Husband and wife duo, Zane and Donna King are back with their brand new album Beautiful Ever After. The names Donna and Zane King are synonymous with Southern Gospel Music. Prior to her marriage to Zane, Donna was a member of the Southern Gospel group Hope's Call. And after, the Kings has had been wearing many hats. Donna herself has not only written many hit songs for other acts, but she has produced over 500 albums, most recently the latest releases by Mercy's Well and the Williamsons. Zane, on the hand, is a musician par excellence, it has been said that Zane can play any instrument he puts his hands to. Together, the couple are also heavily involved with a child development ministry via Compassion International.
Q: Thanks for doing this interview with us. You are a woman who wear many hats. You own a label, you are a producer, singer and a songwriter! Tell us about your own label and who are some of the artists on it?
We love hats.. Our label, Journey Records/Vertical Sky, is a boutique label. Boutique, meaning small and specialized. We work with independent artists to help them grow and reach audiences they may not be able to reach without someone to get in their corner and be a megaphone for their talent. That is something I have loved doing in music since day one, when I was the one growing something from a little seed of faith. We work with some wonderful artists that your readers should definitely check out; Mercy's Well, Hope's Call (this is the comeback of my daughter, son-in-law, and my ministry after a ten year hiatus), Justified, 2Brothers, Zane and Donna King, (of course), and others.
Q: You have written not only Christian songs but also country songs for other artists. What are some of those songs?
I've actually had some exciting things happening in Country music songwriting... So far, my only radio cuts are independent artists but they've seen some real success. One song is "Detours," cowritten and performed by artist Michaela Clarke. It charted and played a lot in our northern neighbor country of Canada. She is a SUPER talented gal and she is as nice as she is talented.
Additionally, I can't say the artist until it happens, but I hope to have another cut coming soon with an Australian artist. That song, which I co-wrote with Riley Roth and Jason Eustice, is titled "Strangers." And, I am writing with some artists who are quickly growing into stars on the country music scene. One of those is Riley Roth. She has an awesome voice, heart, and team working to help her reach the level of some of the greatest female country stars ever. I am so excited for her. There are many more that I believe in deeply too. It's just an honor to wake up everyday and write songs with amazing people. I always strive to intertwine my faith and my music.
Q: What are some of muses? What or who inspires you to write?
I'm a nature girl...so, walking outside and clearing my mind can often spark ideas that I jot down in my phone notes. So, I guess I could say the sky, trees, and the air inspire me. HA! As far as people, I am inspired by women in Christian and country music. It isn't that I'm not inspired by male creatives... but, as a female songwriter, producer, and artist, our climb is a bit more steep. So when I see those ladies who've reached the top in front of me, I am so inspired.
To name a few ladies in Christian music (and I wish I could name them all because there are many), Sue C. Smith (who wrote most of our new album with us), Dianne Wilkinson (who is a fire as a songwriter...Look up some of her songs), and Marcia Henry, who wrote "Let Your Light So Shine" with us (because she is such a LIGHT to so many). All are mentors and encouragers in my life. In country music, I am so inspired by Liz Rose, who helped Taylor Swift find her wings and fly, and Janine Appleton Ebach, who stepped in to lead at Word Publishing and took Word/Curb to a massive success level in BOTH Christian and country music by sheer hard work and amazing creative intuition.
Q: Being such a seasoned writer, what makes a song good for you?
While lyrics are the most important part in my heart, a great marriage of lyric and melody feels imperative to making a good song great. What I mean by this is that the melody makes that lyric come to life. It's like putting the color on a black and white piece of art.
Q: You and your husband Zane have a new album. How and when was this album birthed?
We worked on Beautiful Ever After for two years! We just began writing our heart with our friends and once we knew we had the ten songs meant to be there on that album we finished it. This is our second recording. Our first was entitled Mile Marker One... And, as mentioned, our label is Journey Records. This all feels like such a beautiful road God is walking with us on and our albums and songs lend themselves to the journey.
Q: You have also included a cover of Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton. Tell us about this cover and why did you choose it?
Many people are familiar with our story as a family about addiction and recovery. Our daughter, Jenna, went through a very tough struggle with addiction. God has worked a miracle in her life and she will be clean five years this May. However, in the midst of those years she met and married one of the sweetest young men on earth named Logan. He was an army soldier, a kind soul, and, also, a struggler. They ended up parting ways through all the twists and turns of their struggles, rehabs, etc, In the midst of the whole journey, his parents became some of our dearest friends.
On January 1, 2017 we were all on our way to meet at the Sugar Bowl game together. That was the day Logan's mom got the call no mother should EVER have to get. Logan lost his battle that day. We all headed to their home and walked through Logan's celebration of life. His parents asked Zane and I to sing and they requested "When I Get Where I'm Going." That song brought them such HOPE and PEACE.
We realized it was a song that needed to be heard again and maybe even for the first time by many. You see, no matter what happens in this life, when we get where we are going, we will then be HOME... And who knows, maybe we really WILL "ride a drop of rain" (one lyric from the song). What I do know is there will be no more tears... Our faith will be made sight. So grateful.
Q: Out of the other originals, which was the most challenging to write? And why?
The most challenging song is entitled "How Faint the Whisper." That song is written directly from scripture Job 26:14. It started when our co-writer, Sue. C. Smith posted that verse on Facebook. As soon as I saw it I reached out to her to ask if we could write about it. When that day came, we knew wanted to convey the bigness of God that reaches to the smallest of His creation. We wanted to stay very true to the scripture. We wanted to express His power yet gentleness. We hope we got there. We sure did feel God's presence in it all.
Q: Though this question may be a little unfair, but if you have to choose your favorite song off this new record, which would it be? And why?
My favorite song on this record is easy for me to choose. It was not written by me. The lead is not sung by me. It was written and sung by my husband, Zane. He wrote it with Sue. C. Smith and Joe Cirafici. It is actually our brand new single, just landing at radio this month. The title is "God Of Every Moment." It is my favorite because of the message and because of the voice behind the message. The chorus talks about how He is God no matter what part of this life we are walking through. Here are the lyrics: "He's the God of joy and sorry, the God of love and loss, the God of suffering and healing, the God of the cross, the God of the tomb, standing empty and open. He is GOD, GOD of every moment," And He truly is.
Q: How do you wish this album would inspire your listeners?
Our prayer is that people will be inspired to see God in this journey more clearly and, also, to recognize that our Beautiful Ever After' begins with our faith in Him and that story will never end... because He is with us now and He will be with us when this life is over, for eternity. All we need to do is trust in Him. For those who have not yet placed their faith in Christ, we pray this recording helps lead them to his feet. We pray that everyone who hears this music will feel a sense of LOVE and PEACE in this life and that they will feel the true hope of the Beautiful Ever After yet to come.