From the moment that Charity Von's silk and suede voice caresses your ears, your mind tells you that there is no way that it is coming out of a 19-year-old. The soul-infused rock and pop that make up her self-titled debut on Slanted Records, combined with the richness of her voice, sounds—musically and lyrically—like it should be coming from someone who has lived a few more years on this planet.
All of this talent resides in an individual whose purpose and calling is every bit as potent as her pipes. Charity's father pastors a growing church in Olathe, KS, but a good chunk of her formative years were spent traveling with her family on the evangelistic circuit. Growing up a preacher's kid frequently isn't easy and Charity had her share of challenges, which are illustrated through these songs. But it also exposed her to the wonders of being used by God and that is what motivates her now.
"I feel led to help people my age—teens just entering adulthood that feel like they've been playing games all through their Christian lives and they are so sick of it," Charity says. "And they don't know how to get back in—either out of fear of what God will say or what their non-Christian friends will say, or because they are worried about their 'image.' I feel that God has definitely called me to minister to these people, because I've been there and I've had to wrestle with all of these issues."
Growing up with parents who love music certainly had an effect on her. Much to her continuing embarrassment, Charity's father likes to tell a story about a time that the family was on a road trip. David Frech and his wife were passing the time singing when a third vocal part entered the music making—in perfect harmony. The only other person in the vehicle was two-year-old Charity.
"When people ask me how I got into music, I usually say that it's more like the music got into me," she explains. "God blessed me with a gift and love for it and before I could object, it was in me."
Eventually the singing blossomed into songwriting. After reading a story about how Christ refused to take anything to assuage the pain he felt on the cross, 10-year-old Charity decided to write a song about it. "I decided I was just going to kind of sing the song whenever I was around my mom, to see if she would ask me about it, " she explains with a grin. "I kept doing that and eventually she asked me where I had heard it. She's a songwriter and I didn't want to tell her I wrote it before getting her opinion, so I just asked her if she liked it. When she said she did, I told her I wrote it. She was so happy and excited for me, she sat right down at the piano and helped me work the chords out."
The songwriting and the singing continued throughout her teen years. Charity's family settled in a suburb of Kansas City (the Kansas side, she's quick to point out) and Charity and her sister Toni made the transition to public school. After her high school graduation, Charity toyed with the idea of going to college, but she knew there was another call on her life. So while her friends went off to school, she got a job and continued working on her music. A cousin who was in a band came in contact with acclaimed musician and producer Billy Smiley and told him that he had a cousin who could sing.
When Smiley heard Charity's voice and songs, he immediately began working with her to sharpen her skills. Eventually he began getting in touch with music labels in Nashville and presenting Charity to them. There was immediate interest from some of the biggest Christian labels, but when Charity and her parents left a meeting with executives at Spring Hill Music Group, who had been discussing the creation of a new imprint for pop/rock music, they knew they had found her musical home.
Charity Von is the culmination of a lot of hard work and prayer. Musically, it marries the two musical influences that Charity is most passionate about—rock and neo-soul. "Vocally, my two biggest influences are probably Janis Joplin and Lauryn Hill. Janis had an ability to mix rock and blues and to draw you into the emotion that she was feeling at the time. Lauryn Hill mixes the great doo-wop bands with some hip-hop and neo-soul edge that I absolutely adore.
"But as far as mixing music and spirituality, Keith Green is my role model. He was an amazing singer and songwriter, but the priority for him was Christ and to see the lost brought to him. His ability to use music to minister is mind-boggling and I definitely look up to him in that respect."
From the outright rock that is "The Narrow," "Shine" and "Weight Of The World" to the neo-soul-infused "Take Me Through It" and "I Believe In Miracles" to the passion-filled "You Make It Fine" and "I'll Be (The Pleasure Is Mine)," Charity Von heralds the arrival of Christian music's newest powerhouse. Although the intensity of the music is matched in the lyrics, there is a thread of hope and light woven throughout the project.
As much as she loves music, Charity admits that occasionally there are times she wishes for a different vocation. "There are days when I wish I had a more stable and 'normal' life," Charity muses. "But when God calls you to do something, you do it, regardless of whether you're feeling it or not. And once you give in and are obedient, He forms your heart and makes you want to do it."
Music| Posted February 28, 2017
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Great Voice| Posted September 13, 2013
God really blessed her with great vocals and ability to soulfully sing songs with a great message for Him. I dearly wish she come back to this and continue to allow Him to use her voice to continue ministring to others through her great singing!