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Elle Varner Answers ESSENCE's Questions on Faith and Spirituality

"Sometimes I wake up and I look around and I'm like, ‘Wow, thank you,'" says Varner.
Elle Varner Answers ESSENCE’s Questions on Faith and Spirituality
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Ahead of the release of her second album 4 Letter Word, Elle Varner spoke with ESSENCE.com about maintaining her faith, the last thing that reminded her to be grateful, and why her spiritual life and music career are in harmony.

Do you consider yourself spiritual, religious or neither?
I do consider myself a Christian woman. I go to church when I can but it’s not something that is I do diligently. I grew up having Jewish friends. I went to temple, I went to Kingdom Hall, and I went to the Kabbalah Center. I’ve experienced almost every religion and I’ve seen it all so for me, I feel like the message in my relationship with God doesn’t really fit into any one particular denomination or religion.

Do you have a quote, proverb or scripture that you find yourself frequently looking to?
When I find myself in a situation and I don’t like how it’s going, I just have to remind myself this is not your show. Sometimes I have to remind myself to get out of the way and everything that doesn’t happen or does happen is part of His plan so it really does relieve a lot of stress.

A lot of people like to talk about how there are no morals in the music industry. Do you find that your spiritual life and music career have been at odds or is everything in harmony?
I would say the harmony, but it can be off key. I think the music industry is a difficult business and industry but I don’t think it’s different than any other industry, really. There are wolves, there are vultures, but there are great people as well and you have to just take it case by case. I definitely try to separate my personal life from my life in the music industry.

When’s the last time you remembered to be grateful?
Yesterday. Sometimes I wake up and I look around and I’m like, ‘Wow, thank you.’ I try to remember that more and more. I will say I feel like I’ve been blessed a lot lately, the more I remember to be grateful.

Can you share a time when your faith has been tested and what you learned from it?
I would say in general about faith it’s like if you want something—and you don’t have the faith behind it that God will give it to you probably won’t get it.  So the challenge of faith has been not only wanting things but truly believing to the point where I visualize it, to where I speak it as if it’s already happened. I have that much faith. And that’s been working very well.

Finish this sentence: I am happiest when…
When I’m home, just home in general. That can be on stage. It’s wherever I feel at home, you know?

Who’s been your greatest teacher in life?
If I pick one parent, they’ll kill me so I would say both of my parents. They mapped it all out for me pretty well.

Elle Varner’s sophomore album, 4 Letter Word, is due out later this year.