That winding path starts in Peoria, Murk's hometown, where she discovered her love of theater and performing on stage. It continues to Florida, where she moved with her mom after a death in her family left them feeling disillusioned and disappointed with God. It took her to a performing arts high school in Tampa, where she discovered street culture – the good and the bad – and where she fell in love with hip hop.It took her from one college major to the next, to a toxic group of friends, to a career she wasn’t sure she wanted.
“I got so burned out. I just got frustrated,” she remembers.“I remember this one day when I was crying in my car, and I was like 20 years old, and I was just saying, ‘I don’t know what to do God.’”
Tensions at home had reached a breaking point, too. In the quiet after the storm, Murk’s mom turned to prayerand laid down one simple rule: if you want to live in this house, you must go to church.Murk agreed, though at first that Sunday morning routine didn’t do much to change her Saturday nights. She remembers the day when her direction really changed.
"I just knew I wasn’t happy,” she says. “I came home from church one day and I was just crying in my room, I was talking to God, ‘I just really want a relationship with you, to know you better, to change my life and start over. I just started confessing these things out loud, like ‘I am bold’ and ‘I am courageous’ and I remember this feeling came over me. It was a feeling of release of so much pain, and so much worry, and so much stress."
After that day, a switch was flipped. Murk felt like that winding path was finally headed in the right direction – but God was just getting started.
Murk’s love of hip hop had never faded. When her mom tried to get her to listen to a Christian rapper she’d found online, Murk was skeptical. But the rapper was Lecrae and the mixtape was Church Clothes. “I was like, this is Don Cannon – this isn’t Christian music!” she laughs. “But then I started listening to his lyrics and I realized that it was, and it was really good.”
This wasn't corny or cheesy – it was as good as anything else Murk had listened to, and she didn’t stop listening to it for weeks.It wasn't long before she inspired to start writing some verses again. Murk called her cousin, who was still making beats, and they worked on a track. When he posted a video of her rapping on YouTube, the reaction was instant.
“People were writing on my Facebook page, saying, “Oh my gosh, girl! You can rap! You’re so good!’” she says.“And I was like, ‘I am?’ And after that the music started growing. I was writing songs all the time.”
Everything after that happened so fast that it should be a blur, but Murk remembers every detail. She wrote, constantly. She was inspired, constantly. In a matter of months she had dozens of songs, a few performances under her belt and an opportunity to compete for $5,000 and a record contract in Miami.
"At the time I had only been rapping for like five months," she says. But it didn't matter – the path was winding again and Murk wasn't the one charting the course. She went on through round after round of competition and ended up taking the trophy – and meeting one of the judges on the final panel, Universal/Dedicated Music Group recording artist Mr. Del.
"Once I got through that first round of the competition it dawned on me that this could be it, this could be the moment and I needed to take it seriously and start confessing it,” Murk says. “I had been speaking this stuff and I believed it. Where everyone else was just like, ‘Well, maybe I’ll win, we’ll see what happens’ – I had been talking to God and telling God I was going to win. I knew that faith was what was going to make it happen."
It wasn’t long before the high of winning the contest was shattered as the promises started to unravel. Things didn't turn out the way she'd hoped and she was left without a recording contract.
"I felt like, ‘Hey God, this whole time I’ve changed my life for you, this wasn’t even necessarily my dream. It was a calling. And then for this to happen?’” she says.“It was like everything that could go wrong, did. I was so frustrated, but there was something in me that was like, ‘Just trust God.’ If he wants this to happen then it is His responsibility.”
A few months later, Murk got a call from Mr. Del. She’ll never forget that day, because until the phone rang it was one of those days when every domino seemed to be falling on her, all in a row. Her car had broken down. Her bank account was in the red. She was no closer to that right path, she thought, than she had been before the contest.
“When Mr. Del called he said he just wanted to check in on me and see how things were going after the competition,” she remembers. “I told him what happened and he said he was glad that God put me on his heart and glad that he called me.”
The winding path had finally led Murk to Mr. Del and a deal with his label, Dedicated Music Group. In 2013, Murk and her mom gave away everything they owned and packed up – nothing but their clothes – into one car and moved to Memphis. Since then, they’ve watched as God has provided for their journey every step of the way.
“Murk does mean to kill,” she admits. “But God showed me that you have to kill your flesh daily in order to walk and be with Christ. I had to kill the old person that I was in order to be this new person.”
In the summer of 2014 Murk released her album Murk In Season (featuring the smash hit “P31”). After the viral success of her music video for “P31” it became clear that the Proverbs 31 woman was more than just an idea or a single song – it was a movement. She’ll continue that movement with her forthcoming EP, P31, out this spring on Universal/DMG.