Estella Kirk, a young model and singer-songwriter, released her first single today, “Shelter in the Storm,” and the debut music video to spread hope during uncertain times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Estella was wrapping up her debut EP album with producer Kira Fontana when the Coronavirus outbreak hit, so they immediately changed direction and decided to write a song about turning to God in this crisis. The new song was produced by Josh “Igloo” Monroy (JoJo, Melanie Martinez) and co-written by Kira, a former top LA celebrity vocal coach to major labels and shows such as Glee and The Voice – now a singer-songwriter, producer, and the founder of Kingdom Sound.
The two really felt God had something He wanted to say to them about the current global situation, so they prayed for clarity. He led them to Psalm 91, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” He showed them that even in the midst of this storm, where the whole world has been shaken, He is our shelter. When you put your faith and trust in Him, you can have peace and strength no matter what is happening around the world.
When Kirk met Fontana in 2018, she was looking for vocal lessons to become a pop musician. But after meeting her, Fontana knew there were bigger plans in their future. As Fontana got to know her better, the two discussed the current state of the pop music industry and decided a more Christian focused career would be more powerful and would allow Kirk to serve God, and she could trust where He would take her. The timing was fortuitous because Fontana was transitioning out of vocal coaching to start her own music production company that focused on Christian music. After years of working in Hollywood and becoming disturbed by the vast majority of lyrics in the mainstream music industry, she started Kingdom Sound to produce her own music – and Estella Kirk is one of the first artists with her production company.
Kirk started working in the entertainment industry at age seven, modeling, acting, and singing, so it was a big change to move in this direction, but she is very excited to be able to use her God given talents to help bring more people closer to him.
“If you sing and you’re nine years old, you want to be a pop star. That’s just what you want. All the music you listen to is pop,” said Estella Kirk. “But when I came to Kira Fontana in Los Angeles, she knew I was Christian and talked to me about using my God-given gifts to glorify Him and that is when I decided to switch directions.”
“When I launched Kingdom Sound, it was a challenge to find the right artists to develop,” said Kira Fontana.” While I was working with many talented singers as a LA vocal coach, Estella had the heart, grit, work ethic, and love of God I was looking for.”
In addition to releasing her first single, Kirk is releasing her first music video today on her YouTube channel, directed by Zack Patrick and produced by Kingdom Sound. The inspiration for the video was to share a message of hope. The video opens with footage of life during the COVID-19 pandemic and what people are experiencing now, and moves to the hope and strength we can find when we turn to God no matter what circumstances we’re in. By the end of the video, the cloudy skies open to a beautiful sunny sky with people embracing each other with hugs, shaking hands and love – giving people hope that this won’t last forever and we’ll be able to gather and be together and show affection like we did before.
When they filmed the video it just happened to be in the middle of a storm in Southern California, during the coronavirus epidemic. “We knew it was important to get this message of hope out to the world right away, so we decided to go ahead with the shoot in the rain,” said Kira Fontana. “We made it to uplift and encourage people around the world in this pandemic, to give them hope.”
While the song is an anthem for those struggling in the face of the coronavirus quarantine, its lyrics are also meant to encourage anyone fighting adversity – “it could apply to the hardships of facing an illness or even having a fight with friends,” said Estella Kirk. “I feel like God will give direction and strength to anyone if they ask Him… and I feel like we all need that reassurance, especially right now.”
Kirk fell in love with singing at the age of six and grew up performing with a talent group in her hometown. She has performed during the iHeart Jingle Ball and at venues including the House of Blues, Gas Monkey Live!, and Harvard School of Law. She puts God at the center of everything that she does and strives to make music that appeals to all ages.
Kirk won Miss McAlester’s Outstanding Teen in 2019 and will be running for Miss Oklahoma in June 2020. She plans to perform an original song at the show that she co-wrote with Fontana and her platform is music awareness. She hopes to shine a light on the destructive nature of the lyrics in mainstream music and how harmful those messages are to our younger generations.
Next month Kirk plans to release her next song from her forthcoming EP. She is based in Southeast Oklahoma, home to other widely successful musicians like Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, and Blake Shelton.
Photo Credit: Kirk Patrick