Kerrie Roberts: The Miami-born singer reminding us it's Time For The Show

Friday 5th April 2013

Tony Cummings reports on Florida's Christian music chartmaker KERRIE ROBERTS

Kerrie Roberts
Kerrie Roberts

Considering that Miami-born Kerrie Roberts is only now releasing her second full length album this young lady with the massive voice has packed in a great deal of experience. From singing in church as a child, to touring the world with British crooner Englebert Humperdinck as a backing singer, to enjoying three US Christian radio hits from her self-titled album of 2011, one of which was the Cross Rhythms hit "Outcast". Now with Kerrie set to make her first UK appearance at the Big Church Day Out in May and Authentic Media releasing her second album 'Time For The Show' Kerrie's career continues to head in an upward trajectory.

Kerrie's early childhood in Miami was surrounded by Christian ministry. She explained, "My father is a pastor, so my whole family has been shaped by the church. Growing up, I saw my parents on call 24/7 as a support in times of grief, despair and other unexpected turns. They consistently taught me to reach out to the broken and to those who need encouragement and hope. That's something that resonates in me and that I love being a part of."

It was Kerrie's mother who encouraged her daughter's musical gift. "My mother is extremely musical and in church is always directing the choir or leading worship. At home you could always find her, my sister and me singing around the piano."

Kerrie began writing her first songs in high school, performing one during her own graduation. When the time came for college, Kerrie chose to get her degree in Studio Music and Jazz Vocal Performance at the University of Miami. She said, "Little kids have dreams. For me, it was 'I'm going to be a singer.' And I never grew out of it."

Kerrie Roberts: The Miami-born singer reminding us it's Time For The Show

As she finished college, Kerrie began the long, aching pursuit of doing music professionally. Always proactive, she continued writing, performing locally and even toured for a year as a background singer with '60s star Engelbert Humperdinck. In 2005 Kerrie struck out on her own and released a standalone single "It Is Well With Me". While living in Florida Kerrie supported her musical endeavours by working as a teacher at an elementary school and as an accountant. In 2008, she relocated to New York with two suitcases in hand, moving into a tiny apartment with almost no furniture. Working a desk job by day, she pursued her musical dream at night. But the dream frustratingly did not materialize into reality and it was to be two tough years before Kerrie landed a record deal with Provident Label Group's Reunion Records.

Releasing first a digital EP 'No Matter What', Reunion started getting favourable responses from US Christian radio and the title track eventually became a Top 10 Christian radio hit. Kerrie spoke to newreleasetuesday about her initial CCM hit. "'No Matter What' is based on an older idea and it came from a sermon that my father preached. I'm a pastor's daughter. He spoke on Daniel Chapter 3, and how Daniel's friends say right before they are thrown in the fiery furnace that 'we know that our God has the power to save us, but if not we're going to serve him anyway.' That's my paraphrase. That really struck me that God isn't saying he won't bring trouble into our life. The personal application for me is in the song 'Before a heartache can ever touch my life, it has to go through your hands.' God is saying when we face that fiery furnace we need to rely on him."

The singer/songwriter's 'Kerrie Roberts' album was released in August 2010. One of the album's standout tracks was the soul-flavoured dose of encouragement "Keep Breathing". Said Kerrie, "I would wake up every morning with that feeling of 'Why is my life not what I know it should be? I know something so clear, and yet I'm going to go do accounting today. What am I doing wrong?' Every day in my journal, I told myself to 'keep breathing'. This has been the song from my past that family and friends have told me, 'I listen to it every day when I drive to work and it helps me get through.'"

The closing song on 'Kerrie Roberts' is "Beautiful To Me". Said the singer, "It's incredible to see the beauty in God's plan of salvation, that holy mystery of how he used destruction to bring life, and how that speaks to the pain in our lives. It's a cry out to God, 'Please make whatever this heartbreak is into something beautiful as only you can.'"

Kerrie Roberts: The Miami-born singer reminding us it's Time For The Show

Kerrie's second full length album 'Time For The Show' was released on 2nd April. She spoke to breathecast about how recording it differed from her debut. "The biggest difference for me was just in the process. The first album, I had just moved from New York. Working within the machine and the framework of someone else's ideas can be really overwhelming. Then the second time around I just felt more freedom from that. I also had experience on the road, and I felt like I knew my fans. The first album I knew who I was singing to, but on the second one I had actually seen their faces and felt way more connected. I wanted to focus the album on writing something I thought they'd enjoy. I wanted a praise moment. I wanted a heartbreak moment. I wanted the album to be fun."

It certainly impressed the critics. Jesusfreakhideout enthused, "Time For The Show', at worst, is definitely equal to her debut, and at best, superior to it in every way. The one thing that stands out the most on this record is Robert's strong and unwavering vocals. Her confidence in her own abilities sounds like it has increased immensely and she is not afraid to belt out notes that she never even attempted on her debut. The music itself is very poppy and electronic, not unlike mainstream radio pop, but I feel that her music, usually, has a lot more substance than her mainstream counterparts. In fact (and I almost hesitate to use the comparison since she admittedly has a ways to go before she reaches the brilliance of these artists), I must admit that I was mentally comparing her music, favourably, to Plumb and Charmaine at times (particularly album highlight 'Not Real Yet', which could fit seamlessly on a Plumb album). Her message, however, remains unchanged, and that is simply that we need God and we can't do anything without him."

So what is the audience at Big Church Day Out likely to get at a Kerrie Roberts performance? She said, "On the road I would do 'Firework' [Katy Perry] covers just to see everybody light up and dance around. I knew we needed some up-tempo dance moments to really enjoy the live experience and the second album. I'd do a medley of that into the chorus of Pink's 'Pretty Please'. How people responded to it definitely made me want to have a dance moment on this record." But as well as having a good time Kerrie is keen that audiences walk away from one of her performances with something else. She continued, "I want to share the unconditional love that I've had poured into my own life. I hope that when people listen to these songs, and identify with the emotion in them, that they will know they're not alone. And ultimately, I want listeners to be filled with a sense of purpose - a realisation of truth and a promotion of hope and healing." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


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