INTERVIEW: Sister Kerry is gaining recognition for her sweet, soulful songs, and unique fashion sense
Written by Staff on 28 August 2022
Sister Kerry is the latest name emerging from the gospel music scene, with her soulful voice and passionate lyrics giving the genre a much-needed 21st-century boost. Her upcoming release, Mercy Feet, is gathering a lot of excitement within the gospel community. Kerry Anne Panton started singing and writing her own music at the age of 13 and, as she grew older, the people at her local church began to refer to her as Sister Kerry – and so the stage name was born. Despite singing prayers in her teenage years and earning money performing at functions during her university years, Sister Kerry decided to take the plunge into professional gospel music in 2019. Since then, she has gone from strength to strength, driven by her positive, religious messages. Sister Kerry draws inspiration from legends of the gospel scene, including Marvia Providence, Barbara Jones, Shirley Ceaser, and Tasha Corbbs. You can really hear Kerry channeling these powerhouses during her performances, while adding her own unique style to the mix. After enjoying a positive response to her last track, Jesus the Chain Breaker, Sister Kerry is back imminently with her new single in the form of Mercy Feet. As with the vast majority of her lyrics, Mercy Feet was born from prayer, before Sister Kerry used her musical talents to immortalize them in song. Quickly gaining recognition for her sweet, soulful songs, and unique fashion sense, Sister Kerry is well deserving of a spot on your gospel playlist this year!
- Which did you discover first – your passion for faith or your love for music?
Sister Kerry: My faith for sure, I could not explain when it happened or how, it has been part of me and my life for a long time now and I am most gracious for it.
- When did you become “Sister Kerry”, and start making music seriously. And how did that process come about?
Sister Kerry: Kerry is my Christian name, when I started visiting church the congregation started calling me Sister Kerry it just felt right to continue using the name my congregation gave me. I started creating music seriously you could say in 2021 on the advice of others really. I love singing and do so daily, I find it helps to raise my spirits and comforts my soul. I was going through a depressive stage in my life and suffering from anxiety and asked the Lord for guidance and to watch over me. It was a close friend who prompted me to come out of my comfort zone and visit a local recording studio known for producing gospel music “3 Chronicle in Wembley” which funny enough is located next to a church. I was introduced to Mr Stuart Green, whose professional and welcoming approach was all I needed to convince me to take things further. We recorded my first single “Jesus The Chain Breaker” in conjunction with a record label “Pinky Music London” with whom he has collaborated on various projects before.
- How have you changed and/or evolved since your inception into the music business?
Sister Kerry: I would say that I have become more confident and self-assured in the presence of people I am unfamiliar with. Working with other musicians and learning from them and their approach to making music is an eye-opener. Turning a hobby/pastime into a polished product worthy for others to hear takes hard work and not just from me It can involve many people.
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember, and what qualities do you admire most about them?
Sister Kerry: “I Remember Mana” by Shirley Caesar and “One Day At A Time” by Barbara Jones are the typical songs I listen to that inspire me, raise my spirits and show me that anything is possible with hard work and faith. I do not know their personal stories or what road brought them to where they are now, I just listen to their music and the stories they tell through song, that is enough for me to get me through the day.
- What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners?
Sister Kerry: It may sound obvious but for me, I would say the lyrics of my songs, I tend to write about topics, people or places I identify with or feel strongly about. I would consider myself to be a passionate person and I hope they will resonate with my audience.
- Are you happy with the current state of Gospel music and today’s current/trending pop soundscape in general?
Sister Kerry: Gospel music is huge in the United States and I can only see my genre of choice gaining traction over here in the UK in the months and years ahead. Hopefully, the fusion of Gospel with Afrobeat and other styles will help it to appeal to a younger audience.
- Could you describe your creative processes? How do you usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a beat, a melody or narrative in your head?
Sister Kerry: I always start with the narrative in my head, play with it a while through the day or a few sometimes and then relay it to my producers.
- When you create music, what is your personal purpose or goal?
Sister Kerry: I create music out of love, the love of singing, the love of conveying and expressing my feeling or relaying a message. It is the tool I use to express myself and spread the word of the gospel.
- What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your career or life so far, and how did you overcome the event?
Sister Kerry: For me it would be depression, It is a battle which I face day to day but my faith and will are strong. Through faith in the Lord, I am never alone and he is my ally, my friend and protector. I shall overcome whatever obstacles or trials are in my way.
- On the other hand, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your career so far?
Sister Kerry: The release of my debut single “Jesus the Chain Breaker and hearing my song playing over the airwaves. Getting positive feedback and messages from my local community and beyond. It is truly humbling.
- Do you have a personal favourite track amongst your compositions that has a specific backstory and/or message and meaning very special to you?
Sister Kerry: As it is my first single I can only say Jesus The Chain Breaker but who knows what the future holds. As I work on perfecting my song writing skills, work and rub shoulders with different producers hopefully more special encounters and memories can be made.
- With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you’ve had to deal with, and do pay attention to it, or do you simply ignore?
Sister Kerry: I ignore it all and pay it no mind, simple. There are way too many negative people and attitudes out there on social media and I tend to stay clear of all that as much as one can. If you choose to allow hurtful people and their agendas to occupy your time and enter your life daily it can only do more harm than good.
- Has your musical journey had a deliberate direction from the start, or did it simply and gradually evolve into where you are now?
Sister Kerry: My musical journey has been a simple one and I am thankful for that, sometimes music has to take a back seat for one reason or another and fortunately, at this stage of my career it is not a big deal.
- If you had a choice to go on tour or collaborate with any acclaimed international artist in the near future, who would you choose, and why?
Sister Kerry: It would have to be Marvia Providence, a collaboration would be unreal, I just love her songs. And why? because it is Marvia Providence, her energy, and her drive it is contagious.
- Could you tell us something about your latest upcoming single “Mercy Feet”, and what message it will be putting out?
Sister Kerry: I was meditating during Covid, I was scared when we were told by the government that it is a worldwide pandemic, and we are not allowed to go out or even visit our families. I started speaking to God to have mercy on me “I am at his mercy feet” which is how the song evolved. I believe in my faith that all things are possible if you believe in God.
- What is your involvement with PML (Pinky Music London), and what are your hoping to achieve together?
Sister Kerry: I write the lyrics and lay down the vocals and those guys at PML do their magic and produce the tracks. We have a common goal of wanting to produce excellent, high-quality music.
- Creative work in studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excite you most?
Sister Kerry: Engaging and performing with a live audience. Gospel music is meant to be heard and has a message, delivering that message first-hand in a hall, a church or at an arena to a single person or five thousand, the effort and energy should be the same. It’s the energy that gets me going.
- Do you your favourite motto, phrase, prayer, or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?
Sister Kerry: My favourite motto is “Lord have mercy on me” it is my way of staying humble, and grounded.
- Do you have any other additional professional or personal aspirations in your life, away from music?
Sister Kerry: Oh yes, I love to cook, it’s my thing.
- What do you find most rewarding about what you do, both as a committed child of God and a musician? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?
Sister Kerry: My goal is to spread the word of my Lord to all who will listen through song. To tell those who are lost that they can find inspiration and answers to most of life’s trials through prayer.