If you’ve never heard of Koryn Hawthorne, what exactly have you been listening to?
Don’t worry I won’t music shame you. But I will introduce you to the big voice that has an even bigger message worth listening to. Between her stint on the eighth season of the hit NBC singing competition “The Voice” at the tender age of 16 and her “Unstoppable” debut album three years later, we fell in love with Koryn’s Louisiana swagger and powerful vocals.
Ahead of the release of her sophomore album “I Am,” Five:22 Culture got to kick it with Koryn for an album release chat where she shared everything about the inspiration behind her new body of work. Here’s (almost) everything you need to know about “I Am,” an album that’s heavy on the bops with 10 songs that play like a soundtrack for all of your emotions.
Feeling sad? Click on “Pray.” Want something to dance to? “Sunday” is that song. Koryn’s “I AM” is available everywhere so press play and check out what she had to say about each song:
Speak To Me
Koryn is bringing us all of the ‘90s R&B vibes with this song, so it’s no surprise that it’s been impacting both Gospel and Urban AC radio. If something sounds familiar, you’re not imagining it. The track samples gospel music legend Donnie McClurkin’s “Speak To My Heart.”
Koryn says she’s always talking about having a personal relationship with Jesus, which is something she hopes this song and music video reflects for people.
“I’m always talking about personal relationship with Jesus over everything, I thought this was really important to show my relationship with Him which is come as you are,” she said. “ It’s super Koryn, it’s super get what you see.”
If you need a blueprint for joy, this is exactly that in song form. Koryn’s song samples Mary J Blige’s hit R&B/soul banger “ You Bring Me Joy” to remind us where her joy comes from. She made sure to shout out Mary J. Blige, along with her frequent collaborator on the album, R&B and hip hop phenom DJ Camper for being one of the masterminds behind the recreation of song.
A lot of artists have a hard time picking their favorite songs off of a new album, but Koryn didn’t hesitate to name her ballad “Pray.” In a time when the world is struggling with the coronavirus and civil unrest, Koryn understands the importance of reminding people to talk to God.
“This song is so special to me simply because we wrote this last year with no idea what was coming in 2020 and this year has been sucky to say the least… Being an inspirational artist, being a gospel artist, these are the moments that I live for,” she shared. “I’m grateful to be a vessel. When you get music for the times you’re like Lord you knew, thank you Jesus for using me.”
Start From Scratch
We all have those moments when we feel like we’re straying from the path that we should be on and want to start from scratch. Koryn gets vulnerable in this mid tempo track that reminds us that even when we miss the mark, we don’t have to carry those burdens of our missteps. She sings:
I don’t always follow the right road
And you don’t always tell me where to go
I’m not really blaming you
Is it ok to tell the truth?
Whether it’s your boo, best friend or family member, people will get in the way of your peace if you let them. The song that features Jonathan McReynolds who Koryn shouts out as “Jonny” started as a conversation in the studio with Koryn and her team that includes none other than DJ Camper.
“We were kind of just having conversations in the studio just about protecting your peace, protecting your space and energy,” she said. “I know we’ve all been through it not even in just relationships but with family. Where the lord is trying to take me, everyone can’t go.”
Lord if I’m honest
Feels like I don’t know where to go
There is a battle between what i feel and what I know
My faith has been shattered
Into a million pieces
In the times when we feel unsure, Koryn is reminding us that we can give the broken pieces of our lives to a God who can make us whole again. This is the type of ballad that we can blast while crying our eyes out in the coming to Jesus moments we all need at some point.
Turn your speakers up because the horns are blaring on this song that gives us Koryn’s signature sound with an empowering message. If you’re looking for an anthem filled with Koryn’s Louisiana drip, gospel and soul influences, this song is it.
Don’t you let the struggle paralyze your dreams
I had to realize the warrior in me
I may fall down 10 times
But I hold to the promise that I can do all things through You
If you want a worship anthem to bring you to your knees, Steffany Gretzinger is one of the women to help you get there. While most people know Steffany from the years where she served as a lead vocalist for Bethel Music, a lot of people may not know that she is one of Koryn’s favorite singers.
So it only makes sense that the two collaborated on a beautiful worship song, “Know You.” If you’re ready to go deep in worship, check it out.
Koryn is giving us something to play at our next kickback. She says “Sunday” is one of her favorite songs off of the album.
“We got a tribute to the Nola bounce. Ain’t no twerking on this one but you can definitely do the slide,” Koryn said. “This song has all the vibes.”
When Koryn was on “The Voice” she achieved her first Billboard No.1 with the song “How Great Thou Art” in 2015. Now, things have come full circle and she’s releasing the song as the next single off of her album. The singer says the song brings her to tears.
“I’m of course a worshipper at heart. I think that this 100 percent goes back to the plan of God,” she said. “I think having this moment to recreate this song..it wasn’t planned. I’m grateful to God and that’s just it. He’s great, sincerely.”
For Koryn, the “I Am” album represents a confidence in who God created you to be for such a time as this. After co-writing seven out of the 10 songs on the album, Koryn is walking confidently in her purpose.
“The idea behind that is simply being who God called you to be but being confident with that,” she says. “I need people to be in the I AM moment of your life for such a time as this he called and created you.”
Check out Koryn Hawthorne’s sophomore album, “I AM” here. You can also keep up with Koryn on: