What happens to a young girl who never cared to sing gospel music but was born destined to sing and grew up influenced and formed by the genre? Why, she grows up to be a gospel singer! That young girl happens to be a member of one of the most well-known groups in gospel music, The Hoppers, and is not only “known as somebody’s daughter,” but rather by her “own first name.”
Only God could orchestrate her story by allowing hardship to be her calling to sing gospel music. But Karlye is so much more than a singer. She is a gifted wordsmith. A thoughtful artist. A strong sister. A sensitive servant.
Stacy Compagner: Most everyone knows of The Hoppers and knows of its members, but singers are a lot more than what we see on the stage. Tell us a little bit about yourself so that we can really get to know who you are.
Karlye Hopper: I don’t why, but this question has been so hard for me! I was born on the birthday of Reba Rambo, Kenny Hinson, and my darling uncle, Tony Greene; October 17th, 1994, a howling full moon. My parents, being Gospel fans themselves, each had their own reasons why this would destine me for greatness. Haha! I am a naturally brunette-ish blonde redhead in her mid-twenties who laughs at all her own jokes and overthinks like it’s my job. I can be overwhelmingly emotional, nearly to a fault, and find signs from God in the coldest of colors.
SC: When did you first start singing with The Hoppers? Was singing gospel music something you always wanted to do?
KH: Never in a million years did I ever think, or really even desire, to sing. Music and stages and people were always “my parents’ thing.” Even as a kid, I recognized that this was a world where I would be known as somebody’s daughter rather than my own first name, and that didn’t appeal to my little sassy and independent self. However, stepping into this role became less about me and more about the needs of my family when both my maternal and paternal (Connie Hopper) grandmothers fell ill in 2014. This led my mom, Kim, and Connie to exit road life for several months. The Hoppers were in need of a familiar face on stage, and, despite my hesitancy, I came along. I had to learn a lot quickly, but eventually I realized it wasn’t about me… Most people will tell you that I came for Grandma and stayed for God, which I think is the beginning of a catchy country song, don’t you?
SC: What is something that you are truly passionate about?
KH: I’ve never really considered myself a singer, but rather an artist or storyteller; albeit, in the least pretentious way. In all the things that I do whether that be in song, the eccentric food I’m preparing, an article I’m writing/editing, or—as of recently—the house I’m flipping from framework to fabric, it’s all intertwined in this week’s archetype.
SC: The whole world has recently been facing great trials. It all has been affecting us differently, but it has affected us all. What has God been teaching you during these trying times?
KH: Like most of us, I started these 100 days in fear and—honestly—a little angry at “how unfair that my life is just beginning as the world is ending?” Dramatic, right? I spent a lot of time with my grandmother who really tried to bestow some of her Godly wisdom upon my unreceptive brain, but I just wasn’t getting it. Then the storm hit. My teenage baby sister, Lexy, was hospitalized in the local behavioral health unit. She has struggled with bipolar depression since her elementary school years, and the pandemic hysteria brought it all to head. We had no idea how long she would be inside, and due to the virus’s precautions, our dad was the only one allowed to visit. As a sister, I felt like I could have done more, been a better role model, paid closer attention to triggers… Instead, here I was holding my mother on the bathroom floor as she wept for her baby. It felt like a death, and was simultaneously the worst and most amazing thing that could have happened. Suddenly, all of the petty nonsense we (ok, mostly me) had worried about melted away, and the only thing that mattered was, you guessed it, each other. My parents got to meet an amazing doctor who helped them anoint and pray over the doors of this non-religious facility, and my sweet little sister came home a renewed young lady six days later.
SC: What do you enjoy doing in your free time when you aren’t out on the road?
KH: After the quarantine started, like most people, I started working on home projects and in my yard. Easter rolled around and so came the season of chick and duckling mania. My sister had a few of each that she was raising in my parents’ basement, but naturally they would need a suitable home once they outgrew the blue and green plastic bins they were accustomed to. Chickens turned out to not be our thing, so a close friend adopted them into his large coop, but ducks! Ducks of all sizes, ages and breeds now live in a large fenced-in area on my property. We have two small “duck condos” and a rather luxurious tropical pond—complete with trailing flora, a water feature and landscape lighting. My babies eat fresh fruits and veggies on the daily, and even let me tote them around. I am unabashedly a #DuckMom.
SC: What is your all time favorite place to stop and eat while on the road?
KH: Short answer: In-N-Out.
SC: What are some musical groups that have inspired or influenced you?
KH: Artists like the Isaacs with ethereal, family harmony…those people inspire me! As an alto, Becky’s tones are pure butter to my ears. In my opinion, she is the glue to their sound—so blendable, yet distinct. Occasionally I get made fun of for my “manly tones”, and I suppose those can be attributed to my fondness for both her and Michael English. I love his voice for the power, like all the lead singers in this business, but more for his philosophy: you can’t be afraid to take risks and make a fool of yourself, vocally. I love that!
SC: If you could go back in time and relive a special moment, share with us what special concert memory you would relive and why.
KH: I was incredibly fortunate to grow up in the Gaither/Homecoming realm as a child, during its heyday. However, that also meant I didn’t really have a firm grasp on reality. Haha. I honestly thought a crowd of 20,000 people, singing along to my family’s songs with their twinkling Gaither lights was normal for our genre. It may sound silly, but just for one night, I’d love to go back to one of those concerts and experience all of that—knowing what I know now—as an adult. Myself and my family have been incredibly blessed.
To get to know more about Karlye and The Hoppers – visit them online at www.thehoppers.com.