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Tifah

These believers prefer to be judged by their music, not their faith.

After graduation, Al-Attas moved to Long Beach, California, where she enrolled in grad school and continued to write music. But she got distracted when the relationship with her then-boyfriend spiraled into her "first substantial total complete utter heartbreak," she says. Six months later she moved back to Colorado at the urging of her friend and manager, Jimmy Lakey. Shortly thereafter, Al-Attas put together a band and recorded Safe & Sound, slated for release this Saturday at the Marquis Theater. The album is immersed in beautiful, transcendent melody and weighted with Al-Attas's almost overbearingly melancholic voice. Nonetheless, her McLachlan-esque delivery points to a bright-blue sky behind grey-black clouds. Her songs are her life, reflective of her own struggles and personal demons.

"I know people who write music and never share it with anyone, and they're totally content with that," she offers. "But I just can't do that. I write a song and I look for someone to share it with right away. It's not because it's like, ŒLook how cool I am!' It's just that I feel the need to share this with you -- which might be inherently selfish, I'm not sure.

"I know that I'm not the best musician in the world," she continues. "I have been humbled time and time again, but I also know that I will always work really hard to become better than I am. I feel that I can be the best person I can be when I'm writing music or playing someone a song."

All you need is love: Reid Phillips (from left), Dann Stockton, Aubrea Alford and Tifah Al-Attas are four-fifths of Tifah.
All you need is love: Reid Phillips (from left), Dann Stockton, Aubrea Alford and Tifah Al-Attas are four-fifths of Tifah.

And despite the fact that Al-Attas and her bandmates choose to eschew overtly Christian imagery in their music, the humbled intent for many of the songs remains, well, pretty darn godly. Most outfits don't have a motto, but Tifah's members encourage everyone to consider theirs: Love Wins.

"It's a really compelling way to live your life," Al-Attas affirms, "because to be loving is just to be honest and to be encouraging and to also be able to have those hard conversations and everything else. Faith is definitely a part of that, in that I believe that God loves me and that God loves the people that he's made.

"For us, too, it's something that we can really hold on to that is accessible to people," she continues, "whether they identify with Christianity or they identify with whatever they want to live their life by."

And lest you think that trumpeting a holy message makes Al-Attas holier-than-thou:

"I am the first person to admit that I am selfish and that I have hurt people and I've been conceited and all these things that are really awful," she confesses. "I am by no means saying that I've got it down. I mess up a lot, and I write about that a lot in my music. I am definitely not the icon of rightfulness, by any means.

"It's really important for me to write things that are true," she concludes. "True to me, true about me, true about who I think God is. I never want to write a song just because the words sound good."

Amen, sister.

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