully chosen selection of stringed instruments blended with harmonica, keyboards and percussion on this new album.
This new album, which he gives the working titles of Over Cup Runneth and Before the Sun Floats to the Top, will even have a surprise included.