Singer/songwriter Hannah Kerr is releasing the physical CD copies of her debut album, Overflow, April 14. Releases today on Black River Christian/Provident Label Group, the 11-song album was produced by Sawyer Brown's Mark Miller (producer all of Casting Crowns projects, which have sold ten million to date).
Overflow features guest vocals from Casting Crowns' Mark Hall ("Be Still And Know"), and seven of the eleven songs were co-written by Kerr along with artists/songwriters such as Matt Maher and Meredith Andrews, to name a few. The single is "Radiate," co-written by Kerr along with her brother Josh Kerr who's written two No. 1 country songs (Kelsea Ballerini's "Love Me Like You Mean It" and "Dibs").
Q: Thanks Hannah for doing this interview with us. Congratulations on the release of "Overflow." Why did you call the album "Overflow"?
Thanks for interviewing me! I decided to name my album Overflow because throughout the process of making my album and writing songs, I just kept asking God to fill my heart with His wisdom, grace, peace and love so that I could write songs that would allow others to feel that too. When we ask God to pour into us, He doesn't just fill our souls until we're full; His love is so overwhelming that when He pours Himself out on us, we are filled and then we have no other response but to allow God's goodness to flow into the lives of the people we come into contact with.
Q: In your bio, you did mention that you were once a shy youngster. What and how were you changed to who you are today?
I grew up in New York and I was actually pretty outgoing, but when I moved to Nashville before high school it felt like I didn't know how to be outgoing anymore. I was put into a totally different environment and felt lost, uncomfortable, and alone. I became super reserved and avoided attention from others because of it. But through that season of moving halfway across the country and feeling alone, God taught me so much about what it means to be His child. Even when we feel the most alone and lost, God has not forsaken us, and He just continued to remind me of that. I had always loved singing and so my parents encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try singing at church-and I'm so glad I did! I started leading worship and fell in love with praising the Lord and helping others do that too. Once I had found my place, it was like I remembered how to be myself again, and now I'm definitely more outgoing than I was 6 years ago.
Q: I believe you are currently a student as well as a worship leader as well as touring with Casting Crowns and Matt Maher. How do you balance all of that?
Yes, I'm a student and and an artist at the same time, so you could definitely say that my life is pretty crazy. It's like I have two full-time jobs and sometimes it's extremely hard to balance. But I truly believe that God has opened the doors and called me to do both, so I do my best to just take everything one day at a time, be present in the moment, and serve the best that I can right where I am-whether that's in a college class or on a stage. God has made a way in the past few years for this to work, so I'm going to keep going for as long as He makes a way. I'm a ministry major, so it's cool to see how my college classes enhance what I get to do with Christian music. I'm learning so much about God and myself at college, so I do hope to continue in school and graduate in the next 2 years.
Q: "Overflow" is produced by Mark Miller. Mark is the front man of country music group Sawyer Brown. Does he sing on your album too? And were you a fan of Sawyer Brown and country music too?
Mark Miller doesn't sing on my album, but he was obviously extremely involved in the making of the album from the beginning to the end. The fact that he is a successful recording artist means that he carries so much wisdom about music and how to be an artist, and I'm so blessed to work with him. My parents loved country music and listened to it a lot when I was growing up, so I definitely knew Sawyer Brown songs and respected Mark so much before I ever even knew him.
Q: Besides Mark Miller, Casting Crowns' Mark Hall was involved in your album too. Tell us about his involvement?
Mark Hall is passionate about building up and mentoring young singers and songwriters, so he's been a huge help in my career and really just in life in general. There's no better person to learn from, especially about ministry in music, so I just try to soak in his wisdom every time I'm around him. He listened to all of my songs from the demo stage to the final mixing stage of my album and gave insight and encouragement that meant so much to me. He sings on Track 11, "Be Still and Know," and it's easily one of my favorites on the album just because of that.
Q: What were some of the highlights in making this new record?
Honestly my favorite part of making music is watching the process of how it's done and how songs are brought to life. From worshipping in my room alone, to God providing inspiration, to bringing that to friends in a co-write, to crafting the song with just a guitar and a voice, to watching it come to life in the studio with musicians, to singing it in front of an audience-it's all so special and I don't take any part of it for granted. I'm so blessed to do what I do and the whole process was really special to me. I got to write with people that I've looked up to for years like Matt Maher and Meredith Andrews, and I don't think I'll ever get tired of listening to those songs.
Q: What are your hopes for this new record? How do you wish this album could impact the lives of your listeners?
I'm so excited about Overflow and I'm really praying that it impacts the life of each person who listens. God has given me truths to embrace, wrestle with, be comforted by, and cherish throughout the past few years, and I hope the songs can communicate those truths to the listeners in a way that changes them for the better. These songs are a glimpse into my heart and what I believe God has poured into me, so I really just hope that they resonate with the hearts and souls of others as well. Whether we need comfort, strength, courage, company, hope, joy, or peace, God is waiting and ready to give it to us. I hope my album leads people to worship the King and know Him better, because at the end of the day it's not about me at all, but truly about communicating the Gospel and the goodness of my Savior to all who will listen.
Q: Are you still touring with Casting Crowns and Matt Maher? What were some lessons you have picked up as you travel with these Godly people?
I'm not on the road anymore-I'm just in school full time and doing shows here and there on a few weekends a month. I loved being on the road with Crowns and Matt and seriously learned things from them that I'll remember forever. Matt and I shared a bus, and our conversations on the bus were inspiring and hilarious. Matt encourages me all the time to be myself and allow people to see my personality from stage while also leading them to worship the Lord. He does an amazing job of that, so I watched him live out his own advice. Mark is extremely ministry-minded, so I got to see firsthand how he cherishes people and loves on them even if he may never see them again. He takes time to have conversations with everyone he encounters-the security people at the venues, the bus drivers, the catering people, the other artists, and of course his fans. Crowns treats people like family and makes everyone feel loved and welcome. If you treat people like family, the road can always feel like home, and if you treat people like brothers and sisters in Christ, the road can always feel like church. It was so inspiring and something I'll never forget.