Kara Klein (KaraKlein.com) began her music career 10 years ago, at the age of 18. She released her fifth album, Catch Me, in 2013.
Each song on Catch Me is an inspirational celebration of God and features Klein’s warm, full voice. She recently spoke with the Register about her album, career and faith.
What life experiences led you to music?
I began singing at a very early age, and music came very naturally to me. A wise friend once told me that if you are good at something and have a great desire to do it, it is most probably God’s will. This is precisely what led me to ultimately choose singing for my life. Singing is a great joy for me, and I have an affinity for songwriting.
I began performing and writing songs around 9 years old. I sang wherever I could — in choirs, at churches, retreats and youth groups, on stage, doing musical theater. My father deeply believed in me and funded my first album, which we recorded and released when I was 18. From there, one event led to another, and my music ministry gradually began.
Why do you feel God is calling you to music ministry?
I have always believed God was calling me to music ministry because I had such a deep desire for it. This conviction grew as I continued to watch God move — doors started to open, opportunities arose, and I saw God leading me down the road to ministry through the events that were occurring in my life. He was the one who really made the way. He provided all the funding I needed for each project, and he put the right people in my path. He did everything, in a sense. I’m always amazed by God’s providence and how the way literally opens up before us if it is his will.
Why did you choose Christian music instead of mainstream music?
I felt that God was the one to give me the gift of music, and I wanted to give it back to him. I wanted to use my voice to glorify him alone and not myself. I had several opportunities in the past to do mainstream music. When I was 19 years old, I was planning to sign a contract with a Nashville producer, who had worked with Britney Spears. For months, I was traveling back and forth to Nashville, songwriting and recording some demo tracks, but feeling very ambivalent. Finally, he sat me down and said, "If you want to sign with me, you have to be willing to go all the way to ‘the top,’ because that’s where I’m going to take you. … You need to be very certain, because, after you sign this contract, your life will never be the same."
I couldn’t go through with it, in the end. I wanted a ministry, not a secular career. Honestly, I think I probably would’ve cracked under all that pressure. It has been a much greater joy for me to bring the light of Christ and the message of the Gospel to others — especially young people. Carrying this message has brought more meaning and fulfillment to my life than any worldly success ever could.
What is your favorite song on your new album, and why?
It’s hard to say, because each song is like a baby that has been born out of a very personal life experience.
Live is very special to me, and it has been a big focus on the album. I wrote it for my brother, who was struggling with a drug addiction, and the song was my prayer that he would ultimately choose life and recovery.
It became a real miracle, because, after I wrote the song (a few years ago), I went to live in a lay Catholic community called Comunita Cenacolo, which was founded in Italy 30 years ago to help recovering addicts (although anyone can enter today to live and experience community life and their particular charism). For six months, I lived in the community and prayed for my brother to enter, and he did! He has been clean for over three years now and has undergone a huge conversion.
I’m amazed by the miracles God works in our lives — how he truly does concretely answer our prayers, how he transforms our families and brings great healing if we only trust in him.
How do you share your faith with fellow young people?
I am a big believer in the advice of St. Francis of Assisi: "Preach the Gospel always; use words when necessary." I think the greatest way we can share our faith is by how we live our everyday lives. It’s the "small things with great love," as Mother Teresa of Calcutta says, that make the real difference in the world: a smile, a kind gesture, a listening ear, our joy, hope, peace and charity.
If Christ dwells within our hearts, and we allow ourselves to be transformed by him, people will see a difference in us; they will notice something special about us. The greatest change we can make in the world is to be the change we want to see — to fall in love with God, deepen our relationship with him and make him the center of our lives. Everything else will flow from this.
Who are your favorite saints?
The first saint I loved was Pier Giorgio Frassati. I discovered him when I was 13 or 14 and was totally obsessed! I ordered every book I could find on him and prayed that God would give me a husband just like him. I loved his life, his fervor, and he seemed so "normal" and relatable to me.
But in my adult life, I have very much come to love and value St. Thérèse of Liseiux. Her writings always bring great peace to my heart, and she has truly helped me better understand the great mercy of God the Father. I love her spirituality, her simplicity, her contentment in being little, poor, humble, nothing — it helps me embrace my own poverties and weaknesses.
Which other Catholic musical artists are you inspired by?
I love Audrey Assad [recently interviewed by the Register] and admire her songwriting so much; she is really a true musician! Her new album moved me so much that I wept while listening to it.
I also love Danielle Rose [also recently profiled by the Register] — not just her music, but her person (she happens to also be a very dear friend of mine).
Where do you hope God will take your career?
I hope that the Lord uses me to bring others to him — this is always my prayer and desire. If he does that through my singing, songwriting and speaking, praise God. I am very grateful!
We live today in a world where many people are in darkness. I hope that Christ will shine through me into the lives of others. I know he uses all of us, wherever we are, to be his light in the world, to be the salt of the earth. All we have to do is say "Yes" to him each day, and he will do the rest.
I pray that my Yes to him becomes deeper, more genuine and more total each and every day. This is the greatest hope I have for my future.
Ella Hadacek writes from Idaho.