Singer/songwriter Hannah Kerr debuted her newest single, “Same God,” last week on Black River Christian and it is set to impact Christian radio later this month. “Same God” was written by Hannah, Emma Klein, and Hunter Leath, and GRAMMY-winning songwriter/producer Josh Kerr produced the single. These are challenging times for countless people, but in the true spirit of hope, Kerr found inspiration that shines through the song, and even the artwork reflects it. In this TCB Exclusive, Kerr opens up about what inspired her new single as well as early listener reaction to the song. She also discusses her growing passion for songwriting and what she has learned about herself during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Congratulations on the recent release of your new single titled “Same God” (on March 12th)! Can you share the inspiration behind the title and cover art?
So the title of the song is interesting because it’s called “Same God,” but really the way it’s used in the song is the last line of the chorus, “You love me the same, God.” So it’s actually “Same, God” in the song, but it’s just talking about how God loves us the same no matter what we go through and no matter what doubts or questions we have. He is still going to love us, which also bleeds into the cover, which is my face with a lot of nature inspiration. There are birds coming out of my hair and trees and it’s just a really interesting cover. It pulls in the nature imagery from the song: “the same God who makes the planets spin, tells the tide when it should rise, and puts the color in my eyes.” So it’s saying the same God that created the universe created me and knows every detail about me. Something interesting about the song is that my brother Josh produced it, and in the track of the song there are actual bird sounds, which also connect to the cover.
Thinking back on the process of creating “Same God,” is there a moment that stood out to you most, perhaps that solidified your resolve to release this song?
When I was writing this song with my cowriters, we actually wrote it on Zoom. That’s just an interesting process – writing in your own home looking at a computer screen. While we were writing it, we all had this sense that we were writing something more than just a song I wanted to release, but something that was really real for us in that specific time. I felt that some while we were writing, but then after I had to record the vocals in my apartment with my husband. And while I was singing it, I could barely get through it because it was just resonating so deeply in my spirit. I just felt this sense of needing to say this and remind myself in this moment and season of my life. And I think when a song impacts yourself that’s when you know this is something that I need to hear. But then my husband said something similar about it being a special song, so it validated it for myself that not only I felt it, but he did too.
How are you looking to define success for this single?
Success in this song is that it connects with people. That it reaches people. To set up this single, we sent the song out to ten of my fans and had them record their reactions of listening to it for the first time. And I watched them last night, and I was just overcome by their response. After the song, they talked about what it meant to them, and they all said it met them where they were today. Some were crying and some were laughing. One girl just got up and started dancing because she couldn’t contain herself. It was all just so beautiful, and I realized that the song wasn’t even out yet and it had already done what I had hoped it would do. Which is just so encouraging to me as an artist and a writer that my songs connect with people.
You frequently share cowriting credits on your music. Is that important for you to have that personal connection with songs from their inception?
I think the more that I’ve written songs, the more I feel I want to have every single song I put out come from a personal place in my own life. If I’m going to share a song with the world, I want to make sure it’s something I really feel deeply and something that I’ve personally walked through. And God is so creative and so inspirational and so much a part of the creative process that I’ve always loved feeling like God is giving me something to bring to and write. There is just such a personal aspect to writing songs that I want to be a part of, and I want people to hear my heart and know me. I want to let people into my experiences, so writing the song is a huge part of that process. I love when people message me telling me they love a song and I can share the story behind the song. It opens up a world of vulnerability and just connection with someone else. That’s the point of ministry – connecting with someone else – and ultimately pointing them to Jesus. Through my songwriting, I’m able to make that connection and show how faithful God has been in my own life.
Last year, you also released some new music with the deluxe edition of your Christmas album. One of the new tracks featured Michael Cochran. How did that collaboration come about?
Michael and I got together over Zoom. It was with a friend, Tyrus Morgan, and I just got set up to write with him because I’m such a fan of Michael. I love his music, and I think his voice is amazing, and his style is just so cool. So I asked if I could write with him, and my publisher set it. We got together, and he came with this piano idea, which is basically the track you hear on the record. And I had this melody and lyric idea, and it was one of those moments that do not happen very often. My idea and his idea just fit perfectly together. It was so crazy, and we wrote the whole song in like an hour, which is just so fast. I could just not say enough good things about him as a person and how talented he is. We’ve written since then, and I feel like I’ll keep writing with him because I believe he just brings so much to a writing room. But I knew I wanted him to sing on the song, and I asked Tyrus if he thought Michael would consider singing on the song, and he thought he would. So we asked Michael, and he agreed, and we made the whole thing happen in like two weeks. We really needed to get it out, so it was just such a special process. I think Michael was the perfect person to be a part of it.
Prior to the pandemic, you frequently were on tour with other artists. How have you pivoted the last year without that in-person connection with listeners and touring with other artists?
It’s definitely been a challenge. I think the whole music industry has just been trying to figure out what to do and how to connect. Zoom has definitely been one way that I’ve connected with fans throughout the pandemic. I’ve done so many Zoom concerts and I’ve Zoom’ed into youth groups and conferences. It’s not the same as being there, but it does put a personal touch in an interaction. I feel like I’ve actually connected more with fans in this time because of that connection you can have instantly. Without having to travel or maybe having to have a shorter interaction, with Zoom I’m able to talk and have time that I wouldn’t have on the road. Of course, I’m ready to have that in-person interaction again soon. Also this year, there’s been a shift for me in connecting with people over social media. Not necessarily in comments and likes, but I’ve really made some solid connections and relationships with fans on Instagram or Facebook in my messages. People will share about their life and how they’ve connected with a song, and I’ll often message back. And that will become us talking once a week back and forth. People will reach out to say they’re praying for me and ask that I pray for them, and it’s just so cool that even though we are isolated in some ways by the pandemic, but there are other ways where I feel like I’ve connected more deeply with people on a heart level. I’m excited to see those people in-person after the pandemic, but for now, I’m really thankful for technology.
Have you learned anything new about yourself during this time?
So many things! I feel like in my personal life I’ve learned a lot about trusting God even when things don’t look exactly like we’ve hoped. I’ve learned that I tend to be mistrusting of people and sometimes God. So I’ve really been working to trust God with my finances and my future, with my calendar and my relationships. I’m just in a place of surrender and trusting Him. Not knowing when we can get back on the road, or if I would get to have a wedding. Not knowing these things has just built my trust in God and made me realize that we have all these plans for what we’re going to do and how we’re going to connect with people and what life is going to look like. And oftentimes it’s a blessing when it doesn’t turn out that way because it’s so much better in His plan. We just need to trust Him with our lives and He is going to do so much more than we could ask or imagine. That’s the story of 2020 for me – amidst all the change and difficulty – God has been so constant.
What are you most expectant for in 2021?
I’m most expectant for new beginnings. In general – my personal life and music – this is the year of a new start, a freshness that I’m so excited about. My husband and I are going to be moving, hopefully buying a house. With music, it’s a new chapter for me with releasing this single, and then hopefully a bunch of other music as well. This newness is something I’m excited about and something that’s welcomed. 2020 was wonderful but also very hard, and I’m ready for a fresh start. 2021 has looked remarkably similar to 2020 so far, but I just feel that going forward there is so much more to look forward to.