"I am not a very serious person," says Katy Hudson. Her playful exuberance is not too difficult to observe. "But I am very serious about my passion for my music and how I affect people through it. I realized what my calling was at a young age. I sort of felt it in my bones. But God will use a willing vessel and there isn't an age limit on being a willing vessel."
Considering that Katy is only 16-years-old, the irony of that statement might be lost on the young artist. But not much else slips by the enthusiastic high school student from Santa Barbara, California. Katy's keen observations of life and potent expressions of faith are what make her self-titled Red Hill Records debut so immediately engaging and impressive--an album for which she wrote or co-wrote every track.
"I started writing songs when I realized that singing other people's lyrics was more an expression of their heart than mine," explains Katy. "Writing for this album was very important to me. I felt I had been given a message and was supposed to voice it in my own words. I want to be an artist, not just someone who puts her voice on a CD. And I didn't want to be written off as just another teenager who was handed a record deal."
'Trust In Me' is actually the first song I wrote. Even with this tremendous blessing and opportunity of making a record, I still focused on my faults and wondered if I was acceptable to God. I was just dealing with the fact that I could still be loved. That's an aspect of grace that I may not ever understand."
"But my ultimate goal is to show people that they aren't alone; if they feel they've been let down by parents, teachers, spouses or friends, there is a 'best friend' who will never let them down," she finishes.
Though her teenage peers will doubtless make up much of her audience, Katy thinks her album stretches beyond any age limit. "I think college kids will relate to the 'tangibleness' of the music," she says, "meaning it's not plastic, cookie-cutter pop. I believe my peers will relate to the album because kids my age have gone through a lot more than older people often give them credit for. Temptation doesn't change just because you get older. I think having those experiences in my past allows me to relate to a broader audience."
Katy admits that, given her nomadic upbringing, lasting friendships have been hard to come by. "I grew up in Santa Barbara, but we moved a lot, starting when I was very young, because my dad was an evangelist," she recalls. "I think at the time it affected me emotionally because I had to leave friends so often that I thought I would never make more friends like the ones I left behind. But looking back, I got to make a lot of friends, see a lot of places, and take a little bit of everywhere with me."
Although she began singing to tracks during church services when she was 9, Katy's musical world really opened up when she turned 13. Her instrument of choice became a battered green guitar given to her by her church as a birthday present.
Although she's now home schooled through the Internet, Katy actually began her high school years at a public school. "I was pretty rebellious-a typical 'P.K. (Preacher's Kid)' I suppose. I had gone to Christian schools all my life," she explains, "and when I faced public high school, I didn't exclude myself from the 'worldly kids.' I just tried to be myself and show love to everybody-not in an 'in your face, happy all the time' way. Just keeping it real so that I could influence my friends in love and in Christ. Sometimes I wasn't a great witness, but I think I did make a positive impact on my peers by my actions."
Mindful of the pressure put on young artists today to serve as positive role models, Katy says she's more than willing to address that challenge "I think there should be a good amount of pressure on the person who is on the stage," says Katy. "I think anyone who says his or her music doesn't influence is ignorant, because it does. Most of our lives revolve around music, fashion styles, television, movies, and advertising-they all reflect that. My heart says whatever it feels through my music. If you want to know me, listen to my songs. All I ever want to say to the world is in my songs."