An Un@pologetic Moment with Gospel Artist and Stellar Awards Host, Koryn Hawthorne
When it comes to being in touch with yourself, your music, and your purpose, you transform the world. And that is exactly what Koryn Hawthorne is doing. At the young age of 22, Koryn has well established herself in gospel music as one of the most prestigious artists to know. As one of the co-hosts of this year’s 35th Annual Stellar Awards, alongside Kirk Franklin and Johnathan McReynolds, she is continuing to show the world her connection to God and where faith can lead you.
Though the pandemic disrupted the red carpet for the Stellars this year, it certainly had no impact on the spirit of the hosts or the nominees. And having the honor to speak to Koryn certainly let me know how excited she remains to be one of the hosts for this year’s 35th Annual Stellar Awards (especially after winning a Stellar Award herself just last year). She is an un@pologetic ray of light that is making a difference in this world.
Dr. Pam: In your song, I AM, you indicated you found your identity as an artist. Were there other parts of your life you felt you needed to find and/or define?
Koryn: I Am as an artist and who I Am as a person has to be the same because of what I do. Because I am an inspirational artist. Because I am a gospel artist. Because I am a believer. All of those things have to coincide, so I definitely found that by finding who I am in Christ. And building a personal relationship with him, and knowing who he is, is how I figured out who I am and why I have to be confident (even in this time to do what God has called me to do). Because there’s nothing else when you surrender yourself over and say, “God, you know what you want to do with me.” And I become who he wants me to be. I think that’s what the whole project is about.
Dr. Pam: Is it challenging being a young Christian woman in a day influenced by social narratives? What keeps you connected to your faith?
Koryn: 100%. I do find it challenging and these are talks that me and my mom have. She is someone that keeps me encouraged. She is going to be happy I said her, but she is always on me and just encouraging me to be myself and who God has called me to be and not really look to social media. It’s a lot! And I am 22, so I’m still trying to figure out where I am going and a lot of stuff about me. It’s hard but my mom is strong support system. And having people around you that are going to keep it real and honest with you and tell you whenever you need to be told things about yourself. That is important. And also, just having a personal relationship with God so he can convict me on those things is important.
Dr. Pam: I loved your song “Speak to Me”. Why was it important to open up about your relationship with God and what did you hope listeners would take from it to build their own relationship with God?
Koryn: I think it was important. Especially because we dropped Pray first and Pray was just so needed in this time. And I think prayer is the start of building personal relationship with God. Prayer is supposed to be this intimate time where you get to know him. Just like with any other relationship, you talk, and you communicate, and this is how you build relationships and you get to know people. So, I think releasing Speak to Me after Pray was not strategic, but it was strategic by God. And it just talks about talking to him and being honest with him and if you’re speaking to him, I hope that he’s speaking back to you. Okay! Pray is about God speaking back to you. and I think that it was very important to show people that and give them a guideline because honestly not a lot of people (especially in my generation) know how to pray. Outside of it being super religious and “oh, thank you Lord for waking me up this morning. I hope I have a blessed day.” I am not saying that is not something that is not needed but I want to challenge my generation to go deeper and I think that it was important show the love story with him. To show that intimacy with him. This is a love song to him. And I have gotten a lot feedback that people that don’t know if this is a gospel song. They don’t know if this is an RnB song, but for me it is definitely about God and I think what I talk about is how he should be the foundation to teach us how to love in every relationship in our life. You learn how to love because God teaches us how to love.
Dr. Pam: Now let’s talk Stellar Awards! From winning a Stellar Award just last year to hosting in 2020? Are You Excited? What went through your mind when you got the call?
Koryn: I was beyond excited! First of all, you know, you always get a “mamma, look I am on tv.” I have had a few of those moments, but it never gets old. I’m really, really excited about that and when they called me and told me I did not believe them. I thought that they were joking but they told me about it before the pandemic and I was really excited about it. But after the pandemic, I definitely took it very seriously. Because we did a little bit different this year. Usually we’ve been in Las Vegas on the big stage with over 10,000 people. We had to completely flip the switch and do it virtually this year. So, I just became super hands-on: how can I help you all? How can I make this easier for you guys? Because it definitely was a lot of components with figuring out a location and making sure that people are safe from COVID. So, I’m super honored and I think that people need this inspiration in this time. I’m also excited to be hosting beside Kirk Franklin, who is a legend, and my big brother Jonathan. I think that this is going to be a night that people need so I’m excited to be a part of it.
Dr. Pam: What is next for Koryn Hawthorne?
Koryn: Oh, man, we got album dropping next month on September 18th, “I Am”, so right now that’s what’s next. I really don’t like to overthink the future because of God. I’ll pray that in he in constant orchestration over my life and I just want whatever he wants. I don’t want my desires. God whatever you want is what’s next. But the album I’m really excited about and I hope that it blesses people as much as it blessed me to create it.
And this is why Koryn Hawthorne is amazing. I wish Koryn tons of success both on her album and in everything that comes from her in all the years to come. I will definitely be watching and cheering her on along the way.
Don’t forget to tune in to the “Greatest Night in Gospel Music” as the 35th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards premieres on BET Networks as a two-hour virtual special this Sunday, August 23 at 6 p.m. ET.