When Kaya Jones joined the Pussycat Dolls in the early 2000s, she dreamt of being the US equivalent of the chart-topping Spice Girls and their dedication to Girl Power! Sadly, her experience of the music industry looked very different. Cassandra Maria, from Premier Gospel, found out what it’s really like to be in of the biggest girl groups in the world – and how God called Kaya out of that world to sing for him
CASS: People may know you as one of the Pussycat Dolls, but what did your journey of faith look like – from the stage to salvation?
KAYA: When I joined the Pussycat Dolls [in her late teens], I was so excited! I was very young; I grew up loving the Spice Girls and I wanted that for us. It was a tremendous honour being a part of the Pussycat Dolls but, ultimately, God put it on my heart that I couldn’t stay in that institution. And that was really hard, because it was my dream. But my experience was very different to my expectation; it definitely wasn’t the Spice Girls – there’s a foundation there within the integrity of the women – it was very different.
When I left, I went on to do a lot of dance, electronic music and pop music; still not serving the Lord in the capacity that I wanted to. Ultimately I just had to pray about it. I said: “Lord, if you really want me to continue to sing, I want to sing for you. I don’t want to just sing and say I love you privately, I want to sing for you in the world. So if that’s gonna happen, you’re gonna have to bring those musical opportunities my way because I don’t know how to find them.”
Within about nine months of that prayer, I was introduced to Jason Crabb and Jay DeMarcus from the Rascal Flatts, who won the first Grammy for the Lord. That was the beginning of the journey. Now we’re ready for my first Christian solo album. We’ve been writing this album for a year and so I’m excited that God has really put it all into motion. It has been a journey from when I left the Dolls, still singing secular music, and not really giving my whole heart to the Lord. But, I was officially baptised and saved in 2020.
CASS: How do you think being in the Pussycat Dolls shaped your identity?
KAYA: Tremendously, and I think it was the same for all the women, because there was such pressure on our physical attributes – eating disorders came from that. Not feeling worthy, not feeling beautiful and not feeling pretty enough. Nothing was ever enough. It created a lot of insecurities and low self-esteem, which leads to things like promiscuity. These are all things I’ve been so vocal about discussing, and, luckily, God plucked me from that to be able to utilise me for him because if I wasn’t serving the Lord and working for him, I don’t know how I would have dealt with all of this.
Nothing was ever enough. It created a lot of insecurities and low self-esteem, which leads to things like promiscuity
CASS: Would you say that God is in the secular music industry?
KAYA: Yeah, I think God is inside of us. We just make poor choices every day on whether or not we’re going to serve him or we’re going to serve ourselves – which is to make covenant with the enemy. Satan is real and demons are real. I pray for every recording artist selling their soul in some way because the soul belongs to God.
One of the other Pussycat Dolls knows the Lord well and I hope one day she will give her life to God. I think of Katy Perry, who was one of my best friends; she was a believer. And Britney Spears; I hope one day she wants to sing for Jesus.
I hope they all want to sing for Jesus and when they’re ready I’ll be the biggest cheerleader! Freedom in Christ is better than drugs. It’s better than sex. It’s better than the craziest love affair you could ever fathom. When you receive the cloaking of the Lord, you will go through [tough] things in life because there’s no guarantee that everything’s going to be a bowl of cherries.
You’re still going to lose loved ones, you’re still going to lose jobs, you’re still going to lose opportunities, but there’s this supernatural peace and you start to have a different outlook. It’s not that things don’t happen to you. It’s just that you now see the finite details of what God is doing. And you can only contest: “How did I get through life without you?”
CASS: You’ve been quite outspoken about abortion and how it’s one of your biggest regrets. Some of our audience may well be able to relate to that – do you mind talking about it with us?
KAYA: You know, abortion has been so blanketed, like it’s just a form of contraception and no big deal and I believed that. Before I joined the Pussycat Dolls, I was 16 years old when I had my first abortion. I remember waking up and feeling like someone had taken my kidney; like someone had taken something that always belonged to me. But I was so young, I didn’t have a moral compass inside me to ask myself: “ What did you just do?” I became pregnant again when I was in the Pussycat Dolls and I was told to get rid of it.
‘Freedom in Christ is better than drugs, it’s better than sex, better than the craziest love affair you could ever fathom’
There have been women from other groups who have gone through similar situations and we were all friends. I heard stories like: “Oh I was fired because I chose to not have the abortion” or “Yeah, we’ve had these conversations.” So, I was told to get rid of it and I did. But with this second abortion I ended up hemorrhaging.
I was very anaemic and was bleeding while performing as I was losing my child. I was going to the doctor’s in between rehearsals and having to hide that. There was so much secrecy and pain. You are no longer pregnant, but you’re now the parent of a dead child, and this murder took place inside of your body. How do you reconcile with that? That’s why, when I talk about it, I try to be as gentle as possible, because I know the pain that it causes. I know not everyone feels this way, but a lot do.
I pray for every recording artist selling their soul in some way because the soul belongs to God
The third time I got pregnant I was raped. Someone I used to date took advantage of me while I was intoxicated and blacked out drunk. I wanted to keep that baby but I was threatened [by him] and ultimately I had a third abortion. That one was the most painful because I really wanted to keep that baby; by then I knew better.
I was a grown adult and I felt like this might be my only chance to have a baby. But being threatened by the man who raped me wasn’t the best circumstance to be in and I have to live with that decision. I’m working through it with God. I want him to know how much regret I carry and allow him to heal my pain.