Kendall Payne Inspires APU Students

by Sarah Reinhart '10

Chapel is an integral part of APU campus life. It gives students a chance to worship together and hear speakers discuss many different subjects. APU has welcomed both members of our campus community as well as professionals from surrounding cities and across the world. On Friday, March 6, 2009, singer/songwriter Kendall Payne shared her talents and perspective as a Christian professional in a secular music industry.

Payne’s upbeat personality sparkled as she shared her heart through her music. Though she was full of lively wit, she was also completely honest, admitting to the student body that she has struggled with frustrating life circumstances and doubting God’s plan for her life and talent. Because so many students at APU wrestle with the idea of hearing God’s calling for their lives, it was refreshing to hear a professional in a familiar industry talk about her personal difficulty with this issue.

Payne’s career in music started early. She was just 17 when she signed with Capitol Records and released her first album, Jordan’s Sister, which was later picked up by Sparrow Records in 1999. She spent the next several years enjoying every musician’s dream—touring with iconic Christian bands such as Third Day and Delirious and hearing her music featured on television shows such as Popular and Felicity. The icing on the cake, so to speak, came when she received a Dove Award for Best Alternative Album of the Year.

Though it seemed that God had made it clear that this was to be her ministry, she was dropped by the record company due to changes at Capitol Records. Though Payne acknowledged this as a dark time in her life, I was shocked to hear her say, without skipping a beat, that she found financial help from her friend and actor Zachary Levi in order to continue producing music. Rolling over and admitting defeat was not an option, and she wasn’t afraid to ask for help.

On her website Payne states, “…I appreciate the uphill road I’ve had to climb because it’s made me develop the sides of my personality that weren’t so strong. I am a better person because of it; how could I be anything but grateful?” This was the inspiring message she passed on to the APU student body—dream big, trust God, and know that He hasn’t left your side even in the darkest times in your life.

Because of her perseverance, Payne continues to be a Christian example for her colleagues in the music field. God has blessed her with exciting opportunities again, such as having her song “Scratch” recently featured on an episode of the popular television show, Grey’s Anatomy. In a time when the economy is suffering and job security is lessening by the day, Payne provided a positive example for current APU students to press on in the face of adversity.