YouTube sensation Molly Kate Kestner goes off to college


Molly Kate Kestner is just like any other college-bound teenager these days -- she's moving to her new school and will start attending classes soon.

But Kestner, who became a social media sensation earlier this year for a song she recorded and posted online, is also weighing some other big decisions regarding her budding music career.

Kestner, of Austin, Minnesota, catapulted to fame in the spring when she posted a video of a song she wrote, a faith-based ballad called "His Daughter," on YouTube. The song is about an unexpected pregnancy and a woman’s relationship with God.

Her video quickly went viral and attracted the attention of celebrities like Jordin Sparks, Ashley Judd and "Star Trek" legend George Takei, who spread the word to their millions of social media followers. Kestner appeared on "Good Morning America" and was interviewed by ABC's Diane Sawyer. Her video has reached nearly 10 million views on YouTube.

Kestner recently spoke with MPR's The Current – which used terms like "articulate," "poised," and "grounded" to describe her – about the next steps in her journey.

That includes beginning her freshman year this week at North Central University, a private Christian college in Minneapolis.

At the same time, she's also exploring whether, or when, to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter. Kestner and her parents took some time this summer to meet with agents, music labels and attorneys to start figuring that out.

"It was cool hearing from them and learning the potential of where they saw me going, possibly, just throwing out ideas," Kestner told The Current. "I haven’t made any decisions or anything yet, but it made this all seem very real."

But she added she's not in any hurry to jump headlong into a music career, as tempting as it might be.

"I want to make sure that I’m ready as an artist before I jump into anything," she said to The Current. "I’m going off to college, and I want to make that a priority, too. So I’m taking my time. And all the people I talked to were like, 'that’s great – take your time, we’ll still be interested when you can make a decision.' "

Kestner has been doing some performing. She sang the National Anthem at a Minnesota Lynx game in May, and did the same at the Minnesota Twins' game at Target Field on Saturday night. She'll also be performing on the Activate Tour in Nashville in October. The tour brings together young Christians with big social followings on Vine, Twitter and YouTube for a day to share their faith.

Kestner recorded a fully orchestrated version of "His Daughter" and it was released as a single on iTunes. She also has posted videos of several other songs, including covers of some popular hits by other artists, on her YouTube channel.

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