Denise Minea grew up around music, as her family was a very musical one. Ever since she was a young girl, she has been singing in church choirs, too. Now Minea, a Woodbury resident, is hoping to reach others with her debut album of Christian folk music, "In This Life: Reflections on Birch Point."
"It won't be everybody's cup of tea, but it will definitely speak to some people," Minea said. "The thing I tried to do is speak to them in some form maybe given that they need solace or they need comforting or encouragement, something of that nature --just if it gives them inspiration."
Minea released her album in mid-April and she has already reached the 100 mark.
"They like what the music says, not just the melodies of the music, but the words that are written," she said. "But I won't be going platinum anytime soon."
Recording a CD wasn't something that Minea had dreamt about forever, but something that just seemed to fall into place over the past five years.
"After my father passed away, I had a lot of music start coming to me" she said. "I'd wake up in he middle of the night, and I'd have to write something down -- I couldn't sleep, it would wake me up."
Writing songs was a very therapeutic and cathartic experience for Minea because writing down her thoughts and feelings helped her get through some difficult times.
"Music helps walk you through some of those things," she said. "Music is supposed to do that; the message that comes through should give you some feeling of healing or hope."
With nearly 25 songs to her name, Minea needed to decide what to do with all of these songs in front of her.
"So I just decided, I gotta write it all down and I needed to do something with it, I couldn't just sit on it."
With the pushing of her friends and family Minea decided to just go for it.
"It was a great leap of faith," she said.
Through discussions with fellow parishioners at Saint Ambrose Catholic Church, Minea learned that she wasn't the only one embarking on a new venture.
Minea turned to Karen Pavilicin who's inspirational album, "Little Bit of Faith," was released earlier this year.
"Karen was a true inspiration to me," she said. "I learned a lot from her --kind of the ins and outs."
Minea recorded her album with the same producer, Dan Kowalke, at his studio in Andover.
Even with Pavlicin's guidance and help, Minea still had to figure out a lot of things on her own and it was no easy task.
"It's been a leaning experience,' she sad.
Minea said her music is inspired by so many different people and experiences. She said she turned to her faith, her family, and her experiences for the lyrics, and John Denver for the music.
"I was a huge John Denver fan and his music just always really spoke to me," she said. "It's music of stories and great feeling."
During the three years she has spent working on her album and the many challenges she has faced, Minea said the biggest challenge has been having faith in herself.
"I know people have always told me I can sing and they enjoy listening to me, but when you listen to yourself you always hear something different," she said. "At my age to reinvent yourself and try and do something different is hard.
"The biggest challenge for me was having confidence that I could do it -- I have faith in other people and my God, but I don't have enough faith in myself."
Minea said she hopes to record more music, but does not have aspirations to tour or become a platinum selling artist, her aspirations are closer to the heart.
"Just as long it gives people some inspiration, that's the best thing," she said.
Denise Minea's debut-album of Christian-folk music, "This is Life: Reflections on Birch Point," is currently for sale at CD Baby, Amazon and Rhapsody, as well as Minea's website, www.deniseminea.com.
Minea will be performing the National Anthem at the Minnesota Twins' game on July 29.