Lari Basilio is a brilliant guitarist whose massive following includes over 170,000 Instagram followers and 100,000 YouTube subscribers. As we were preparing for our interview with Lari in our mainstream publication [GTR], we came across her instrumental versions of Bethel’s “Ever Be” and Hillsong’s “Grace by Grace”. While secular music is known for embracing many things, Jesus is typically not one of them, and being as forward as Lari is with her faith can come at a cost. As inspirational as her playing is, the way Lari talks about Jesus is even more so. So, it is with great pleasure the we get to include Lari in this issue of [WM].
[WM] You’re one of the few women who has made a name for herself in the male-dominated world of instrumental music. While it might have been more convenient for your career to keep your faith under the radar, you haven’t. Tell us about that.
[Lari Basilio] I actually love to show my faith. In fact, when you are able to understand the real purpose for living, you just feel this desire to tell people about this unique love that has changed the whole of human history. Jesus is part of my life in its totality, and He called me for something greater than my work, my dreams, or anything else. He called me to testify about the good news of God’s grace, and I try to apply this in everything in my life.
[WM] Although you now call Los Angeles your home, you grew up playing music at a church in your native Brazil. How did that experience shape you as a musician?
[Lari] I’ve played at church pretty much my whole life, and it was very essential to my musical growth in many different aspects. There was always someone to teach something new about music theory, but also, I’ve learned how a musician should serve the song.
[WM] Your brother is also a skilled guitar player. Was your whole family involved in making music at church?
[Lari] Yes, we always played at church together, which has always been fun. My dad has eight records out singing Christian songs he’s written. My brother and I had the pleasure of recording some guitars on his last two albums.
[WM] L.A. is a long way from Brazil. Although technology makes it easier to stay in touch, it is not the same thing as being surrounded by family. What are some of the specific Bible verses that have been speaking to you in this season?
[Lari] I’ve been meditating a lot about God’s love and the freedom that we find in Him. Galatians 5, verses 5 and 6 are some of the most powerful verses that have been speaking to me lately. I hope they touch you too somehow.
[WM] What are some of your favorite worship songs and artists?
[Lari] “Ever Be” by Bethel Music, “Grace to Grace” by Hillsong Worship, and “Peace Be Still” by The Belonging Co. featuring Lauren Daigle.
[WM] Speaking of “Ever Be”, I was thrilled to come across your instrumental version on YouTube. More impressive than the 120,000 views was your dedication, “This is not a promotional video. This is a devotional. Meu devocional, com erros e acertos. Obrigada Jesus!” What inspired you to cover this song?
[Lari] Thank you! This song has spoken to me very deeply and I just wanted to worship with it. I brought it to my world and I ‘sang’ it a little bit.
[WM] When we interviewed Kalley in the June issue of [WM] one of the things she talked about was finding time to stay in the Word. What advice do you have for fellow believers who want to have a mainstream music career, but not at the expense of their walk with Jesus?
[Lari] The most important thing is to never forget the call of God, wherever you are. When you understand that call, you will want Jesus to participate in everything in your life. Not only in a mainstream music career, but in any other one. Your life with Jesus must be everywhere, including your work.
[WM] How has your faith prepared you for the success you’re experiencing in your career?
[Lari] Success is a very relative thing (laughs), but I can tell you that I have always known that God has given me a gift. Everything comes from Him, and He has put this love for music and guitar in my heart with a purpose. My only desire is that He uses me to fulfill His purpose, and that people can be touched by His love and grace through my songs.
[WM] You’ve been blessed with talent, a family that loves the Lord, and a disarming demeanor, all of which makes for a great platform to share your faith. What are your thoughts on when, where, and how to share your faith in a way that people want to receive what is in your heart.
[Lari] Much more than talk, I want people to see that there’s something different in me. I want to show them Jesus through what I do. I want them to see God’s light in my life. I really believe that every little action in our daily lives is the real testimony. More than tell people about Jesus, I want to live Jesus. I want to do good, serve people, and let them see for themselves the real transformation that God is able to make. When you catch people’s attention with this, I believe it will be easier to talk about anything related to Jesus.
[WM] In your video for “Because He Lives”, I love the way you combine the melody and odd meters with the feel and sound of worship guitar. How did that one come together?
[Lari] Thank you! I picked this beautiful song to record on Easter. I came up with the intro while playing around with the song, and I felt like I needed to do something to fill in more of the spaces. That’s when I decided to add some delay on it, and I loved how it made the arrangement grow rhythmically.
[WM] Your acoustic guitar playing in “How Great Thou Art” is flawless! The time, feel, playing, dynamics, technique, and melodicism are inspiring, intimidating, and totally awesome! Was there a process for developing those elements to a point where they all came together, and if so, can you tell us about it?
[Lari] The process involves a lot of things, and lots of practice. But also, and maybe the most important thing, it involves the feel. It’s all about the feel and emotions. Playing the guitar is directly related to your state of mind. The hardest part is to transmit that to the instrument – you just gotta let it flow.
[WM] Lari, thanks again for joining us! Are there any last thoughts you’d like to share?
[Lari] Thank you for having me. It was such a pleasure to talk to you! To all the Christian musicians out there, keep spreading the gospel with your talents and your life. God bless you all!