This month SCH had the pleasure of talking with Kim Hill, the 23-year veteran of the CCM music world. She’s a Grammy nominated, Dove award-winning artist with 16 CDs to her credit. The past 14 years, she’s primarily been leading worship at women’s conferences around the country and is a perennial favorite for The Billy Graham Training Center, Focus on the Family, Max Lucado and Angela Thomas.Kim also continues to be a favorite guest worship leader at various churches around the country including Oak Hills Church (San Antonio), Hope Pres Church (Memphis) and Bent Tree Fellowship (Dallas).
Kim’s just released her second Christmas CD and is doing a Christmas tour this holiday season. Her 2010 release, “SING” includes new favorites “Sing Because I’m Happy”, “Bless the Lord” and her rendition of “All My Tears” as well as a new arrangement of her classic song, “In You Alone”. Kim resides in Franklin TN with her two teenage sons.
SCH: How and when did you first get started in the music business? What did you listen to when you were growing up?
KH: I moved to Nashville in 1986 after graduating from college and was signed to my first deal in 1987, my first cd released early 1988. I listened to the singer/songwriters of the 70s that my parents were listening to like James Taylor, Jim Croce, John Denver and later the emerging music of the Jesus Movement in the 70s – Andre Crouch, Amy Grant, Randy Stonehill.
SCH: Can you tell us a little about working with Paulette Wooten on your new Christmas CD?
KH: Paulette has been on the road with me now for over 2 years playing keyboards and singing with me. She’s a great songwriter (Rita Springer, Kim Walker/Jesus Culture) and is one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with.
Paulette co-produced my Christmas cd and also co-wrote and arranged many of the songs, played keyboards, etc. We’re touring right now and she’s the band! She has loops programmed and created some videos to deepen the concert experience. I can’t even watch the one she did for “Graham’s song” about his last Christmas home as my “little boy”, because it includes footage from his whole life…truly a precious memory for me.
SCH: What was it like singing with your son Benji on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Medley?” Has he always liked to sing?
KH: A real highlight for me to share the love of music with my 14-year-old son. The “mash-up” of our styles was fun to attempt and we had a great time in the studio! We have a little “behind the scenes” video on youtube.
SCH: Tell us a little about your experience working with Focus on the Family’s “Renewing the Heart” conference and leading worship for women’s conferences across the country.
KH: I was asked to lead worship at the first event in 1997 where 20, 000 women filled the Nashville arena. It was a day that literally changed my direction as far as moving from being a solo artist to being a worship leader. I went on to be a part of that conference for the next several years and was honored to lead over 200,000 women in worship! Definitely a highlight of my life and career!
SCH: What are some of your most memorable moments in your 23-year career in the music industry?
KH: Opening for Amy Grant in 90 cities in 1991, the Renewing the Heart conferences, touring in Europe after a fluke pop hit with “Snake in the Grass” in 1990, events with Max Lucado after 9/11 in arenas around the country… too many to count!
SCH: When and how did you first come to know the Lord? Did your conversion stick? Or did the authentic born again experience take root later in life?
KH: I was my mom’s first convert after her salvation in the 1970s when I was in 4th grade. I prayed, and as many children who are raised in a Christian home, my faith was very connected to my parents faith and my Christian school and church community until I was about 18 years old. But, after high school, I spent a year at Kay Arthur’s ministry in a training program she had back then and my faith truly became my own. In college, I was very involved in Campus Crusade for Christ and other Christian groups. I sang in a group sponsored by the Baptist Student Union.
I’m very grateful that I was exposed to the Lord at a young age and that my mom and grandmother especially modeled a real relationship with the Lord over just “being religious”.
SCH: Do you have any special Christmas traditions that you’ve upheld through the years with your boys?
KH: After my divorce, I realized we’d have to do our own traditions because we couldn’t travel to Memphis to be with my family at Christmas due to the boys going on Christmas morning until New Years Day with their dad.
For about ten years, we had brunch with their dad on Christmas morning at my house and they had some time to enjoy their gifts and be with both of us before leaving town usually on a fun trip.
It’s evolved over the years and for the past several years we’ve had “Midnight Christmas”. We eat a nice dinner by candlelight, attend the Eve service at our church, put on our new Christmas PJs, watch a favorite Christmas movie and then at midnight, open all of our gifts! It’s so much fun. We all enjoy staying up late, then sleeping in Christmas morning. We eat brunch and the boys head off to their dad’s house.
I’ve also learned to enjoy the week as a gift since my boys live with me instead of worrying about them. That wasn’t so easy to do years ago, but the Lord has assured me that He will protect them and care for them, no matter what!
SCH: It appears your son Graham is strong football player. Can you tell us about his football career?
KH: Graham has enjoyed sports and played football since he was in elementary school. His dad played college football and he’s always been “off the chart” size-wise. He weighed 10 lbs 4 oz at birth!
He began to focus more on football in high school and going into his senior year, had over 30 offers from schools like Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, University of Tenn, Duke, Perdue, Boston College and Stanford. Before starting his senior year, he committed to Stanford and we’re so excited for him to be a Cardinal!
I’m grateful that Southwest airlines flies to CA and you can bet I’ll be singing at some churches out there as much as possible next fall!
SCH: What is a typical dinner at home with your boys? What is your favorite special meal to cook?
KH: At this stage of raising two men, I’m grateful for a meal where I don’t feel like a referee. I have two very strong personalities at the table. I say jokingly that I have ‘Shrek and the Donkey’, but lately it feels more like two lions trying to be “King of the Hill”. I try to get Benji to understand that Graham will be leaving soon and to “let” him be the “king”, but Benji is determined to rule with him most days!
I have two things that the boys love – BBQ salmon, and my white bean chicken chili. It’s a little more like tortilla soup. I’ve been working on adding some new things to our menu and bought a great cookbook Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys from Williams Sonoma. It’s been a hit!
SCH: What’s the most memorable meal you’ve ever eaten and where did you have it?
KH: I’m a foodie and can’t begin to describe just one meal. I did have an amazing experience a few years ago in South Africa at “Carnivore” trying meats like zebra. I love California cuisine. I’ve had amazing meals in Santa Fe, New York, Miami… This is making me hungry!
SCH: How can we get people more information about your projects and upcoming appearances?