Artist bio

I'm Karlos Smith, a former community theatre performer. I grew up in church culture and am just now coming into a real relationship with Jesus. God has blessed with multiple performing arts talents (singing, acting, oration, etc.), but this is the first time I'm stepping out with those talents to glorify Him. I pray He is honored and that someone will get to know Him through this work.




Spoken Word

Artist Statement

This piece was written many years ago in a moment of inspiration, and revised recently in order to fully develop the thought. Where as the original version got straight to the point, the revised version has more imagery and allegory because in spite of the simplicity of the message, the reality of our spiritual battle has layers to it. The performance is grounded in a desire to encourage believers that their weaknesses do not nullify God's strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). The access and power he gives us through Jesus Christ is readily available; we simply need to respond to the call with a submitted heart. The music was composed and produced by Joshua Ryan of Maker Music, an extremely talented bassist and anointed musician. His work provides a layer of narrative that speaks to the emotional roller coaster that believers can experience. The video was shot and directed by the tandem of Darnell Dees (Vision to Life Productions) and Aaron Hollingsworth (Laroy Creative Group). Darnell Dees also edited and produced the video, adding a cinematic flare that allows the piece to capture the ears and eyes.

How it fits into contest

"Transformed" imagines salvation through the lens of a poetic epic, describing the transition of a person from his destitute state and human depravity (Ephesians 4:17-20) to a new creature empowered by the Holy Spirit. It describes how this empowerment manifests in the spiritual plane as the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17) and touches on some of the battles the believers face in their every-day walks.


Karlos Smith: Writer, Speaker
Joshua Ryan: Music Composer/Producer
Darnell Dees (Vision to Life Productions): Videographer, Producer
Aaron Hollingsworth (Laroy Creative Group): Videographer

Transcript / Lyrics

Man stood in darkness.

The dark wasn’t new, but Man’s view was.

The nothing that was home now weighed heavily on the shoulders, gripped tightly at the throat, pulled savagely at the limbs.

Then, the call came.

The sound came from far off, but echoed in every direction. The source wasn’t visible in the dark, but Man felt the welcoming waves tapping at his body, piercing his roughness, moving his broken place.

But then the fear came.

And so without another thought,

Man ran.

Man knew that there was an escape; he just had to keep moving.

But he turned.

Behind him, always following, was a beast, spit out of the very dark that Man called home.

Bitter flames consumed everything it touched. Its fire brought no light, only oppressive heat.

Believing he could actually evade this thing, he continued to turn and look back, waiting for the thing tpvanish in the distance. The monster did not recede, but loomed larger, closing the gap between them with every second that passed.
The dread was here, slowing Man’s headlong run. Despite his inward pleas to his body to keep moving, his weak limbs failed him.
The creature released its fangs in a wicked smile as its prey began to buckle and fall to the ground. Its pursuit of this Man’s life was over.

The beast circled Man, engulfing every inch around him in searing fire.
Man felt himself crying out to the beast, “Stop it all!” But mercy had not come. Even with the pain mocking the waves of the call, Man managed to get a closer look at the face of his tormentor. His tears sowed the ground as he realized he was staring at his own.

The beast released a cackle that shook Man’s twisted and charred body.

But with his own, weak voice, Man began calling upon another Name.
He cried out the Name again and again, not knowing, but believing with everything.

And then, the Light came.

A pillar of brilliant rays shattered the dark as it broke through, descending purposefully towards Man. He saw it coming and surmised he would die. Wouldn’t he? The pillar hit ground with a force that scattered the flames and threw the beast that had seemed so dominant on right its back.

Because something had changed.

Man stepped out of the Light. He was now fitted in armor of weightless gold. The helmet hid his tears of joy. The plate covered his rushing heart. A beautiful velvet cloak swirled in the wind that the Light had brought along. Attached to his forearm was an unbreakable shield. Around his waist was a belt that could not be folded or altered. The broken ground was mended as he pressed his boots into it.

The beast knew what this being was capable of, and that his morale had to be shattered. So the desperate creature contrived tendrils wrapped in the whispers (the lies, the insecurities, the confusion) and shot them straight for the head. But the Man stood, tired of running. The figments hit their mark, but the helmet couldn’t be breached.

The beast then drew a sword from the heavy air, double-edged and dripping with sickness and hopelessness. It made every move to strike. But Man stood, tired of running. He met each blow with the shield, feeling the vibrations, marveling at the realization that he would have fallen without it. Man returned his tormentor to its back with a determined push.

In its final effort, hoping to surprise, the beast took a great breath and unleashed flames of lies, pride, lust, and unbelief directly towards Man’s center. A direct hit would have destroyed him just moments ago. But something had changed. The armor now knew no burns. As the flames dissipated into unwanted smoke, Man stood, finished with running.

The warrior went into a crouch, advancing with his shield up, pushing toward his enemy. The beast knew it was beaten and let out a strangled croak of despair. From the tough belt, Man drew a marvelous sword. Its blade was straight, true, and lethal, reflecting the light from the pillar behind him. Man’s face was grim as he leveled the razor point at the beast. The defeated monster tried to plead. Man raised the sword high over his head and declared, “No more!” The mighty blade came crashing down with astounding force. And he beast’s flame was extinguished forever.

Then, the light came with the call again.

Man turned from his task and set his eyes upon the skies.

There, descending to meet him was the bearer of the Name he had called.

Man now knew where, and with whom he belonged.

He believed that with this loving figure beside him, nothing could stop him.

He believed because he was loved.

He was called.

He was empowered.

He was transformed.

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