Henderson, Tennessee — (Oct. 30, 2023) — “God can truly give you the desires of your heart, and you don’t have to sell your soul.” Country singer, songwriter Janelle Arthur shared pearls of wisdom during her visit to Freed-Hardeman University’s campus where she introduced herself to the student body during chapel, held a songwriting clinic with music majors, spoke to students in the Draughon Recital Hall on the topic of “Maintaining Christian Values in the Entertainment Industry” and gave an evening performance in Old Main.
“You’ll never regret sticking to your guns,” Arthur said. “You will feel the pressures of the world in the music industry, but do not compromise. Instead, find your people and know what God wants you to do.”
FHU junior Kiana Mitchell, a music and public relations major, was inspired by Arthur’s insights. Mitchell played her one of her original songs, “You’ll Never Love Me Like He Loves Me,” during a one-on-one session with music majors. “I think one of the most important takeaways I have from talking to Janelle is to gather a team of people with different strengths.” Mitchell wants to become a songwriter and was one of the opening performers during Arthur’s evening concert. Additional opening performers were Judd Bowers, Cherie Black, Adam Harris and Alan Kinningham.
Arthur, who began her career portraying a young Dolly Parton at Dollywood theme park when she was 8-years-old, attributes her success to three things – “I’m close to my mother and her wise counsel, I’m not bothered by peer pressure and I learn from other people’s mistakes,” she said. Her love of performing and songwriting was nurtured during her time performing around Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, eventually landing on American Idol where she made it to the top five. Music remains her first love, but she’s also venturing into acting, appearing in films “Runnin’ From My Roots” and the soon to be released “Five Date Rule.”
FHU Music Program Coordinator Dr. Alan Kinningham worked behind the scenes to organize the event for students. “It was important to inspire the students by giving them faith-driven role models,” he said. “They will be faced with decisions, and success can be achieved without giving up Christian beliefs.”
Arthur’s musical set included a performance of “9 to 5,” “Runnin’ From My Roots” and “Hand Me Downs,” a song Dolly Parton sang with her in 2021.
“I’ve had a great day with the students and I hope to come back sometime. It’s been so much fun,” Arthur said at the end of her performance.
The free concert was sponsored by Chris and Holly Hallmark. Any proceeds received from donations following the live event will support the FHU Music Concert Series.
The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.