With a disposition of the well and the healed, Hope Askew’s mood is sunny and assured this spring morning. A seasoned performer, Askew’s musical journey started with high school chorus. Speaking about the Discovery Showcase in her Virginia hometown that launched her professional career, Askew is firm on the child star thing. “Oh, my parents only let me travel on weekends. Completing high school was not an issue. Education came first. The priorities were real clear,” she chuckles.
No stranger to a grueling tour schedule, Askew is on the road supporting her latest CD, Breakthrough, slated for release on August 9. More impressive is that Askew is moving forward although she is 1 in only 33,000 worldwide diagnosed with traverse myelitis, a debilitating disease that attacks the spinal cord with little warning.
“The last major attack had me bedridden with purpose: God sent so many songs I had to get a recorder for my bedside. It’s like He was pouring songs into me. Every song is anointed and special.”
The gift of song means what to you?
Initially, it was just a “gift.” I was young and singing professionally at the age of 15. I wasn’t raised in the church and have only been singing gospel for the last 11 years. The opportunity to share one’s testimony in a universal medium is beyond awesome. It’s a powerful ministry that comes with great responsibility. Now, I know it’s a gift from God. He chose me not to cure, but to heal. There is a difference.
This spiritual journey has led to…
Focus and purpose, particularly since my diagnosis. I’ve always had my faith, but the transverse myelitis has given me purpose as well. I want my music to help people deal with their physical ailments. So often, people with critical illnesses will get with a barrage of “Don’t claim it!” when they try to discuss what they are going through. It’s easy for a Christian to become isolated from the inability to express their pain and suffering or simply because no one will listen to them. I want that person in despair to focus on the learning process that comes with so-called “dis-ease.” What am I to learn from this is the question. One answer is to not give up! Every experience, especially ones like this, is a learning opportunity.
“Honorary undefeated champion?”
Jane Harley of the Apollo declared me the honorary undefeated champion because I won every time I returned to defend my championship. She said it was getting a little ridiculous for me to keep coming back. I’ll always be grateful to her for the opportunity to perform on that historic stage.
Follow Hope Askew on Reverbnation. For booking information, contact [email protected].