After 6-year-old Kate Stanford won her elementary school talent show by singing “The Best of Both Worlds” by Hannah Montana, she and her family knew she had a future in music.
Now a voice performance and sociology sophomore at UT, Stanford is a contemporary Christian singer and has released six singles. Recently, she recorded a cover of the 1739 traditional hymn, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.”
“I love listening to Christmas music to get festive,” Stanford said. “I was so excited to release ‘Hark the Herald’ because it was the first classical song that I've ever released.”
Stanford sang in choir throughout elementary and high school, but it wasn't until her senior year of high school that she started writing and recording Christian music.
“I started writing my own music when I was probably about 17,” Stanford said. “That's when I first started getting into the studio producing. I gravitated towards Christian music because my faith has been an integral part of my life since a very young age. I believe that faith and music together can heal.”
This year, Stanford co-wrote her two most recent singles “Mirror” and “Change” with her mentor and vocal coach Cindy Morgan, a contemporary Christian music singer-songwriter. She said the singles aren’t explicitly Christian songs and could also fit into the pop genre.
“I pulled from different areas of my life and different things that people have said to me to create my lyrics,” Stanford said. “I just wanted a sound that people of all religions and backgrounds could enjoy.”
Trained in classical music as a child, Stanford said she showcased these roots with her Oct. 30 release of “Hark the Herald.”
“She's trained in classical music,” Stanford’s mother Sheila Stanford said. “So we were thrilled that she got the opportunity to do something that showcases her talent. Not only can she sing pop, she can also sing classical.”
Stanford also released a duet version of “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” on Christmas album A Thrill of Hope featuring singer James Berrien.
“I was really struck by the clarity of tone in her voice through the song,” said Anna Duong, a Plan II and history sophomore and a friend of Stanford’s. “A lot of times, classical singers will add a lot of vibrato or try to have a big voice. But I think one of the beautiful things about Kate's voice is that it's clear and it's high.”
Right now, Stanford said she is unsure of what her future holds.
“If there's not really any live performances in the future (because of COVID-19), then I probably won't pursue being a full-time musician,” Stanford said. “I'll still have music as part of my life. I'll probably still put out songs, but it definitely won't be my main occupation.”