Sarah Kroger Opens Up About Her New EP, Encountering God in Tangible Ways & More

Sarah Kroger

Nashville-based worship leader and songwriter Sarah Kroger is set to release her new EP The London Sessions on April 11 via Integrity Music. Previously, Kroger has had released four albums: Your Time (2011), Hallelujah is Our Song (2013), Bloom (2019), and Light (2020). She is part of the multi-cultural trio Village Lights as well as the female collective Faithful, two enterprises that are a testament to her prolific creativity and talent.

Q: Sarah, thanks for doing this interview with us. Tell us a little about yourself and your calling into leading worship.

Thanks for having me! I'm a worship leader, songwriter and artist currently living in Nashville, TN. My parents were both in music ministry from the time I was born, so I've been involved in church music since before I can remember. I knew I had a gift for music from the time I was young, but singing in front of others terrified me. I went on a retreat when I was in high school and one of the leaders shared something during a talk that had a profound impact on me. He said, "If you have a gift that you know is from God and you aren't sharing it, you're denying the glory of God within you." That was it for me. I knew that I was allowing my fears to get in the way of sharing the gifts God had given me. Slowly but surely I started saying yes to leading worship at our church. I became more comfortable with singing in front of people, and that gift has grown exponentially. I lead worship and share music with people for a living, something I never could have anticipated as a shy high school kid. Now I can't imagine doing anything else.

Q: You are part of the Catholic Church, how has your tradition influenced your view of worship and your song writing?

There is such a rich history of both tradition and devotion in the Catholic faith. I grew up singing hymns that have been around for centuries. Bono once said, "The greatest songwriting is never conclusive, but the search for conclusion." That made sense to me, and I figured if we're still writing songs it's because there is more to be said and discovered about the heart of God. One of my favorite writing practices is to use old hymns to inspire new songs. My song, "The King Of Love My Shepherd Is" is an example of that. In my opinion, there is space in worship environments for both the old and the new.

Q: How then did you get to work with Integrity Music?

Integrity made their way into my life at the exact right moment. Back in 2018, I received a Facebook message from my now A&R rep, Andrew Osenga. At first I was going to ignore him because I had received similar messages from people who turned out to be scammers in the past. Facebook isn't exactly known as a channel for legitimate business communication :). However, I pushed past my original skepticism and replied, which led to us setting up a meeting in person. Andrew, the rest of the Integrity team and I spent several months getting to know each other and I officially signed with them at the end of 2019. It's truly been such a gift!

Q: I have been listening to your upcoming new EP "The London Sessions" and I am loving it. "Belovedness" is such a beautiful song and it's one of the songs that I have been listening to over and over again. How did this song come about?

Thanks for listening! 7 years ago, I was introduced to a book called "Life of the Beloved" by Henri Nouwen and it changed my life. The book revolves around the idea that every day we're surrounded by voices. The voices of society, negativity, lies we've believed, our peers, etc. What would it look like if we could silence the noise and listen to the voice that at the center of our being calls us "beloved"?

While reading the book, I realized that instead of owning and living out of my belovedness, I was only owning my mistakes. My journey is far from over, but I work every day to own the truth of who I am. Fast forward to 3 years ago in a writing room with Tony Wood and Michael Farren. It was my first time writing with them. We started our session how most cowrites do, by sharing about ourselves and how God had been moving in our lives. I shared with them about how I had been struggling for years to own my identity as a beloved child of God. We were in the middle of writing another song when all of a sudden Michael stopped us and said, "guys, take a listen to this idea." He started singing the first verse of Belovedness. Tony and I instantly knew we had to stop what we were doing and write it.

Q: I love the message of "The Detour," which speaks about how our plans are not necessarily God's. Did that song come out of your own personal experience?

"The Detour" was written as a part of a writing camp for the Faithful project. Faithful brought together female authors and songwriters to write songs and devotionals based on the stories of women in scripture. "The Detour" is based on the story of Elizabeth. Just like all of us, Elizabeth was no stranger to waiting. John the Baptist was their miracle child, but he came into the picture only after what was surely years and years of Elizabeth believing she was barren. Being unable to conceive a child in Jesus' time was seen as a sign that God's favor was not on you.

To imagine the pain and shame she must have carried as a result of her barrenness is excruciating. All of us are waiting for something. Sometimes life takes us down roads we never planned and would rather not go down. Elizabeth's story, and countless other stories of God's faithfulness throughout scripture, reminds us that God sees it all. We are not alone in our suffering. Somehow He turns the roads that feel like detours into the road, writing straight with the crooked lines of our life.

Q: I love your rendition of the standard "What a Wonderful World," which is not usually associated with Christian music. Why did you decide to cover it?

"What A Wonderful World" is a song I've been singing at each of my concerts over the past decade. It's one of those songs that shifts my perspective whenever I hear it. In a world that often feels like it's ripping apart at the seams, WAWW reminds us that there is still goodness to be found here. There is beauty to behold in the birds singing their morning song, in the sunset sky, in the people that enrich our lives with their love and presence. Gratitude is the antidote to despair. My hope is that people are reminded of all there is to be grateful for in the midst of this oftentimes dark world. There is still hope to be found.

Q: How do you hope these songs will impact the lives of your listeners?

I hope that when you hear "London Sessions", you will feel like you're in the room with us. I hope you encounter the presence of God in a tangible way. 


Tags : sarah kroger Sarah Kroger interview Sarah Kroger London Sessions Faithful Village Lights Integrity Music

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