Hannah Kerr

Considering her father is the CEO of Black River Entertainment, newcomer Hannah Kerr could have easily gone country. But that was never an option for the 20-year-old singer, who is the first artist on Black River’s Christian imprint—a joint venture between Hannah’s dad, Gordon Kerr; Mark Miller (Sawyer Brown); and Mark Hall (Casting Crowns).

“A pop song or a country song, they’re great and they make people feel really happy for a moment, but with Christian music, you can give people joy for a lifetime,” Kerr says. “It doesn’t just have to end after the three-minute song.”

Growing up in Buffalo, New York, Kerr didn’t realize a career as a CCM recording artist was even plausible. Then her family moved to Nashville, and the rest is history, Kerr has recorded her debut album, Overflow, and gone on a nationwide tour with Casting Crowns.

Although Overflow released to all digital retailers last fall, for Kerr it was a “non-negotiable” to release a physical copy to Christian retail.

“I think we take for granted a lot of people really don’t like digital music. My generation does, but my grandma and grandpa and my parents still buy physical CDs. So if you don’t sell physical CDs, you’re missing a big population that you could be ministering to,” she says. “Having the physical CD in your hand is a whole different experience than streaming it on something, and that’s important to me.”

— Lindsay Williams