Singer/songwriter Ginny Owens, a 1997 Belmont alumna, returned to campus Nov. 30 to share songs and stories with current students. The event was part of the “Alumni on Mission” series, which is sponsored by the Belmont Ambassadors and the Office of Alumni Relations. “Alumni on Mission” is an ongoing speaker series featuring Belmont alumni who incorporate mission and ministry in their everyday lives.
Born and raised in Jackson, Miss., Owens began playing piano and writing songs at a young age even while a degenerative eye condition caused her to completely lose her sight. Fiercely independent, Owens didn’t let her physical challenge slow her down upon arriving at Belmont in the 1990s, though her guide dog found the new campus a bit distracting. “I had a guide dog, a yellow lab named Lindy, and she loved to clean the floors in the cafeteria. I was also late to class many days because there was a squirrel that she would have to chase up a tree.”
Owens’ fondest Belmont memories, though, revolved around the friends she made and the opportunities she was given with her music, including participating in a songwriter showcase with fellow classmate Brad Paisley. Now a three-time Dove Award winner, including the Gospel Music Association’s 2000 New Artist of the Year recipient, Owens has sold nearly one million albums.
During her talk with students Friday, she sang a song from her new project, Get In, I’m Driving, as well as several of her chart-topping hits, including “Free” and “If You Want Me To.” “There is power and purpose in your song, whether you write songs or not. There is power and purpose in your story,” she said, challenging her audience to ponder, “If my life is indeed a story, then how does it read?”