WATERLOO, Ont. -- Shane Wiebe credits his stint on Canadian Idol 2 for showing him that he could make a career out of singing.
"God used Canadian Idol to get my attention, to throw a subtle nudge into the course of our lives to completely alter our direction," Wiebe said in a recent interview in Waterloo.
Wiebe, along with his wife Angela, recently quit their jobs and are now singing full time and taking their music across the country, performing concerts in churches.
The pair is on a summer tour that started in their home of Abbotsford, B.C., in June.
"This is what God is leading us to do and we are jumping in with both feet," said Shane, 27.
He wasn't always confident music should be his life.
Shane said he used to criticize musicians who gave up "real" jobs to do their music full time.
" 'You enjoy your feast or famine and I'll get my business degree,'" Shane recalls telling others. He graduated from the University of the Fraser Valley in B.C. with a business degree.
"Now I'm apologizing to my friends and they have gone to get business degrees," said Shane.
Shortly after Canadian Idol, a friend at his church told him "it would be dumb not to pursue a career in music."
He then entered a talent competition and competed against 70 participants. He was initially told he hadn't won and decided this was the Lord telling him not to pursue his music and go into business instead.
"Then I got a phone call and I had won. We thought, 'Lord, we get it,' " said Shane, who decided to create an album with Angela.
"We will join forces and it's not just going to be music on the side," he said.
Shane said Canadian Idol 2 prepared him for long practices and convinced him that music was his calling.
"It was tough but rewarding," said Shane, who spent about seven months with Canadian Idol staff and competitors in 2004.
Although he made it to the top five, Shane admits he was disappointed when he was voted off the show. But as a newlywed who had married Angela six months before, he was missing her.
"It (the show) changed my mind on music as a livelihood. If I hadn't been on the show, I'd probably be in sales somewhere," he said.
Both the Wiebes come from musical and church-going backgrounds. Angela, 30, attended a Lutheran church in Stratford, Ont., as a child and participated in a Pentecostal youth group as a teenager. She also sang with a choir in nearby St. Marys.
She started playing the violin at the age of three and the guitar when she was six.
She attended Rockway Mennonite Collegiate and graduated from Conestoga College. She then attended Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, B.C., where she met Shane.
Shane grew up in the Christian Alliance Missionary Church and then moved to the Immanuel Fellowship Baptist Church in Abbotsford. He played the piano as a young boy and desperately wanted to quit playing when he was 12, but was forced to continue practising at the request of his mother.
"My mom used to say, 'You are going to thank me someday,' and now I do," he said.
The Wiebes aren't making money on this tour, so at times making ends meet can be difficult. The concerts are free, but they ask the audience for a free-will offering.
"When we are discouraged or money is tight, we are provided for," she said.
"It's become so clear that this is not chance. It's not accidental. God has designed this. The struggles we go through have made us stronger," he said. "We feel content. This is where God wants us to be."
The pair is travelling across the country in a nine-metre motorhome they rented and they are joined by Angela's mother, who is travelling with them to help with the care of their children, Joelle, 4, and Josiah, 2.
The couple hopes they will inspire others to live their dreams.
"This process has been so amazing. We try as hard as we can to be good stewards with what God has blessed us with," he said.
-- The Canadian Press