Christy Sutherland, a Nashville-based Christian singer-songwriter, knows what it's like to lose everything in life. So when she was asked to make her acting debut in the family-oriented, faith-based movie "Welcome to Inspiration"—out this month on DVD—she was able to make her character Laura Ann come alive with raw, genuine emotion.
Starring Jason Crabb, Larry Gatlin, Britt George and Regina McCrary, along with Sutherland, "Welcome to Inspiration" is a film about average people going through struggles when they meet a street sweeper who teaches them the Seven Revelations of Irrefutable Success—based on the Bible.
The movie explores how the seven revelations affect the different characters, including a struggling musician, a widow, a mechanic, a small business owner, among others. Sutherland plays a multi-faceted character who – after "doing the wrong things for the right reasons"—discovers that truth sets her free.
"Everybody can relate to somebody in the film," Sutherland says. "The underlying theme of the movie is to trust in God. He has a plan. Things come together when you put it in God's hands."
Sutherland has had more than 50 recordings of her songs done by major artists. She spent the first 10 years of her career in country music, working as a staff writer for Patrick Joseph Music, Universal Music Publishing and a recording artist at Sony Records and Giant Records. But then, at the age of 31, she lost everything.
After seeing her career in country music collapse, she says she heard the voice of God: "The Lord said to me, 'I want you to sing for Me.'"
"No matter how broken your dreams are, you just need to hand them over to God, and He makes something beautiful," she says. "True success is giving God total control of your life. His ways are not our ways."
The way Sutherland fell into acting was also an act of faith. Jason Crabb's management contacted her manager/husband and said that Sutherland would be great as Laura Ann in "Welcome to Inspiration," which is based on Tim Enochs's book The Street Sweeper. Sutherland took a crash course in acting, but it basically comes naturally for her.
Since walking the red carpet at the premier of "Welcome to Inspiration" at the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), she has been in the film "A Belle for Christmas" starring Dean Cain, Haylie Duff and Kristy Swanson. Most recently, she acted in a sitcom pilot.
"I love that, as an actress, you get to become a different person," says Sutherland, who is looking forward to more opportunities to exercise her acting skills.
She is no stranger to attention. She is a four-time winner of the prestigious Diamond Award for Christian Country Female Vocalist of the Year. The Christian Music Hall of Fame has also presented its Visionary Award for Southern Gospel Female Vocalist of the Year to her.
For more information about Christy Sutherland, please visit christysutherland.net. For more information about the movie "Welcome to Inspiration," visit welcometoinspiration.com.