- Christianity Today Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2009 4 Mar
A lot has happened to Krystal Meyers since the release of her self-titled debut album in 2005. The talented teen has graduated from high school, received a Dove nomination for Best New Artist, scored a hit album and has not only become one of the most successful newcomers in the U.S., but has become a sensation in Japan. She's been on the cover of Nylon and Bounce magazines and knocked the Red Hot Chili Peppers from the top slot to achieve her first No. 1 single in Japan. All that can add up to a swirling vortex of changes, commitments and challenges, but at the center, everything remains the same - Krystal's God-given talent, her unwavering faith and her intense passion to spread the gospel.
Those are the forces that drive her sophomore project, Dying for a Heart, a collection of musically innovative and lyrically potent songs all anchored by Krystal's compelling voice. It's a voice that took the Christian music community by storm with the release of her debut disc. Her hit single, "Anticonformity," was a powerful anthem that encouraged others to buck trends and embrace their individuality. Krystal quickly gained a reputation as an artist whose musical talent was underscored by her conviction.
As she began writing songs for her sophomore album, her approach was simple. "I wanted this to be God's words, not my own," she says. "I want God to be speaking through my music. So I stepped back and prayed about it. I surrendered the whole writing process to God."
The fruits of that surrender are readily evident on Dying for a Heart. The collection encompasses a rich emotional landscape from the poignant, soaring "The Beauty of Grace" to the buoyant "Only You Make Me Happy." One of the most intriguing cuts on the album is "The Situation," a song about temptation and having the strength to make the right choice when a relationship begins to take a more physical turn. "We wanted to write a controversial kind of song that would totally challenge the youth of this generation," she says of the song she crafted with her guitarist Brian Hitt. "With 'The Situation' being about premarital sex, we wanted to make it more challenging and in-your-face. This is a real subject and it's serious."
The album's title comes from the song "Love is on the Run." "Dying for a heart is what Jesus ultimately did for us on the cross," says Krystal. "He died for all of our hearts and our well being, for us to be able to have that opportunity to have communion with the Father. We're dying for a place to call our own, somewhere for our heart to have peace and resolution."
"Stand and Scream" is a song Krystal co-wrote with Tiffany from Plumb and Matt Bronlewee. She describes it as a song about "coming out of your shell and saying 'I want my voice to be heard'." Another standout on her new set is "Live." "It's about living," she explains simply. "The song asks: 'Am I too young and restless to live the way the fearless do?' It's about wanting to live life to the fullest extent."
Krystal has always wanted to live life to the fullest and she's done a lot of living for one so young—only 18. Born in Orange County, California, Krystal moved to Tennessee with her family when she was six. By the time she was 10, she was writing songs. "I knew I would be doing music ministry ever since I could talk," she says. "A lady in our church told my mom 'Your daughter is going to travel the world and be a missionary.' That's what this is—a mission field and music is the outlet."
Her breakthrough hit, "Anticonformity" was written before she entered ninth grade. "I wrote it with my friend Hannah Dwinell at camp," she says. "I recorded the first version in ninth grade on a camp compilation and it started getting lots of attention. Then we started talking with a label."
She signed with Essential and began working on her groundbreaking debut album. The self-titled set spawned four top ten singles on the U.S. Christian charts and launched Krystal on the road, where she performed for over 400,000 people last year. This spring the album was released in Japan and "Anticonformity" has rocketed up the chart to take the top slot.
For fans who loved Krystal's debut, she takes things a step farther on Dying for a Heart. "The rock songs on the record are a bit more rock than on the first one," she says. "We made the guitars a little beefier and there are cooler drum licks and bass lines. Then there are prettier moments like 'The Beauty of Grace.' There are songs that are more intimate."
"The Beauty of Grace" is sure to become a modern day classic as it tenderly explores one of God's greatest gifts. "It's about grace and the fact that no matter how far away you are, God is here," says Krystal. "All your scars and every mistake you've made is erased in God's arms. In His arms, everything is forgiven. There is grace so abundant."
Krystal returned to producers Ian Eskelin and the Wizardz of Oz to help steer her new collection. "I really wanted to do the second record again with them," she says. "I love that they bring a current, edgy sound. Plus they make writing and recording so much livelier."
Entering the studio to record Dying for a Heart, Krystal had a newfound confidence that came from the experience she'd gleaned on the road. After the release of her debut album, she toured relentlessly including a slot on the Winter Jam Tour. "It was quite amazing," she says of Winter Jam. "Every night there was between 8,000 to 16,000 people. And it was so cool to watch a guy like tobyMac totally tear up the stage and the Newsboys too. I had listened to both of them in middle school. It was great to be on the same stage. That's been my favorite tour so far. It was surreal doing that."
Krystal's fan base has surpassed U.S. borders and she's been stunned to see "Anticonformity" zoom up the Japanese pop charts to become a huge hit. "It's a whole new world. I can't believe people recognize me over there," she says. "The people there are so sweet and very respectful. I really enjoy being over there. The fact that I have the opportunity to actually go into all the world, I want to grab that by the horns and totally run with it."
Even though Krystal sings in English, there's something in her music that connects with fans who don't even speak the same language. "People have told me: 'I'm not sure everything you're saying but your music is so powerful. There's something about it that brings a peace to me'."
Krystal Meyers is on a mission to share that peace with the world. With her long blonde hair flying, her guitar pouring out power-chords, and her voice soaring toward heaven, Krystal shares the love of God with other believers and with those who don't know Him yet. "My faith means everything to me," she says. "It's who I am. It's the basis of everything I do. Jesus Christ is everything. He's given me peace and joy that is so unreal that I just have to sing about it. It comes out in my music. I have to share what I believe!"