Donna King is one of the most energetic, joyful, exuberant Christians in the Gospel music industry. She sings, produces, promotes, writes and has experience in just about every corner of the industry. Perhaps you know Donna from hearing her with her husband Zane on their singles, “Shine,” “Hallelujah, Jesus Saves” and “If There Was Any Other Way.” Or maybe you heard some of her solo music at Christmas, or your group has worked with her in her Vertical Sky promotions or the studio owned by the Kings. If you haven’t met Donna King, you should. She will “Shine” all over you and you will know that you’ve been in the presence of a child of God.
Rob Patz: Donna, you do so many things in Christian music and wear a lot of hats. In fact, you might be called the Hat Queen. Can you please tell us about all your hats?
Donna King: Whew. Okay, where do I begin? First, I love my job/jobs and hat/hats! What a blessing to be a part of something that carries with it a message that can make a REAL difference in someone’s life. Every time I do anything in our genre, I am reminded that it’s all important. Speaking of all…Follow me to my imaginary hat closet!
Hat #1: The Family Hat. I am a wife and a mother of six children (between Zane and I) and three grandchildren! Other than my relationship with GOD, this hat is the most important and valuable hat I ever wear. Loving my family well has become my life pursuit. In early music ministry, I think I put that hat on then switched hats to “singer” and so on. Now I know that this is the hat that stays on at all times, even when I am changing the other hats from one to another.
Hat #2: The Songwriter Hat. It’s decorated with words and melodies. I try to wear it at least a couple days a week. I love it but I don’t force it on my head… I wait until I feel inspired.
Hat #3: The Producer Hat: I wear it almost every day and I love this hat too! Helping artists make music that reaches people; now that is an honor and a blessing that is mega-special! I love people and I try to help artists record quality albums. My most important objective is to help them paint a picture of the love of God and to convey that in their songs, both musically and vocally.
Hat #4: The Radio Promotion and Marketing Hat: This is the hat where I dial in which songs are right for radio and I get to share that wonderful music with my precious friends at Christian radio around the world. Love that hat because it is a hat that represents the core of what I do, which is reaching people with love and hope.
Hat #5: The Press/Public Relations Hat: This one gets the word out about an artist or company! It just works well in conjunction with my radio hat. I love letting people know about the wonderful gifts God is using in the lives of the artists He allows me to work with!
And last but definitely not least, #6: The Ministry Hat: This one is getting more use lately and I am so, so thankful. God is opening doors for Zane and I to go out and sing and share what God is teaching us with others. Our message is that God is Redeemer, Restorer, and Renewer. He loves us and He wants what’s best for us. We are striving to share an honest message of hope with those He puts in our path. I am beginning to do some ladies speaking engagements and solo ministry dates as well. And through all of that, my husband’s main ministry hat, Compassion International, is a major part of what we do and share. It’s a powerful ministry, helping children in extreme poverty to be fed, not just physically, but spiritually too!
Donna: My favorite hat is the family hat; for obvious reasons! If you have kids or grandkids, you know what I mean! But, from a career standpoint, my favorite may surprise you. I love, love, love everything I do. Production is of course way up there, as is ministering with my husband, but my favorite is actually songwriting. There’s something about the quiet but consistent motion in the process of writing a song that makes me feel as close to God as I can get this side of heaven.
Rob: You and your husband Zane have been releasing singles for more than a year…what is your latest and can you tell us something about the song?
Donna: Yes…and one day we will finish the whole album! You see, in my studio (Flight Studio Nashville) my artists always come first, so it seems it may take us 20 years to finish one album of our own! Our current single is very special to me. This song, written by Zane, Charles Isbell, and myself is an honest message about pain and learning to trust that God knows what’s best for each of us.
The interesting thing is that I have been going through a personal season in pain over a family situation and so, this song, intended to minister to those who hear it at radio, turned around and ministered right back to me. It is entitled “If There Was Any Other Way.”
It talks about what Christ went through for us and how if the Father could have done it any other way, He would have. But, He knew the sacrifice for our sin had to be made and He did it all for us, out of His great love for us. And, though our life experiences cannot compare to what Christ endured on the cross for us, God still knows what’s best. He allows things in our lives, not to make us happy or sad, but to teach us to draw close to Him and trust in His plans for our lives. I’m so thankful for His love.
Donna: Well, though I said 20 years, we actually hope to have our first full length album ready for release by October of this year, 2014! It will include the singles folks have heard on the radio or seen on the Gospel music charts. Additionally, it will include a slew of brand new songs, all of which are written or co-written by Zane and I.
It’s been a process of writing our heart and creating music we feel paints a real picture of a real and loving God. We want to offer hope to people. We love people and we know that God loves people, all of us, with all of our flaws, even more. The album will be entitled Shine. I also completed a full length Christmas album late last year, which was a dream that God blessed me with the opportunity to fulfill! It’s called Song of Noel.
Rob: What is your favorite part about Vertical Sky?
Donna: My favorite thing about Vertical Sky is celebrating the gift of music in such a limitless way. My idea, when I formed the company, was that, with GOD, even the sky is not the limit. We serve a limitless God, so, getting to help others grow in their music and ministry, exceed their own limited goals and reach for God’s dreams, and watch songs touch hearts over and over – that is what I love! I love music and I love how God uses it.
Rob: Where do you and Zane like to go on vacation? Do you have any fun things you like to do while you are there?
Donna: We love the ocean, we love the beach and we love anywhere our kids are! We rarely steal away for a vacation, but when we do, give us a book and a lounge chair (and umbrella to save my husband from sunburn) and come get us when the sun goes down! To be honest, we enjoy so many aspects of our work in music and ministry that we have kind of adopted a song lyric we heard recently. I can’t remember the name of the song, but I do remember the lyric, “You don’t need a vacation when there’s nothing to escape from.” We feel very grateful. We do work hard, but we are passionate about our work.
Rob: Who does most of the cooking in your house? What is your favorite home-cooked meal?
Donna: Who does most of the cooking? Well, she doesn’t live with us, but we sure love her cooking and we eat more of her meals than our own: Zane’s mom, Sue King. She is the queen of fried chicken and chili and another 200 dishes that are yummy! Zane and I take turns at cooking and to be honest, neither of us are amazing cooks. However, my husband grills a mean and magical hamburger!
Rob: What is the last movie you saw? Would you recommend it?
Donna: The last movie we saw is “Heaven Is For Real.” I was excited to see it. I have loved ones in heaven, as many reading this do, and I love stories about the realness of our heavenly home. But if I’m being honest, and I know that’s what you asked me to be, I wasn’t impressed with the movie. It was okay, but a bit of a biblical stretch in my honest opinion. I know it’s based on a true story. I hear the book is better than the movie. I’d recommend people read the book and not see the movie.
Donna: My favorite pair of shoes are teal blue stilettos! I guess I like pain! No, actually they are more comfortable than they look and the reason I love them is I got them for 80% off; I paid seven bucks! The strap actually broke last year and I paid more for the repair than I did for the shoes!
Rob: Tell us one of your favorite Bible verses and why it is special to you.
Donna: My favorite bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” When I look over the last many years, at those times when I felt everything had fallen completely apart and life as I knew it was unraveling, God was on the scene moving and working, loving, and providing grace that was just enough for where I was and what I needed. I know, in retrospect, (and I should have known at the time) that God is never surprised and He is always able to take our circumstances and use them for good. He is so kind and so very for us! And, if God is for us, who can be against us? We have a hope and a future. His dreams for us are better than ours could ever begin to be. He is good. He is faithful. He is God. I am one grateful servant. My dependency on God increases daily, for I know without Him I can do nothing. And with Him, all things are possible!
My special thanks to Donna King for opening her heart and soul to us in this interview. I hope you will get to know Donna better by visiting her websites: http://www.zaneanddonnaking.com/ http://www.verticalskyonline.com/ https://www.facebook.com/FlightStudioNashville
By Rob Patz
First Published by SGN Scoops in September 2014
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