The Katinas - No Compromise

Latin Musicians are committed to ministry and accountable to each other
by John Cockroft

Joe Katina, 22, didn't sleep much the night he and his four brothers signed an eight-album, multimillion-dollar contract with a major record label a decade ago.

The Katinas, whose father was an Assemblies of God pastor in American Samoa, moved to Nashville, Tenn., to make the Christian music scene, but they never imagined the door would open so quickly.

However, rehearsals and recording sessions left Joe and his brothers with an uneasy feeling. The record company president had urged them to compromise their lyrics to improve their marketability.

"We tricked ourselves into thinking we could reach audiences with the gospel after getting our foot in the door," Joe says. "We prayed about things we already knew the answer to-we knew God didn't want us to compromise our music." After two years of trying to make it work, the Katinas asked for the unthinkable-a contract release-and got it.

"At that point," Jose says, "we let God guide our decisions."

He refers to Jeremiah 29:11: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'" (NIV).

"We could have avoided a lot of mistakes had we been more submitted to spiritual authority," Joe, now 32 says. "Christian mentors are mirrors who help us see our blind spots." He notes that Tiger Woods, arguably the best golfer in the world, still has a coach.

In 1997, the Katinas signed an alliance with Gotee Records, a Christian label in Nashville. They gained wide appeal to all ages with their 1999 self-titled debut and second album, Destiny, in 2001, blended their own soulful style of praise and pop.

"It's Real," off their Destiny album, is nominated for urban Recorded Song of the Year in the upcoming Dove Awards. The Spanish version of the album is also nominated for Spanish Language Album of the Year.

The Katinas recently recorded a praise and worship album live at their home church. The CD is scheduled for a June 18 release. "Praise and worship are our heart and passion," Joe says. "It's what we do most naturally."

As they travel to churches, schools and other venues throughout the world, the Katinas remain accountable spiritually.

Tim Johnson, senior associate pastor at the church the Katinas attend, challenges the brothers to accountability on and off the road. The brothers also serve and participate in ministries of their church.

"These men are genuine in their commitment to accountability," says Pastor Johnson. "A lot of people in creative careers don't always walk the walk; they do."

Music industry insiders agree.

"The Katinas exemplify a successful marriage of music and ministry," Joey Elwood, president of Gotee Records, says. "They have a solid perspective on the two, and are some of the best examples of Christian men I've seen.

Their music ministry success has helped the Katinas realize the importance of Jeremiah 29:12,13: "Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.

"Reprinted by permission of the Pentecostal Evangel."

July Home