CCM Classic Blog

From Miss Florida To CCM Sensation; Kim Boyce... By Philip Mayabb

We celebrated the month of May with five classic Christian Rock albums, and now that June is here, were going to start off the month with some music to make you want to dance.  Our first album of the new month is the 1986 self-titled debut album from Kim Boyce.

Kim grew up with music in her family, and probably in her blood as well.  Growing up in the Sunshine State of Florida, her father actually owned a Southern Gospel radio station, when Kim was young...in fact, one of her first jobs was as a disc jockey at her dad's station.  Kim grew up being influenced vocally by some of the legends of Southern Gospel, such as the Downings, and Rambos, but she also liked hearing and seeing groups such as the Osmonds (and especially Donnie and Marie) on television as well.  Around the age of 8 years old, she began to sing with her mother and sister, and by the age of 13, she knew that she wanted to be a professional singer.  Around that time, her father's radio station began to receive records that they could not play on the air.  They were contemporary Christian albums by artists such as the Imperials (their Southern Gospel days were long behind them), the Archers, and the Sweet Comfort Band.  Since the records could not be played on the radio, her father would bring them home, and both Kim and her sister listened to them - A LOT!  At one point, their mother walked in on the Boyce sisters, as they sang along with this different sounding type of music, and asked "is that even gospel music"?  

But even though Kim would eventually achieve her dream of singing professionally, she took a little detour along the way, the beauty pageant circuit.  She began to compete at age 21, and after working her way up through the ranks, she captured her home state's top pageant prize when she became Miss Florida in 1983, setting up a trip to the 1984 Miss America pageant.  Now while that particular contest will be forevermore remembered for the scandal that resulted in winner Vanessa Williams surrendering her crown shortly afterwards, the good news for fans of 80s CCM is that Miss Florida, Kim Boyce, finished as a top 10 finalist, which put her name, face and talent out there for folks to see.  

Shortly thereafter, Kim was invited to appear on TBN, alongside another Miss America contestant, 1980 pageant winner Cheryl Prewitt. Besides sharing a kinship in the beauty pageant circle, the two ladies also shared a love for music, and after hearing Kim sing, Cheryl informed her that she was part of a Christian management company, and offered to sign the young singer from Florida.  Kim accepted, and was now pursuing her ultimate dream, becoming a professional Christian singer.  

The year after Miss America, Kim was invited to sing a duet with one of the hottest artists in contemporary Christian music. His name was Carman, and Kim joined him for a duet that was released on his 1985 LP The Champion.  The song they sang together was titled "Fear Not My Child", and due to her participation on the track, Kim was able to go back into the studio to record a demo with super producer Keith Thomas. In the meantime, a young man in the A&R department at Word Records named Brian Tankersley had already taken notice of Kim, and when they received a copy of the demo, he went to work attempting to persuade the company to sign Kim to a contract.

His hard work paid off...Kim Boyce was signed to the most prestigious label in CCM, Myrrh records, and now the REAL work began. Since he had produced the duet with Carman the year before, as well as her demo tape, Keith Thomas was first choice to produce Kim's debut album, but he was unavailable at the time, so it was suggested that since Tankersley had been so instrumental in getting Kim signed, he should produce her first album.  He had some previous studio experience, mostly as a recording engineer, but had never sat in the producer's chair.  It was a perfect situation...a new artist working with a first-time producer, which meant they could both learn the ropes together.

Kim came in armed with some ideas for songs, which were quickly developed into full blown tunes, and the sessions began.  Now by this time, Kim had developed a liking for the bouncy, dance grooves that artists like Madonna were turning out, and even though there was not much of the dance sound being produced in Christian music at the time, the decision was made to go down that path, and it turned out to be a good one.  The sessions were a huge success, even though there were a few funny events along the way. Having engineered recording sessions before, Tankersley decided to also handle that duty on the recording, however his young artist had thoughts of learning the fine art of engineering herself, and began to sit in at the console, trying out the sliders.  After patiently giving Kim some time, Brian then told her to "concentrate on doing what you do best - SINGING"!

Of course, we older fans remember that the album was a huge success.  It's first single, Darkened Hearts, reached number two on the charts, and Kim Boyce was on her way!  Before all was said and done, her debut had charted the first two of her eleven career number one songs, those being the album's leadoff track, Love Resurrection, and a fantastic power ballad, called Here.  She would also receive a Dove Award nomination for the 1987 Horizon Award, and would follow it up with another Dove nomination in 1988 as Best New Artist.  She accomplished her dream, and as we all know, Kim had quite a career in the Christian Music industry, releasing eight albums, to go along with her eleven chart toppers.

These days, Kim is still active in music, even though she is not touring or working in the studio.  She and her husband Gary Koreiba perform three times weekly in their hometown of Branson, Missouri, leading a show called "Oh Happy Day" which includes some of the classic Southern Gospel songs that Kim grew up with.  I can tell you that after seeing some of the videos on Facebook and YouTube, her voice sounds just as good as it did in the 80s, and now, she has the added joy of having her two sons working on the show as well.  Kim told me recently that she has many wonderful memories of working on and releasing her debut album, and that she could not have asked for a better outcome, professionally or personally.  The album started a long and fruitful working relationship with Brian Tankersley, and a wonderful friendship as well.  So this week, we celebrate the debut album of a giant in the Christian Dance genre, Kim Boyce.

TRACKLIST:

1. Love Resurrection

2. Darkened Hearts

3. Here

4. That's How You Touched My Heart

5. Love Knows

6. Sing And Dance

7. You Are The One

8. I Want His Heart

9. How Will They Remember?

If you would like to see Kim and her family in their show "Oh Happy Day", the performances are at 10 A.M. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday each week at the Hughes Brothers Theater in Branson Missouri.  For more information, or to purchase tickets, log on to www.ohhappydaygospel.com.



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