ENID, Okla. — Enid singer-songwriter Chloe-Beth Campbell will host a CD release event 6-8 p.m. Friday at Five80 Coffeehouse, 122 E. Randolph.
Campbell’s first album, “Remnant,” described as folk-Americana genre, traces its roots to church music she experienced as a young child.
The Enid High School senior lived until she was 6 years old in Florida, where her mom was a worship leader at a Pentecostal church.
“We always had music playing through our house — strictly Christian music,” she said. “Music was always ingrained into me, and because of my mom’s influence I was always in-tune to music.”
She carried her love of lyric and rhyme, learned in those early church experiences, with her when the family moved to Enid, and at the age of 11, she started writing poetry.
“They were terrible 11-year-old poems, but I loved writing poetry,” she said.
Her love of writing was matched with her love of music when she started taking guitar lessons at the age of 12.
“When I started playing guitar, I found out I was more of a songwriter than a poet,” she said.
She continued to grow in her music skills through choir and band classes in middle school, and guitar lessons under the instruction of Enid musician Billy Beck.
Campbell came back to her roots in worship music when she started playing and singing during services at Emmanuel Baptist Church.
Those worship sessions led to Campbell’s inclusion as a featured artist in Open Heaven, an ecumenical night of worship music last April at Central National Bank Center.
Campbell said that night, which brought together diverse denominations from around Northern Oklahoma, reaffirmed for her the power of music to bring people together in worship.
“It was really beautiful,” Campbell said. “It was super to see all those people together, to see that even though people have different beliefs, we all have the same Jesus, and that brought us together.”
That spirit of ecumenicism, fueled by contemporary praise music, found a new home for Campbell when St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church started Holy Ground, a contemporary Sunday evening worship service that features local praise musicians.
Campbell started playing guitar and singing for the service, and now is a regular in the weekly lineup at St. Matthew’s.
“I love that I get to do the St. Matthew’s worship music,” she said, “because worship music is such a part of who I am.”
Campbell continues to practice her passion for music through school, including the show choir, select choir, guitar class and musicals at EHS.
She also has appeared at numerous public events and music festivals, including First Fridays in Enid, the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, Gypsy Cafe music festival in Stillwater and Break the Chains benefit concert last June.
The release of her CD will be the culmination of several years of writing and editing songs, all steeped in the emotions of Campbell’s teenage years.
“Every song has a different feel, and there’s not one song that’s the same as the others,” Campbell said. “All of the songs are kind of a memory to me. It’s kind of a reflection of my adolescence and what has been going on in my teenage years.”
She said her musical style has been influenced by John Mark McMillan, one of her favorite contemporary Christian musicians and songwriters.
“His writing style has influenced me,” Campbell said. “Because I’ve listened to him so much, I think he’s had an influence on how I write.”
That influence comes through in Campbell’s song “My Contradiction,” the sole faith-themed song on her album.
“I wrote it in a time when I felt like the world was against me,” she said, “and I had a hard time with church and people.”
She said the song explores the comfort she found in her faith, and how that helped her overcome tough times.
“Even when everything feels hard, Jesus is still there for you,” she said, “and that love is your contradiction to the hardships of the world.”
Several other musicians appear on “Remnant,” including local artists and musicians Campbell collaborated with through the Wood Guthrie Folk Festival.
Campbell provides the vocals and acoustic guitar, joined by Billy Beck on lead guitar, Bruce Metcalf on bass, Cassie Latshaw singing harmony and Kent Kunzman playing hand drums.
Recording and production for the album were completed at Valcour Sound in Broken Arrow, while Campbell undertook all of the post-production work herself.
She said the work of completing and marketing her album had required a steep learning curve.
“If you’re an independent artist, you have to do everything yourself,” Campbell said. “It’s a lot of work, because there are so many things like copywriting and royalties. I have creative liberties with everything I do, so I have lots of freedom in that sense, but there’s lots of things you learn when you’re putting out your album on your own.”
Campbell plans to put that experience to work this fall, when she starts classes at the University of Central Oklahoma, where she will pursue a degree in contemporary music business.
Friday’s CD release event will include a variety of music, including: Cassie Latshaw, singing folk music 6-6:30 p.m.; Melissa Hembree, playing country music, 6:30-7 p.m.; and Campbell, singing songs from her new album, 7-8 p.m.
CDs will be available for sale at the release event and at Finger Pickin Good, 670 W. Willow.
“Remnant” and individual songs from the album also will be available for download from most popular streaming sites after the release event on Friday.
For information, live performance dates and to hear samples of Campbell’s music, visit chloebethmusic.com.