Recently we talked with Estella Kirk and Kira Fontana. Estella is an emerging Christian pop artist who recently released her debut single “Shelter In The Storm“. She co-wrote the song with Kira Fontana, a leading Hollywood vocal coach, who just left the mainstream pop industry to start her own Christian label and production company, Kingdom Sound. Estella is her first artist. Together, they talked about plans to release new music and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Congratulations on the recent release of your debut single “Shelter In The Storm”! Can you share a little about the inspiration for this single?
Estella: Thank you so much! The main inspiration to write this song was definitely the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw how much fear was spreading around the world so we wanted to create a song to spread hope – we felt God wanted us to tell people to have faith over fear and that they could lean on God for answers. One of the main verses for this song was Psalms 91 “He who dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of the almighty” which means that even through a time like COVID-19, God is still our rock and shield during this time.
Estella Kirk [Photo Credit: Kirk Patrick]
What has been the reaction to the single and music video so far? Have there been any impact stories that listeners have shared?
Estella: Yes! There have been so many people reaching out to me to tell me how much God has spoken to them through this song and how it has given them new hope. A good friend of mine also shared that she is even receiving messages of people telling her how much they love the song and how it’s given them faith and hope as well – so the song is helping bring people closer to God, which is one of my ultimate goals. I have also received messages from strangers that the song and video “is a light in the world today,” “my new favorite song,” and the “perfect song to spread hope.”
Estella is your first signed artist to release a record. What did you see in Estella that drew you to her mission? What do you look for in other artists that you will be signing?
Kira: I saw Estella had a desire to glorify God and help point others to Him, and that was very important to me. So many young artists are just after the fame and fortune, but Estella had a depth that was different. She also had a fantastic work ethic and determination to do what it takes to become a real artist, and I knew that would be crucial in building a career long-term. Her voice is beautiful too! I look for artists that are ready to go “all in” in their musical lives, are truly gifted, and seeking to use those gifts for God’s kingdom.
Congratulations on starting your own Christian label and production company! What inspired you to take this career path? Was this a long-time dream of yours?
Kira: I worked in the top levels of the pop music industry for a decade in LA, but grew disillusioned by the lyrics in the majority of songs coming out. The messages seemed almost exclusively dedicated to glorifying drinking, drug use, seeking fame, and money. I felt a strong calling to leave my work there and focus on creating music that uplifts and inspires, music that glorifies God, and points people to the One who made them and loves them. That vision became Kingdom Sound.
Kira Fontana [Photo Credit: Kirk Patrick]
What part of the process in creating your own Christian label and production company has been the most difficult and most rewarding?
Kira: It’s been a challenge to balance running a production company with producing my own music, as I write worship music and will be releasing an album this year as well. But the flip side is, I find it very inspiring to think that the messages will reach far more people with multiple artists under the label than my music alone.
Can you share about current projects you are working on and what you are looking forward to during the remainder of 2020?
Kira: I’m working on my own worship EP, called ‘Refuge’ – the first single comes out in June! I’ll be releasing one single per month after that until the full EP release in October.
Estella: I am also working on my EP and will be releasing one song every 4 to 6 weeks until September when the whole EP comes out.
With all the recent changes brought on because of the COVID-19 pandemic, what or who has helped you adapt to this ‘new normal’?
Estella: Something that has really helped me lately has been leaning into God’s message and talking more with him. I find that reading his word gives me confidence that HE HAS CONTROL.
With social distancing guidelines imposed, how have you been able to continue your mission of worship and connection?
Kira: I lead worship nights each week in person before COVID-19 hit, and now are doing them virtually on Zoom. It’s been a tremendous blessing to be able to stay connected and pray together each week through this pandemic. I am so grateful for technology and the ability to encourage each other and keep our focus on what God is doing through this situation.
Estella: We have definitely been utilizing Zoom and online church services – we haven’t stopped our connection with God or with music because of COVID-19.