So you want to listen to some SA music. You like other local female voices such as Reana and Ella. Internationally songwriters like Nichole Nordeman, Michelle Tumes, Alanis Morissette and Sarah McClagnan have impressed you… well then take a note of a new voice on the local front, called Kriss Tel.
She hails from the tiny town of Carolina of all places! She is married to a farmer, and is actively involved in ministry to the young people in her area. No, she does not wear khaki! She is such a funky dresser, which helps when you want the young people of your area to take you seriously as a mentor and a spiritual leader. Kriss Tel: “The young people of our town have nothing to do. The only places to hang out are the few bars in town. The parents do not care what they do, so we go and fetch them once a week and bring them to a friend of ours’ home. There the guys get together and the girls do too. We talk about our week. We share our hearts, watch DVD’s and listen to cool Christian music. The young people want to know that they can trust you. For the first year we did this, we had a total of six kids joining us. But we just kept at it, and today we are at 18 kids once a week. The issues these kids face are just as dire if not worse than those the kids in the city do. In Carolina there is rape and molestation on a regular basis. Teenagers get pregnant before they leave school and because many of them live on farms, there is precious little control over what is going on in people’s homes. We hear about these things. So on a Friday; we want to expose the kids to real Christianity – we just love them.”
Kriss Tel was in the arts ministry, 13th Floor (formerly known as C-Kruis), for four years. That ministry has birthed people like Retief Burger, Bouwer from Straatligkinders, Anél Alexander (Actress from 7de Laan) etc etc. It is a ministry that concentrates on excellence as well as an outward focus to a lost world. That is the reason Kriss Tel’s music has very mainstream friendly lyrics. Her lyrics are birthed from real life situations and relationships that you will relate to whether you are a Christian or not.
Take for instance the ballad, Beauty. The song is about how she was supposed to reflect the beauty of God through her music. She also has a beautiful testimony on how God reassured her of her own beauty in His eyes. Kriss Tel: “Beauty has always been kind of an issue for me. Not a huge one… just that question of am I really beautiful inside and out?
During my first year at 13th floor, I went outside one evening. The song, “Jesus, Lover of my soul” popped into my head. That specific song has been my comfort for many years. Every time I felt afraid or when I was lonely, or even when I was just mindlessly doing something, this song would sooth me. This time however, for the first time in all those years, I really contemplated the actual meaning of those words, Jesus, Lover Of My Soul. I realised that I had never given Jesus any chance to really be the love of my life – ever. There had always been a boyfriend that had filled that space. At the same time it was a kind of weird concept… Jesus, lover of my soul. But I just knew the time had come for Jesus to take that place in my life.
So one day I decided that I wanted that question answered for myself, once and for all. I went to sit down, and I remember feeling very vulnerable there on my own in my little wooden room at the camping site we were staying. I asked God simply whether He thought I was beautiful. I was in tears! The next moment this next verse popped into my head. It was Songs of Solomon 4:1. I went and read what it said: “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh how beautiful!” I mean… that was all I needed to hear… just like that… from the bible (from the mouth of God Himself), the moment after I had asked my question – then it HAD to be true. I believed Him, and since then it has been much easier to accept myself just the way I am – flaws and all. Everyone has them, and that is OK. Beauty really does come from within, because when you believe you are beautiful, then you can become truly beautiful… that is just how it is.”
“Why does it take so long to grasp, who I am is just enough
Never mind my talents and abilities
You allow me to be weak, without feeling insecure
You allow me to dream once again
But I believe within my heart what I’ll be seeing with my eyes
Now you’ve made me to believe that I am beautiful.
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