Following God’s call: Music professor shares her experiences in the music industry and gives advice to future musicians

Seeking the kingdom and following God’s lead are just two ways in which Nirva Ready, associate professor of vocal performance, has been able to give God all the glory in her music as well as mentor the next generation of musicians at Liberty University.

Ready’s experiences in the musical realm began while she was a child and were further cultivated as she performed in school productions and choir performances during her
adolescent years. Due to the encouragement of her relatives, Ready felt inspired to develop her musical gifts. 

As I matriculated through grade school and high school, they would ask me to sing here and there and be a part of choirs and performances. And that’s when I realized, ‘Okay, I think I love this, I think I can do this.’ … I began to pursue it as a passion,” Ready said. 

While working on her Bachelor of Arts in vocal performance at Fisk University, Ready joined the Fisk Jubilee Singers and traveled around the country to perform. After hearing the Gospel through one of her trips with the choir, Ready accepted Christ as her personal Savior and has been following him faithfully ever since. 

Fresh out of college, Ready was earnestly looking for the “next assignment” or job that the Lord wanted her to pursue. Little did she know that an ordinary flight back home would propel her toward an even larger stage that would lead her to performing backup vocals with TobyMac for his DiverseCity band. 

Ready first met TobyMac after boarding a flight that was leaving North Carolina. In a moment of pure spontaneity, Ready decided to switch to a window seat that happened to be TobyMac’s. After returning to her original seat, Ready discovered that TobyMac had an opening in his band, which led one of her colleagues to formally introduce her to the musician and his manager.

A few weeks later, Ready auditioned for the spot in TobyMac’s band and officially joined DiverseCity in 2001.

“Just playing a small role in God’s big, vast kingdom in any way possible was a blessing, but to do it through that avenue was just so much fun,” Ready said.

From that pivotal moment, many doors opened for Ready’s music career as she began traveling and performing throughout the United States and over 25 countries with TobyMac’s team.

“It was a total God thing. I got to travel the world with his team. He’s amazing; it was an amazing experience. Words barely can suffice. … (It was) just a Christian band that exalted the Lord, wanted to bring the joy of the Lord in the concert experience,” Ready said. 

Not only did Ready perform with TobyMac’s band for 17 years, but she also toured with several top contemporary Christian artists like Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman during Passion Conferences in Atlanta, South Africa, Paris and London.

In 2016, Ready and her husband Seth were officially signed to Integrity Music, and they have been producing their own music as the husband-and-wife duo, Seth & Nirva, for several years. According to Ready, she felt that the Lord was leading her toward the next chapter in her life, which meant concluding her work with TobyMac so she could dedicate more of her focus to the music she performed with her husband.

The music duo has produced several songs tackling various themes relating to Christianity. In 2021 they released a song named “Armor,” which delves into the necessity of putting on the full armor of God in one’s personal walk with the Lord. According to Ready, there will be a “remix version” of “Armor” coming in the spring and a new Valentine’s Day single in February.

Ever since Ready became a professor at Liberty, she has been helping students develop their giftings by teaching courses on music, art, worship and culture (MUSC 200) and Christian entrepreneurship (MUSC 372). She also instructs students on songwriting and conducts private voice tutoring.

Ready explained how rewarding it is for her to watch her students grow and improve their musical gifts. She is thankful that the Lord has brought her to Liberty because it has enabled her to minister to the next generation of Christian musicians.

“I’m happy to pay it forward and to be a part of the next generation. … I love watching young people grow in their gifting,” Ready said.

One of the primary ways that Ready has been able to help students is through teaching them the lessons that she has learned from overcoming various obstacles from her performances in the music industry.

Ready believes that the only way to move past stage fright is to simply practice, train and above all, pray. Ready described how integral it is for students and aspiring worship leaders to remember to not “make an idol out of performing” but remember to “do it out of excellence unto the Lord.”

As for students who may feel completely worn down or unprepared to lead worship, Ready says that musicians must “set (their) heart and mind on the throne, where Jesus is ruling and reigning.” 

From performing nationally with the Fisk Jubilee Singers, to sharing the stage with TobyMac, to singing for various Passion Conferences, to actively producing music with her husband, Ready has transitioned from the role of being mentored to one who is now actively training the next generation of musicians for Christ. 

Davis is the feature editor for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on X

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