JJ Heller's musical career was birthed through the death of a dream to play college basketball. A disappointing basketball debut her freshman year of college led her to pick up a guitar during her sophomore year of school. That same year, JJ met her future husband, David Heller, shortly thereafter the couple began playing her songs in the San Francisco Bay Area. "I grew up loving creative writing. Once I learned to play the guitar, song writing came with it," said JJ, who has been a full-time singer/songwriter since the spring of 2003. Six years and three full-length records later, JJ s acoustic-folk sound and heartfelt lyrics have netted the Nashville-based artist a loyal following. "I feel called to be honest about what s going on in my life -- to talk and sing about the struggles that I face so that my listeners realize that they are not alone," explains JJ. "For some reason, Christians (including myself) sometimes think, if I m following the Lord and doing the best I can, that life will be easy, and it s not. That s where grace comes in, and that s where we grow." Music and grace aren t the only things growing in the Heller household these days. This December (2009) their little girl, Lucy Love, turns one year old. JJ says the themes of hope and redemption showcased on their new album, Painted Red, largely draw from the life experience leading up to Lucy's birth. "We have the choice to live in fear, or to live in the hope that God is in every moment with us," JJ says. "That s one of the ma0jor themes of this season in my life." It's a theme reflected in her song Your Hands: "When my world is shaking, heaven stands. When my heart is breaking, I never leave your hands."