Katinas Worship Band Left to Right: James, John, Sam, Jesse and Joe Katina. Photography by Chrissy Katina with MagnifyU Photography

Rocking Out with The Katinas

 The Katinas are one of the few bands that have been together for more than 25 years! This award-winning group comprised of brothers, John (vocals), Jesse (vocals), Sam (keyboards), James (bass) and Joe (drums) blend a unique style of vocals and instruments that have resulted in popular worship songs recognized around the globe. Risen sat down with them in 2012 and talked about how they got their musical start, including a multi-million-dollar contract deal, and how their mom and dad influenced their faith and musical abilities.

Joe Katina shares with us about how they broke into the music industry including how they landed a multi-million-dollar contract deal.

“Well, we were singing mostly in churches and we were approached by Maranatha records. We signed our first contract with them…It was the era of the Boy Bands. Then through a course of events BeBe introduced us to Clive Davis who at the time was with Arista Records. That was in 1993 and we were very young. We were offered and signed with Clive—an 8-record, multi-million-dollar contract. As we began working on the first album, we would do something and send it to him to listen to and he’d send it back with a different approach. We went back and forth, for a year, really trying to make it happen, but we just didn’t feel right about what was being asked of us. We assumed when we signed that we would be able to just keep making our music as we had been doing. The music-lyrics they wanted us to sing were just contrary to our beliefs. We felt so strongly about needing to stand on what we believed—plus if we had done those songs we would have had to answer to dad! [laughter]. We did a lot of praying and fasting through this time and by the grace of God we made the right choice to stand firm. To Clive’s credit, he released us from the contract. We never did end up doing one album with Arista.”

 “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.” Romans 12:1-2

 James and Joe Katina reflect on how their parents influenced them musically.

James tells of how being around their dad’s church inspired them. “Although we were born in southern California, [their father was stationed in the military at Camp Pendleton] our family moved to American Samoa [a small island 2,000 miles south of Hawaii] when we were young. Our dad was a musician and pastored a church…he conducted the choir and we were always around music which was a big part of culture on the island. We didn’t have any formal instrument training then and just sort of picked it up.”

Joe adds how their mom’s battle with cancer brought them back to the states, “In 1987 we moved back to the states to be with our mother who had been diagnosed with cancer. (Their parents moved back a few years earlier to pastor a church in the state of Washington). At that time we would travel up and down the West coast primarily to California, singing in churches. We met BeBe and CeCe Winans. BeBe was a great help to us and we looked up to their family. He told us if we were really serious about our music, we should move to Nashville…We were very close to her [their mother]. She was the major influence on our faith and set such a solid foundation for us. She died after about a year after we moved back to the states. Mom’s death hit us all very hard…we wrote a song as a tribute to her.”

 Risen Reflections

Don’t conform. Whether it is an internship, promotion, or amazing opportunity, pray first before you accept it. Think about if you will have to compromise what you believe or your faith with this new opportunity. Even something that seems like a small compromise in the beginning could grow to something larger. Ask a trusted friend, small group leader, or pastor for their wisdom and advice on the situation. Often times, those around us can provide insight that we might be able to see on our own.

Be a transformer. As a student, teammate or professional, we each have the opportunity to transform those around us for Christ. Take time this week to pray and ask God how he wants you to be an influence to those around you. It might mean adjusting your attitude, asking forgiveness for something you have done, or even being more vocal about your faith. Being a light for Christ doesn’t necessarily mean we have to do an outreach every day, but it does mean that we are a reflection of God’s love and grace to those around us daily.

Renew your mind. It is easy for us to get caught into a series binge, spend hours on social media, or drown out the hardships of the week with by rocking out to our favorite album. But God wants us to turn to him for our pain, anxiety and comfort. Instead of watching tv, listening to music, or being on social media this week, take time to get into God’s word. Ask him to renew your mind. If you are facing a specific situation or hardship ask him how to handle it.

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