Music and singing fills a house right outside of Oxford on a bright, sunny afternoon. Carli Reeder is seated at the piano.
From a little girl who was shy, to a strong woman with a powerful voice and message, Reeder is a senior music major at the University of Mississippi.
Reeder spent most of her childhood not knowing how to express herself. However, when she found music, she found herself too.
“It is my way of sharing myself with others,” Reeder said. “It is also an outlet for me to express myself and my feelings.”
Reeder said it is often hard to express herself when speaking, but when she begins to sing, it allows her to create every little detail the way she feels and wants to express it.
Those close to Reeder have noticed the change in her since she began to sing.
“She just comes alive when she sings,” said her fiance Collin Minga. “She puts so much emotion into the song that even those watching feel what she is feeling.
Minga said he knew her before she found herself and has been able to watch her transformation.
Reeder started singing in front of audiences when she was 13. Now 22, she started voice lessons in college and continues to sing for audiences.
“I love it because it is a part of who I am as an individual,” she said. “Everyone has something they love to do, and music and singing just happen to be what I love to do.”
Reeder’s favorite song is “Hillsong United.”
“That song resonates with me because of the words,” she said. “Later in the song, it says ‘Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will become stronger in the presence of my savior.’ I feel like this is my life motto.”
Reeder loves Christian music and said it brings out emotions in her that she does not feel singing any other type of music. She went to the Philippines for seven weeks on a mission trip a few summers ago, where she was able to teach music to the children there.
“They blew my mind,” said Reeder. “We may not understand all the different languages of the world, but one thing that connects us is music.”
Reeder said no matter the language, music makes the connection deeper.
“Spending time teaching those children music really helped me to grow, not only as a Christian, but also as a person,” she said. “I have always had a love for music, but that summer changed my outlook on music and deepened my love for music.”
Reeder said she cannot imagine her life without music in it.
“You know that one thing in life that really sparks your passion? That is music for me.”
Reeder can play the piano and has even tried her hand at guitar.
“I love to sing though,” she said. “I feel like that is really what I am best at, and it brings me the most joy.”
Reeder wants to become a high school math teacher.
“It has always been my dream to teach children, and after I visited the Philipines, I knew I wanted to teach choir and math,” she said.
She hopes she can change at least one life through music the way it has changed her life.
Many people, like Reeder, have a hard time expressing their emotions. Reeder wants to help those people learn to better express themselves the best way she knows how, and that is through music.
“A lot of people are battling with things the outside world doesn’t know about, and even if I didn’t realize I was helping them, I would love to save someone’s life or improve it by introducing them to music,” she said.
Music, whether the person plays, sings, writes, or just listens, is a great therapeutic exercise. Reeder said it helps get her through all of life’s hard times.
“Whenever I find myself in a situation that is stressing me out, I will either play my piano or just sit down and sing,” Reeder said.
https://youtu.be/0e60kXPezQ0 (link to video of singing)