Perhaps no other song on the album So This Is It defines the soul of Kim Dexter more than “Wait (I’m Gonna Get There)” a duet recorded with the superbly talented Bryan Duncan. The upbeat pop melody oozes smooth vocals, great instrumentals and words that come straight from Dexter’s heart.
Today living in Costa Mesa California with husband Paul and five month old daughter Maggie Grace life couldn’t seem more distant from the dark days that once shrouded the life of this immensely talented young woman. So This Is It recalls the faith, the supportive friends and the God that Kim Dexter clung to during the time that Mayfair Laundry (her former ska/punk Christian band) experienced bankruptcies of not one but two record labels. During these years Dexter’s previous marriage also lay shattered.
Maybe you are reading this today, have gone through your own difficult valleys and don’t know where to turn. Dexter has a message for you. “Seek God with all of your heart because He will rescue anybody in their situation. He will literally open every door that you need. Seek a local church if you are not already involved with one. God will guide your life in the right direction and you will find the healing and help that you need. Read scripture and hold onto the promises. Know this is a fact and it doesn’t matter what it looks like or how you feel, God promises that He will be with you,” she says.
“Broken Hearted” the third track from So This Is It poignantly recalls such a time in Dexter’s life,
broken all of my toys on the floor. shaken what a surprise, I can lose everything, but you. wishing somehow to turn back the time. missing all that I held to be true and Divine. the life I had thought was mine. darker skies I haven’t seen before. deeper seas to never reach the shore. I’m left here with this pain.”
“Broken Hearted” came from a place of being very broken. It was a time in my life where I was in transition from everything really. The band was on a hiatus and things in my life had taken a turn. Unexpectedly a huge relationship in my life came to an end. It hit me all at once and at the same time I was feeling distant from God. Everything in my life was spiraling downward. I was devastated. I was severely depressed. I was counting on God in every way. I went to Him as my only resource. I had no peace other than knowing that God was still in control of my life and that somehow He was going to get me through this. I was in bed crying and praying. I opened my Bible and started soaking it in page by page. A lot of times in the middle of the night I would go to my piano and start singing and playing. I just started pouring my heart out,” she says.
Looking back at that time in her life Dexter says, “It seemed unimaginable to me that my life would be okay. He promises these things in the scripture. That is what trusting is. That’s why it is hard. Having faith and waiting, seeking the Lord everyday and not turning anywhere else, (it’s about) not giving up. He will get you through it.”
So This Is It might also be described as Dexter’s victory chant and if that is so songs such as “Fill Me Up” and “Mostly I Love You” are the passionate words of jubilation. She says, “Mostly I Love You” is a phrase that I said to my husband Paul who was my boyfriend at the time (she laughs and giggles as she remembers). I was talking about all the things that I liked about him (her voice becomes gentler and sweeter) and I said, ?Mostly I love you.’ I started thinking that is how I feel about God after going through all this stuff and feeling so much closer to Him. I just adore Him and know that He (God) adores me. I am so grateful for His mercy in my life. He walks me through these trials and I am so grateful for everything. When it comes down to it there is just something in my heart that is almost the same kind of relationship I feel with my husband and my baby. There is just no other thing to even say (but mostly I love you).”
In addition to giving us a glimpse inside the life of Kim Dexter So This Is It is simply an outstanding album. She and producer husband Paul Dexter surrounded themselves with some very talented and highly regarded musicians. Names that jump out immediately are guitarist Tim Pierce (Phil Collins, Aly&AJ, Faith Hill, and Bon Jovi), bassist Matt Bissonette (Boz Scaggs, Ringo Star, Rick Springfield) and drummer Vinnie Colaitua (Natalie Cole, Irene Cara, Billy Joel, Herbie Hancock).
Dexter says, “It was an honor for me just to have those guys play and to see the songs that I wrote at my piano develop into these pretty big productions. It was a great opportunity for me with this being my first solo record.”
When I contacted Colaitua he echoed the same sentiments about working with the Dexters, “I had a wonderful time working with both Kim and Paul. They are just wonderful people to work with; very professional, and very, very talented! The have truly blessed me!”
Just as Shania Twain found with her hubby “Mutt” Lange and Cheryl Bentyne (Manhattan Transfer) discovered in her solo career with producer husband Corey Allen there is a chemistry that cannot be denied when Dexter hooks up with hubby Paul in the studio. She says, “He is my biggest fan and the most amazing producer. He has a good vision for what I want to do with the songs.”
Motherhood has introduced new joy into Dexter’s life and presented some challenges as well. Some of the challenges associated with being a new mother occurred before the birth of Maggie Grace. When I asked Dexter how close to her daughter’s birth she continued to sing she replied, “Ohhhhhh it was crazy, three weeks before delivering. That last one was unbelievable. I had this huge stomach and I couldn’t breathe very well. I thought, ?This has got to be the end of it.’ I was (thinking) ?Can I just get through these songs and sing most of the notes on key?”
“(Being a mother) reminds me of how much God loves her (Maggie Grace) because I love her and would do anything for her. Four months ago (at the time of the interview) I didn’t even know her. Now I would lay down my life for her. The amount of care and patience it takes to deal with her and (to see) how helpless she is without me has opened my eyes a little bit. It has made me more compassionate towards everyone,” she says.
“We have been toying around with the idea of doing a new project. My last project was all about the misery I was going through, holding onto God and getting through it. Now I feel like I am in the season of just reaping blessings. God has brought me through so much. Every idea that I come up with right now is just from a different place. I am so blessed and amazed at God’s grace on my life,” Dexter says. Dexter talks about having so much joy in her life that she wants the opportunity to share with others and believes that joy will infuse the songs on her next CD.
Copyright © 2006 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague. Joe Montague is an internationally published freelance journalist / photographer.