Pamela Maynor: When did your faith first become real to you?
Hannah Kerr: I had heard about God and believed in Him from a very young age, but it wasn’t until I was about 14 that I really owned my faith. When I went on a mission trip in high school, I decided to dive in head-first with Jesus and get to know Him in a relational way. I was baptized that summer, and ever since, I’ve been walking with Him and trying to learn everything I can about who He is and what He’s done for me. On that high school mission trip, there was a moment when we were singing “Jesus Paid It All” and I felt the Holy Spirit in the most real and tangible way. I was singing, “Oh, praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!,” and for the first time, I truly understood what Jesus had done for me. It was like a light bulb came on in my heart and opened up a totally new perspective.
PM: What was the inspiration behind your debut album, Overflow (2017)?
HK: I named my album Overflow because, throughout the process of making my album and writing songs, I kept asking God to fill my heart with His wisdom, grace, peace, and love, so that I could write songs that would overflow from my heart to anyone who listens. When we ask God to pour into us, He doesn’t just fill our souls until we’re full; His love is so overwhelming that we are filled, and then we have no other response but to allow God’s goodness to flow into the lives of the people we come in contact with. I’m praying that my music impacts the life of each person who listens. These songs are a glimpse into my heart and what I believe God has poured into me, so I really hope that they resonate with the hearts and souls of others as well.
PM: What is your favorite song on the album?
HK: My favorite song is “Your Love Defends Me,” which I wrote with Matt Maher. We wrote it based off of my favorite verse, Isaiah 12:2, which 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” (NIV). Everything about that verse is in tune with my heart when I think about how I view God and what He’s done for me. I constantly need to remember that the Lord casts out all fear and that I can trust Him. He defends me, supports me, stays with me, and has given me salvation, and those realizations always lead me to worship Him. There were moments throughout this journey when I really needed to be reminded of those things, and when I have the opportunity to sing “Your Love Defends Me,” it’s almost like I’m declaring these truths in a new way every time. I feel like that song captures my heart for the Lord. I think it gives people a glimpse into who He is and the amazing things that He does and offers to us as His children.
PM: Your songs explore many of the struggles and complexities of a faith-filled life. What do you hope listeners take away from your album?
HK: I’m praying that my album impacts each person who listens and reminds them that we are not alone; we are loved by our Creator. God has given me truths to embrace, wrestle with, be comforted by, and cherish throughout the past few years, and I hope the songs communicate those truths to the listeners in a way that changes them for the better. Whether we need comfort, strength, courage, company, hope, joy, or peace, God is waiting and ready to give it to us. I hope my album leads people to worship the King and know Him better, because at the end of the day, it’s not about me at all. It’s truly about communicating the Gospel and the goodness of my Savior to all who will listen.
PM: The lyrics to “Radiate” (the third song on your album) state, “No darkness gonna stand in my way, if my way is Your way then You’ll make me radiate.” What word would you share to our readers who may be struggling to cope in life?
HK: John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out” (ISV). No matter what you’ve done, no matter who you are, or what you struggle with, the Lord can use you for His work in the world. We are broken sometimes, but we are redeemed from the darkness we once lived in. Don’t dwell on where you were; focus on where you are now and who God is making you to be. The Lord promises to take our burdens and make them into something beautiful—He transforms the scars we see into masterpieces that only He can make. We are children of the light because of our salvation and redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and, the darkness can never overcome that light. If we follow Christ’s way and look to Him in every moment, we will radiate His light into our dark world.
PM: I read that Casting Crowns was the first concert you attended. What was it like to tour with them and Matt Maher recently?
HK: I loved being on the road with Crowns and Matt, and I learned things from them that I’ll remember forever. It was pretty surreal to be on the other side of concerts, because I grew up as a fan out in the audience. To stand on the stage and share it with my heroes was truly a blessing. Matt and I shared a bus, and our conversations on the bus were inspiring and hilarious. Matt encourages me all the time to be myself and allow people to see my personality from stage, while also leading them to worship the Lord. He does an amazing job of that; I watched him live out his own advice. Mark Hall 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. Crowns treats people like family and makes everyone feel loved and welcome, so I was extremely blessed to tour with them.
PM: In reference to your song “Undivided,” you mentioned, “When we worship it should be with our hearts and as an offering of everything that we are… Worship is not just a song, but a lifestyle that we should strive for daily.” How do you do that?
HK: I think a lot of people think of worship as songs that we sing before the message in church on Sundays, but God calls us to so much more than that. Singing praise is a beautiful way to worship our Savior, but we can continue to worship Him throughout our daily lives. The world tries to distract us from the Lord and His voice, but we have to keep our focus on Him in each moment, even when the world tries to pull our attention away. I strive to worship the Lord with my words, by speaking love and life-giving words to people I come into contact with. I also worship by consciously reminding myself to praise God for the little blessings that He provides throughout even the worst days. I also try to seek out people around me who God is calling me to love well. Sometimes the best way to worship Him is to love His children even when it’s hard.
Find out more about Hannah Kerr at hannahkerrmusic.com.
—Captain Pamela Maynor, Editor of Young Salvationist, USA National Publications