BETWEEN The liner notes
You’ve Got a Friend in Kathy Troccoli
By Jennifer E. Jones
She made pop hits that lit up the charts while secretly feeling miserable inside. Today, Kathy Troccoli has found her voice and her song in a ministry that speaks to women around the world.
Jennifer E. Jones: I got a chance to listen to your last CD, Comfort, and it is so on time for people who have lost loved ones. I also saw you on James Robison's show recently, and you talked about how necessary music is in the grieving process.
Kathy Troccoli: What I have found is a four-minute song can do more than any book or sermon. It’s just powerful. I think God absolutely loves music. I know He must grieve at some of the ways we use it because it can speak death or life. Let me give you some background. I did a record called Draw Me Close, which is one of my favorite projects I’ve ever done. It’s just a worship record with piano, cello, guitar and me. The worship record got so much response from women. I thought, They keep on saying comfort, comfort, comfort. The word kept on coming to me. Plus, I meet thousands of women within the course of a month. Who isn’t going through breast cancer, the loss of their husband, or grieving the loss of a child? When I’ve been in that state – I’ve lost two parents to cancer; I’ve gone through my own sorrows in life – music has been able to penetrate the darkness. I know the times I’ve been going through it, I’m listening to a record, and all of a sudden this upbeat rock song comes on. That’s not where my heart is. I wanted to do a record that you could play all the way through and have it be like a healing balm for your soul.
Jennifer: What was your thought process in selecting the songs for Comfort?
Kathy: Some of it was songs that I’ve done before in years past that I’ve seen the light come on immediately about God’s love or His hope (a song like “That’s How Much I Love You” where it’s just first person from God: “I died for you / I’d do it all again / If I had to”). “Goodbye for Now” is a song I wrote in having experienced such great loss in my life and yet knowing that my parents are alive in the Lord. I called it “Goodbye For Now” because we don’t have a separation that’s forever. That song… I can’t even tell you! The chorus says, “There’ll be a time / When I’ll see your face / And I’ll hear your voice / And we’ll laugh again.” There was a lady who sent me a picture of her two and half year old son who she found dead in his bed one morning. They never found out what happened. She engraved the chorus on his tombstone because it brought her so much life. You can’t ask for greater gifts than that.
Jennifer: Being such a big Carole King fan myself, one of the songs that caught my attention was “You’ve Got a Friend.”
Kathy: I know! Wasn’t that sweet?
Jennifer: I thought your rendition of it was particularly sweet because it blended in so well with the rest of the songs. Was that intentional?
Kathy: That was intentional. Between Carole King and Karen Carpenter, they both inspired me to want to sing and really want to sing in my lower key. Those who have listened to me for years will find that I’m singing in my more comfortable, natural range. “You’ve Got a Friend” touched my soul for years and is one of my favorite songs. I’m singing in front of so many women; we all love to laugh and cry together and hug each other. I knew that if I sang that before my audience, it would be such a sweet moment.
Jennifer: You mentioned about singing in your range. If someone had told me that Kathy Troccoli sang a “comfort” album, I’d have been very surprised. Yet I noticed in this new record that your voice is much more subdued.
Kathy: Part of it is me coming into my own. When I started in the early ‘80s. I was a torch singer at heart. My register was there. I was a jazz singer, and I sang some of the pop hits in the clubs. Trying to find my voice and my place in Christian music, Michael [W.] Smith and Amy Grant wrote for me – beautiful songs. But in recordings, it would be putting me in a register that would sound more girly and more pop accessible. Even “Go Light Your World,” you’ve got a voice that sings “Carry your candle!” It’s up there. I can sing that but my natural range is more like on my worship record where I’m singing, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus / There is something about that name.” So that’s where my voice really fits. It’s been so sweet for me because the reaction that I’ve gotten in singing more records in the range that God has naturally made me to sing in… I’ve gotten more response about my voice than ever.
Jennifer: Now you have enough control in the studio that you don’t have to change it.
Kathy: Even my pop [song] in the early ‘90s, “Everything Changes,” was a big hit, and I was the most miserable. I was in the throws of, “Oh, I’d love to have a pop hit.” And it was a great song. But there I was. I sang backup for Taylor Dayne. That song was written for her, and she didn’t want it. I take it, and I’m singing, “Everything changes,” and I’m miserable. There’s a singer out there called Diana Krall, a jazz singer, or Norah Jones. It would be like asking those girls to sing a Sheryl Crow type song. They could do it but you’d never hear their true voices. It’s just wild that it took me so long to get to this place.
Jennifer: You told me you just finished recording new music. Talk a little bit about that.
Kathy: I wrote four new songs. I got pitched some other songs that I’ve fallen in love with. It’s still got a similar beauty to the worship record and the Comfort record. As a matter of fact, I did a Diana Krall tune on it called “Pick Yourself Up.” It’s got a bossa, kinda Latin feel on it about I Corinthians 13. As God is allowing me to find my place in these last several years and really loving what I do, I’m also being daring just to go for it in what I love to sing.
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