In today’s popular culture, a young, upcoming artist knows she has made it when her hit song is played in the background of a dramatic, introspective scene in “Dawson’s Creek.” That is precisely what happened to Kristin Hoffmann several months ago.
The playing of Hoffmann’s hit song, “Mary” on WB’s highest rated show was a tremendous publicity boost for the singer and marked the pinnacle of her roller coaster four year career. Hoffman recorded her first record at the young age of 17, and led to her signing with Capitol Records. However, during her freshman year at New York University, the two men responsible for her signing left the company, effectively severing her ties with Capitol Records.
“I was left with no one,” Hoffman said. “At this point I realized this wasn’t going anywhere and we decided to part ways.”
The severance wound up being the greatest lesson of Hoffman’s life. “I couldn’t pay any amount of money for that lesson,” Hoffman said. “You put your whole soul into that and then you have to learn to move on with what you’re doing. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. The biggest thing I got out of it was learning how to move on from a traumatic experience. If something gets in your way, that’s not the end.”
At this point, Hoffmann could have lain down and given up on herself as many young artists choose to do after being released from their all-important label. Instead, she turned the lowest point of her life into a positive and used it as a learning experience.
Hoffmann’s soul searching led her to Thailand, where she embarked on a month-long journey that included guitar playing, meditation, sleeping on the beach and yoga. Through her study of eastern culture she learned to trust her instincts and let her thoughts, sensations and new ideas come naturally. “I brought a guitar with me and spent countless nights playing for groups of people for no other reason than to add something to my life and to theirs,” Hoffman said. “For me, it was the true meaning of music– the opportunity to share strictly for the sake of sharing.”
Hoffmann returned home to New York invigorated and immediately began recording songs for her current album “Divided Heart”. “Divided Heart” is a catalog of her life and her experiences. It features 10 new full-length songs that explore a woman’s journey through life, love, heartbreak, professional challenges and personal renewals.
Hoffmann describes the song “Temple,” as the one that is most indicative of her life today. “Temple represents my ideal vision of a relationship between two people and with myself,” Hoffmann said. “It’s about being real — letting yourself be seen and loved in your true light.
‘Temple’ is about the things that can break down this realness — things like moving in the same circles over and over again without growing. It’s about opening your eyes to the night-time hunters and moving beyond them.”
Hoffmann’s manager Rachel Pine refers to her music as a combination of “Tori Amos, Avril Lavigne, and Alannis Morrisette.” She said that Hoffmann’s work appeals to women because of the “strong feminist sentiment in her lyrics,” and is popular among males because of her “physical attractiveness.”
In a recent review, Don Thomason of The Amplifier Online raved that Hoffmann delivered “piano-dominant music with a Joan Osborne meets Carole King feel.” An anonymous author on Hoffman’s web site– www.kristinhoffmann.com — even equates her music to skydiving.
“After it is over, both the music and the diving, your feet get firmly planted onto the earth and you realize that you just have had a life-transforming experience,” the author wrote.
Undoubtedly, music is ingrained in Hoffmann’s soul and has allowed her to develop and grow from a confused, star-struck teenager to a strong, composed woman. “Music allows people to connect to each other and that connection can encompass so much, relationships, healing, exploration, love, challenge and openness.
“Connecting with people, sharing who I am, is what inspires me, and I feel as if I’ve been given a gift in being able to express myself through music,” Hoffmann said. Hoffmann will be presenting a free concert at the Common Ground Cafe on Friday night at 8 p.m. Admission is free.
Rybaltowski can be reached at email@example.com.