April 4, 2023 : By Jacob Couch - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
From beginning her music career as a backup singer with Liberty University alumnus Toby McKeehan (’88) — better known as TobyMac — to her current role as assistant professor of commercial vocal studies at Liberty’s School of Music, Nirva Ready is grateful for the integral role that Liberty has played in her life.
“This place is just a blessing,” she said. “It’s quite beautiful, and I’ve fallen in love with the students. These students blow my mind. God has gifted them, and they are talented and so eager to learn. It’s such an honor to look at them and remember where I was when I was their age and to be able to pour into them and tell them what they will need when they go out into the industry.”
Ready teaches voice, songwriting, artist development and art, and a music worship culture course.
While she said she has been impressed by the talent she sees at Liberty, she is equally impressed by the facilities.
“This place is truly equipped to help the students grow in their craft,” Ready said. “We have an amazing team of professors who are so gifted and so humble and so willing to help. The School of Music is a special place.”
In 2021, Ready and her husband, Seth, moved to Lynchburg after years of discipling young adults at churches in Tampa and San Francisco while releasing music under their duo’s name, “Seth & Nirva.” They have also enjoyed sharing biblical truth relating to culturally relevant topics on their podcast “Freemind,” which they started in 2019 as a way to help believers run the race well as they seek to take on the mind of Christ.
Ready is upfront about two of her biggest passions she uses to glorify God: music and ministering to young adults, which she said she can live out daily on the job at Liberty.
“I love it. I skip into work every day,” she said, smiling.
After speaking with School of Music Dean Dr. Stephen Müller years ago and hearing his heart for the students, Ready was sold on the prospect of moving across the country to take a position at a university that is driven by faith.
“Liberty is a Christian university, so you are not only getting education, but you’re also being spiritually formed, and I think that’s everything,” she said. “Our faith informs me to do what I do.”
Ready grew up in Chicago and, following high school, moved to Nashville where she attended Fisk University and received a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance while being a member of the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers. It was during this season of her life that she accepted Christ.
“God began to open doors for me in Music City,” she said. “I didn’t anticipate that, and He has blessed me with incredible opportunities.”
Those opportunities have included recording in studio and touring with artists such as Faith Hill, Charlie Daniels, Ziggy Marley, Lyle Lovett, Richard Marx, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Natalie Grant, Matt Maher, Mandisa, and Brandon Heath. The majority of her touring career was spent touring with TobyMac.
“I traveled with him and his band for 17 years, and we traveled the world and went to all 50 states,” she said. “I could not have prayed for that kind of an opportunity. God has just been good.”
It was while singing background for TobyMac during a 2003 Billy Graham crusade in San Diego that she met Seth, who was singing background at the time for Gospel music icon Kirk Franklin. After getting to know one another better when crossing paths on tours, the couple married and eventually stepped away from the touring life.
In 2013, they began to release their own music as Seth & Nirva. Their first EP, “I Need You,” was independently released in December that year, and they released their debut full-length album, “Never Alone,” with Integrity Music in May of 2016. Their first single, “Brother,” was placed in regular rotation at 40 Christian radio stations across the country. As a duo, they have appeared on TBN UK, CBN Canada, and Fox News, and they recently released a music video filmed on Liberty’s campus for their new song, “Armor.”
This summer, they will release their new EP, “On Earth.”
But while music remains a priority for the gifted couple, so does their ministry to young people. During their years spent in Florida, Seth served Southeastern University as their minister of music before they took a joint position together at the Crossings Church, where they led the congregation’s young adults ministry. They then moved to the West Coast after accepting staff positions at New Life Church in the San Francisco Bay area.
“We’ve always had young adults in our lives, and we love young adults,” Ready said. “Being here at Liberty is just combining the two loves (music and young adults). We’ve always had our hand in young adult ministry and that is one of our many passions.”
After a life of travel around the world, Ready is thankful to the Lord for bringing her and Seth to a university that they love and a place where they can invest in the lives of students.