Coming from the Netherlands, Kirsten Alting certainly brings a different perspective to Christian music. With traces of country, contemporary Christian pop and southern Gospel in her music. Alting also brings an international perspective into her most recent release "Praise His Name." In fact, one of the songs from the record "Unlikelies" was voted as a fan favorite at absolutelygospel.com in September this year.
Moreover, she's also a choir member at Forever worship while working as an ambassador of Mercy Ships, an organisation that gives medical care to the poorest in africa on the traveling hospital boat. We are so honored to be able to catch up with her for this Hallels' exclusive interview.
Hallels: Coming from Netherlands, how did you become interested in singing southern/country Gospel music? Can you tell us a little of your journey and calling to sing for the Lord?
Kirsten: A few years ago I got the feeling over and over again, that I had to do more with music than what I did at that time. My husband and me started praying about it . After a period the Lord told me through other people, that I had to tell people my testimony and go make an album... Because I was struggling with depressions, low self esteem, and physical illness that time I had to conquer a big deal...so it took me a long time before I listened to it and put my feelings of insecureness and fear aside. But finally I did because I want to follow God. It became clear that God in fact just happened to want to use my personal story of depressions, low self esteem, and physical illness to touch people and encourage them to Praise Gods Name through any circumstance. Just by telling my story and struggles and through the music.I knew that it just had to be more than just a disc with some beautifull songs.. no it had to be the word of God that He wanted to tell through my voice and music. And also it had to be innovative. it had to add something for the dutch gospelmusic... So I went looking for what music style suits my voice most and what was renewing. it had to add something for the dutch gospelmusic because I wasn't known as a solo artist. And so I kept coming back at country/crossover. I like the style myself very much, and it fits me vocally.. and in holland there isn't much country at all... even in regular as in gospel music.
Since the release and even in the making process, we see God is using the album and His words are spreading .. and now even in America... wow didn't see that coming.... Praise Him!
Hallels: With your European background, what gifts and experiences do you bring to Christian music that you think are unique or special?
Kirsten: I've never been to America (I really really hope to be able to come and see it in the future) , so I don't know the differences between European and American people.. so I think I can only answer this when I've been in America and have seen and know the American people. But as far as what I bring into Christian music I think that Europe and the Netherlands in special isn't ready for the real real country, which you'll find in America. So I'll bring a mixed version of country/crossover with a little European sound and even at times (not at the album for now) a little folk and celtic influences. I'll bring my personality and life experiences in my music and tell it like it is.. just as I am. It just has to be about the words and Gods love and not for the show.. so for example the song unlikelies I choose to let it be breakable, just with piano and cello, so the lyrics would be strengthened.I'm so thrilled having Gordon Mote playing the piano for this song!!Further I've noticed from experience that when somebody is depressed some people tell you things that aren't true. For example: "your faith is not strong enough " or "there must be something you've done or doing wrong, otherwise you would be happy " or "pray for it and tomorrow it will be better"Oh so many times I felt so quilty that I wasn't happy and that I wasn't able to be in church with my hands lifted high and be in the "glory hallelujah"- mood... Well, God let me see in these past years, that He'd rather have his child crying or shouting at Him but telling the truth, than being the "perfect" Christian but meanwhile not telling Him the real thoughts and feelings. So there for I'll bring my testimony and with this and the music, praying that people will be encouraged and promoted to Praise His Name, no matter what the circumstances may be. But keep searching it by the Lord! That's the only place we have to be to find real healing and peace and by getting to know Him and have a real relationship we can live the forfilled life He planned for us!
Hallels: Congratulations on the release of your new album "Praise His Name." Was this album recorded in the US or Netherlands or both? Who are some of the guests you've worked with on the record?
Kirsten: thank you! It was recorded in both countries although I haven't been in America in person. I really would have come to America and record everything there, if it had been possible. but If I tell you I've financed the whole project myself, you'll understand that coming to your country just wasn't possible. But thanks to the digital highway it was possible to do it this way..
I'd love to tell you a little bit of the people I've worked with on this album. Starting with my friend Jan Peter Beijersbergen on guitars and most of the "Dutch" recordings were done in his studio. He is a highly valued (studio) guitarist.Jan Peter, also called Jay-p has helped me a lot finding my "voice"sound and getting the best out of me. Jay-p played with names like Darrel Mansfield, kajem, Chris Eaton, Ralph van Manen, Lori Spee, Harry Muskee, Mathilde Santing, Barry Hay.
Frank van Essen is a dutch drummer who played with great names like Celtic folk themed band Iona ,Margaret Becker, Rick Cua, Marcel McArthur, Jessy Dixon, Susan Ashton, Adrian Snell, Chris Eaton, Dave Fitzgerald and many others.
Luca Genta is an italian dutchman and a very talented musician. He is also composer, producer. He also mixed and mastered my album.For the album he played the bass and his cello sealed the deal for the song "unlikelies". Luca and I together wrote the song "at The foot of the cross" He played with people like: Margaret Becker, Nina Aström and many more.
Andre bijleveld played the Hammond and piano for the album.. He has traveled over the world as hammondplayer. And played with great names all over the world.
Earlier I named Gordon Mote.. He played the piano for the song unlikelies. I think Gordon is well known in America and I'm honored that he wanted to record the piano for me for the song unlikelies, because I believe no one could do that song better than him. Its such a gifted and humble man. He said in an email to me that he would compose an entire album on me if I could come to Nashville oneday..... that he thought that would be fun! Well I think so too! I'd love to meet him in person... so I hope so that it will be possible in the future to come to America and meet all people who helped me with my album and also go on tour!!
Hallels: On this album you have done a few covers as well as your own compositions. Can you tell us a few of the songs you have written for this album?
I've written the song "At the foot of the cross together with Luca Genta and put an old song like Jesus Your name be lifted high, in a new jacket. I've chosen to not write the whole album myself, just to keep overvieuw in all. Because the whole process of making an album and all that comes to that was new for me. Also.. I don't have as much energy as someone else because of my illness (I've and colostomy and have infections regularly) so I'd to spare me some energy..So I went searching for some songwriters who could help me with new songs. And there were Dixie & Sharon Phillips and Amy Lewis from your country!!.and they had written a few beauties!!! (storm smoother, we don't always understand and unlikelies)
Here in holland are a few songs that tell us something in the sense of " to take your sins and troubles and put them in a river" , or " take a step into the river" ... a river of mercy flows... and I think you can imagine some examples of these songs. All beautifull songs but I kept on thinking that it isn't about a river... I don't need to bring my burdens to a river... no ... the foot of the cross is THE PLACE to be. The Lord is willing to forgive my sins and cleanse my heart when I ask Him to, but I have to remind myself everyday that He died on that cross for me and put away the feelings of insecureness and fears which I have at times...he died for me. I have to put every thought fear or sin at the foot of the cross. There I can find healing and forgiveness.so the chorus of the song is: "at the foot of the cross, is the place I belong. I surrender all to you, and I'll give you my life at the foot of the cross"
Hallels: One of the songs "Unlikelies" was voted a fan favorite by absolutelygospel.com, how does that make you feel? And for some of our readers who may not heard it yet, what's the song about?
Kirsten: I still am not used to see my name on internet or hear my album or songs on radio... who am i.. just a ordinairy girl from Holland and now she's even played on air in America... I can't understand it yet.. Also I'm still insecure about my singing, and who I am, although I'm healing little bit at the time. But on the other side I'm soo thankfull that the americans also be able to hear the words!When I look at myself, I used to feel so low many times. Feeling I wasn't worthy of Gods grace, because I wasn't good Christian enough in my eyes or I was to sinfull or felt like my live was a failiure. When Dixie phillips sent me some new written songs to consider for my album I was stroke by this song and expecially the sentence: "God of unlikelies chose unlikely me, to be a part of His family " although I was real Christian and knew God as my savior.. It was then if I understood it for real that the Lord just chose me! He chose me, just as I am!!! I could really be part of His family for He chose me!!!If I felt this way, being a reborn Christian who lived with the Lord, then I knew there were many more people who had to hear this too!God is a God of the unlikelies... So if you're abandoned, rejected, betrayed.. desperate, lonely people, blind, handicapted or whatever else you may feel.. You're part of His family!!!!!He chose you!!!
Hallels: Are you currently touring the US right now in promoting this record? If not, any plans of touring the US?
Kirsten No, I've never been able to visit the US unfortunately, but I really really hoping to be able to come once soon!! As a solo artist and making this album I've done everything myself, I have no manager, no record company or label, and I've payed my album by my work as a music teacher. We're trying to save some money to come to Nashville hopefully next year to meet people and go writing and recording a single there (daywind studio's has asked me to sing one of their unreleased songs) but my husband is partially unemployed at the moment, so we're struggling to make the ends meet financially.So if there is anyone who could help me with this in any way and how big or small, and who'se willing to stand up for this ministry, please contact me!
Hallels: For our readers who would like to purchase the new album "Praise His Name" or find out more about you, where can they go?
Kirsten: They can find more about me on www.kirstenalting.com I'd love to get in contact with your readers, so if you would you like to get in touch with me or purchase my album, please visit me at www.kirstenalting.com But my album is also digital available on the itunes store, Spotify, amazon and many other digital canals. You can also order my album by sending me an email, and telling me how many albums you would like & your address at firstname.lastname@example.org I then will send you the payment details and ship the album(s) as soon as possible.
You could also find me at facebook, twitter and reverbnation.
Really like to hear from you!