Will “Next Big Thing”
Spencer Kane Change Christian Music?
Every now and then I run across an up-and-coming artist who has the “it factor.” That just happened again recently, and his name is Spencer Kane. Spencer Kane is an 18-year-old teen artist/actor. At barely five-years-old he recorded his first music video as a lip-sync to the song “Written on My Heart” by the Christian band Plus One. Raised in a Christian home as a son of a pastor, Spencer has been around musical influence in and out of the church world.
Psalm 149 says to “Let them praise his name with dancing…” Spencer Kane takes this seriously. His current solo project titled “Runway” is youthful, energetic, and chock full of danceable rhythms. He has a very unique style: modern, pop, hip-hop, and it’s mixed together in a way that’s unlike anything currently charting within the Christian Contemporary music scene.
And people are taking notice. He was recently featured on Billboard.com and reached number one on their emerging artist chart in December 2014. He has also been nominated in the “Next Big Thing” category for the 2015 “We Love Christian Music Awards.” This is the third overall award nomination for Spencer since 2012 and 2013 when he competed for “Best Pop Artist” at the All Indie Music Awards in Los Angeles. In the “Next Big Thing” category, he is a first time nominee who will be competing against four other emerging artists. Voting closes on Friday, January 30. (Click on the “We Love Christian Music” link above to vote.)
Spencer Kane represents the next generation of Christian artists and, like many before him, Spencer is ready and willing to take his unique music and style to Christian radio. I am personally excited for his future. He is focused on all aspects of his career — a songwriter, singer, actor, and social activist. Unlike most his age, he understands the importance of Christ, the importance of Christian living, and representing that to the masses.
I had the opportunity of talking to him about his music and his mission:
Tell me about your roots as a Christian and an artist?
Growing up, I never thought music would be a part of my life. I was into sports, primarily basketball, and baseball. Up until high school the goal for my life was to play college athletics, and to pursue a career involving sports. As I got older, God revealed a different direction.
I’ve been involved in church my entire life, and I’ve always been singing in the church. Singing was always a big part of who I am, but I never took it seriously. I began to post some songs on YouTube, I recorded an original song, I did a competition here and there.
The choice to become a Christian and my faith has always been a part of my life. However, I was baptized at age 11, and had a purity awakening when I was 13. Those were the years when I really began to take my faith more seriously. Soon after I began to listen for what God wanted, and began taking His direction in my life. Music is where I believe He wanted me to put my efforts. So I made that decision my sophomore year, and I don’t regret it.
I dropped sports and public school. I began traveling the country spreading my message with hopeful and encouraging music. I want to offer people something they can relate to. Let them know they’re not alone with certain struggles they may be going through, and just make them feel better. One of those messages is about a bullying campaign.
It’s a mixture of Pop/R&B. It has hip-hop influences, but it’s still pop-like and can be played on a Top 40 station. My music and path has been very unique. Most teen singers my age would rather sing about a relationship or a party. I’ve never wanted to be considered a Christian artist, but an artist who is a Christian. My values and standards in life are inside my music. I may not be saying “Praise the Lord Jesus Christ” on every line of my music. Instead, I’m relating on subjects that teens experience: depression, rejection, bullying. My music does not sound like your typical Christian music current popular on radio. The lesser known artist like myself can’t get radio airplay because we’re different. But what’s cool, as of recent, as I grow my career, we are finding independent US stations and on-line stations that are now playing music more to my style. I am finding more stations playing my music regularly. I’m discovering more Christian radio stations supporting Christian hip-hop and R&B. I want teens to listen to my music because the beat is cool and they can relate to the words.
You’ve been compared to Justin Bieber. How do you feel about that?
Just being a teen artist beckons that type of comparison. Ask any teen artist and I am certain they’ve been compared to Justin Bieber, Cody Simpson, or Austin Mahone. It’s an honor to be compared to someone like Justin. I consider Justin to be very talented musically. However, I’m on my own path. I want to be the best Spencer Kane I can be, and that’s what I try to live by.
You incorporate modern dance into your music. Did you study dance?
I just picked up trying to infiltrate dance into my live shows about two years ago. Furthermore, the music I write is very dance-like, so it made sense to find some backup dancers and create choreography for my videos and live shows. Christian music doesn’t have people who dance. But I think the Christian music industry is starting to come around. They are starting to realize, to get to teens, you need to appeal to them musically and with dance as long as it’s a positive message.
Tell me about your acting career.
I’m involved with a Christian-based organization called iShine. They have a TV show called “iShine Knect.” It is a Christian faith based television alternative show to Disney and Nickelodeon. It is a sitcom very similar to “Ant Farm” or iCarly. It’s broadcast on TBN. It’s very funny with a great message.
Tell my about your anti-bullying agenda?
Bullying is a huge thing that churches and Christians aren’t too focused on. Yet it’s something a lot of kids experience and struggle with. I don’t think many of those bullies turn to the Lord for help and guidance. So I want to infiltrate that with my songs and messages.
Is there an organization you support to stop bullying?
I’m part of the Pacer Organization. They are the National Bullying Prevention Center. They have websites with testimonials, and they partner with famous artists. Demi Lovato was a spokesperson for them. They’re partnered with Facebook and Disney, among many others, to help against bullying and build awareness. They partnered with my “One of a Kind” campaign. I’m also partnered with an organization in Fort Wayne, Indiana called “Remedy Live.” Remedy Live is a bullying organization that offers a text-to-chat. What that means is if someone is being bullied and they are contemplating suicide or self-harm and simply just need someone to talk to about bullying, addictions, or faith issues, they can text the number “313131” or the word “remedy.” They are instantly connected to a “Soul Medic.” Soul Medics are people around the nation who anonymously text with these kids. No names, no addresses; it’s completely safe.
Remedy Live has stopped approximately 67 suicides in the past five years. They’ve been able to call 911 and bring help. These are people with guns in their hands, pills in their hands — it’s a serious thing. I feel really blessed to promote and partner with them.
I’m excited about 2015 and The Millennial Tour. It’s partnering with the “God’s Not Dead” Movie. Dr. Rice is going to be on the tour talking to the kids about defending their faith and yourself as a Christian, to hopefully influence other kids to develop a relationship with Christ and to develop an interest to learn more about becoming a Christian. It’s a huge tour that will be traveling all around the United States.