Tell us a little about your family.
I love my family very much, but I am from a different kind of family. I feel my grandfather and mother have been a foundation in my life. They are both spiritual and have taught me what it means to be a Christian and the importance of ministry. I love and thank them for this.
While I have had this foundation my whole life, I have struggled with the relationship with my father. My father left the church shortly after my birth but always insisted we attend church. It was hard growing up seeing one parent love God while another did not. While I was always Daddy's little girl, things changed when I began to turn into a young lady. I noticed things I had never noticed as a child such as my father yelling at my mother for little to no reason.
The first time I was called an inappropriate name was when I was 13. It crushed me. In my late high school and early college years, my life became even more difficult in my home. Fighting in my house was a daily occurrence. It was not abnormal for my Dad to tell me I was worthless, stupid, fat, ugly, etc.
Things continued to spiral down when my father's mother died and he began abusing crack cocaine. My father began threatening himself and others. I have one vivid memory of myself shut in a closet as my Dad held a gun saying he was going to kill himself and it was all my fault. My dad was taken to a hospital to get help for his drug addiction and during this time he called throughout the night telling me and my family how much he hated us.
At this time my father was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, which helped explain his times of depression, highs, and lows. This was a real low point for me, but thankfully I was dating the man, now my husband, who was incredibly supportive. Through it all my mother was faithful to my Dad and just told us not to hate him because he was sick and just to pray for him.
While it was hard for me, I tried to pray for my father instead of building hatred toward him. I can say God has worked some miracles in our family. While my father will never be like many dads, God is continually working on him and our relationship. I know my Dad loves me, and I love him.
Describe your spiritual journey.
I have grown up in the church and have always known the truth. I thank God every day to have known His love, which has always gotten me through. I was baptized at the age of eight and received the Holy Ghost when I was twelve at a youth rally at my church. My life has not always been easy and there have been many ups and downs. There was a time I can say I was in church but not living like Jesus.
Even though I knew there was sin in my life, there was always something stopping me from leaving. I kept trying to live above it and eventually made a new love and commitment to him. I think this is something I share often because as humans we all fall and make mistakes, but it is so important that we get back up and continue to follow Jesus' steps. I pray every day for God to take the things in my heart that are evil and put in me a loving heart.
I find I struggle most with jealousy and a judgmental spirit. I must remind myself daily I am not perfect, have made mistakes, and that God loves others just as much as He loves me. For me it is important to recognize my faults so I can confront them head on, continue to fix them, and serve and praise God.
What is your music background?
For this album I kind of influenced myself. I have grown up in the church and around musical styles that were not really me. I have always felt out of place and out of the box, never quite fitting in to the world around me. I strived and wanted to create something different and me.
My music background is large. I started singing as a child and was always in school choir. I began playing piano at age twelve and picked up guitar, flute, and cello over the years. I majored in music therapy at the University of Louisville and am currently working with special education children making music. I have been exposed to all genres of music. I love many and there are some I do not care for.
The person who inspired me to minister would be my grandfather, Russell McCane. He was the pastor of the church I grew up in and still to this day is a great man of God. He has gone through so much in his life and through it all has remained faithful to the Lord. He is always telling others about Jesus and never gives up. I would like the same to be said about me. I have made plenty of mistakes, but I want to still be faithful and share Jesus with the world.
What is the best musical advice you have ever been given from a mentor or influence in music ministry?
Work hard. You will get nowhere without hard work. Study what you love-sleep and breathe it.
You wrote all the songs on your CD-what inspires you to write?
This is the first album in which I wrote all the songs and the process for me is kind of wacky. Sometimes I would sit at the piano or on the guitar and a song would just write itself. Other times I would have lyrics and no music or music with no lyrics and they would finally come together months later. For this album I had written about thirty songs and I put ten on the album. Sometimes I would be in my car driving and a melody would pop up and I would record it in my phone. I have even written songs while at the grocery store. I will say a lot of lyrical inspiration comes from what I read in the Bible and the messages I hear from my pastor. I truly believe God gave me these songs and I am just transcribing His words and music.
Describe the nature of your ministry.
I felt called into the music ministry when I was fourteen at youth camp in Kentucky. From then on I have been singing and learning music any way I can. When I was seventeen I made my first album Glimpse with Heavy and the Holy following after. Once I made an album I pretty much knew I felt called to minister to others across the USA. I currently tour in the USA in many different venues from churches, coffeehouses, festivals, etc. I work as a music therapist during the week, where I make music with special education children, so I am busy during the week tour mainly on weekends and in the summer. I love traveling and feel more at home on the road meeting new people than when I am in Kentucky where I live. I find myself getting antsy when I am home for too long. When I tour I use tracks of my songs as well as play guitar, piano, and use visual media. I infuse the songs with my own personal testimonies and the Word of God.
Tell us a funny "road story" from traveling and singing.
Oh goodness, I have many many stories but the one that sticks out occurred in July 2011. My husband and I had been married about a month and were touring the Northeast, primarily around Massachusetts. My aunt who lives in Boston said we could stay with her while we were on tour, which was awesome because we got to spend time with her. While we were there she left for Italy for business, which left us alone. She was also having her house remodeled so there were people around constantly (try waking up to someone painting and you have no clue who they are lol). While she was away we came in late after a concert and noticed the back door open (I had locked it before we left) and heard noises upstairs. My husband grabs me and we are gone and in the car trying to figure out what to do. After ten minutes of debating we called the police just in case. In a matter of minutes four police cars are swarming at the house, the neighbors are outside wondering what is going on, and it was crazy! They searched the whole house and did not find anybody. We still don't know who was there, maybe a painter? But we laugh about it now that we were too chicken to see for ourselves.
What is the vision, purpose, and comprehensive message in your latest CD?
The album is titled Somebody Save and I think this is the true message of the CD. It starts off talking about the difficulties in life including heartache, sin, regrets, hurt, pain, etc. and shows through the song that Jesus is there and loves us. Because He died on the cross, we were saved and can become new again. As the album progresses it ministers that we have a responsibility to love and save others in the same way Jesus loved and saved us. It is an album of encouragement as well as a motivation to save the world.
Where can we listen, purchase, and connect with you?
You can listen and purchase my albums on Itunes and my website www.KristynLeigh.com. Make sure you check out my music page and like it at facebook.com/KristynLeighMinistry
What would you do with a million dollars?
If I had a million dollars I would pay off debt, buy a house, buy a boat, buy my husband a nice truck, give some to the church, and go to Disneyworld!
What time in history would you like to visit for a week?
I would love to visit the 1950s-cute dresses, burgers, and shakes.
What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
Tough one, I really love Captain Crunch, but Fruity Pebbels, Apple Jacks, and Lucky Charms were in the running.
What is your dream vacation spot?
Egypt. I love the history and pyramids.
Who do you want to send a 'shout out' to?
My husband, Nate, who has suffered through driving on my tours and always supporting me.