One of the fresh faces in Gospel music forging new ground is The Voice finalist and 2018 Stellar Award winner, Koryn Hawthorne. On the strength of Hawthorne’s haunting voice and a hit song that topped the charts, Koryn is trending with tweens, teens and trendsetters of all ages.
Koryn’s charisma is palpable, which partially accounts for her overnight success. But her breakthrough track, Won’t He Do It, from the Greenleaf soundtrack is more bounce to the ounce, propelling her to the front of the line among Instagrammers & YouTubers, alike. BlackGospel.com spoke with the leader of the ‘new school’ about her EP, her stint on The Voice and her creative process.
Christopher Heron: You’re a member of the millennial generation. Would love to get to know a little more about some of your likes, your dislikes, for instance, what’s your favorite social media site?
Koryn Hawthorne: Well, I don’t really associate myself as a millennial because technically I’m ‘Generation Z’. I like Snapchat the most.
Christopher Heron: An album or artist you’ve been listening to a lot.
Koryn Hawthorne: Hmm, let’s see. I listen to a lot of stuff. There’s this guy, his name is Hozier. He’s from Ireland. I love his voice so I’ve been listening to his album. I think he’s really dope.
Christopher Heron: When Koryn has ‘me-time’, do you watch TV, Netflix, or YouTube?
Koryn Hawthorne: I do Netflix. Yes, I like binge watching TV shows. I love finding new TV series that I can binge watch. That’s honestly it. It’s what I like to do.
Christopher Heron: How excited were you to go watch Black Panther, the movie?
Koryn Hawthorne: Oh, Lord. I was really excited. I think it’s really cool. It’s history I was so excited.
Christopher Heron: Did you say history?
Koryn Hawthorne: It is. Come on now.
Christopher Heron: I’m going to leave that one alone [Laugh]. Let’s talk about music. It says a lot, when as a contestant of The Voice you decide to sing spirituals like How Great Thou Art and Mary Don’t You Weep. Did the producers, the coaches, embrace your desire to express your faith like that on national TV?
Koryn Hawthorne: They honestly did. Pharrell Williams was my coach and from the moment that we met he told me, ‘’you’re singing Gospel.” I was so thankful that we connected that quickly. The fact that Pharrell was onboard, the producers just listened to his direction. I’m just so thankful that they allowed me to be able to express that and be myself.
Christopher Heron: How did that end up leading to you singing on the title track for Saints & Sinners?
Koryn Hawthorne: Well, all that came afterwards meeting up with who is now the President of my label at RCA Inspiration, Phil Thornton. He hooked me up with that and it’s all stepping stones for the place where I am now.
Christopher Heron: Your breakout hit, Won’t He Do It, on the Greenleaf soundtrack, went straight to the top of the Billboard Gospel charts. When you first heard the track did you instantly fall in love with it and know it would be a hit?
Koryn Hawthorne: No, I didn’t even think about it past it being for the show. When I went in studio and recorded it, I just wanted it to personable, I wanted to make it my own. And apparently, I did a great job at that because it just blew up and it’s been my single and I’m thankful that people are receiving something from it.
Christopher Heron: I’ve spoken to so many artists and all too frequently, the song that becomes their signature song is a big surprise to them.
Koryn Hawthorne: I agree. That happens.
Christopher Heron: Your self-titled EP, teamed you up with some great songwriters, producers, like Warren Campbell & Makeba Riddick. What have you learned about artistry and professionalism working with them on your EP?
Koryn Hawthorne: I think as far as the creative process goes, working with Warren Campbell, Makeba Riddick, Joaquin Bynum & Bernie Herms, it showed me that they’re really gifted and talented. When you get in a room with gifted people, purpose happens. I learned to let go. They’re all great believers, so they all believe to let God do the work, even in the creative process because He gave us the gift. If we let him take control over what He gave us and allow Him to work through us, then you can never create anything bad. Of course, there’s also hard work, dedication and staying committed to everything that we work on. But yeah, letting the Creator work through the gift that He gave us.
Christopher Heron: Being a talented artist who’s already achieved quite a bit in your young career, when you get in a room with producers as talented and as experienced as the ones that you’ve worked with, do you trust the producers 100% or do you get involved in the creative process?
Koryn Hawthorne: I’m definitely going to get involved in everything that I do. If I just let them do all the production, then it’s theirs and I want everything to be authentic. I want the song to be relatable to me. I need to feel whatever I’m singing. And it’s not real if I’m just covering it and it didn’t really come from my heart. I wouldn’t feel right to put my name on it. So, I’m always getting involved in whatever the process is.
Christopher Heron: If there’s one song you really want the public to get acquainted with, which song on the EP would that be and why?
Koryn Hawthorne: Definitely, Speak the Name. This is our worship song on the EP It’s a powerful song. That’s one of my favorites. It’s close to home, it’s close to my heart, and it’s just straight up talking about Jesus.
Christopher Heron: What’s in store for the rest of your 2018 season?
Koryn Hawthorne: I’m waiting on and seeing what God has in store for me in 2018. So many great things have happened already. Stellar award. An album coming out in the summer. I’m looking forward to what’s to come. I don’t know His exact plan but I think it’s going to be good. So, I’m excited to see what else He’s got up His sleeve.
For more information on Koryn Hawthorne and her latest EP, Speak The Name, visit her official website @ www.korynhawthorne.com.
Source: Black Gospel