Katy Crawford is a multi-talented, multilingual artist. She is from Dallas, Texas where she grew up in church and formed her identity in God. Katy has been writing songs since she was a teenager (this is when she also started vocal training).
For 15 years, Katy has been singing original worship songs, not only at her church, but around the world. Her first released songs were in French as a way of blessing the French-speaking countries she has ministered in. Now, most of her music is created in English, including her newest EP, Dwell. However, she hopes to continue her international ministry in the future by releasing more songs in French, some in Spanish, and some in Portuguese.
I talked with Katy about the artists who inspire her work, about her new Dwell EP, and life in quarantine (what it's meant for her as an artist and how it has affected her day job). And, of course, we talked about future projects: new music and translations.
What are some of your creative influences?
Some of my biggest creative influences are from a bygone era. One of the first artists my vocal coach introduced me to, for the purpose of emulating her, was legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. From that point, I got lost in the style and lyricism of the 1940s and '50s, diving deep into jazz standards, which are my biggest passion as a vocalist and musician. When I listen to the work of songwriters like Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer, I can’t help but be inspired by their wit and creativity.
Tell us about your new EP, Dwell.
Dwell is an exciting project. Back in April 2019, I was blessed to meet the legendary musician and producer, Billy Smiley, at a
conference in Nashville. Subsequently, I got to work with him on this project, as well as others. Dwell is a collection of six songs I wrote during a season when the Lord had called me to read a chapter of the book of Psalms each day and write a song from each one. Not every song I wrote during that season was gold, but through my obedience to God, He was faithful to give me many that were moving, exciting, and fresh.
Much of the theme of this project is so timely for the moment we are all living now; they focus on glorifying God always, even in times of distress, and through the act of putting Him first in everything, we will walk in His victory and in His light.
What does the word 'dwell' speak most to you and how are you accomplishing that in your life?
'Dwell' is what I try to do in every aspect of my life: I want to dwell, inhabit, exist in the Spirit of God, and have His Spirit dwell, inhabit, exist in my very being. I try my best to look at the world through His eyes, seeing the beauty of His creativity in everything, as well as seeing His purpose in situations that are not so beautiful. This act of 'dwelling' in Him reminds me of the scriptural idea that we are in this world, but not of this world.
What’s been the best and worst part of quarantine for you as an artist?
I’ll start with the worst and end with the best. For me, as an artist who also has a day job as a teacher, the worst part of quarantine has been that my teaching job had to move online. Don’t get me wrong, if I could work from home from now on, that would be amazing. But that transition was very labour-intensive and continued to be a pretty big struggle for teachers and students alike through the end of the semester in the Spring.
So, all of that stress really put a damper on my creativity and drive to write new music. But, the best part for me, as an artist, is that it caused me to have to rethink how I reach my audience with my music--especially as a worship leader. I became much more active in recording videos of myself singing songs of praise to God and encouragement for his people so I could release them to the congregations to which I minister.
I'm going to be translating some of the songs from Dwell into French, Spanish, and later into Portuguese to release to the international communities I'm connected with in ministry. I also hope to complete another Psalm project with Billy Smiley and maybe even revisit the Christmas theme he and I explored with my single we released in December 2019, "Grace That Saves the World."
How can we be praying for you?
I'm always asking God for wisdom to navigate the doors He is opening for me, and what next steps to take. So please pray that the Lord continues to guide me and that He sends the right people to help me along this journey. There is definitely a learning curve in navigating the music business.
Kevin McNeese started NRT in 2002 and has worked in the industry since 1999 in one form or another. He has been a fan of Christian music since 1991.
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