17 December 2017

Introducing Scott from The Velvet Melodies


When I was growing up, the one chore my mum insisted I do was wash the dishes. During this painfully boring task, to pass the time, i used to sing melodies i’d just pluck from the air and then marry them with words. So began my quest into a new world, a voyage upon the seas of creativity.


I formed a boyband in 93’ and we went on to carve out a bit of a name for ourselves. We shared the stage with bands like Westlife and the Backstreet boys, amongst others, and we belonged to the same management company as Ant & Dec. We also made several appearances in a nationwide teenage magazine. I guess the pinnacle of it all was when Simon Cowell heard our demo, in particular, a song my best mate Paul and I had written called, “Please Come Home”. On the strength of that song, Simon invited us to showcase for him at London’s famous Nomis studios. After the gig Simon told us he was going to “make us into superstars”!

We travelled back to Liverpool on the train feeling this was it, life would surely change now, hope was in sight. However, within a week, we were told that our manager had fallen out with Simon over the details of it all and we’d lost the deal. My world fell apart! I’d spent so long begging, stealing and borrowing, believing something like this was going to come my way, and now it slipped through my fingers. About the same time my first long-term girlfriend had dumped me and my mother had made the difficult decision to answer God’s call to go and work in the orphanages of China.


My best friend from school was a drug dealer and one day, sitting in a high rise flat as he mixed up his cocaine to sell, I convinced him to let me try some. That began my destructive affair with the ‘devils dandruff’ (Liverpool slang term for it). Coupled with my drinking habit which had already started to spiral out of control, led me to a point where even my band mates, who had no knowledge or interest in God turned to my local church and told them to help me or I’d soon be dead!


As I sat on the steps, at the back of a school hall in Liverpool where the New Years Conference I had been encouraged to go to was being held, in a broken and lost state, I felt Jesus beckoning me to Him. After a few minutes of feeling like my soul was in a spiritual tug of war, I surrendered and told God whatever I had left it was His. As I began to weep tears of joy and emancipation, right there on those steps, I was filled with the Holy Spirit. When some people in the meeting heard my cries, they came to see what was happening. As I looked at them approaching me I could see what appeared to be beams of light protruding from their eyes. For the next 5 years I served God whole-heartedly and He continued to lavish upon me His grace, love and mercy. I had found my treasure, or should I say, He had found me!


A couple of weeks after I got saved I heard the voice of God for the very first time. Sitting in work I heard the words, “take Bibles to China”. It was an audible voice to me but when I turned around to see who was speaking, there was no-one there. So I prayed, “God if this is you, bring a man to me to tell me to take Bibles to China. Amen.” A week or so later I found myself at a ‘sisters of mercy’ retreat with nuns everywhere, and could not help thinking to myself, what am I doing here? Then a man approached me, came and sat next to me and introduced himself. He said, “I’m John. I’ve been delivering bibles in China for the past year.” He put me in touch with CCSM and before long I was in China smuggling Bibles through the Chinese border to my brothers and sisters there.


When the Lord told me to go to London Bible College I was a little surprised as I had left school with only 2C’s in GCSE English. I knew it was God though, so I applied. When I received a letter denying me a place I felt challenged to put my faith into action, so I got the train from Liverpool to London and proceeded to knock on their door asking to speak to someone. I then relayed how God had told me I was to come to the college, even though they had told me I couldn’t and relied on Jesus to do the rest. And he did. They told me if I completed a distance learning course they would review my application. So that’s what I did, and was then offered a place. The whole experience was very surreal being surrounded by some of the best Bible scholars in the world, in what is probably the most prestigious Bible college in Europe. On my first day there, as I walked through the doors a very attractive girl from Northern Ireland handed me my ‘welcome pack’ and the Lord spoke to me telling me, that she was to be my wife. Within 3 weeks we were going out and within 2 years we were married.


I started experiencing severe post traumatic stress, due to a near death experience I’d had prior to my conversion. This manifested itself in severe anxiety attacks. I took my eyes off Jesus temporarily and turned to alcohol as ‘a crutch’ and started falling back into the lifestyle I’d been rescued from. Before long I ended up estranged from my wife and my then, one year old daughter, and found myself homeless, living on people’s sofas and bedroom floors.


I went to stay with my mum and sent e-mails to old friends in Liverpool looking for a place to stay. An old church friend offered me a room for a week. The night before I made my coach journey from Bournemouth to Liverpool I wept before the Lord asking Him to show me He still loved me. Next day as I went to pay my fare to the coach driver, he told me to come back tomorrow as it was necessary to pre-book online. Then I heard a voice and a girl in the queue handed me a ticket. It went all the way to Liverpool!

I was picked up by an old Christian friend who noticed I had no shoes and he gave me brand new designer shoes and Laura Ashley bed linen! That night, as I sat on my bed, I realised exactly what had happened. Like the prodigal son I had returned home to my Father and He was now again lavishing His love upon me. Within 3 weeks I had a place to live, a job and was able to visit my wife and daughter. My wife, Jaye, said she took one look at me and saw that the light had returned to my eyes replacing the darkness that was reflecting the state of my heart. She knew I had really come home! For the next 8 months I worked as many hours as I could, to enable me as much time off as possible, and I would fly over to Northern Ireland, at least every other weekend, to stay with my precious family.


Shortly after I got saved, God told me to leave the band I was in and I knew this meant giving up my dreams, which was the hardest thing for me to do. I wrestled with it for five days, often broken and weeping at the thought of being asked to give up what I really loved. Then during a time of prayer I saw a vision. There were two pictures, one of champagne bottles being opened amidst the hustle and bustle of a party celebration, contrasted by another picture, which was simply of the back of a man (Jesus). I immediately made my decision and knew I wanted Jesus even more than my dreams, even though I couldn’t see where following Him would lead me.


Since coming back to my Father I have heard Him say, ‘Make music for My people’. And that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been both privileged and blessed to have met Mark Riley, who moved from Manchester last year to head up a youth ministry called Pais, and Phil Drummond, who moved from Scotland to intern at our home church, Vineyard. The three of us, along with my wife Jaye, have a passion to make music that blesses the church, whilst also fulfilling our greatest passion which is, to see people come to know Jesus. We intend to use music as a vehicle to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people who may have a different idea of what being a Christian is.


We are due to release an EP on May 4th. We’ve been recording it in Upstream Studios with producer and engineer Mark Rainey and we are very excited about the sound we’ve come up with. Our vision is to take the Gospel to people using music as a vehicle. We see ourselves as a band that Christians can feel confident about inviting their non believing friends to see, knowing they will hear the Gospel whilst being entertained with chart quality music. We hope to embark on a mini UK tour later this year.

Written by Scott McNamara


Be sure not to miss future issues when we will be following up this testimony from different perspectives. We will hear from Scott’s mum and other family members about how they coped with Scott’s journey to faith and well as his mum’s amazing story of what happened when God called her to China.