Danen Kane is a strong presence in indie Christian music, and I recently had the honor of conducting an interview with him. He’s very real – he’s open and honest about his background, his loves, his fears, and his struggles. He’s excited about doing more and more for the Kingdom of God, and so now, here are his thoughts in his own words:
What is your background? How did you get started with music?
I got a very late start in music. I didn’t do anything musically until I was 20 years old actually. Growing up, sports was my passion and I actually went to college to play basketball. But God had different plans for me and I ended laying that down my freshman year. After getting heavily involved with a college ministry (CRU) at my school I picked up guitar just to learn some simple worship songs so I could be part of some worship times there. As I was learning to play, I started putting chords to some lyric ideas I had and found out I had a pretty decent voice so songs started pouring out pretty naturally. It really came out of nowhere as no one in my family was musical. A year after I picked up guitar for the first time, I released my first independent album. It was pretty crazy and it became very evident very fast that God had something in store for me in that area.
Do you have a favorite music artist – Christian or secular – who you would credit as your biggest source of inspiration?
Probably my biggest influence over the years has been a guy named Shane Barnard of Shane and Shane. I got to meet him when I was just starting to learn guitar as a young worship leader and I was just blown away, by not only how talented he was, but how humble and focused he was on glorifying God with the gifts he had. It was just very impactful to see someone that gifted be so passionate about using those gifts to reach people for Christ above all else.
If you could sum up the message of your latest album in just one sentence, what would it be?
That a relationship with Christ is a long journey, and no matter where you are in that process He honestly does love you. He wants you to keep coming to Him to be healed.
Do you write your own songs? Which usually comes first for you – the words or the music?
Yes, I write and produce all my own songs and albums. The music always comes to me first. I find a chord progression or riff that I really like and with that usually comes a mood or emotion. From there, I start humming a melody over the progression until I find one I love. And usually as I’m singing that melody, one phrase or line will develop and then I build the rest of the lyrical content from that phrase and emotional mood.
What is your vision for the future of your music? Where would you like to be – musically and ministry-wise – in the next few years?
Truthfully and thankfully, I feel like I’m already doing what I love and feel called to do. I want to impact people for Christ and hopefully bring His hope to as many people as I possibly can. So my goal is really just to grow what I’m currently doing so that I can reach more and more people. As an independent artist, that takes a lot of years of slow growth so I’m just trying to be patient, stay the course, and trust that God will open the doors He wants me to pass through.
What’s one of your favorite comments or testimonies from your fans?
I’ve gotten probably about 20 emails from fans over the years, saying that listening to my music prevented them from committing suicide and ultimately leading them to life in Christ. I think every time I’ve read one of those messages I’ve ‘ugly cried.’ As an artist, there are a lot of ups and downs and you go through seasons where you don’t know if you’re making a difference. But getting messages like that have been God’s reminder for me to press on and that He is moving. He can even use a mess like me to literally bring life to another person.
What’s your favorite Bible verse and why?
My favorite verse is probably Romans 12:1-2 which says, Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. It’s a reminder to me that true worship is how we live our lives. It’s more than just singing songs in church. It’s choosing to be obedient to God and trusting that His ways are best, even when culture and our bodies say otherwise. Trusting God most often involves saying no to immediate satisfaction which is crazy hard to do. But when we do, and the more we do it, we grow in our worship and grow in our vision of His love and plan for our lives
I’ve heard that you have struggled with depression. Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for anyone else who might be going through a similar struggle?
Yes, depression is definitely something that has had a consistent presence in my life as long as I can remember. You know it’s interesting; my view on it has changed a lot over the past few years. I used to view it as a disability of sorts. Something that was a weakness and something that I think I was ashamed of in a lot of ways. Something that was robbing me of experiencing life the way I was supposed to. And something, that if I did the right combination of things one day, I would overcome. I don’t see it that way anymore. It sounds strange, but nothing has brought me closer to God and brought me to greater dependence on Him than this affliction. Nothing has allowed me to appreciate the mountaintops as powerfully as I have, then experiencing every ounce of the valley floor. Understanding and actually feeling the depravity all around us is not a bad thing. It actually allows us to see the world as it is and hopefully help those around us through empathy rather than sympathy. If we actually believe the Bible when it teaches that the whole point of life is to worship God, then anything that brings us to greater dependence on Him really is a blessing. Not a fun one, but definitely a powerful one.
Do you have any shows coming up?
Yes, me and my band will be touring all over the country for the next year and we’ll see where God takes it. We will be doing about 225 shows over the next 12 months and the goal is to hit all 48 lower states, so it’s going to be busy. All dates available to the public will be posted on my website www.danenkane.com so we would love to see you if we come to your area!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to share my heart and a bit about my music with you and your readers. As an independent artist, I don’t take these opportunities for granted and it means the world to me. Thank you so much for your time and from the bottom of my heart, God bless you all!
I’m grateful to Danen for sharing these insights into the indie music scene and the Christian life. I encourage you to connect with him online:
Danen’s website: http://www.danenkane.com
Danen on Facebook
Danen on Twitter: @danenkane