The Curb College recently held a seminar titled “Influencing Culture Through Faith and Creative Excellence” to open a dialogue about how the word of God can be spread through a career in the entertainment industry. The seminar was part of an ongoing series created from the class “Influencing Culture As a Christian in the Entertainment Industry,” taught by Music Business Professor Mark Maxwell.
Musicians Tommee Profitt and Fleurie (also known as Lauren Strahm) were featured panelists for the conversation, moderated by Maxwell. Profitt is a producer, composer and songwriter best known for his ongoing work with rapper NF and his affinity for creating cinematic compositions. Profitt has been working for several years with Fleurie, an emerging artist with a knack for dramatic writing.
Both speakers discussed their path in the business and how they grappled with their faith throughout their careers. Many Belmont students can relate to Fleurie’s story. She began as a child who fell in love with music at church and found herself chasing the dream in Nashville years later. As she grew in her artistry, Fleurie began struggling to come to terms with the gift she was given.
“The stuff that was flowing out of me was never congregational music,” Fleurie shared. “It was always songs about life and processing things going on in my heart. I had this guilt of this religious spirit, I think, of like: if I really love God, why am I not writing these songs like worship leaders do?”
For Profitt, the dilemma came as he strayed from worship music and began seeing an abundance of opportunities in cinematic composition. It took a while for each of them to come to terms with the fact that the Lord was revealing His plan for their talents and that it can still be worship, even if it isn’t contemporary Christian music.
“His plan was to close those doors and open all these other worlds that aren’t necessarily worshiping God vertically the way worship music is,” Profitt said.
In addition to discussing their faith, they shared advice with students on the importance of making authentic relationships with people, rather than chasing fame. Profitt shared the valuable reminder that you have to invest in who is around you, not who you’d like to be around. “I didn’t get the opportunity to work with NF,” he said. “He wasn’t NF when I met him. He was my buddy Nate.”
For students grappling with the path God is revealing for their passions and talents, Fleurie encouraged, “God is going to use you however He wants to, just stay planted and rooted in Christ.”
The panel offered students a powerful lesson on the importance of putting active work into their relationships, both with God and the people around them.