More than Ice Cream

WVI: Roma, thanks for giving your time to speak with Worldview Interactive. How are you?

Roma: I am doing well thanks!

WVI: We’ll get to your music in a moment. I’d like to talk about Roma the person. Tell me about your family.

Roma: Well I grew up in an Italian family – lots of singing Italian folk songs around my grandfather and his piano accordion. My uncle taught me how to play the piano, and I really can’t remember a time when music was not in our family. I’ve been singing since birth I think! I have two brothers and a sister – my youngest brother is following in my footsteps and trying to pursue a career in the music business. My other brother is a huge Bob Dylan fan – so I am not sure if that counts for being musical or not!!!!

Roma: We’re a pretty loud family – everyone’s always talking at once (hang on, maybe that’s just me!) and I had a great up bringing. Lots of home cooked food – pasta, pasta, pasta! I have been very blessed!

WVI: Are you married? Do you have any children?

Roma: I’m married – no kids.

WVI: How has your personal and family life been affected by your growing success?

Roma: My family has always encouraged me to go for gold. I’ve never been told to ‘get a real job’ or give up because it’s not happening quick enough. My parents are my biggest supporters and have helped me during difficult times. Sometimes I think they have more faith in me than I do! So, I am very blessed to have family like that.

I also have a very supportive husband who has just recently left work so that we can work full time together. He travels with me, does the books, looks after the money side of things, travel arrangements etc. It has been life changing working together and much less stressful because I can concentrate on what I do best – which is sing. I’m not that great at all the other stuff!

WVI: What’s been the greatest miracle in your life... the most remarkable thing that’s ever happened to you?

Roma: Well, I was very sick about 5 years ago – the doctors diagnosed me with a condition called ‘Fibromyalgia’ – which has very similar symptoms to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It was a terrible time – and I was told I would probably have it for the rest of my life. I collapsed during a performance on tour and just had a terrible time coming to terms with the fact that my body would not do what I wanted it to do. I really thought that was the end of singing – because the doctors told me I would not have the capacity to cope with touring and performing.

I was sick for about 2 years when I had an amazing supernatural encounter with God. I woke up in the middle of the night and there was an angel in my room and the Lord showed me that the enemy was trying to take my life. After that night I started to get better – and about a year after that I was completely healed. In fact, I was healthier than before I got sick. It was an amazing experience – one I will never forget.

WVI: Praise the Lord for that! I know a few people who have encountered angels too. That must have been a great encouragement to your faith.

Roma: Definitely. Even today I think to myself that God cares so much about little old me when he’s got so much else going on in the world! I think we forget how much he cares about us, so it was a good wake up call!

WVI: What has been your greatest hardship, and how has your trust in Jesus brought you though?

Roma: Being sick was a great hardship. But it was very humbling and I was really drawn close to God during that time. It taught me to trust in Him no matter what, but it also taught me that God still cared and loved me, even when I was ill and couldn’t ‘do’ anything for Him. I realized that I was working so hard to gain God’s approval and the amazing revelation for me was to feel that approval even when I couldn’t do anything. It really has been life changing.

WVI: Let’s get back to your music. It seems like the Lord is certainly blessing you with some success and this must be an exciting time for you. Where do you hope to go with your music, and how do you personally define success?

Roma: My mission statement is to impact the church and the world through music. To write great songs that connect with people. I don’t think that means that every song I write needs to be a worship song – but a song that touches the human heart with God’s hand. I believe you do that by just being yourself and allowing God to be an example through you. I have a publishing deal with Warner Music and that has led to some secular success, and I have also worked on TV and radio on various programs.

I personally define success as being happy. It’s not about money, fame, or how attractive what you do is to other people. If you are happy doing what you are doing – that makes a successful person – because all the issues of life come out of your heart. If you are not happy inside, everything you do will be fruitless, but when you have inner joy even doing the washing can be enjoyable!

WVI: I get the impression that you see your music very much in terms of a ministry rather than a business. There are many Christian musos that are doing what they do for the glory of God and often don’t even get paid. I guess you’ve done more than your fair share of that too. But many in the Christian music scene in America, and even a few in Australia, have been able to do very well financially from it. I know that you wouldn’t want to pass judgment on anyone, but as a follower of Jesus how do you personally view wealth and at what point does being wealthy and ‘living the high life’ become a problem?

Roma: I think the money that people make through business, work or ministry is really between them and God. Every situation will be different, and because we don’t know men’s hearts, or their bank accounts, it makes it very difficult for us to properly assess what we read in the papers or see on TV.

WVI: You don’t think wealth ever becomes a problem?

Roma: Yes, of course wealth can become a problem, but so can poverty. The issue is not about the money – it’s about a heart attitude.

WVI: There is something to be said for a holistic view of life and some would say that there should be no line of distinction between business and ministry. In terms of the common motivations for each of those, surely there is a clear line of distinction. Business is often about profit. Ministry, on the other hand, is about serving God. Jesus said that ‘you cannot serve God and mammon’. Do you think that sometimes the line between business and ministry does get blurred?

Firstly, I think Mammon and business are two different things. I also think you can make money from ministry and be broke running a business. We need money to survive. We need money to bless people. We need money to put clothes on our children’s backs and pay the rent. Does that mean we love money? No? We use it as a means to an end.

I also think that there should be no distinction at all as Christians between ministry and business. Your life is your ministry. Wherever we are, whatever we do should reflect who we are and what we believe in. If we do try to separate the two, then we are ultimately saying that people in business don’t have a ministry, and are not contributing anything to the church or the kingdom of God. That excludes three quarters of the church!

So I hope the lines do get blurred – maybe it will get us all back to the purpose of all that we do, and that we will become more passionate about how we live our lives.

The key word here is ‘motivation’. Is one’s motivation to serve God or to serve mammon (riches)? I know of some people who are in ministry, and all they care about is the money. I also know people in the business world who have made a lot of money and yes, they bless the church financially – but I think the greatest blessing is that their business associates are getting saved and coming to church. They know their families. They are in their world. They care about what is going on in their world. Isn’t that ministry?

WVI: I’ve listened to two of your albums, which I have really enjoyed by the way. Your latest album, People Change, is very catchy and appealing and there are a few songs on that album that get played over and over in our home by my teenage daughters! Your music seems to plumb the depths of the soul in search for authentic faith. You’re a prolific songwriter, so how does a new song immerge?

Roma: I need to be inspired to write a song. I don’t normally write very well when I set aside time to write. I write much better when something ‘kick starts’ my brain! Usually that happens at very inconvenient times, like when I am doing the vacuuming or I am washing the dishes or in the middle of the night when I am in bed! All of a sudden a tune will pop into my head, or I will hear a line somebody says on the TV that sparks a whole range of thoughts. I generally write music and lyrics together.

WVI: My 16 year old daughter, Elyce, wants me to ask you how the song ‘More Than Ice Cream’ came about.

Roma: Ha! The most asked question in my history!

When I first got married my husband and I used to buy Homer Hudson ice cream once a week and veg out in front of the telly. We just loved the ice cream and so it was our special treat. One day I said to him ‘honey do you love me?’ And he smiled and said ‘More than Homer Hudson ice cream!’ It kinda stuck after that – instead of saying ‘I love you’ we started saying ‘More Than Ice Cream’, and it was our little secret!

One day I was thinking about that, and then about how easy it is to say we love ice cream, chocolate, a car, a new outfit etc, and I realized we find it much easier to say we love ‘a thing’ more than we can say we love our spouse or our loved ones. We mix up our meanings until they don’t mean anything anymore. So I wrote a song about it. What it really is saying is I don’t know how to say ‘I love you’ and really mean it, because I mix up the terms all the time. It’s a song about meaning what you say and telling the truth.

WVI: There’s a lot of fear and concern at the moment about what is going on in the world. I don’t think that I can recall a time when I have seen so many people heavy-hearted about what’s going on. Do you ever feel inclined to write songs that address those global and political issues?

Roma: Yes – in fact there are two songs on my latest album that were written when I felt like that. ‘Lifting Me Up’ which is the first single of the record, and ‘Voice of Freedom’. I also get very emotional when I sing them too.

WVI: Like most popular artists, you probably get quite a bit of feedback from fans. Have you ever had anyone tell you that they’ve found faith and hope through your music? What’s the most encouraging feedback you’ve received as a result of your music ministry? Roma: That is my favourite part of doing this. There have been a few situations that spring to mind. I received an amazing email from a girl who had been gang raped and fell pregnant. She said that ‘More Than Ice Cream’ made her feel loved by God and she played it repeatedly, and that it has really helped her. I just couldn’t believe that a simple song like that could impact a person in such a horrific situation. When I read the email I just cried and cried and thanked God for using me. It is such a privilege and an honour to make a difference like that.

WVI: Roma, thanks for you time, and for your willingness to take part in this first issue of Worldview Interactive!

Roma: It’s a pleasure, thanks for supporting my music!

Check out Roma's website: www.romawaterman.com

Thursday, November 9, 2006   printer friendly version | 9176 reads