Q&A: “The Voice” artist Kymberli Joye talks faith, anxiety and music 

Artist Kymberli Joye captured America’s attention when she openly declared her desire to be a Gospel singer on NBC’s “The Voice.” Before her moving performance of Hillsong UNITED’s “Oceans,” Joye spoke with coach Kelly Clarkson about her struggle with depression and anxiety, and how faith in God brought her through. Last week Joye was eliminated from the competition, making her a season 15 semi-finalist. In the following interview, Joye shares about her journey on “The Voice” and proclaiming her faith on reality television.

 

RS: Before “The Voice,” did you know you wanted to be a Gospel artist?

KJ: Gospel music is part of my life. My parents are pastors, I grew up in the church and I’m a worship leader. Coming on the show, I knew I wanted to tell the world that I was a Gospel singer and Christian artist. That’s what I wanted to be from day one.

RS: What was it like working with Kelly Clarkson?

KJ: It was amazing. I’ve been a fan of her since “American Idol,” and to work with someone who I’ve looked up to for so long was incredible. She’s the kindest, sweetest person I know. She’s just like she is on TV––she’s funny but can be serious, she gives amazing advice and she really cares about everyone on her team. Kelly’s been a great support system.

RS: How did it feel to talk about your faith with big-time celebrities like Kelly Clarkson, Carson Daly and Jennifer Hudson?

KJ: Surprisingly enough, it felt natural. It can be daunting to be vulnerable. On top of that, you’re talking to celebrities and you know it’s being taped for TV. But I wanted to first and foremost make sure that I told my story and represented my faith in the right way. I wanted to show people that I’m flawed, I have issues and I’ve doubted. We’re real people who go through real issues, but we still have a real God who can help us with those issues.

RS: Tell us about the moment where Jennifer Hudson said that you helped “renew [her] faith a little bit more”? What did this mean to you?

KJ: It meant so much to me, not because she was Jennifer Hudson, but because she was a person. It meant so much that my story, my performance and the song “Oceans” helped touch her heart and her walk in faith. I was very grateful to be used in that moment. I always say that we are a vessel for music and healing to come through. I felt like I had done my job that night.

RS: It seems like you’ve been able to encourage people who are at different steps in their faith. Is this something you aspire to do through your music?

KJ: Absolutely. I found that a lot of people who responded to me during the show are people who’ve had issues with faith, haven’t gone to church in a long time or maybe they’ve never been at all. They say to me, “There’s something about the way you presented or the things you said that made me want to look into that.”

I realize that I want to lead people in worship in the church, but I also want to lead people outside of the church so they can know who God is and what it means to have a real relationship with Him.

RS: Before you sang “Oceans,” you talked about your journey with anxiety and depression, and how faith helped you overcome those struggles. What made you decide to share this part of your story?

KJ: When I first got on the show, I basically heard the Spirit of the Lord tell me, “You’re on the show to be a light, so you need to be transparent.” A lot of people who struggle with these things feel like they’re alone, and when that happens, you can’t see a way out. Hearing someone else say that they’ve dealt with it can help you flip the switch to go seek help.

I wanted to make sure I could be a light in a dark place because I remember where I was. I still deal with anxiety issues to this day, but it’s nowhere near where it was before. The depression is gone. But life can become overwhelming, and it gets really dark when you think you’re alone. That’s when the enemy comes into your ear and says, “You’re never going to get out of this. It’s never going to get better.” But the Word of God says that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. I wanted to make sure I used my platform to share a piece of my testimony and encourage somebody else.

RS: Tell us about the other Christian song you sang, “Break Every Chain.” This song began with the bold lyrics, “There is power in the name of Jesus.”

KJ: It is a strong statement, and I was kind of surprised that “The Voice” let me make it. The show has always allowed people to sing Gospel songs and hymns, but this song is so powerful, especially the statement “there is power in the name of Jesus.” It says that three times before it says “break every chain.” I was happy that the show gave me room to be myself and express my faith without apprehension.

RS: What was your relationship like with the other contestants? Were you able to have faith conversations with them off-camera?

Absolutely. That’s what I’ve enjoyed most about the show––the camaraderie among the contestants since the beginning. In the blind auditions, “The Voice” allowed us to have a church service in a room in our hotel. We worshipped, and it was beautiful. We weren’t all at the same place in our faith, but we all sang and lifted up the name of Jesus. We also always prayed before the shows.

I got the nickname “preacher,” because I’m always encouraging someone with a word when they are feeling negative or have something going on. That’s just who I am!

RS: What is your encouragement to believers living in a secular environment who want to bring the Gospel into their world?

KJ: I’ve worked in the secular arena for a long time, and I’ve learned that being a light doesn’t necessarily mean quoting Scripture all the time or singing only Gospel songs. It means showing people love, being a listening ear or praying when they ask you to.

When people say, “I don’t know what it is, but I feel like I can talk to you,” or, “I find peace when I’m with you,” that’s the Holy Spirit. That’s the light of Jesus shining through you. So be open and show love. Love is the key.

RS: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your journey, or what God is doing?

KJ: I believe God is doing something new in this season where unlikely people are rising up to proclaim His Name. I want to say to people––be open and be ready. There is a harvest coming, and there is a new generation of people who will be seeking after God with everything they have. Don’t be discouraged by statistics or the breaking of tradition, because it’s not tradition that saves. It’s Jesus that saves. When He came, he broke down barriers and traditions.

I also want to say, “Don’t give up.” Whatever that means to whoever reads it, don’t give up. If it’s a dream, a promise God gave you or something you’ve been working at for a long time, don’t give up.

 

“The Voice” season 15 finale will air Tuesday, December 18 at 8 p.m. EST. Follow Kymberli Joye on social media @kymberlijoye.

 

IT’S NOT EVERY DAY you have an impromptu duet with Kelly Clarkson, singing one of her original songs in perfect harmony, completely on the spot. Soon Kelly is yelling, “Pick me! Pick me!” Two chairs down, Adam Levine is smashing his buzzer in protest and yelling, “Nooooo Kelly!”

That’s exactly what happened when 18-year-old Alexa Cappelli made her blind audition debut during NBC’s The Voice. Out of the two judges, Alexa chose Kelly.

Alexa Cappelli sings “I’ve Got the Music in Me”

“Every preteen loves Kelly Clarkson growing up,” Cappelli said. “I love that she doesn’t stick with one genre. She’s done basically everything, and she could teach me a lot through the experience of being a contestant. Adam is very persuasive, but I had to go with my gut.”

Alexa went on to conquer the Battle Rounds and Knockout Rounds, earning a place in the top 24 overall, and top six on the historic, first-ever Team Kelly. Alexa said the process was an incredible experience, and she was struck by how personal her relationship was with the judges.

“I loved the insight of being able to see that these people we look up to in the media and in music — they’re normal people,” Cappelli said. “And they want to hear about us! Kelly was a great example of being such a great, genuine person. She really poured into us and wanted to hear from us and what we loved about music.”

FRIENDSHIPS & FAITH

In addition to vocal sessions and rehearsals, Alexa got to know Kelly and her team through fun activities like bowling and going to Universal Studios theme park. She also built strong friendships that extend outside the show, particularly with her teammate Brynn Cartelli, and Jackie Foster and Britton Buchanan of Team Alicia. (Brynn and Britton are in The Voice finale, airing May 22.)

“Being able to work alongside Brynn and see her motivation at such a young age… she’s got such a drive that is really inspiring.” Alexa added that she, Brynn and Jackie hope to meet up this summer for a girls trip in Boston.

Jackie was Alexa’s roommate, and the two bonded over their love of music and their shared faith in Christ. One of Alexa’s favorite verses throughout her time on the show was Jeremiah 29:11.

“I had a little rock in the bathroom of our hotel with Jeremiah 29:11 on it,” Alexa said. “I left it there when I went home, so now it’s Jackie’s! She wanted me to take it, but I told her it was hers.”

A few days later, Jackie called Alexa and told her she had been reading over the verse, and she knew she’d be at peace with whatever would happen.

“I love that verse, because it’s all right there,” Alexa said. “If I can see anything into what God has planned for me, [I know] it’s a hope and a future.”

Alexa said that staying grounded throughout the ups and downs of the competition was harder than she realized. “The toughest part was the internal struggle, remembering that this was not about me in any way. This was about me sharing my voice, the gift I’ve been given to share. It’s easy to get caught up in the cameras and music, but you have to keep going. I had to remember I wasn’t there for me.”

She found strength through prayer and reading the Bible. “I had to remember that this is just a step in the big journey that God has planned out, uniquely for me, and for music.”

“That moment that I got sent home, I thought, ‘Okay. I really wanted that [win].’ But I also just had to stop and trust that He has something so much bigger… I don’t know what that is, and it will be a crazy journey finding that through Him.”

WHAT’S NEXT

In a few short weeks, Alexa will graduate from Orange County School of the Arts, where she attended despite the 1.5 hour one-way commute. This fall she will study music business at Cal Poly Ponoma, a short thirty minutes from her home.

Alexa is excited to spend more time with her family and friends during this new season. She will also continue to be involved in Steven’s Hope for Children, a non-profit organization run by her parents that helps families of seriously injured children. Additionally, she plans to spend the summer writing and producing new music.

“I think the time to look out for new music would be the fall of this year,” Alexa said. “I’d love to get an EP out, and that’s my vision. So look out for that soon!”

To keep up with Alexa on Instagram and Twitter at @alexacappelli and through her website at alexcappelli.com.

She has off-the-charts vocals. She can belt the high notes and rap to Lecrae. She’s been traveling through Europe touring with TobyMac. Oh, and she’s also 19 years old.
Meet Hollyn, the young artist who is already making her mark on the Christian music industry. In 2015 she released her self-titled EP, which shows off her incredible vocals in an upbeat, modern style of music.

RS: What is it like touring with TobyMac? What have you learned from him?

H: Touring with Toby has been incredible to say the least. He’s so much fun to be around. Diverse City has become my family, and I am so grateful to travel and be a part of this journey with them by my side. I’ve learned so much from their years of experience, and they are helping me become the artist and leader I need to be.

RS: You are 19 years old. What are the benefits and challenges of pursuing a singer-songwriter career at such a young age?

H: The benefits of being so young and being an artist is the opportunity to see the world and singing for a living. I mean, how many people get to do what they love for a living? I’m truly blessed and the Lord is faithful. It’s also challenging because I barely have time to see my family or friends from home, but I keep in touch and FaceTime has become the best way to do that for now. Everything has pros and cons, and I’m trying the best I can to balance it out.

RS: How did your experience on American Idol (Season 12) shape your music career?

H: My experience on American Idol showed me that I wasn’t ready at the time to dedicate my life to something I didn’t believe in. I didn’t know who I was as an artist, so I went home and made an effort to figure that out. That’s when I met Toby, and accepted the fact that God was calling me to do this.

RS: Did you ever consider producing secular music?

H: To me, great music is being transparent and honest. Whether that’s about my relationship with Jesus, how my heart has been broken by a boy, friendship, or a track that I love because it just makes me feel good. If you craft songs intentionally and speak from the heart, people will listen.

RS: How is your music distinctive within the Christian genre?

H: I have an incredible team that allows me to write music I’m passionate about. My goal is to create a sound and brand that is fresh and unique. Something that people my age are drawn to and that speaks to a generation called to be different.

RS: When did you first become interested in rap?

H: I’ve always listened to rap music, but I recently stated attempting to rap about 3 years ago. I wouldn’t call myself a “rapper” but I love having fun with it.

RS: How has your family supported you throughout this journey?

H: My family has supported me through every aspect of life. Music or no music. They love me for who I am in Christ and as their daughter/sister. They’ve traveled, invested their time, and loved me unconditionally. I am eternally grateful for them.

RS: What are your plans for the future?

The future excites me. Five years ago I was sitting in school day dreaming about singing on stage for a living, and now I get to travel the world with TobyMac. I can’t wait to see what the next 5 years bring.

To learn more about Hollyn and her music, visit iamhollyn.com and follow her on Twitter at @iamhollyn.

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