Katy Nichole’s debut album, Jesus Changed My Life (Centricity Music), is an 11-track odyssey filled with the unabashed honesty and vocal clarity that have made the 22-year-old one of Christian music’s fastest-rising artists.
In just a short time, the collection’s opening track and viral TikTok smash, “In Jesus Name (God of Possible),” has propelled Katy to heights rarely experienced by a brand new act. The song reached No. 1 quicker than any other debut single from a female artist in the history of the Billboard Christian Airplay chart and went on to become the biggest hit of the past decade on the Hot Christian Songs chart, crowning the list for a record-breaking 20 weeks. She followed the unprecedented success of her lead offering with three-week chart-topper “God Is In This Story,” which features Big Daddy Weave, the band who first introduced her to fans on the road. Since that preliminary run, she’s shared the stage with Jeremy Camp, Matthew West and an array of artists on the “K-LOVE Christmas Tour” and is poised to support CAIN on their initial headlining trek in 2023.
In addition, Katy sang to a worldwide livestream audience and a packed arena at Chris Tomlin’s “Good Friday Nashville” event, performed at Colorado’s iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre and made her Grand Ole Opry debut — all in a matter of months. Moreover, Katy received her first American Music Award and Dove Award nominations. Fans also voted “In Jesus Name (God of Possible)” Worship Song of the Year at the 2022 K-LOVE Fan Awards; and YouTube named her a “Trending Artist on the Rise.”
Long before she was performing on celebrated stages and winning awards, however, Katy was singing in her church choir. “My earliest memories of feeling the Lord’s presence were when I was singing and when I had a song in my heart,” Katy recalls. “Singing has always been that place for me where I’m at my best — it’s the best feeling ever.”
By 18, she was leading worship in Arizona, where she met and was mentored by The Afters frontman Josh Havens, who helped her hone her gifts and encouraged her through the process that soon led to a partnership with her label home, Centricity Music.
As a teen, Katy first began writing her own songs after surgery to straighten her spine left her in so much discomfort she was nearly bedridden. The chronic pain and the resulting physical limitations sent her into a dark abyss of anxiety and depression that settled around her like a dense fog, leaving her to wonder if God was present or if there was any hope or reason for her life. It was during this dark season that she sensed God comforting her and saying, “Hold on. I’m not done yet.”
“I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t held on in that moment of darkness,” she offers. “Believing there was a light at the end of the tunnel was the best thing I ever could have done for myself.”
That pivotal moment gave her the inner strength she needed to see beyond the darkness that threatened to overwhelm her and eventually birthed her third radio single, “Hold On,” a piano-led, string-laden track found on her full-length LP. “This song was written over so many seasons of my life. It’s been probably eight or nine years in the making,” Katy shares of the selection she penned with David Leonard. “Really, this is a song of hope. I actually discovered who God was. God wanted me, and I didn’t even understand that until the moment I wanted to give up. Even as a believer, I didn’t know it was God until later on when I realized, ‘Oh, my life’s purpose is to serve.’ This song encapsulates that there’s a bigger picture beyond what you can see in the moment — beyond the pain, beyond the struggle. And holding on was the only way I could see that.”
In times of desperation, she still finds herself turning to the God through whom all things are possible. Built on a music bed of minor notes, new song “Please,” which she wrote with Jeff Pardo, offers a glimpse into her pleas of despair as she acknowledges her never-ending need for her Heavenly Father. “Our pain sometimes feels all-consuming, and sometimes it feels like there’s no way out. I think a lot of times we’re just calling out to God, asking, ‘Do You understand? Do You see my fight? Do You realize that I’m going through all of this?’” she says. “This song came from probably the deepest part of my soul.”
Further into the recording, “Things I Wish I Would’ve Said” is an unflinching honest look at difficult relationships and a reflection on life’s brevity; while “Jesus, Thank You” finds her expressing her unending gratitude to the Lord.
These days, her gratefulness encompasses anchor track “In Jesus Name (God of Possible),” the history-making offering she co-penned with Pardo, Ethan Hulse, and David Spencer in the midst of a global health crisis. With lyrics taken from Katy’s personal journal entries, it continues to resonate with listeners in meaningful ways. “This song is one of the greatest gifts God could ever give me,” Katy says. “It’s a wild thing to see where this song started and where it is now. I’m so thankful for what God is doing. I am in awe of Him, truly.”
This captivating wonder unfolds in “Jesus Changed My Life,” the record’s country-tinged title-cut. “It’s really a testimonial song. I have been changed by the love of Jesus, the grace of Jesus, and the mercy of Jesus. He is so kind to me,” Katy says of the track she crafted alongside Jonathan Smith and Benji Cowart. “I know how much He’s changed my life, but Jesus can change anybody’s life.”
And now, the songs assembled on Jesus Changed My Life are like bright rays of hope peeking through the clouds in someone else’s story. “I want to use my platform to make sure people know I’m standing beside them, facing the same battles they are. I just want people to know they aren’t alone. You’re not alone,” she contends, speaking directly to the people who listen to her music, “and you are loved more than you know.”