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What Makes Kim Hopper Tick?
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Kim Hopper has one of the most powerful voices in Southern Gospel music today, and she performs with one of the genre's best-loved groups, the Hoppers. Here she gives an inside look at some of the things that make her smile, both on and off stage.

HOMECOMING: What kind of music do you like to listen to, to inspire you or just for enjoyment?

KIM HOPPER: Everything. I love all types of music. When we’re traveling, we’re usually listening to a Christian station. I love country music and some of the pop that’s ‘80s music, the Bee Gees, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand. And through the years, I listened to the Rambos. And actually, I grew up on some Hopper music, which is kind of funny, because I never thought about being part of the family or part of the group, but it worked out that way.

As I said, I like a lot of country music, but it has to speak to me.  I think there are a lot of great country songs out there with a good moral message, and there are a lot that have the Lord in them. Like the Randy Travis song, “Three Wooden Crosses” — that has really spoken to me, and my mind goes back to that song every time I see three crosses.  The preacher died, but he left that blood-stained Bible in that prostitute’s hand, and it changed her life, and then her son became a preacher. You know, it doesn’t matter what kind of music it is; if it speaks to people and has the truth in it like that and can change somebody’s life, then sing it!

HOMECOMING: What keeps you motivated in this career path, after being in the music business for so long?

KIM: Well, if I didn’t believe that I was called to do this and it was what I was supposed to do in life, I’d go home. I’ve got two kids, and they’re on the road a lot with me, but they don’t go all the time. And I’m a real homebody — I love to be a homemaker and cook for my family, and I don’t get to do that as much as I would like. So if I didn’t really feel like this is what God has called me to do, then the motivation would not stay there, because I would love to be at home more than I am. But I know that this is His will.

The strange thing is that when I was about 10 years old, I knew then what I was supposed to do. I went to school to be a cosmetologist, and I have kept that license up, but I knew for the most part that what I was supposed to do was sing. I did some hair on the side, but I haven’t worked in a salon since Dean and I married. Now there are mornings when I get up and say “You know what? I just want to stay here at home today; I don’t want to get on the bus.” But I think this is what God’s called me to do, and I think that’s vital. I wouldn’t want to do anything against His will. And we don’t always know how we’re being used — I get confirmation all the time, but part of it, we won’t know until we get to heaven. But it sure means a lot to me when people come up and say, “You sang this song and it changed my life.” And to me, that’s my motivation.

HOMECOMING: When you're not working, what are some hobbies that you enjoy?

KIM: You know, I love to decorate — one of my passions is my home. I’m a very organized person and, for me, cleaning out the closets and cabinets cleans out my mind. I feel like when I get rid of stuff I don’t need, I’m getting rid of the cobwebs in my mind . . . it’s very much therapy for me. I also like to work outside, with my flowers and plants. It’s mostly the stuff that I can do at home.

We just built a new house, and I’m trying to work on a room at a time. I’m working on the curtains in a couple of rooms, and I’m drawing out things on paper that I think I’d like and trying to explain that to the lady who will make them for me. I get a lot of materials and bring them home and just work with them myself until I kind of get the look that I want on this or that. I love to shop for home décor—to me, I think the home is a woman’s little palace. Dean says, “You want it to look like we don’t live here.” (laughing) I say, “Well, I want it to look like nobody lives here, but I want it to be comfortable too.”

HOMECOMING: Any exciting projects coming up?

KIM: I’m in the process of getting started on another solo album, so that’s always exciting to me; I’ve done two in my life. That’s the time when I get to just concentrate on what’s in my heart and the songs that really speak to me. It’s just a fun thing to be able to pick the music and know that when I’m done, to feel the pride that it’s something that I have accomplished, and to be able to sing those songs. I usually do one solo song a night.

And again, I love when people come up and tell us that this song or that song changed their life. I sang a song one night about peace, and a lady came out who had been battling depression, and she said that a couple of weeks prior to that, she had tried to commit suicide. And her husband said to me, “I didn’t think she would be here today.” And she said that there was a line in the song that said “Let my enemy know that I will not be afraid, and I will not be lost at sea.” She said, “That spoke to me. I’m making it — I’ve got another day today. I will be here tomorrow to face another day.” I just love knowing that something I sang spoke to somebody like that.