She has released four CDs, sung at World Youth Day in Germany, attended pilgrimages in Rwanda with genocide survivor Imaculee Ilibagiza, done missionary work and even explored religious life, and she’s only 26.
“God has just opened doors to me,” Kara Klein said. “I’ve had lots of experiences.”
Through her gift of singing and songwriting, Klein has shared her love of God. She’s recorded several Christian CDs since 2004, including “A Touch of Your Grace”; “I Am Home” (2006); “The Gift of Christmas”; and “Enduring Love,” a rosary for chastity.
This desire to know God and find “his will for me in my life” came to Klein early in life through music. By age 13, she was involved in the first Abbey Youth Fest in Covington and wrote its theme song.
“I wasn’t planning to write the song, but it just came to me,” she said. “It was the first time I intentionally wrote a song about God, and I performed it at the fest. That was the beginning of my ministry as a Catholic singer/songwriter.”
Performance opportunities blossomed through Klein’s teen years – singing regularly at Our Lady of the Lake’s youth Mass and in St. Scholastica Academy’s choir and performing in musical theater at Playmaker’s Theater and at St. Paul’s, as well as a lead in St. Paul’s passion play.
It was at St. Scholastica where Klein’s relationship with Christ deepened as she visited the school’s chapel.
“I think it was during that time he planted in my heart the love for the Eucharist,” Klein said. “The presence of the Eucharist was a place of comfort and safety for me.”
As she drew nearer to God, she gained a greater respect for herself and embraced chastity as a way of life. She co-founded the Hearts of Purity Club at SSA and was on the Louisiana Governor’s Program on Abstinence board. She also co-edited the book on chastity, “If You Really Love Me – 100 Questions on Dating, Relationships and Sexual Purity.”
Klein also had the opportunity to speak against contraception and abortion at the United Nations, standing up for the culture of life.
Her interest in pro-life causes continued while attending The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where she studied philosophy and vocal performance. She became involved with the Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life organization.
Like others on campus in 2005, she was following the fate of Terri Schiavo, a Catholic woman on life support for 15 years whose parents were fighting her husband to keep her alive. While riding on a subway where she often prayed, Klein was inspired to write a song, “Beautiful Still,” asking God if he loved her no matter what.
Her parents heard the song and thought it was perfect for Schiavo and encouraged Klein to record it and post it on the web. The Eternal Word Television Network found the song and used it on a video they aired the night of Schiavo’s death. Klein was invited later to sing several times on EWTN.
“This opened doors to singing at pro-life events,” she said.
In 2007, she performed “Beautiful Still” at the annual National Right to Life Convention in Washington, D.C. Around the same time, she met the owner of Heart Beat Records’ owner and it opened opportunities for CD distribution and singing engagements.
Many of her songs are inspired by life experiences, such as her 2006 release, “I Am Home,” dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Its title song won a United Catholic Music and Video Association Unity Award for best pop/contemporary song of the year.
“The Gift of Christmas” also was earned a UCMVA Unity Award for “Seasonal Album of the Year,” and she as recognized as the 2008 Best Female Vocalist of the Year by UCMVA.
Her deep faith shapes everything for Klein, who said God flows through her as she has written more than 200 original Christian songs.
“Hopefully, it’s not from me. I am a vessel,” she said taking from John, Chapter 3: “The more I can decrease and God can increase, the better.”
While recognizing God as guiding her path and bestowing the gift of music, she also credits St. Paul’s theater director Denny Charbonnet and her mother Judy Landrieu Klein. She remembered Charbonnet emphasizing students to use their talents to glorify God.
“It really helped shape how I was going to use my gifts,” she said.
Her mom brought music into her household and was a witness to faith, earning a master’s in theology and a doctorate in bioethics. “She had a deep faith,” Klein said. “God was her salvation.”
Not unlike other young adults, Klein struggles with fear, doubt and insecurity.
“We all have different experiences that shape who we are,” she said. “We all have different gifts, and, hopefully, I can share this gift of song.”
She took a break from music after her dad died in 2008 and was drawn to the lay Catholic community called Cenacolo for 14 months. While with Cenacolo in Italy, she lamented that Catholics internationally don’t have access to the Eucharist that she was used to at numerous adoration chapels in New Orleans.
Klein’s delving fulltime into music now and recently recorded her newest CD in Nashville, an extended play (EP) with five original songs. It’s entitled “Catch Me,” about taking a leap of faith and being caught in God’s love by surrendering to him. It will be released before Christmas.
Klein is passionate about spreading the Catholic faith and inspiring others to be a witness. She speaks at schools and rallies and mentors young girls who aspire to sing, especially those wanting to sing for God.
“My hope for my music is that it will bring hope and peace and a deeper faith to people,” she said. “I think a lot of people are suffering, and we don’t always show it. But we need consolation. Sometimes, you need to feel God’s grace and feel his healing. If my music can bring God’s grace to people, I’m thankful.”
Klein will speak at World Youth Day in New Orleans on Oct. 28. Her music can be found at www.karaklein.com.