Updated: Jun 11
Sheila Walsh (born July 5, 1956) is a Scottish-born American contemporary Christian vocalist, songwriter, evangelist, author, inspirational speaker, and talk-show host.
Walsh became one of the biggest stars in the 1980s contemporary Christian music scene when she broke through to American audiences. She was regarded as being at the forefront of the punk and new wave movements. Walsh did not perform either style in authenticity, but was able to infuse the forms with enough pop sensibilities to transcend their inherent limitations and make them accessible to a much broader audience.
Born in Ayr, Scotland, Walsh began her career as a contemporary Christian singer after finishing college with studies in theology from London Bible College (now London School of Theology) in 1979 and music from the London Academy of Operatic Arts. Walsh worked as an evangelist with the British chapter of Youth for Christ and sang with a group known as The Oasis until going solo in 1981. She also worked closely at this time with keyboard player Chris Rolinson, who contributed extensively to the unique sound on her first "new wave" style album, Future Eyes.
He also toured with her on her first United States tour in 1983, where she opened for Christian recording artist and guitar player Phil Keaggy.
As Walsh enjoyed some success both in the United Kingdom and America as a CCM musician, she was asked by minister Pat Robertson to serve as a co-host of his television talk-show, The 700 Club in 1987. Walsh served in this capacity into 1992 and also hosted her own talk-show, Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh. Ideological differences with Pat Robertson and general feelings of depression brought Walsh to re-examine her life's direction. After leaving Pat Robertson's enterprises in 1992 she sought therapy for her depression, eventually returning to college at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California to take on doctoral studies in theology.
Pat Robertson explained her departure from CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) as the result of a "nervous breakdown" brought on by the tremendous demands of her work with CBN. He asked his viewers to keep her in their prayers and ask God to give her the strength to continue doing His work. She went on to write a book exploring her struggle with depression and her experiences with her faith as a Christian, entitled Honestly. While Walsh had written several books on theology before, this autobiography would become the wellspring of her later work on personal aspects of faith and would set the tone for her introspective, personal, but evangelical approach to affairs of modern theology.
Over the course of the latter 1990s, Walsh's work has concerned women's issues within the church and the unique relationship of the contemporary woman with God. She has written over seventeen books including Honestly, Living Fearlessly, and Life is Tough, but God is Faithful. She has also written several books for children recently. She also has continued her musical career as a songwriter and singer and has recorded several albums of new Christian music and traditional hymns arranged to a Celtic sound.
More information on Sheila Walsh at Wikipedia:
Hymns and Voices (1990) (reissued in 2002 as The Hymns Collection)
Blue Waters (2000)
Peace: A Celtic Christmas (2000)
Love Falls Down (Songs of Worship) (2001)
All That Really Matters (2003)
Celtic Lullabies and Peaceful Worship (2003)
The Best of Sheila Walsh (2004) (compilation album)
You Raise Me Up (Songs Of Worship And Faith) (2005)
Celtic Worship (2006)
Find Your Wings (2007)
Heart Wide Open (2008)
Let Go (2009)
I Hear Angels (2010)
Beauty From Ashes (2012)
Braveheart Worship (2020)
NOTE: I'll be focusing more on Sheila Walsh's early albums from 1981 to 1991 as most of Walsh's early albums are either out-of-print or not available on CD or digitally. I'll be posting links to those albums by way of YouTube. I believe Walsh herself has renounced those albums as she has embraced her current and most recent releases that are more ballad heavy with a Celtic sound, especially in the modern worship vein.