By Sarah Atkinson
After listening to the music on Aaron Edson”s debut CD, it may be hard to believe he was once legally deaf.
The 24-year-old former BYU student”s album “Wondering” is a collection of songs inspired by the struggles and blessings of someone growing up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Show Him,” the first single from the album, is based on President Gordon B. Hinckley”s “6 B”s” address to the youth on Nov. 11, 2000.
“I thought putting the ”6 B”s” to music was going to be really cheesy, but it turned out working if I flipped around a couple of words,” Edson said.
He used the music of what he called “a horribly written love song” which he had composed when he was 14 years old.
Edson released the inspirational pop ballad for free on the Internet last year because he didn”t want to make money off President Hinckley”s words.
Gloria Linerud, a seminary teacher from Spokane, Washington, downloaded the song and played it for her students every morning for 87 days in a row.
“The song”s message was what I really wanted to drive home to my students,” she said.
The song has been the most downloaded song since November on LDSmusician.com.
Edson followed up that success by completing his album with a remastered version of “Show Him” as a bonus track.
But there was a time in his childhood when there was no music in Edson”s life.
Fluid building up behind his eardrums eventually solidified, completely cutting off his hearing when he was about three years old. Edson said he somehow adjusted and learned to read lips.
A random screening in kindergarten revealed the problem and a quick procedure corrected it. Edson”s mother, Toni Edson, said at first everything was too loud for him.
The new world of sounds had a profound impact on Edson and fueled his interest in exploring sound and music.
At 17, Edson was the youngest music director of Vocal Point, an a cappella group at BYU.
He was recruited to play football, but got involved in the a cappella scene instead, creating another group called 6 Trac.
After serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ to Venezuela, he moved to California to pursue a career in music.
Using some of the talents perfected as a member of Vocal Point, Edson recorded the song “Gotta Believe,” without using any instruments. Even the sounds of guitar and percussion were performed vocally.
“It was fun to layer all those sounds together to get that authentic Hip-Hop/R&B sound using nothing but my mouth,” he said.
Edson wants his songs to be an alternative to what is on the radio, but not the same as most contemporary LDS music.
“I”m a pop artist. I”m also a Mormon artist,” he said.
Edson said “Wondering” wasn”t written for any specific audience, but that the title track is about something he thinks everyone experiences.
“I think a lot of times we screw up because we”re missing something. We get discouraged, and only when we get discouraged are we likely to sin,” he said.
He also understands why young people may not be interested in listening to Christian music.
“Pop songs are often more listenable because they are written about who we are, what we do, and what we think about, instead of who we should be, what we should do, and what we should think about.”
Despite the differences between the two genres, Edson said some of his songs sound much like what is on the radio.
“I can honestly tell you that these songs are exactly who I am, what I do, and what I think about.”
“Wondering” is available in LDS bookstores in California and will be in Utah this week.