Release Date: October 30th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Graves Into Gardens
- How Great (feat. Matt Maher)
- Know You
Have you ever heard a debut album that has just take you by surprise (in a good way!) that has you left in wonder and asking the question of ‘where did this person come from?’ (in a good way as well)? Enter in 20-year-old gospel/soul/pop/CCM/worship artist Koryn Hawthorne, formerly a contestant on The Voice. With powerful vocals akin to Nicole C. Mullen, Mandisa, Mary Mary, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, Kierra Sheard and Tamela Mann; Koryn’s label debut Unstoppable on Provident Label Group, which released in 2018; is nothing short of remarkable, as I am completely blown away- I am sure you all will be too. Despite the ‘shortness’ of all the 10 tracks clocking in at 37 minutes (as well as 4 songs being double-ups from her 2017 EP); there’s still no denying how on fire Koryn is for Jesus, which shows definitely in these energetic and passionate worship anthems. Fast forward to Koryn’s sophomore album I AM, which released in September last year. Though I hadn’t got around to listening to this album until now; I reviewed this album here… but now it’s time to dive deep into Koryn’s next release. Last year Koryn dropped the surprise worship EP titled The Song Sessions- a joint project with Essential Worship, showcasing her worship leading prowess… and I reckon that this release is a must listen if you’re a fan of gospel music, worship music, or even just music in general; as Koryn will touch your soul, and you’ll definitely never be the same again.
Written by Bethel Music’s Brandon Lake as well as the powerhouse worship movement Elevation Worship; the compelling and powerful guitar led worshipful “Graves Into Gardens”, one of my favourite songs of 2020, has Koryn prayerfully and eloquently relaying to us the undeniable true fact that ‘…You turn graves into gardens, You turn bones into armies, You turn seas into highways, You’re the only one who can…’, driven by soft acoustic guitar and beautiful light piano- an explosive cover of this song that I reckon is just as emotive and inspiring as the original. “Know You”, probably my most favourite track off I AM, is heartfelt and poignant, as Koryn relays that she wants to know Jesus in the most intimate way, and that nothing else matters in comparison to falling deeper into a relationship with Jesus Christ; yet the standout of this EP is “How Great”, co-written and sung with Matt Maher, which is a modern day twist on the age-old and respected hymn “How Great Thou Art”- and is a song for the ages. As we are reminded just how great Jesus is, that ‘…Your love is patient, always consistent with me, for this, I will praise You, You’re never distant, Your heart will never leave, for this, I will praise You…’; Koryn’s vocals and Matt’s harmonies are never better here… and if I wasn’t on board as a Koryn Hawthorne fan before- I am now!
Both of Koryn Hawthorne‘s 2 full length albums are exquisite. With both albums being surprise left-field favourite albums of mine, sky is the limit here for Koryn, as they’re both literally near-flawless albums, that will be on my rotation on iTunes for a long, long time. Fast forward to the Song Sessions and the same sentiments can be said- as this project is extremely enjoyable, catchy, and full of biblical truths that we all need hearing again and again! I’m usually not a fan of straight up gospel, but Koryn has won me over with her unique blend and fusion of gospel and worship. Well done Koryn, I am definitely eagerly anticipating what God has in store next! Every other listener out there- what are you waiting for? Spend the next few minutes immersed in all things Koryn, and then we can compare notes on how awesome this EP is, shall we?
RIYL: Mandisa, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, Israel Houghton, Mary Mary, Mary J Blige, Tori Kelly, Carman, Natalie Grant