Musical Discoveries: How are you Kara?
Kara Williamson: (Laughter) Well these days I'm doing great! I'm doing much better than I was when we were wrapping up the new record! I've had some time to rest now, so yes I'm doing great!
Let's start with Undisguised because it's a great record.
Thank you so much!
Undisguised is a lot different from your debut album, particularly musically. Was there a game plan for what you wanted from this album specifically or is this simply how your music has evolved?
Well, I knew that musically I wanted it to have a more mature sound. I didn't want it to be so dance/electronica and maybe a little less bubble gum as well. I totally don't regret the last record because I had a lot of fun doing it but sometimes you get into the studio and you think something sounds really cool and then you get on stage and try to perform it live and you think "Wow! I'm not that great at doing this."
I have found out that I'm just not that great at dancing to electronica music! (laughter) The thing that I love about this record is that it feels more live and feels less computerized. I think this sound works better for me.
Were there specific things that you felt you failed to capture on the first album and you wanted to capture them on this album?
Not really. Undisguised morphed so many times during the making of it and it turned out completely different than what I thought it would be. Even just spiritually, God was working in my heart so much during the recording process. I really think that the end result showed what God was doing. I think what he wanted on the record showed up more than what I wanted to show up on the record. It's hard to even really remember what the goal was when we first started writing and recording. I'm very pleased with what has happened in the end though.
The whole feel of this record, from the songs to the artwork, is so much different than the first. Would it be fair to say that this album better represents you as a whole person?
I think so. I think that's fair to say. The first album definitely had moments that really represented what I was going through at that time ... as far as the words. I feel that Undisguised is a better representation of the kind of music that I love and the kind of music that I write. So, I would absolutely agree that that's fair to say.
Did you feel like you had more control, or maybe even more direction, while making this album than you did on the first album? The shift in your sound definitely made me wonder if one was someone else's vision for you and one was your vision.
I think I might have had a little more control this time. The difference is really that this time there were more people involved. The was a huge team of people involved in making this album and we had a lot longer period of time to get it done. The last album was done very quickly with a much smaller group of people. It was such a whirlwind experience that you didn't really have time to talk about a lot of stuff. On this album we just mauled and mauled over things. It was great though because everyone really listened to what I had to say. I appreciate that because I know that that is not always the case.
Out of curiosity, how was your first album received compared to expectations Vertical Music and yourself had for it?
(Laughter) Oh! You would have to ask that question! (laughter) I think that we had huge expectations for the first album and it was one of those things that was a good idea but maybe we didn't know exactly how to execute it. I also think that the providential hand of God played a huge part of that. I don't feel like I was really ready for that. I felt like there were things in my own heart that needed to be processed before anything I did could do very well. So, for that I'm really thankful that the last album didn't do any better than it did.
I really needed time to process who I am, the questions that we all ask ourselves all the time. I wasn't very secure in that with the last record. I'm sure we are searching for that our whole lives but I feel like I really had a lot to figure out then. God's timetable is so much better than ours. I'm going to work as hard as I can but I'm not going to fret about what the result is.
Your first album was easily tagged as a praise and worship album, Undisguised is not so quickly tagged. How do you feel about that?
I really am just so happy with the final outcome of this record because I feel like it really portrays what God was doing in my heart through this whole process. The title worship is just a title but I really hope that people can find that in this music as well.
This album is your first for INO Records, how has that experience been so far?
It's been awesome. I love them! Every single person that works in that office has been great. That is another thing that was the divine hand of God! When my husband and I found out that the Vertical Music was merging with Integrity and that they were shifting me to INO Records we were so excited! We had really thought and prayed about whether I should sign with Vertical Music or not and it's great to look back and know that we were hearing right. It's been an amazing experience and I really love INO Records.
Did you have any say in your going to INO Records or did they just tell you that you were now on that label?
That's exactly what happened. I didn't even know that it was happening when it was happening! They just merged and one day they were like "Okay, you're on INO Records now and we are doing something totally different with Vertical Music." I think that they knew that that was good news for me! (laughter)
The songs on Undisguised seem very intimate lyrically.
Yes, they are.
Does it make you nervous at all to put such personal lyrics out there for everyone to see?
Absolutely not. I'm so excited about it! I'm so excited that God would allow me to hear that part of me with other people. It's so important to me to not pretend to be someone else. The message is so important to me. I want to be real with people and hopefully they will realize that none of us are perfect and that there's no reason for any of us to judge anyone else's heart. I'm so passionate about that. We have to be here for each other and support each other.
How many times have you thought, "Wow! That person has it all together and I'm a piece of crud." You put so much guilt on yourself and then you find out that that person is not perfect and that they have flaws as well. Then you think "Oh my gosh, I can totally relate to them!" Life is so much easier when you realize that other people are struggling with the same things you are. I think that God is so powerful in those moments. I'm not nervous about it at all, I'm excited.
One of the songs that really sticks out on the album is "Dear Performer." I understand that that is sort of a letter to yourself. Can you tell our readers a little about the thoughts/inspirations behind it?
Yeah. That song is by far the most personal song on the record to me. It took a whole lot of tears and struggles to get to that song. Years and years in fact. My whole life I have been motivated by pleasing other people, whether it's my parents or my friends or my pastors or my youth group leader, or my teachers, whoever. I have always been a people pleaser and because of that I think my personality would change from person to person.
At my church we were going through Galatians and we were talking about how the only person we would ever have to measure up to would be God and there's no way we could ever do that. It's not even remotely possible and that's why Jesus died on the cross. His grace is the only thing that could have ever really saved us. I remembered that sermon resonating so deeply in my heart and my mind and my soul. The next day we were working on the record and I wrote it on Jeff Roach's grand piano. I just wrote it in an instant. It came really easy. Every time I sing that song I remember that I don't have to perform. It's really powerful in my own life.
You co-wrote a lot on this album, is songwriting something that you feel is important for you to be involved in?
You know, I'm cool with anything. If I write a song by myself then that's amazing. That rarely happens to me though. Usually I get started on a song and then I need help with it! (laughter) I love co-writing with people. It's great to sync up with someone else when you share a passion. One of my favorite songs on this record is "More than Enough" and I had nothing to do with writing it! (laughter) Pete Kipley and Mark Harris wrote the song at the very very very last minute but that song resonates with my heart just as much as "Dear Performer" does. I'm cool with whatever happens really. It's all good to me! (laughter)
What one thought or feeling do you hope people take from this record?
My main hope is that people walk away from this knowing that there is nothing that they can do to earn God's love. He just loves us no matter what. The final song on the record is "Never Been Unloved" and it ends the record perfectly. We constantly fail, we constantly trip up, we constantly let our pride get in the way, and we constantly try to do things on our own. Even though God has let me stumble along the way his grace is always there and he always loves us.
I want people to know that God loves them apart from what they do, apart from how many Sundays they've been at church, apart from how much they pray, apart from all the things that we do to try and earn God's approval. None of it matters. God's grace and kindness is what causes us to repent and it's a constant flow. That's the main thing I want people to take away from Undisguised.
Do you have any upcoming tour plans?
We are working on that right now as a matter of fact. I will definitely be on the road this fall, but I'm not sure with whom yet. I will hopefully be on the road this summer as well.
Thank you so much! Just thanks for talking with me. I think that's it really!