Singer/Songwriter, Owner at KNG Music and Praise First Publishing
Kristeen Nicole Gillooly was born and raised in Philadelphia, which is where her soulful sound was grown from. Influenced by the likes of Boyz II Men, Whitney Houston, and Madonna, she has always had a fondness for pop, R&B, and ballads. She has been singing for as long as she can remember, and started writing her own songs at the age of eight.
Reeling from an estranged relationship with her mom, she struggled with feelings of abandonment, loneliness, and insecurity in her 20s. For years, she poured herself into music, thinking that it might be a safe haven but eventually realized it had only become a place to store her brokenness. In a moment of bravery, she finally stopped writing and trashed every piece of paper she had ever written a song on. In time, she stopped singing altogether and gave up on ever hearing from her mom again.
When she met her husband in 2013, he told her that she was in the wrong career and should be singing. By this point, she hadn’t touched music in about 10 years and had no interest in anything other than her photography. She told him he was crazy and insisted that she had other plans, but that conversation sparked something inside her that had been asleep for a long time. She had no idea that her life would soon be changing forever.
She gave her life to Christ two weeks later while standing on a street corner feeling sorry for herself. She felt God speak to her for the first time in her life, telling her that He had come before her as the first martyr. He also confirmed what her husband had told her, that she was supposed to be singing. It was the first of many challenges that God had for her as she started on the path of being saved. She didn’t feel equipped to be the singer/songwriter He was calling her to be. Having always suffered from stage fright and the opinions of others, she didn’t see how that was going to happen. Still, she started listening to Christian music and felt inspired to start writing again. She soon came to understand that music alone wasn’t a healer but that God was. He was there to help her feel loved again, to find peace with her family, and to teach her how to rely on Him for everything.
One of the things God asked of Kristeen early on was to reach out to her mom. It was around Easter time, just a few weeks after she had been saved when she given the instruction to send a card to her mom. It was the last thing in the world that made sense because she had sent her mom cards and letters over the years but nothing had helped repair their relationship. She knew that in order to send this card, she would have to leave it in God’s hands with no expectations. She dropped it in the mailbox and pushed it out of her mind.
Over the summer, a missionary came to Kristeen’s church and talked about how best to pray for one’s family. She started praying for softened hearts, for her own and her mother’s. By October, decided to write her mom a letter and apologize in a way she never had before. It was not self-seeking to get a desired result but done out of love and a newfound appreciation for her mom. She didn’t even put a return address on it. Kristeen was completely caught off guard when her mom reached out to her on Facebook about a week later. Her mom asked if she had written the letter, and upon confirmation, said that she believed her and that she forgave her. Her mom was only willing to talk via Facebook at this point but it was a start, an opportunity she never thought possible. She thanked God for bringing her mom back in her life.
Kristeen’s mom passed away four months later. They had never talked on the phone or met in person again, and she struggled with whether or not her mom truly loved her. She relied on God’s love for her to deal with the insurmountable pain. Up until that point, she had seen Him work in her life and felt like He wouldn’t take her mom away without purpose. She knew that she couldn’t praise Him in that season but she was willing to trust Him, clinging on to displays of faith found in Hebrews 11 to keep her grounded.
The loss of her mom also spurred her to record “Praying For You,” written for her mom just 4 days before she died. She went home that night after finding out, and released a raw recording in her memory. It was professionally recorded within six months, and later released as a single. A few months later, Kristeen turned to music again to sort out her feelings of letting her mom down and not being the type of daughter she could have been. “Still Love Me” is a heartfelt apology with the hope that her mom still loves her in spite of everything. Other tracks on her new album include the title track, “This Is My Prayer,” “The Narrow Path,” “Only You,” and an acapella version of the popular “Lead Me To The Cross.”
In the past two years, Kristeen has felt more of a calling to lead worship instead of doing music professionally. God has been slowly preparing her for this role, challenging her to go deeper in relationship, and allow Him to breakthrough even more. She knows it will be a long, narrow road for her, filled with trial and error but she is learning to willingly go wherever God calls her, no matter how tough life gets.
Recently, her trials have meant dealing with chronic pain and learning how to continue walking in faith despite a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Follow her as she documents what this means for her and her family now, as well as the plans God has for her and her ministry. God bless.