Local artist's tribute to dad hits the charts

   New artist and songwriter Amanda Fessant recently shared with Power Source Magazine the inspiration behind her recent debut single "He Loved Me When." "I wrote this song for my dad, Dale Pate, as a gift and tribute to him for all he has seen me through. I have always been a daddy's girl but there were times he had to use tough love to steer me the right way and times his love was so tender that I saw my Heavenly Father in his eyes. It was hard to believe he could love me as much as he did, but he did," explained Amanda. Amanda's father was a strong force in the family, taking care and providing for them while her mother, Marion Pate, was very ill. Marion was in and out of the hospital much of Amanda's childhood, and her father was always right beside Marion taking care of her and the kids. "I went through a huge depression during my teen years. I remember my father coming up to my room, scooping me up, and carrying me to his lounge chair. Then, he simply just rocked me like a baby, told me how much I meant to him, and how much he loved me. I just lay in his arms and cried. I will never forget that. It meant so much to me, because at the moment, I was trying to be so grown up and just being his baby was exactly what I needed," Amanda said. Amanda's father always showed her his love and support. When she needed funds for her music ministry, he even sold his bass boat for a CD project, because he believed in her. When Amanda was in her teens, she came home to find her father very sick. "He was pounding on the counter in pain. I will never forger that night. We rushed him to the hospital to find he had had a massive heart attack. Waiting to see if he was going to make if was terrifying. My father was my rock. I was daddy's little girl. I prayed so hard and was blessed by God to keep him." A few years later her father had to undergo quadruple bypass surgery. The surgery was his only hope of living through the year and he only had a 25 percent chance of surviving the surgery. Amanda got on her knees praying for a way to tell her father how much he meant to her. "He had done so much for me through the years. I was like so many other kids. I made mistakes, but I loved my dad even if I didn't show it. I knew I had to do something that would be special between the two of us. So, I put pen to paper and wrote the song 'He Loved Me When.' The greatest gift he ever gave me was teaching me the love of Jesus and taking me to church." While Fessant is new to Christian Country, she is not new to the Christian music industry. She started her music career in 1994 with the release of "A Baby's Cry" to Contemporary Christian radio. She sang in that genre for many years. However, being raised on Country and Southern Gospel, as well as watching her father sing in a Gospel group all her life eventually pulled her back to her roots. "I remember the day I decided I wanted to return to Country music. I called my dad and when he answered the phone I simply said, 'The prodigal has returned, so where's my robe and ring? I'm singing country again!' He cheered and said 'Finally!' I'm excited about the future and I'm thankful for both my earthly father and great Heavenly Father, and for all He has blessed me with." I am so proud of my dad and proud to be his daughter. He says he isn't perfect but who is? Everyone makes mistakes, but he taught me it is what you do once you take the hand of Christ and are willing to change and love is what really matters." "My dad love and stood by those he loved. All loving dads should be held up and praised." Fessant Explained. "To both my Dads here and above, Happy Father's Day!"

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