Singer and songwriter Kylee Shaffer has just released her brand new album Believe. The brand new album showcases how Shaffer puts her gorgeous vocals to work on well-treasured hymns as well as two originals. The album has been a labor of love for Shaffer.
We are honored to be able to catch up with her as she talks about her own journey and her new record.
Q: Kylee, thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself: tell us who is Kylee Shaffer?
I am a singer/songwriter from Draper, Utah. I have always had a passion for music. I started singing as a little girl, began playing guitar at 13, and have always appreciated the power that music holds to uplift and inspire. My involvement in Christian music began when I was selected as a soloist for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' 2016 Mutual Theme Album, "Press Forward". Since then, my music has received over 300 thousand streams on Spotify, with listeners in over 70 countries. I plan to continue recording music with the goal of spreading light and hope throughout the world.
Outside of music, I have served a Spanish-speaking mission in Gilbert, Arizona for my church and I am currently attending Brigham Young University. I study as part of the Public Relations program! I love spending time with my family and friends, being outside, filmmaking, traveling, and trying new restaurants. I'm kind of a "busy-body". I love to keep moving and I always have something to work on/do
Q: Tell us a little about your faith and what Jesus means to you.
My faith means everything to me. I grew up in a religious household, but I think there comes a time for everyone when they really have to choose for themselves what they believe. I have always believed in God and have felt His love for me in my life. But I think my testimony grew the strongest when I served as a missionary in Gilbert, Arizona. I was not perfect, but I did see the most amazing miracles during this experience, and my prayers were answered so specifically that I cannot deny that there is a living God looking down on me and helping me through life. I know that God, and his son, Jesus Christ, are real and very present in the details of our lives. I am grateful for Christ's restored gospel and the light, joy, peace, and guidance it brings me.
Q: Did you always want to record a Christian music album?
I didn't really ever think about recording an album, to be honest. When I was young, I stepped foot into the music industry and I hated it. I worked with a company that pretty much stole our money and they were very dishonest in everything they did. This experience sort of made me lose interest in pursuing music, but I prayed that I could someday use my music to bless and help people. When I sang for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 2016, it really opened my eyes to the opportunities in spiritual music. I found so much purpose through this experience, and I realized that what the world needs right now are light and hope. The world is kind of a crazy place, and if I can use my music to bring people hope, I want to do that.
I went to record "God, I Can Feel You", and I had some hymns come to mind that I wanted to record. We started recording, and more ideas kept coming. I figured that if I was going to record a couple of hymns, I might as well record it all at one time. So a what was supposed to be a single song became an EP, and then the EP became an album. We just kept going!
Q: On your new album, you have included 6 hymns. Why did you choose these hymns?
These hymns that I chose are hymns that mean a lot to me and reflect things that I have experienced in my life. The hope in recording these hymns was to make them sound different than other hymns that are out there. I want to give people something different but also familiar. "Be Still, My Soul" and "Where Can I Turn For Peace?" are songs that bring peace during rough times, and I think everyone could use songs like that in their lives.
"How Great Thou Art" was divided into half Spanish/English for my sweet friends that I met when I served my Spanish-speaking mission. "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief"'s lyrics are beyond powerful. I love how this hymn focuses on the Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel this song makes His reality more personal and powerful. This was also the song that Joseph Smith asked John Taylor to sing in Carthage Jail before a mob entered the room and killed the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum. They died as martyrs that day. "Praise to the Man" is about Joseph Smith; I wanted to give a tribute to him on the album. I have studied a lot about his life, and he was an incredible man of God. Whether or not you believe that Joseph was a Prophet of God, one can't deny that he truly fought for something he believed to be absolutely true - he (and his brother) gave his life for it. His family suffered immense trials to give the world what they did. They wouldn't have voluntarily suffered through these things if they didn't know that what they were fighting for was real and true. This is so inspiring to me. I love them for what they did.
Q: Tell us about the two originals. Did you write them? Why are you excited about them?
I am excited about these originals because I feel that I was finally able to take something that was in my heart and put it into words. I wrote "I Believe" from life experiences that I have had. Since returning from my mission in 2018, life has thrown different challenges at me and it has been hard at times to remember my worth and purpose. The song is about how we are always going to have trials, but we can choose to believe in God as we go through them. Life will always have something hard... but that's the point. God needs us to have trials because He needs us to grow and learn so that we can become the person that He needs us to become. We can believe and have hope and choose to be positive about our circumstances - because we have Him, and that is all we need.
"God, I Can Feel You" is a song that I wrote in my bedroom super late one night. I don't fully remember what I was going through at the time, but I wanted so badly to just feel God closer. I had so many feelings, and I didn't know how to express them, so I grabbed my guitar and sat on my bed and literally wrote half the song in a half hour. I knew that night that it needed to be recorded, because I knew that it was going to help people. and it has! I have received so many messages and notes from people who have shared their stories with me. I feel really humbled and grateful that my music is touching people and helping them feel close to God. I think that we can often yearn to feel Heaven more in our lives. This song is to remind us that Heaven is always closer than we realize.
Q: How do you hope these songs would impact the lives of your listeners?
I have kind of already said this, but I just hope that this album helps people feel closer to Heaven. I really want to help people remember WHO they and are where they come from. We come from God. He loves us. He will never abandon us, even when we sometimes feel lonely. He is always closer than we think He is. I hope that these songs help people truly feel that.
Q: Where can our readers go to find out more about you and your music?
My Instagram account, @kyleeraeshaffer is where I post the most updates about my music. People can hear about my music first if they follow along there. I also have a Facebook page, Kylee Shaffer. My music is on all streaming platforms, though. People can find it anywhere. :)