Katrina L. Atkinson, affectionally known as Sneezy, is the daughter of Stephen Barksdale and Joyce Cannon. Joyce discovered Sneezy’s vocal gift after overhearing her sing Debbie Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” in the bathroom when she was three years old.
At an early age Katrina attended New Canaan Baptist Church in Washington, DC where her father was an active member. Recognizing the gift God gave his daughter Stephen signed Katrina up to sing in the children’s choir so the vocal gift could be nurtured. He knew his daughter was blessed with a beautiful voice and encouraged her to use her voice to change lives by singing songs about the Lord. Thus, gospel music influenced the early years of Katrina’s vocal career. Her favorite gospel song as a child was “God Gave Me a Song” by Myrna Summers.
Katrina’s singing career expanded beyond the church when she was four years old and her mother entered her in several showcase talent shows, including those held annually in her hometown at the District Heights Municipal Center. She quickly became a participant favored by the attendees.
Katrina’s passion to sing was undeniable. She enrolled in Suitland High School and immediately joined the school’s choir. Inspired by the group EnVouge Katrina desired to create a singing group and pitched the idea to three of her friends. The four agreed to launch New Image a singing group that competed locally and performed on Showtime At The Apollo and Star Search.
After graduating from high school New Image was asked to perform at a showcase in Virginia Beach, Virginia hosted by Teddy Riley. New Image’s performance led to a one-year production deal requiring the group to relocate to Virginia Beach. At the conclusion of the year the group returned to Maryland and went through a number of changes to include losing two original members, adding one new member and adopting a new name, Amari.
Amari experienced several ups and downs and Katrina did too. She went through a season of trials and tribulations becoming a single mother and raising her beautiful daughter Tai whom she often refers to as her blessing in the storm. Although everything appeared to be spiraling out of control, unknowingly, to Katrina, God’s plan for her life was starting to unfold. She began developing a relationship with Jesus and became thirsty for the word of God.
In 2005 Katrina realized that her life had come full circle. Her father planted the seed that her vocal gift was to be used to change lives and bring glory to God. In her personal life she met the love of her life, Corey Atkinson, and to this union two children were born. As she reflects on her life and the decisions she has made she realizes that she did not choose God but He chose her. The Holy Spirit created in her a new heart; provided her new eyes and a clear path to fulfill her destiny.
In her own words…
God is faithful and chases after those he loves. ‘I am truly humbled and count it a blessing for all that I have endured to get to this space that I’m in with the Lord and place I am in life. I have an overwhelming passion to boldly walk out the call and assignment that God has so graciously entrusted to me. I will be used as His vessel to spread love and empower others. A great fire has been ignited within me to pour into women reminding them of ALL that God has created us to be; no matter where we’ve been, what we’ve done or go through…if nobody else does, HE LOVES US, He covers us; He’s there for us, He’s EMPOWERED us! We are fearfully and wonderfully made. My prayer is we all continuously know that full well.’
May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your Word (Psalm 119:74). Although I’m not perfect, I will strive to be blameless, be empowered by, and empower others with love.
Empowering with Love,