Gospel singer Koryn Hawthorne released her sophomore album, I Am, on Friday and the RCA Inspiration singer offered advice for singles, especially during a season of lockdowns and quarantining.
I Am comes on the heels of her debut studio album, Unstoppable, which earned the singer a Billboard Music Award, Dove Award, Stellar Award, NAACP Image Award and two Grammy nominations. For her new release, Hawthorne, a finalist in season 8 of “The Voice,” brings her blend of gospel, pop, hip-hop and R&B music to life once again with her powerful voice and faith-filled lyrics.
The Christian Post interviewed the 22-year-old Louisiana native, who discussed maturing into her God-given identity, singlehood, and the importance of prayer.
Christian Post: What made you chose the title I Am for your sophomore album?
Hawthorne: Just kind of seeing my personal progression through life, my growth, from the first album to now, from when I was on "The Voice" until now, from when I was a little girl until now, I think that it just was a testament of me being confident in my identity because God called me before I was born. But I think a lot of times when we go through life, we doubt the things that God speaks, we doubt the things that He said. If we get to doubt it, then the devil can delete that processing in that timing. So I'm grateful to God that He has orchestrated every step of my life. I think that this was just a moment where I'm like, "You know what, I got this and I'm ready for this and I am supposed to be here!"
I think this is just a moment for me to encourage other people, that you are exactly who God says you are, be confident and be bold into the things that He is calling for you in this season because for such a time as this were you created. I just hope that spiritually and prophetically, this is just something that we're speaking over people's lives through with this music that identity is important and knowing who you are is important. Knowing who you are, God is important. The only way that you can know Him or know yourself is by knowing Him. He is the great I Am and you are who He says you are.
CP: Your new song “Pray” is climbing the gospel charts. We are in a generation and season where people say, "save your thoughts and prayers." But that is where you say you turn in life's most difficult circumstances. Can you speak to the impact prayer has had on you and why you believe it's essential?
Hawthorne: How well does communication affect any relationship? I think that's been my whole mindset. In my learning experience is that communication is key to any relationship and it's the same with God. I think what's important is that I realized that He cares about every area of my life, not just "oh, forgive me for this; help me to be better at this; give me this, give me that." No! "God, help me to be consistent in the gym, help me to have a better diet. Father, help me to be a light, even when I go in the grocery store, I need You to help me to communicate better with others." He cares about every area of your life.
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Prayer makes you a better person overall. And it's communication with Him. So this is relationship building through prayer, it's how I get to know God, it's by speaking to Him and Him speaking back to me. It was a struggle of mine. I'm a church kid born and raised in the church and I think for a little while, I kind of viewed prayer as something that was kind of ritualistic. But now as I go through my journey of life, I realize you can only go deeper, if that's what you set out to do is to grow and go deeper. And I think as I grow older, my perspective changes.
I'm 22 and people come to me a lot and ask me, "Hey, like, how do I pray, I'm not supposed to get on my knees, am I supposed to be done at a certain time?" So I think that it's a lot that we can give to the next generation on prayer, on what the outlook of prayer is. Prayer really changes things. It might sound cliche, but it's literally your direct communication. Your phone is your prayer to talk to Him. If I never talked to Him then what? How do you feel if your boyfriend don't ever talk to you? We might not get to talk to them all the time, but if you thought about me, if your thoughts are on me and you're thinking about how to be better for me, that makes me feel good, like in any relationship. ... That's how I learned.
CP: This season has been really hard on single people due to quarantine and some people live alone. It can be a challenge to maintain one's peace with unfulfilled desires. What advice do you have for other singles at this time?
Hawthorne: I get that, that's a personal experience of mine. I'm with ya'll. What helps me is, again, communication with God is the most important thing and being honest with Him. In my song "Speak to Me," the lyric is, "I promise to be honest when I speak to you." I think a lot of times we aren't real with God about our desires and what we want and what we don't want.
It's like I'm told that I'm not supposed to want this so when I pray, I'm like, "I'm sorry for wanting this." But I think a different perspective is to just be open and honest with Him about those things. Whatever your issue, your struggle or whatever your desires are, I think it's healthy to be honest with Him about those things. "God, this is what I like, this is what I'm attracted to. Can you give me clarity on why I'm attracted to that? Give me clarity on how I'm supposed to avoid this, why I'm not supposed to want this."
I think that Christian dating is not something that is talked about a lot in general. All we know is "wait till marriage and get married;" that's what they tell us. But there's no in-between on "how do I find this person? And if I don't wait, how do I go about that and what is that supposed to look like?"
My single "Speak to Me," in the video, we had a love interest in there and the guy if you watch the video, we're sitting down at a table and we're reading the Word and at first I was a little kind of skeptical about it because I was like, "They going to talk about me, they going to say this R&B song, they going to say I made this about a man." But then I was like, this is important to start the conversation. I think that keeping God at the center of all relationships is important. If you're dating anyone, somebody you're talking to them, you keep God with them. Let them know God is the center of this relationship and you try your best to do what would please God if they trying to do the same thing; that's all that matters.
But I think that time alone is definitely hard, especially during quarantine. Nobody likes to be alone, unless you're a massive introvert, but I don't like to be alone. I think that to help combat that, it's just family and keeping positive thoughts. If you are going to hang out with somebody, I think that you should be very wise and smart about how you do it and make sure it's in decency and in order because I personally don't think that nothing is wrong with wanting to spend time with someone. I think that that's natural — we are relational creatures, it is what it is. You're not meant to be alone. Even if you want to be alone, you're lying, you're not meant to be alone. It's why God created Eve for Adam because it's not good for man to be alone.
It's normal you should want somebody to be there, it's normal. Especially as a woman, who wants to be alone? I don't want to be alone! I think it's just about being smart about it and if that time is just not for you but you're still struggling with that, because a lot of times we know that maybe God is calling us to be alone for a season but then we're like "I still want somebody or I look on Instagram and I see cute couples and I want somebody to hold me like that." I just think that knowing who you are is important and your thinking. Sometimes we could get caught up in our emotions.You just feel it and you just end up acting off of your feelings but don't act off of your feelings. Please use your brain and talk to God and ask Him for help because He will help you. I think in that moment, [say], "This is how I'm feeling, I'm being honest with you, I just want somebody to come over here and hold me. I just want to be honest with you Lord. If that is not something that you feel is what's best for me and where I'm going, or what I need. I need you. I need you to come right here, right now and help me to fulfill this void that I'm feeling right now."
You can't do anything supernaturally for yourself. It's not going to happen. You don't have the strength. God is the strength that is within you, Greater is He that isn't me than he that is in the world. He gives you strength. The Bible says that the spirit is willing even though the flesh is weak. People have to be more honest about the way they feel because everybody want to treat it like it's so easy and it's not. But greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. I think that keeping that mindset and trusting it and trusting that He's going to do it is faith. Sometimes you are going to make mistakes but I think that having the mindset that it's never too late to start over.
View the interview in its entirety below: