Interview with Hannah Kerr

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    by Kelinda Crawford

    Kelinda: Hannah, thank you for meeting with me today. For someone who never aspired to become a singer, you’ve certainly come a long way! When you think about your life, what word or scripture comes to mind?

    Hannah: My favorite verse is Isaiah 12:2 and it says, “Surely God is my salvation I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense he has become my salvation.” When I think about my journey, I immediately think of how much I have relied on the Lord for all of the things that verse talks about. He has been my strength when I’ve been too weak, He’s been my defense when I feel alone, and He’s been my courage when I’ve been afraid. And at the end of the day, the Good News of the gospel is that Jesus is our salvation, and that’s the reason why I’ve been able to go on this journey in the first place.

    Kelinda: You didn’t approach your musical talents through songwriting and performing until you were in your teens. Can you tell us what sparked that fire in your soul?

    Hannah: I had been singing just as a hobby for my whole life, but decided to make it my career when I was a junior in high school. I moved to Nashville in high school and had a hard time finding where I fit in at school, so my parents encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try singing at church—and I’m so glad I did! At first I was reluctant to get on a stage in front of people, but when I started leading worship I fell in love with praising the Lord and helping others do that too. I truly felt like I had found my place, and more importantly, my calling. When Mark Miller, who produces Casting Crowns and is himself an extremely successful artist, approached me about making music together I was honestly shocked. He heard me lead at church when I was 17 and told me that he felt like the Lord was telling him that we were supposed to work together. I started praying about it and definitely felt confirmation from the Spirit that I was supposed to do music ministry as an artist, and so we started making my record!

    Kelinda: Tell us about the moment you were first contacted by Mark Miller. What were your thoughts?

    Hannah: I was definitely shocked! I was not seeking out a record deal or a producer—but God brought us together in His timing. Mark was so encouraging and kind to me from the very beginning, and I appreciated how much he believed in me from the start. I was intimidated and unsure of what my future would look like, but after I had the confirmation from the Lord that I was supposed to do this, the fear and intimidation melted away and I was just really excited!

    Kelinda: You have toured with several popular Christian bands while attending Belmont University. How do juggle being a full-time student with your burgeoning musical career?

    Hannah: You could definitely say that my life is pretty crazy. It’s like I have two full-time jobs and sometimes it’s extremely hard to balance. But I truly believe that God has opened the doors and called me to do both, so I do my best to just take everything one day at a time, be present in the moment, and serve the best that I can right where I am—whether that’s in a college class or on a stage. God has made a way in the past few years for this to work, so I’m going to keep going for as long as He makes

    Kelinda: You didn’t approach your musical talents through songwriting and performing until you were in your teens. Can you tell us what sparked that fire in your soul?

    Hannah: I had been singing just as a hobby for my whole life, but decided to make it my career when I was a junior in high school. I moved to Nashville in high school and had a hard time finding where I fit in at school, so my parents encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try singing at church—and I’m so glad I did! At first I was reluctant to get on a stage in front of people, but when I started leading worship I fell in love with praising the Lord and helping others do that too. I truly felt like I had found my place, and more importantly, my calling. When Mark Miller, who produces Casting Crowns and is himself an extremely successful artist, approached me about making music together I was honestly shocked. He heard me lead at church when I was 17 and told me that he felt like the Lord was telling him that we were supposed to work together. I started praying about it and definitely felt confirmation from the Spirit that I was supposed to do music ministry as an artist, and so we started making my record!

    Kelinda: Tell us about the moment you were first contacted by Mark Miller. What were your thoughts?

    Hannah: I was definitely shocked! I was not seeking out a record deal or a producer—but God brought us together in His timing. Mark was so encouraging and kind to me from the very beginning, and I appreciated how much he believed in me from the start. I was intimidated and unsure of what my future would look like, but after I had the confirmation from the Lord that I was supposed to do this, the fear and intimidation melted away and I was just really excited!

    Kelinda: You have toured with several popular Christian bands while attending Belmont University. How do juggle being a full-time student with your burgeoning musical career?

    Hannah: You could definitely say that my life is pretty crazy. It’s like I have two full-time jobs and sometimes it’s extremely hard to balance. But I truly believe that God has opened the doors and called me to do both, so I do my best to just take everything one day at a time, be present in the moment, and serve the best that I can right where I am—whether that’s in a college class or on a stage. God has made a way in the past few years for this to work, so I’m going to keep going for as long as He makes a way. I’m a ministry major, so it’s cool to see how my college classes enhance what I get to do with Christian music. I’m learning so much about God and myself at college, so I do hope to continue in school.

    Kelinda: Mark Hall is your mentor: What is one piece of advice has he given you that has really impacted your life?

    Hannah: Mark is extremely ministry-minded, so I got to see firsthand how he cherishes people and loves on them even if he may never see them again. He takes time to have conversations with everyone he encounters—the security people at the venues, the bus drivers, the catering people, the other artists, and, of course, his fans. He treats people like family and makes everyone feel loved and welcome. If you treat people like family, the road can always feel like home, and if you treat people like brothers and sisters in Christ, the road can always feel like church. It was so inspiring and something I’ll never forget.

    Kelinda: If you had to pick one song from your new album, Overflow, that has a very personal message to you, which song would that be and why?

    Hannah: I’m so excited for the release of Overflow! I feel like the songs on the album are a window into my heart and soul, and so it means a lot for me to be able to share them with people. I would say the most personal song is “Be Still and Know,” which is the last song. It talks about the world being heavy on your shoulders and feeling unsure about the future, and that’s a lot of what this journey has been for me the past few years. These have been the best few years of my life and also the most challenging, but God has taught me so much through all of it. Sometimes life can be extremely stressful and busy, but we have to make time in our lives to be still before the Lord and know that our worrying needs to be replaced by trust. God has taught me how to rest in His presence and surrender my worries to Him, and “Be Still and Know” is always a good reminder of that for me.

    Kelinda: As a millennial, what do you feel called to both share with and represent to your generation?

    Hannah: I think that the millennial generation has a harder time than people realize. We are raised in a society that glorifies standards of perfection and wraps itself up in fame. We yearn for connection and seek it out on social media, and that will always be an empty pursuit. My generation has forgotten what it looks like to be truly connected to other people—we see people’s highlight reels on social media, but lack an actual understanding of what really goes on in their hearts. I want to be someone who reminds people to be in connection with the Lord. There’s no Instagram page for Jesus—we have to seek Him out and know His heart in order to know anything about Him, and in turn, know anything about ourselves. Our identities are not found in Instagram likes or Twitter followers, but in the sole fact that we are children of the King and He calls us His own.

    Kelinda: What can we expect to see in the future from Hannah Kerr? What direction do you feel the Lord is leading you?

    Hannah: Honestly, I’m not entirely sure, and I think God has been teaching me to be okay with that. I have no 5-year plan other than just to walk with Jesus each day and give Him everything I have to offer. I feel the Lord continuing to lead me down the path of school and music, so I hopefully will graduate in 2 years. I would love to work in a local church here in Nashville, either as a worship leader or a girls’ minister of some kind. And I also would love to continue doing music, because my degree will enhance my knowledge and ability to minister to people. I would love to be on several tours—especially worship tours—and keep sharing the gospel with people across the country!

    Hannah Kerr is an American musician, who plays a Christian pop style contemporary worship music. She released I Stand Here, on M2T (Made to Thrive) Records, in 2015, a record label founded by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns. Her latest album, Overflow,released in October 2016.