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Janice Kapp Perry: How She Became One of the Most Beloved LDS Songwriters

How do you find the time to write songs?

I didn’t find the time until all of our children were in school—then I suddenly realized I had six hours a day to myself! It takes a lot of quiet pondering time to write lyrics. It was quite a luxury. Now, I have a nice private studio where I can spend all the time I want writing. Doing things in the right season [of life] is key. I couldn’t have found the time to write when the kids were little, but the right season came along later.

What was a performance of one of your songs that truly touched you?

During my tenure with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, it was an unbelievably touching experience to be surrounded by my fellow choir members singing some of my songs. During “A Child’s Prayer,” “Love is Spoken Here,” and “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus,” I hoped the cameras weren’t focusing on the tears in my eyes!

Did you ever expect your music to become so widespread among the Church?

Not at all! When I started writing, I wrote with a specific goal: I hoped someday Primary children would sing one of my songs. All that has happened since then has been a huge surprise to me!

In what ways are you inspired to write songs?

Often, I write from personal experiences, knowing that what happens to me probably happens to many others who will relate. Some songs are assignments from the Church, and I have come to know that there will be extra help from the Spirit if I prepare myself. But often, songwriting just requires a lot of study, prayer, and work. A few times I have felt absolute inspiration in writing a song, and the song just seemed to write itself. I wish it could always be that way! 

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being an LDS songwriter?

Spending my time concentrating on spiritual, uplifting things and sensing that I can write a song in a way that may bring comfort, understanding, or peace to those who listen to it.

What sort of music do you like to listen to?

I love to listen to the music of current LDS artists, and there are many wonderful ones. I really enjoy some of the instrumental albums that are available—but I also love the new sound of some of the contemporary singers and songwriters. I also love to hear beautiful hymn arrangements.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

I had a great passion for playing sports until I was almost 40 and experienced a few serious injuries. I began my songwriting career when my husband asked if there was anything safer that would give me fulfillment and the bishop asked me [to] write original music for the roadshow while I was convalescing from a broken ankle.

Is there anything you want LDS Living readers to know?

For eight years, I have been working with a very capable hymn text writer in Colorado named Bonnie Hart Murray. We set our hearts on writing hymns about most of the important events and characters of the Book of Mormon. These 28 hymns will be published this year! I am so happy to leave this testimony in song regarding the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and that it truly is the word of God for our day. I hope you will watch for it in October.

Find great music from Janice Kapp Perry in multiple albums sold in Deseret Book stores and at deseretbook.com.

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