Release Date: February 24th 2023
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Katy Nichole – Jesus Changed My Life (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- In Jesus Name (God of Possible)
- Jesus Changed My Life
- God is in This Story (feat. Big Daddy Weave)
- Things I Wish I Would’ve Said
- Jesus, Thank You
- Living Proof
- By The Grace of God
- Hold On
- Take It To The Cross
- Turn To Jesus
Just like how Anne Wilson debuted ‘My Jesus’ in 2021 to almost-instant critical and commercial acclaim, so too has another artist followed in Anne’s footsteps in 2022, to possibly become one of 2022’s most exciting new artists- in both CCM and mainstream…and maybe even on the same level-playing field as Anne, when she burst onto the scene in 2021. Katy Nichole released her chart-topping standout radio single ‘In Jesus’s Name (God of Possible)’ in early 2022. It’s basically her powerful and life-giving testimony through the song…and the rest is history. Signed to Centricity Music (home of artists like Unspoken, Jason Gray, Andrew Peterson, Lauren Daigle, PEABOD, Apollo LTD and Jordan Feliz, to name a few), Katy’s songs are poignant and compelling, and together with Anne Wilson, we can see two up-and-coming new female singer-songwriter artists that have a great possibility in taking up the mantle of being a female artist representative within the realms of CCM, carrying the torch that was once carried by artists like Natalie Grant, Rebecca St. James, Britt Nicole, Mandisa, Kari Jobe, Nichole Nordeman and Ginny Owens, to name a few. Whilst an artist like Lauren Daigle is quite possibly single-handedly ‘carrying the torch’ and representing female artists within CCM now (alongside Francesca Battistelli to some extent); artists like Katy Nichole (and Anne by extension), are fast becoming artists that we as fans of Christian music, look up to; admire and respect. For Katy, it’s been literally one song, ‘In Jesus Name (God of Possible)’ that has put this exciting new artist on the map, and as of February 2023, Katy’s released her first full-length album Jesus Changed My Life. Comprised of Katy’s EP (of which we as a site reviewed here), alongside other standout songs like ‘Please’ and ‘Living Proof’; these songs full of hope, encouragement and joy, are a must-have if you enjoy similar-styled artists like Anne Wilson, We The Kingdom, Francseca Battistelli, Matthew West, or Big Daddy Weave. While Katy may not be at the same stage in popularity as Anne Wilson (yet!), she’s well on her way, and this debut full-length album is allowing her rise through the ‘CCM ranks’ to ascend all the more quickly and in a transforming way.
‘…I am beyond excited to announce… My debut album “Jesus Changed My Life” is out NOW!!! This album is going to take you on a journey through praise, prayer, and HOPE. Since the very moment that Jesus called me to worship, I knew that I wanted to be the living example of who God really is. He is merciful, filled with grace, and loving beyond all measure. I hope that you feel wrapped in God’s love and kindness while listening to these songs. I want you to know that you are never alone in the battles you are facing, even if it may feel that way at times. I hope that you find peace and comfort while going through the journey that this album is. I’m so grateful for these songs and the way that Jesus has changed my life. And I promise… He can change yours too…’
Released as the first single from the project, ‘In Jesus Name (God of Possible)’ was released to radio in January 2022, and almost immediately, it was playing on radio stations and it was catching fire, in people’s lives, hearts, on the airwaves, and basically overnight, this song was being sung by people around the world, in what I would personally call, one of Christian music’s most surprising and quick uptakes of a new song released, maybe even quicker than a song like ‘My Jesus’ (Anne Wilson) or ‘Chain Breaker’ (Zach Williams). ‘In Jesus Name (God of Possible)’ is by far one of my favourite songs of 2022 (and also in 2023), there’s no question. It’s a song that embodies hope and encouragement, but also is a reminder to keep singing and to keep asking the bold questions, even if healing doesn’t come. Because more often than not, healing will come to us in a way that we don’t expect it, or healing may not even come at all. And yet we keep declaring the powerful words of how ‘…I pray for your healing, that circumstances would change, I pray that the fear inside would flee in Jesus name, I pray that a breakthrough would happen today, I pray miracles over your life in Jesus name…’, that even if we don’t receive the breakthrough, the healing or even the miracles, it doesn’t make the lyrics of the song any less true, nor does it make the Lord’s power in our life, any less true. Because Christ knows better than us, and what we may perceive to be as healing, God has something better in store.
We may not see it now, we may not even believe it in the moment, that God’s got it all under control, and that He knows better; but what I’ve learnt from this song, is that He’s using this track as being the healing for people, even more so, than healing itself. This song has reminded Christians around the world, to keep pressing forward, to keep holding on, even if what we see around us is telling us the exact opposite. ‘In Jesus’ Name’ is hopefully allowing us to ponder and think- yes, we pray, and yes, we ask for healing, but we do so in Jesus’s name…why? And then a discussion may take place, and then the question of ‘who is Jesus to you?’ is asked, and that is a good thing. Even if we don’t get healing the way we want it, we still engage with people who may believe differently to us, and we can use such a song as this, as a springboard into discussion, dialogue and friendly debate and banter, as we delve deep into conversation with our friends and family who may not know Christ as we know Him. And so, if a Katy Nichole song, especially ‘In Jesus Name’, can evoke civil conversation around heavy and weighty issues, then I suggest that this song has served it’s purpose, right? Well done Katy for such a powerful and challenging song. Hope to see the Lord continue to use such a track for His glory and our good, in the upcoming weeks and months ahead.
‘Jesus Changed My Life’, ‘God Is In This Story’, ‘Jesus, Thank You’ and ‘Things I Wish I Would’ve Said’ were all previously unveiled and released in Katy’s EP unveiled in June 2022, and all these 5 songs (inclusive of ‘In Jesus’s Name’) form the backbone of the album, thematically, lyrically and spiritually. Unveiled as her second single early June 2022, ‘God is in This Story’ features accomplished band Big Daddy Weave in this collaboration of the song, as we see Katy powerfully declare that ‘…God is in this story, God is in the details, even in the broken parts, He holds my heart, He never fails, when I’m at my weakest, I will trust in Jesus, always in the highs and lows, the One who goes before me, God is in this story…’; something that we can often forget, in the midst of life and the busyness that comes from being immersed in today’s worries. We forget that God is in all of it, and yes, in the brokenness when we can’t even see Him, and especially in the moments where we can even declare Him not even being present. God is there, and God is moving. He’s working and He’s weaving our story for His glory and our good. And that is something we have to believe, because He’s said countless times in the Word, of how He’ll never leave us, that He’ll never forsake us, that He’ll be with us to the end of the age (Deuteronomy 31:6, Matthew 28:20). And that is surely reason enough to rejoice and declare this song out loud, right?
‘Jesus Changed My Life’ (now the title track of the 11-song album) is a powerful testimony-song where Katy places on her very own ‘Anne Wilson’ hat, as we hear this song and think to ourselves, ‘gee, is Anne Wilson singing this?’, because especially in this track, both Katy and Anne sound very similar vocally. The song itself is something that could crossover to country radio if it wanted to- it has the ‘country’ southern-feeling, but it’s a song about the testimony of Katy herself. It’s a personal song, and I’m not sure if country radio would grasp this song with two hands. Nevertheless, Christian radio should take the song to country radio regardless, as this track could be an anthem for many people and listeners around the world as we declares alongside Katy, that ‘…grace came calling my name, lifted my soul up out of that grave, was hell-bound, lost and then found, look what You’ve done, You’ve turned it all around, and I can testify, I’m not the same, like lightning from the sky, Jesus changed my life…’ ‘Things I Wish I Would’ve Said’ is a song full of regret and lament, as we see Katy sing the things that she wish she would’ve said to…a parent, a friend, a loved one, someone else entirely? While it’s ambiguous as to who Katy is actually singing to, one thing is for sure. That whatever relationship, romantic, platonic, or even familial, that she had with this person before…she doesn’t have with them now, and there’s this weight of sadness that is over the song. Nothing bad or good, just this weight, and a reminder to always say the things we need to say, to the people we need to say them to, because in the end, we may feel as though we have all these regrets. Even if relationships may not end the way we think we want them to, at least we have to know within ourselves, that we’ve said all there is to be said to these people, and something as simple as ‘I love you, I miss you’ to them, could go a long way- maybe this song can help people find healing in their own broken relationships, whatever they may be? ‘Jesus Thank You’ is the last remaining song unveiled on this album that was from Katy’s EP previously, as we see this track speak about this concept of thanking Jesus for all the great things that He’s done in our life. It’s a song that is fun and joyful, and a way for us to publicly declare our thanks to a good God, acknowledging what He has done for us, and who we were (and sometimes still are) when Jesus saved us from sin, death, and hell. And it is in light of who we were when Jesus saved us, that we can say ‘thank you’. It’s when we look back in our own lives and see the hand of God in things that may not necessarily be explained scientifically, as we understand that sometimes, all the explanation that can be, is just God. Just God in circumstances where no other answer makes sense. And for that, we say thank you.
Throughout the rest of the album, we see Katy deliver powerful songs and heartfelt melodies, songs that could, in the next few months, become just as popular as ‘In Jesus Name’. ‘Living Proof’, standing as track #7 on this album, is one of Katy’s most personable, as we see her powerfully declare that ‘…I am living proof of a God that’s real…’, a reminder of the power of a personal testimony, and how your story and how God has shaped and used your own life for His glory and our good, is testament enough for people to even consider the possibility of God being real, in their lives, but also real, full stop. If someone has said that Jesus changed their life (and they are a person who have undergone a dramatic change), then that should be evidence enough to point to something else, other than chance, right? ‘Please’ is a little over 3 minutes, but what this song lacks in terms of song length, it makes up for in terms of enthusiasm and intensity, as Katy sings along with a gospel choir, asking the Lord to rescue her, pleading with God to ‘…come and win this fight, I raise my white flag fly, I know You are the strength I’m needing, please…’ ‘By The Grace of God’ travels so much into country music territory that it’s not funny (maybe someone like Maddie & Tae or even The Shires can cover this song, quick, or even someone like Anne Wilson herself!), as this song allows Katy to powerfully assert the importance of God’s grace in every situation we are in (and I mean, every situation); while ‘Hold On’ (again another vulnerable and heartfelt song on the album) delves into topics of depression, suicide, and trying desperately to hold on in the most difficult of circumstances, with Katy offering up the emotive and life-giving words (from God’s POV) of how we ought to ‘…hold on just a little bit longer, I know it’s gonna be okay, these days are gonna make you stronger, you’ll find purpose in the pain, hold on just a little bit longer, deep down, there’s a well of faith, let hope arise as you’re liftin’ up My name and just hold on, just hold on, hold on…’
The album is then rounded out with ‘Take It To The Cross’ and ‘Turn to Jesus’, two poignant songs full of lyrical richness and biblical truth- ‘Take It To the Cross’ is a feet-stomping country-esque 3 minute track reminder of how we ought to take all of the things that ache and break us up, to the cross, or as Katy herself sings, ‘…take it to the cross, take it to the Savior, lay it at the feet of the mercy-giver, take it to the One who can wash your sins away, there’s healin’ in His holy name, come meet the One who can break your chains, if you got pain, if you feel lost, if you want that burden off, take it to the cross…’ With a ‘tag’ harkening back to ‘Nothing But the Blood of Jesus’, we’re reminded of how much a hymn can inspire something worship and new at this moment. The same can be said about the album-ender, ‘Turn to Jesus’, a piano-prominent song that incorporates ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus’, another reminder of how ‘Turn To Jesus’ can possibly a modern-day version of the beloved hymn…hopefully? Maybe? ‘Turn to Jesus’ shows us the importance of turning to Jesus in every circumstance, not just during the happy times, and not just during the difficult times. A song that could’ve easily been sung by someone like Riley Clemmons or even Lauren Daigle herself, this vocal delivery by Katy is spot on, and a great way to end an otherwise great album, full of hope, joy and encouragement, something that we as Christians (and the world) so desperately need in 2023 and beyond.
Christian music, especially women in Christian music, is looking bright, with the introduction of artists like Katy Nichole and Anne Wilson, alongside artists like Riley Clemmons and Lauren Daigle who have gone before. My Jesus and Jesus Changed My Life are certain bright spots in CCM in 2022 and 2023. Not only that, these two projects from up-and-coming artists, are just good, and exciting, fun, and hopeful. Long has it been said that CCM where it stands, is a tired and cookie-cutter music genre. With the introduction of both Anne and Katy…well, not anymore. These two young women of God have changed the game of CCM (if CCM was even a game in the first place), and have breathed life into a genre, that could’ve been interpreted by people as being ‘tired’. There is a resurgence within the music genre, and both Anne and Katy are leading it- I don’t think that it’s any coincidence, that ‘My Jesus’ the song received ‘Breakout Song of the Year’, and ‘In Jesus Name (God of Possible)’ received ‘Worship Song of the Year’ at the K-Love Fan Awards in May 2022. Well done Katy for this stunning, prolific, and compelling 11 song album. Looking forward to seeing whatever the Lord has in store for these songs in the upcoming weeks and months ahead.
3 songs to listen to: In Jesus Name (God of Possible), Jesus Changed My Life, Living Proof
RIYL: Anne Wilson, Francesca Battistelli, Matthew West, Big Daddy Weave, Zach Williams, We The Kingdom, CAIN