Born visually-impaired, Mark Dowdy demonstrated unusual musical ability as a child. He took guitar lessons at six-years-old, and his love for music and performing grew—along with his faith. He soon knew that he wanted to combine his two passions into one eternal purpose and perspective.
Mark has become a respected songwriter and producer in Nashville, as well as in his home state of Georgia. In 1987, he opened his first music studio, Audio Illusion Studio, which was followed by Crosstown Sound, before opening his current studio, Rivercrest Music.
Late last year, Mark released his first book, Blind Faith, which tells the powerful story of overcoming blindness and building a successful musical career. About two years ago, he started Worship 360, a collaboration of artists and speakers who use their gifts for Jesus in a variety of communities.
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The Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist that ultimately blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
Yes, I have. At an early age, I thought my career path would lead me into being a secular performing artist/singer. I had never given any thought to a career as a music producer, much less in the world of ‘Christian’ music. I was about twenty years old when the Lord began to speak to me and show me through a series of events in my life, that no matter what path I took with my music, whether it was as a singer or producer, it needed to matter — it needed to make a difference for the Kingdom. Once I surrendered to this idea, opportunities started to come my way. I feel sure I would never have met and married my beautiful bride of thirty-two years if I had continued on the path I was on.
When did you decide you wanted to make music your life?
I never knew a time that I did not want to make music my life. From my earliest memories of sitting in front of a small toy piano, hitting the notes one by one rather than just banging on it, music began to make sense to me. As a child at three years, I would sit in front of a record player my parents bought me and listen over and over for hours to the records we had. When I got my hands on my first real instrument at age six, a guitar, I learned quickly and showed an unusual aptitude for it. My first teacher, after a year of lessons, said she had taught me all she could and I would have to go to another instructor to learn more things. So, it was these early experiences that were shaping my musical skills and my love of music.
Let’s talk about your new book, Blind Faith (Christian Faith, November 2020). Please tell us about it.
Through the years, people have encouraged me to write a book about my life and experiences, especially after my successful cornea transplant. I never really gave it serious consideration until my author friend, Eric Blehm, encouraged me to write it. Blind Faith tells the story of my growing up with the challenges of blindness, the victories and the hard times, goes to the point of the transplant at age thirty-eight, and the difference it made in my life. I came to faith in Christ at an early age, and my faith has been central to my life and story. It seemed appropriate to title the book Blind Faith. It was my hope through writing it, that people would be encouraged and inspired by the stories and by what God has done.
Who encouraged you along the journey? How difficult was it to put your life down on paper?
My friend Eric Blehm, New York Times bestselling author of Fearless (and other titles), told me he thought there was a story as he began to learn more about my life journey. And as my friendship with Eric grew, I ended up writing the song Fearless, as a companion to his book.
The difficult thing about writing Blind Faith was finding the time and the discipline to put it all together. I am one of those people with hyperthymesia, meaning I remember almost every day of my life in detail. I had no shortage of memories but getting them down in a cohesive order and deciding what to include or leave out was the hardest part. My wife, Michelle, was very instrumental in helping me bring this all together, and there would be no way I could have done it without her.
A few fun questions…
When the words or music isn’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate when they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
I do love to eat! I am not usually affected by moods as far as food goes, but some of my favorites are seafood (crab cakes), pizza and Chinese food.
If you had to describe yourself with one word, what would it be?
What Bible passage or story best describes your journey of faith?
I have been signing all the books with Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
What is your resolution for 2021? Will you keep it?
I don’t usually make a ‘resolution’ per se, but I am always examining myself to see what God needs to work on next. Lately, I have been convicted about only confessing good things out of my mouth. I don’t want to speak negative things or confess things that are not in accordance with His will, so I have really been trying to work on that.
Thanks, Mark! It’s a pleasure to have you as a guest at Divine Detour.
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