Worship leader Laurina Joyce is releasing her first album, Selah, produced by Christian artist Fresh IE. 

Her first single shares the albums title and was released earlier this month. The EP, which includes four additional tracks, is set to be released in the next couple weeks, according to the singer.

Joyce says, "Selah means to take a breath, take a pause. With COVID, we're all in a kind of forced 'Selah'. It's what we do with it that's important."

The style for this single is contemplative and worshipful. 

"If there's anything we can learn from COVID, it's just to take a moment with the Lord."

Joyce grew up in Petersfield, a small town near Gimli, Man. and she has been living in Selkirk as of late, where she works and leads worship at Crossroads Church.

"Leading people into the presence of God is an honour and a privilege but there's also a heaviness there. It's something that I don't take lightly."

She has been leading worship for almost a decade now, starting when she was just a teenager.

"We worship leaders have the opportunity to bring people into God's presence. That's a big deal. When you do that, you have to be sure that you're checking your heart and making sure you're right before the Lord when you go up. It's a great thing but it's not for the faint of heart."

Joyce has been songwriting for a few years, but didn't think much would come of it, other than playing a few originals for her church. That is until she played a few songs for her friend, Anna Riddle.

According to Joyce, Riddle "has connections to other songwriters and musicians in this area because she did concerts up north at her old church."

Clearly Riddle believed in the musical ability of her friend, because, as Joyce says, "I showed her a few of my songs, which she shared with her connections. One of those happened to be Fresh IE." 

When he isn't performing, the Winnipeg-based Christian rapper also helps local Christian talent through his youth mentorship program called E.D.I.F.Y.

"He heard my music and was willing to record them with me and produce them for me."

When it comes to working with the Juno award-winning artist, Joyce says, "He is so easy-going and great to work with. He gives suggestions and usually, he's spot on."

This won't be the last we hear of Joyce's music, as she is heading off to Edmonton on Monday to attend the Vanguard College, taking her bachelor of theology in worship art. 

She says, "My goal is that others would see Jesus through my music."

Laurina Joyce's first single, SelahCover art for Laurina Joyce's first single. (Photo credit given to Brittany Barkman and Fresh IE)