The Unstoppable Voice
Many artists begin their musical journey by staring on shows like The Voice or American Idol. Not Koryn Hawthorne, who won 4thplace in season 8 of NBC’s The Voice. She feels like it’s the release of her first full length album, Unstoppable, that launched her new career. She’s been working toward this her whole life. She started singing when she was two years old and has been looking for opportunities to get out there ever since. “Singing was all I ever wanted to do,” Koryn says. “I didn’t know how it would happen, but I had faith this was where I would be. I believe God had a plan for me and with Him all things are possible.”
Like many Christian singers, Koryn grew up singing in the church. Lighthouse for Jesus ministry in Abbeville, Louisiana is her families church, so she had plenty of opportunity. Unlike most Christian artists, her first public singing appearance took place at a Las Vegas talent showcase. After winning top honors in her category, her parents started seeking out opportunities to help build her music. The string of events that led her to the release of her 1stalbum is all God. “I give everything back to Him. This is all His doing; it’s not even about me. So, I’m taking the work as He gives it,” she graciously says.
Everything that’s come her way has been confirmation that she’s on the right path. Confirmation for Koryn has been being signed with RCA Inspiration, being nominated for various awards and being asked to sing a song for the soundtrack of the television drama Greenleafwhich airs on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network. Confirmation for the rest of us may not look that glorious, but Koryn demonstrates the importance of following God’s path for your life and how significant the validation is, no matter the size. She knows that the road can look glorious going up, but one slip, and it can all come tumbling down.
It’s for this reason that she stays focused and centered on God, not only in her music but her life. Outside of her busy music career, she’s a pretty laidback girl. When she’s not working on her music, she intentionally keeps herself surrounded by people she loves. Her family is pretty down to earth and very supportive. She talks about how she needs honest people with good intensions around her. That’s the job of her family, she explains. Our friends don’t have the same responsibility toward us as our family. That’s why our family is a huge blessing from God.
The music industry isn’t kind, which Koryn sees everyday now that’s she’s on the inside. “In the industry, there are a lot of naysayers and negative comments, like when I was auditioning for the reality singing shows.” Before The Voice, Koryn auditioned for American Idol. She wanted to sing gospel, but the producers advised her she wouldn’t make it very far if she did. She felt like it was the right thing to do, so she ignored the advice and was sent home. Koryn felt so discouraged that she didn’t want to proceed pursuing musical endeavors.
With a little nudging from her family, Koryn found herself auditioning for The Voice. When she made it to the finals Pharrell Williams told her, “We’ve GOT to do gospel.” The highlight of The Voice wasn’t singing gospel. “For me, The Voicewasn’t about choosing the best songs, or picking songs to best demonstrate my vocal range, but about choosing songs with the best message,” she says. “I thought, ‘God gave me this platform and I need to inspire people, even if I’m not here to win.’”
After her time on The Voice, Koryn fine-tuned her voice and is now one of the most popular gospel musicians. Not only does Koryn have soul, but her voice is fierce. Koryn puts herself into every song she sings so the audience can feel the emotion. Her songs actually minister to her as well. She brings it all – from the intimacy of God’s love to how He never leaves us. Her songs are anthems of her life, and she pounds out universal truths of God’s great name, how (with Him) all things are possible and that we have the strength to be His warriors. Every song is a therapeutic heart cry that speaks her heart and her mind. “I chose to do this for a reason, and it’s because I love to inspire people, I love Jesus and I want to give people that.”
Koryn’s true to herself and wants to teach others to be the same. Through the development of her career, she’s learned over and over the benefit of being herself. No one else has her talent, her voice and her abilities. God’s given her the power to use these gifts in a special, God honoring way. She wouldn’t be able to do what she’s striving to do if she didn’t center her life around the identity that God gave her. She prays that she’d be able to help others do the same. She says, “Whatever gift that God has given you, I encourage you to please trust God with it! Give it back to Him.”
The most unique side of Koryn’s music career is that she’s a gospel artist but doesn’t sound like a gospel artist. She’s not even a contemporary version of gospel, she’s the future. Her sound is explosive, contagious, uplifting and fearless. She crosses multiple genres of music from pop, gospel, soul, contemporary rock and more. She’s versatile. She doesn’t listen to just one type of music, so she likes to have other genres influence her sound. That’s who she is. She takes everything in and lets it become a part of her. Including unexpected outside inspiration creates a more accurate reflection of her. “Jesus is the foundation of everything that I do,” she explains. “But I wondered, how can we be different? How can we have a mainstream sound and still inspire people? Keep the message the same, but think outside the box?” It’s Koryn’s ability to be a genuine reflection of God’s glory that makes her voice unstoppable.