Orlean Beeson School of Education was honored to host acclaimed songwriter and Communication and Media Alumnus, Bradley Collins ’01 and his girlfriend, Emmy and two-time Golden Globe nominee, Chrissy Metz for a master class and special presentation of their new book, When I Talk to God, I Talk about You on Friday, March 24 in Brock Recital Hall.
The couple co-authored this children’s book, illustrated by Lisa Fields. Their work was inspired by the love and faith shared by Metz’s late grandmother and her experiences as a preschool teacher, to create a meaningful opportunity for young readers to learn how to have a conscious connection with God.
“My grandmother instilled my conscious contact with God,” said Metz. “She really bolstered my self-confidence and was always so encouraging and loving. When I Talk to God, I Talk about You is about this journey of raising a child and watching them grow right before your eyes, all while supporting their unique path with love and guidance through a tender introduction to prayer.”
Metz continued, “I taught preschool and have nine nieces and nephews. I have always understood the value of being heard and loved. That starts early with fostering confidence and self-love. It creates the foundation in which children walk through this world. My partner, Bradley, and I wanted to connect the dots in our book between the foundation of self and a relationship with a higher power. And what Lisa Fields captured in the eyes of these beautiful woodland creatures – it’s so sweet and so tender.”
Collins and Metz unique backgrounds in several different industries prepared them to address students from across campus. Students in Communication and Media and English majors from Howard College of Arts and Sciences, students in Theatre and Music from School of the Arts and students in Human Development and Family Science and Teacher Education were all invited to join this rare opportunity to hear from Collins and Metz.
Collins is a songwriter and creative community advocate from Nashville, Tennessee. He has protected and expanded creators’ rights through a decades-long career spanning artist and songwriter development. He uses the one-liners and stories that songwriters have loved and trusted to write country songs and now big-hearted children’s books with his partner, Chrissy Metz.
Metz found critical acclaim portraying the heart-centered Kate Pearson in NBC's award-winning series This Is Us. Metz is the New York Times bestselling author of her memoir, This Is Me: Learning to Love Yourself for Who You Are Today. Chrissy starred in the hit 20th Century Fox faith-based film, Breakthrough. She also performs “I’m Standing with You” on the Breakthrough soundtrack, written by 10-time Academy Award nominee Diane Warren. Chrissy’s other credits include Superstore, The Last OG, American Horror Story: Freak Show, My Name Is Earl, Entourage and Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, to name a few.
Anna McEwan, dean of Orlean Beeson School of Education, introduced the couple who shared a presentation on the book and participated in a Q&A session afterward.
“Chrissy and Bradley have partnered to deliver a gorgeous, heart-warming, debut picture book, it is about faith, prayer, and the loving bond between parent and child,” said McEwan.
When asked what one of Collins’ favorite memories from his time at Samford was, he replied, “I directed two Step Sing shows, one I was really proud of and one I learned a lot from. The Samford experience to me is like a lifetime experience, it is not four years of college, the lessons you learn now will carry you the rest of your life.”
Collins continued, “The biggest lesson I learned at Samford was to look outside of what I think is fun and cool and instead to think about what good I can put out into the world.”
Collins and Metz signed books and bookmarks following the presentation and were then treated to a tour of Samford’s campus that has changed since Collins graduated in 2001.
“The planetarium was just being built when I left, so we are seeing all these awesome new things and, how Samford has invested in its students. It’s just awesome to see how much the school has grown,” said Collins.