She has penned songs for Grammy Award winners and is one of the most sought-after writers in her industry – but Mia Fieldes’ journey did not always point to such success.
The songwriter explains that when she started writing songs as a child, she knew she wasn't the best singer or musician.
"I only played the euphonium, which is like a tuba and not at all helpful in writing songs," she writes on her website.
"Plus I was the very overweight, un-liked kid with bad acne – there was nothing about me that made me popular," she adds in an interview with Warcry.
Yet she never doubted her destiny as a songwriter, because she felt a call on her heart to write special kinds of songs.
"I would write these letters to God when I was 13 or 14 saying, 'One day I'm going to write songs about you that go all over the world'," she tells Warcry. "I was just convinced that God was going to use me.
"I had this deep revelation that despite being an identical triplet, God was going to use me for something unique and special."
The youngest of triplets born to a single 22-year-old mum, Mia's family lived out of a car before they stayed at a women's refuge and later in government housing.
Mia's first experience of the church – and Jesus' love – was through the Salvation Army.
"Some of the [Salvation Army] officers got to know us and picked us up on a Sunday morning to take us to Sunday school. We were only four or five," she says.
"We used to sing all these songs about Jesus and who He was. One day they said, 'He can live in your heart and be your best friend,' and I remember thinking, 'I want Jesus in my heart'. It was so real for me – the songs, the stories, everything."
Eventually her whole family would become Christians, and not only did Mia gain a faith in God through her experience, she also gained a father.
"My dad actually taught us at Sunday school when my mum first found Jesus," she laughs. "They got married when I was nine."
Looking back, it is clear God's love anchored Mia's family through the hard times.
"I think the biggest thing for everyone in our family is that we've learned to make God the first place we go to no matter what we are walking through," she says.
"He has every answer, every miracle, every breakthrough we could ever ask for. Relying on Him is how we have gotten to know what He is like. Every family has its own stuff, but I love that mine knows how to live gratefully."
I don’t want to complicate it”At 17 Mia moved to Sydney where she spent the next 10 years at Hillsong Church. She began singing and writing songs that would go on to be recorded by Hillsong United and Hillsong Live.
She has collaborated with top Christian artists Michael W. Smith, Meredith Andrews, Matt Maher, and Kari Jobe, to name a few.
In 2013, Mia won ASCAP and BMI awards for the hit collaboration "Proof Of Your Love", recorded by; For King & Country. Her recent song with Francesca Battistelli, "He Knows My Name", has seen consecutive weeks as a #1 on radio.
"For a long time I didn't think I could sing," she says. "I know that's silly – but it's funny how we let ourselves believe that we aren't good enough, and I definitely did that for a long time.
"It's actually been a great journey where God put strategic people in my life along the way who really encouraged me in the things I thought I couldn't do."
Mia only began songwriting full-time a year before she moved to her current hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Having lived in Nashville for six years, she has found that her love of God has acquired her a new family – a church community called The Belonging Co. where she leads worship.
She explains what worship means to her: "Worship is a response. I don't want to complicate it. One of my biggest joys is giving people songs they can respond with in their own way. Songs where they go, 'That's something I've always wanted to say but maybe didn't know how'. When I can give people some sort of framework for their own unspoken prayers, or faith for the season they are walking through, there's nothing better than that."
Mia seeks to encourage others as she sets the stage for encountering Jesus.
"To that end, Mia seeks to encourage others as she sets the stage for encountering Jesus. "I'm not thinking 'How can I impress people with clever lyrics or intricate melodies'. I'm thinking of the contractor who's had a hard week at work, or the mom who's just found out her kid has ADHD, or the 12-year-old girl who's really lonely at school. How can I make it easier for them to see God and give them something that's going to help them lean into Him and what He's saying?
"Lifting your eyes is always harder when you're going through something difficult. But if you give people songs where they can lay their cares in the hands of God, look to His kindness and remember that He is with them, that's a wonderful thing."
Mia has certainly come a long way since her days writing letters to God. Yet one thing remains the same: her love for God, and her love for family.
"God never stops reaching out for us," she says. "He is hope itself – it's impossible to be in His presence and not see things change."•