By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew
Kathy Burrell has been involved with music since she was a little girl growing up in Houston. Along with her siblings, who includes younger sister and gospel megastar Kim Burrell, the quartet learned to spread the gospel through their melodic voices.
Now, Kathy Burrell, an award-winning songwriter, is taking her years of experience in the gospel music circuit and teaching it
to others who desire to break into the business.
Through her own production company – YourWeh Music – Kathy is touring the southwest and south to stage “The Sound of a New Music” workshops. The two-day event allows Kathy to provide one-on-one mentoring to aspiring gospel artists. The first day includes a musician showcase, where individuals perform before Kathy and a group of highly regarded clinicians in gospel music. On the second day, a business forum is held where Kathy and the clinicians teach music; provide answers to burning questions; and teach participant how to conduct business in the gospel industry.
“It is my passion for the kingdom of God that allows me to do this,” Kathy Burrell shared with Inside The Pew. “Nobody grabbed me and my sister and told us anything. I had to learn the hard way.
“I am able to give them those tools before they bump their head. It is an honor and a privilege to do this.”
In 2009, Kathy joined the songwriting ranks with “Yes To Your Will,” a ballad sung by Kim Burrell. The song was nominated
for a Grammy Award. Kathy also penned several songs for Kim’s revered “The Love Album;” which was nominated for a Grammy in 2011. Kim took home the Stellar Award’s female vocalist of the year and contemporary female of the year honors in January. Kim mentioned in her acceptance speech that her sister, Kathy, was the power behind the success of “The Love Album” because Kathy wrote most of the songs on the release.
In addition, in February, “Sweeter,” written by Kathy and recorded by Kim earned a Dove Award nomination.
The workshops will make stops in Louisiana later in April and in June. The workshop is slated for 7:30 p.m. on April 20 and April 21 in Leesville and 7:30 p.m. on April 27 and 10 a.m. on April 28 in Lake Charles; June 1 and June 2 in Baton Rouge, and June 15 and 16 in New Orleans. According to Burrell’s website, the locations for these events will be determined.
Kathy Burrell said “The Sound of a New Music” workshops are coordinated through her company, YourWeh Music Productions.
Burrell’s slate also includes the “Woman Be Thou Empowered” conference on May 17 to May 19 at Solid Rock Baptist Church, 1337 East Fifth St., in Port Arthur. The theme of the women’s event is women behind the front line.
Mary Motley, a gospel singer who performs in southeast Texas, attended the Port Arthur workshop on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25. She said Kathy Burrell made her feel appreciated. By attending the workshop, Motley said she can perfect her talent.
“Kathy is real, and a down-to-earth artist; she is just like me,” said Motley, who has been singing since she was 4 years old. “She has never had the attitude that she is up there and I am down there. I feel she will be instrumental in my career and others who want to get into gospel music. Kathy respected me and my craft.”
Motley said the greatest asset Kathy can provide to up-and-coming artist is the truth about what the recording entails because Kathy Burrell has been around professional gospel music for quite some time.
“Go experience it because I feel I have found a friend for life. Don’t get offended, because she is tough. Come with an open mind and don’t come with your heart on your sleeve.”
To register for a “The Sound of a New Music” workshop or the “Woman Be Thou Empowered” conference, visit www.kathyburrell.com.