Blake Walker knows dreams can come true — especially when you follow the advice of your college mentor.
“Dr. Roger Breland used to tell us that, ‘God didn’t call us to be famous, He called us to be faithful,’” Walker recalled. “Dr. Breland said, ‘If you remain faithful in the small, God will be faithful in the large.’”
The University of Mobile 2015 alumnus points to that advice — and his experience as a student in the Alabama School of the Arts at the University of Mobile — as a factor in his latest success.
Walker co-wrote a southern gospel song that is being considered for nomination as the Inspirational Song of the Year in the 54th Annual GMA Dove Awards.
Dove Award consideration
“What the Soldiers Didn’t See,” recorded by The Kramers, reached No. 2 on the Restoration Gospel Radio chart and made the Singing News Top 20 and Power 50 charts in recent weeks. The GMA Dove Award ceremony honoring outstanding achievements and excellence in Christian and Gospel Music will be held Oct. 17.
“I remember turning on the radio in my truck one day and hearing it on the radio and thinking to myself, ‘Wow, I can’t believe it!’ Whether it makes the full nomination or even wins, I know in my heart that it’s a win because God is using it to encourage people and draw people closer to Him,” Walker said.
A songwriter’s journey
As a student at the University of Mobile, Walker traveled and performed with the elite ensemble Voices of Mobile.
Among his mentors was Breland, executive director of the university’s Roger Breland Center for Performing Arts and founder of TRUTH, one of the first contemporary Christian recording groups.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in worship leadership with an emphasis in church ministries, Walker served two years as worship leader for a Southern Baptist church in Houston, Texas.
In 2018, he moved to Washington, D.C., to sing in a group that performed at the Museum of the Bible, while also helping with a church plant.
After his contract with the museum ended, Walker returned to Mobile and recorded a worship choir-driven EP called “Generation to Generation.” A month after its release, he signed a publishing and songwriting deal with Lifeway Worship. Then Walker was invited to a writing retreat.
“I went not knowing any of the writers, except knowing their names and songs. All of the writers are drawn at random, and they picked me, Belinda Smith and Tim Lovelace. We sat down, and Tim had this idea that we talked through and prayed through, and we just watched God orchestrate this beautiful song,” Walker said.
Now Walker writes for Sunset Gallery Music. He said being on the ballot for consideration for a Dove Award “is something I never thought would happen in my lifetime — just something that people like me dream about. It’s been a crazy journey watching this song go from the first time we ever sang it to hearing the Kramers record it and sing it all over the country.”
As for the future, Walker is working with a variety of songwriters, many of whom already have Dove Awards to their credit.
“I’m super excited to see more of my songs get out there,” he said.
“I have two songs coming out on The Erwins’ new record after Christmas, one of which I released as a single last year called ‘None But Jesus.’”
Walker said he hopes his story will be an encouragement to University of Mobile students — both current and future.
“I wouldn’t be the singer, writer or the person I am today if it weren’t for my time at UM. I hope my story can be an encouragement to students there today — you can achieve your dreams.”
In a blog published on the university’s website in 2020, Walker reflected on the role the University of Mobile played in preparing him to follow God’s calling for his life.
“I can’t say enough how thankful I am for UM,” he wrote. “My UM experience was vital to my spiritual and personal growth. I was challenged, encouraged and loved.”