Voted most likely to win a Grammy by her classmates, Oklahoma native Melinda McGlasson is on her way to meeting that goal as a rising Contemporary Christian artist.
McGlasson, a graduate of Northeast Oklahoma A&M College, will return to northeast Oklahoma this weekend, for two free concerts on Sunday, July 2.
The first, a morning service at Welch Baptist Church in Welch will include a patriotic theme, fitting with the Independence Day holiday weekend. The second, an evening concert at Calvary Baptist Church in Vinita, will include a variety of McGlasson's favorites, including a few new songs which may appear on her upcoming album.
"I'm not there yet," McGlasson said of the Grammy win goal. "But I was a first round nominee for new artist for the Grammys last year."
McGlasson's path from worship leader to recording artist did not happen overnight. The journey began when the Adair High School grad attended NEO on a full music scholarship.
"I always sang, wrote music and played the piano," McGlasson said. "But I didn't want to be a music teacher."
Instead, McGlasson went on to study counseling at Mid America Christian College in Oklahoma City. That decision led her path to working alongside her husband, Dallas, providing pastoral counseling to people at their church, Lifeway Christian Center in Guymon, Oklahoma.
"We hope to help people before they need to go to a psychologist," McGlasson said.
In August 2015, McGlasson became ill after returning from church camp. Three doctor visits later, the diagnosis was confirmed - ovarian cancer.
McGlasson immediately asked family and friends spanning the globe to pray. When doctors conducted the surgery to remove the mass, they discovered it was not cancerous.
Fast forward two months later, McGlasson began noticing some issues with her voice which impacted her music ministry. Doctors discovered she had developed thyroid cancer.
At the same time, she received a call many dream about. Officials with Redemption World Records heard a recording of her music. They had an opening to develop a new artist.
"I thought 'is this a prank'," McGlasson said with a laugh. "It was crazy."
After prayer and counsel, McGlasson signed with the label - and began writing music for what would become her first release "Spirit Break Out."
"I was stage three cancer," McGlasson said. "I took it as a sign from God I was going to be O.K."
In a three month period, McGlasson wrote 13 songs. On January 16, 2016, she traveled to Nashville to record her album at Dark Horse Recording Studio in Franklin.
"It was crazy," McGlasson said, as she recalled the experience. "The thyroid is right next to your vocal cords. I had three days to record. But I was able to do all 10 [songs] in one day. It was a miracle."
By April 2016, her first album appeared in stores. For the past year, McGlasson has balanced life as an up and coming Christian artist, with being a mom of three boys ages 14, 11 and 8.
In addition to touring to a variety of locations - including this weekend's concerts - McGlasson spends time working on her new album, penning a variety of new songs.
On Saturday, Aug. 12, she'll team up with Gordon Mott, a musician who travels with the Gaither Vocal Band and the long-running Gaither Homecoming Tour, at Eastern Heights Baptist Church in Bartlesville for a fundraiser to benefit Family Promise of Washington County.
McGlasson marvels as she knows her music is not only in the United States, but plays in more than 27 different countries.
McGlasson said many of the songs resonate with people - especially those who are going through "a lot of things" in life.
"My music encourages people to be strong, to give them hope," McGlasson said. "It's contemporary, but can reach all the ages."
Last month, McGlasson learned her treatment was successful. She is cancer-free following surgery to remove her thyroid.
"This is a God-thing," McGlasson said, of her career. "The message of my music shows hope, love and Jesus.
"I want to bring people hope. To just bring them joy."
McGlasson has fond memories of her time in Miami. As a music student at Northeast Oklahoma A&M, she could often be found taking part in several plays - including School House Rock and Pajama Games.
She said long-time music instructor Mary Susan Whaley, who retired in 2016, served as a mentor while she was working on her degree.
One thing with McGlasson
One person who inspires you?
My husband, Dallas. He's a survivor. He was born when his mom was only six months pregnant. He beat all of the odds. His picture is on the wall at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa.
With the things that's happened in life, he's shown me he's strong and patient. He carries a lot on his shoulders, but nobody would ever know. He's full of love and compassion. I admire that about him. He's a man of integrity, which is really cool.
One book that's stuck with you?
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Because it sounds like Jesus is talking directly to me. The scriptures [included with the devotions] get me into the word.
One thing that might surprise people?
I was adopted when I was a month old on June 10, 1982. Recently my birth mom found me. It's an interesting, fun thing.
I grew up with a wonderful childhood. I love my parents. My birth mom had thyroid cancer - which is why she looked for me. I went from being an only child to having three sisters.
When she had me, my sister was 11 months and three weeks older. She could barely take care of her, and she knew she could give me a better life. I was adopted through the Owasso Baptist Children's Home.
This is all new, just two weeks old. She found me through my artist page, with the help of a group in Tulsa. It's a new part of my story. I think it will show hope there too.
One thing you can't live without?
My family. Because they bring me security.
One piece of advice you've been given?
On being a mom: They are only little once, You only get one time to raise them.
As a Christian - Ephesians 3:20 "Now to him, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us."
This always reminds me that God is faithful, no matter what we go through. It's incredible to see how my music has grown in just a year's time. It's much more than I can hope or imagine.
If You Go
The morning concert, at 10:45 a.m., is part of the worship service at Welch Baptist Church, Fifth and Curtis Street, in Welch. It will include a variety of music, including some with a patriotic theme.
The second concert takes place at 6:30 p.m., at Calvary Baptist Church, 434 North First Street in Vinita. It will include a variety of music, including some selections from McGlasson’s newest album.
For more information, persons interested may contact Welch Baptist Church at 918-788-3592 or Calvary Baptist Church at 918-256-3427.
For more information about McGlasson, persons interested may visit www.facebook.com/melindaworship or www.melindaworship.com.