Kimberly Perry Interview
Twenty year old Kimberly
Perry, recording artist with EMI/CMG, has a music style well beyond
her years. “Stylistically, I am mainly influenced vocally by Janis Joplinshe
had a lot of soul, a lot of passion”, she says in her deep Mobile, Alabama
Perry was in Toronto Canada
to open for ZOEgirl and although she has been writing and performing her
own music for more than six years, this was her longest tour so far, almost
a month long. Her backup band, consisting of Boone Daughrill and
Beau Burtnick, her drummer and bass player respectively, plus just for
this tour, guitarist Brad Allen, also played during the ZOEgirl set.
The name Kimberly Perry isn't
well known because her label debut, scheduled for June 2004, was moved
to the fall of 2005 when her former label Forefront Records merged
with Sparrow Records to form EMI/CMG. Perry does have an EP available
at present and eleven tracks are already selected from among the forty
songs she has written.
A variety of talented people
including producers Jay Joyce (Patty Griffin) and Monroe Jones (Ginny Owens,
Third Day) as well as writers Lynn Nichols (Amy Grant) and Jeremy Bose
surround Perry. She co-writes many of her songs with Nichols, Bose and
Joyce. Like many artists, she is a big fan of Jones who she describes as,
“constantly wired,” and, “He’s great at communicating and understanding
how to guide everybody and creating that live energy.”
Perry was also influenced
by the music of classic rockers the Rolling Stones, ACDC and Beth Hart.
“Some people say I have some Sheryl Crow sprinkled in. I don’t like to
be that acoustically rock driven but I guess you could say she plays into
my sound a bit,” she says.
Her vision is to combine
the best of the past with the present. “The record that I want to make
is basically taken from classic rock roots. It has sort of a modern flair
because it obviously needs to be up to date. There’s definitely a
modern feel on the record. I love Aretha Franklin. I love soul music.
All those sounds play into the feel of the record,” says Perry.
Although all four songs
Perry performed this night were really good, the one that stood out the
most is “Ready to Go,” a classic rock song with a Southern flair. She sings
it with unbridled passion and by the end of the song, the listener is left
feeling Perry couldn’t possibly have anything else left to give. Watching
Perry perform audiences cannot help but be caught up in the heavy rock
beats, enthusiasm and Southern charm.
Perry wears what could be
mistaken for a wedding band, but it is a purity ring. She explains,
“A lot of little girls ask, 'Are you married?' and I say, 'No, not at all.'
My purity ring reminds me of two things, first of all to save myself for
whoever my future husband is going to be. Secondly it is to remind me this
is my season of commitment to the ‘call’.” The ring also serves as
a reminder, “To stay focused and single minded about pursuing that with
all of my heart, mind and soul and to not divide that with a relationship
at this time. So it’s kind of a special thing.” She adds, "I just
don’t want to get to the end of the season and think there’s so much more
that I could have done.”
Perry’s Southern charm,
giggles and respectful, “yes sirs,” sprinkled throughout her conversation
belie her powerful rock performances in front of an audience. Her commitment
is so deep to the ministry aspect of her music that she has deliberately
chosen not to date anyone regularly during the past six years. Her description
of the story behind the lyrics of “Lucky One” provides more insight into
Perry’s character. “There is a divine plan that’s being mapped out and
a divine canvas that is being painted on in your life. Each stroke plays
a part in making who we are.”
It is this passion that
led Brent Milligan, Vice-President of A & R for the former Forefront
Records to comment, “She has a burning desire to see lives impacted by
Christ through her music. It's rare to find such an artistic person with
a great voice who is also all about building the Kingdom. We can't wait
to see what happens when people hear her music and see her heart for God.”
Perry says her blues / rock
tune “Small Town Girl” is really a reflection of who she is. "I am a small
town girl from Greenville Tennessee (where she now lives). The story
behind it is to encourage folks to reach for the goal in life which is
Jesus Christ and forget about all the glitter because all this around us
is so temporary, it’s just going to pass away. He’s the one who lasts
and completes us.” She is a refreshing young lady who seems to take delight
in telling you Greenville only has one movie theatre with two screens and
the sound seldom works. She gets really enthusiastic when she tells you
she is an avid bowler and her family has their own bowling tournaments
every Saturday night. She insists, however, that midnight bowling is the
only way to go. It threw her for a loop when it was revealed that in Canada
we also have something known as five pin bowling. She was insistent that
she was going to have to give that a try on her day off.
Classically trained on the
piano, accomplished on the guitar, resentful of playing the clarinet in
a marching band at basketball games in high school, and fleeing from her
violin lessons as a child all make for a very talented musician.
When she is creating a song she says she often likes to sit on her bed
with an acoustic guitar because she feels it gives her both the bass and
percussion element all in one instrument.
She has two brothers, Reid
who is 16, and Neil, 14. One plays guitar while the other is a drummer.
Perry says, “In my spare time, I like developing young talent. I
am sort of their musical director and I’ve been working with them for about
three years. I have overseen their writing process and sort of taught
them.” It is startling to hear someone so young go on to say that she can
see herself in the role some day of continuing to develop young talent
as a career.
Father Steve is a pediatrician
in Greenville, while her mother Marie travels with her when she tours.
“She is my mate on the road. They [her parents] are also very active
in my ministry and my career which is a total blessing. They are my accountability
circle. It is such a blessing to have their support.”
By Joe Montague, exclusive
This material may not be
redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague.
Joe Montague is a freelance
Christian journalist / photographer who has been published in a variety
of community, daily and Christian newspapers coast to coast in Canada and
the United States. Joe Montague's ministry of journalism is dedicated
to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven far
too early at the age of 18.