Our Interview with Gospel Powerhouse, Tasha Cobbs
Tasha Cobbs is the Grammy award winning voice behind the smash Gospel track “Break Every Chain.” With her new found success, Ms. Cobbs has managed to remain active in her church and keep up with the lifestyle of an artist. She recently released her sophomore album One Place Live on August 21st. The singer took some time out to speak with Parlé Magazine about her ministry, albums, as well as her views on the current position of Gospel music.
Parlé: Your hit song, “Break Every Chain,” was #1 on the Billboard Gospel Songs chart for nine weeks, how did that make you feel as an artist?
Tasha Cobbs: I know from personal experience how that song affected my life, and I knew it would touch the lives of so many other people. I did not know that it would have the impact that it had in the industry. That was one of the things that blessed me, beyond the chills and the life changing moments, people recognized the musicality of what we put into that song. I think I would say yes, I did expect the song to change lives, but I did not expect it to have that huge impact.
Parlé: What was the driving force behind making such an amazing and captivating song?
Tasha Cobbs: I actually didn’t write the song. The song was written by William Reagan. I think it’s effective though when I sing it because I have a personal encounter with that song. The first time I heard it, I played it over and over for 24 hours non-stop. I felt like chains were being broken off my life every time I played it. When I sing it and I see people crying and people having a breakthrough, I have had personal experiences just like that, so I can relate to it. Every time I minister that song, I want people’s lives to be changed just as mine was.
Parlé: What is your opinion on the current state of the African-American community and the concept of people not trying to break free of the chains holding us down?
Tasha Cobbs: In my opinion, this disconnect does not stem from a rejection between God or the Church. I think this is an opportunity for us to do something. As with anything else, it did not take us overnight to get to this point in history, and I don’t think that we are going to get out this overnight. There is now a focus on the Church and ministries and ministers to do what we have preached for so many years, which is to represent God and the Earth. We are to present to the world a source of healing and a source of redemption for the situation that we are in. I look at it as a door opening. I do believe that the ministers and people in my position have an opportunity now to show the God that we sing about. I have spoken to so many artists and so many pastors who are in that same place. I believe it is going to be much more effective in the future, and the Church is going to step up to the plate to help the cause.
Parlé: What could the Gospel community be doing more of to help bring people together?
Tasha Cobbs: I feel like more exposure to certain things could help. I am a worship leader, and I believe that worship brings peace, which is something you experience when you intentionally pursue the heart of God. Based on my personal experience, a lot of the songs off my recently released album One Place Live helped me stay sane and focused after losing my father. I feel like a lot of artists need to be brought back to that place. Instead of trying to appease people and the industry, you must first do ministry. I believe the songs that you hear now coming from me are going to be those songs that help the world and help people who are truly heartbroken. The world is causing a lot of heartbreak and anger and the songs we release now can push forward a sense of peace people are searching for. Tye Tribbett held a concert where some artists, including myself, went down to Charleston, South Carolina to be with the families of the church shooting victims. We hugged on them, loved on them and truly embraced them. I feel that we can use different methods to reach people using our gifts in an effective and positive way.
Parlé: Let’s talk about the album title, One Place Live. Why did you decide to go with that?
Tasha Cobbs: About 17 years ago, my mother wrote a song called “One Place” and it was just a chorus. All these years I have been waiting for the rest of the song. I would write something, make-up stuff up, and nothing sounded right. It wasn’t until last year that I was able to get the rest of the song. When I started singing the song it became so personal to me. I thought about every other song on the album, they all brought me back to that one place with Jesus where all distractions are cancelled out, and I can seek Jesus with an open and pure heart. We put the Live on there because thousands of people came from all over, and you can hear them on there. I wanted to capture that one place feel and my mother is actually singing with me on that track.
Parlé: Did you feel pressured to have One Place Live be as successful as Grace?
Tasha Cobbs: I get this question often, and I think it’s wise as an artist who has some form of success to look at it a little different. I tell a lot of people that with this album, I think of it as an extension of Grace. If I could’ve, I would have titled it “Grace Two.” I feel every project I do until I retire, will be an extension of the project before it instead of having to be something better.
Parlé: Did being a Bishop’s daughter solidify your career choice? If not, what made you choose singing and the Gospel genre?
Tasha Cobbs: To be very honest, I never wanted to be an artist. I wasn’t the chosen singer in my family, and I was always in the background throughout my life. My father was training and raising me up to be a preacher. I still preach to this day, but a lot of the ministry that you hear through my songs comes from the foundation of being versed in the Bible and taught how to preach. I am what they call a late bloomer in the industry. I did not sing in front of a crowd until I was 15 years old as a lead vocalist, which I was forced to do. I think it just kind of evolved and the purpose for your life is inevitable no matter how much you try to fight it. I didn’t try to deny it and I simply received my purpose. I look at my career as a sign of grace in the sense that I didn’t deserve it, earn it or work for it, God just said this is what I want you to do. In 2010, I was working as a worship leader in my church. I was very, very comfortable doing it, and it was the joy of my life every week. I was also writing songs, and my pastor suggested that maybe it was time for me to release my sound and my song. I thought to myself, “WHAT?!?!” Even signing with the record label, my position was that this was never something I wanted to do. The Lord wanted me to do it so of course I will and I am.
Parlé: Tell us a little about your ministries and different initiatives.
Tasha Cobbs: I was raised to stay in the Church and always stay connected to a Church ministry. I have given my gift wherever it is needed in the Church. In 2006, I moved to Atlanta and joined my church, and I have been a committed Ministry member ever since. Of course after the release of Grace in 2013, I had to transition into an artist, and I couldn’t be at Church every Sunday as I wanted. I trained a lot of worship leaders who were able to step up and minister just as effectively as I do. I had to learn to trust people to do my job, which put me in an uncomfortable position. Nevertheless, I trusted God, and I knew he would take care of everything. I have a huge passion for events and every year I host a conference for the worship leaders. Last year, a lot of traveling was happening and my pastor asked me to extend myself a little more, and he put me as the head of events at the church. My knee jerk reaction was “OH MY GOODNESS!!” Yet for the last year, that is exactly what I have been doing. I have been overseeing the special events committee for the Church and they are absolutely amazing. Every event that we put on, from the youth ministry to the worship ministry, I oversee that. It is something that I can do without having to work at it. I truly enjoy it, it is a stretch for me, but I truly enjoy it.
Parlé: Tell us a few things that your fans may not know about you.
Tasha Cobbs: I love the mall and not necessarily shopping, I love just walking through the mall, it’s therapeutic. It’s a great form of therapy for me. I even met a few other people who feel the same way. I may have been traveling for weeks and be dead tired, but as I soon as I land I’m headed straight to the mall. I am a very family orientated person. I love going to the movies alone. I am a movie connoisseur. I also enjoy writing things, outside of songs such as poetry.
Parlé: What is your opinion on the state on Gospel music in the younger community? How can Gospel leaders get young people more into Church and ministry?
Tasha Cobbs: I love this question because I have such a soft spot for the youth ministry. That is one of the ministries that I started working in. I was praying about this one day, and one of the things that was pressed on my heart was that this generation is extremely bold. Many people look at it from one perspective as something horrible. Maybe we should change our perspective and look at their boldness as being one of those things that is going to help them enhance the kingdom. We need to figure out how to present God in a way they can receive it. What was pressed upon me was that they don’t want the fluff of religion. They just want God, the pure awesomeness of God. Everything that the youth are exposed to via social media, television, other musical genres, doesn’t give them any fluff. Everything is very straightforward. I think the same approach needs to be taken in Church. While working with young people, I found that they love that straight approach. My generation tolerated the fluff, but the youth today won’t. Everything around them is shortened into 140 characters and 15 seconds of video. We must learn how to meet the generation where they are. I should be able to present God to the youth in 15 seconds. A lot of the songs on One Place Live are straight to the point. One of the songs says, “I’m here because I want to be, I’m here because I choose to be in your presence.” I also feel that the worship itself should take a different approach. When we say I need you, I need you, I need you, we should be saying I want you, I want you, I want you. In the mind of the youth, the only place that takes forever to give them what they are looking for is Church. The idea of sitting somewhere for three hours when I could have gotten all that in one hour is what prevents a lot of the youth from doing certain things with the Church. I think the Church needs to rethink how it will present this to the youth.
Parlé: Do you have any last words for your fans?
Tasha Cobbs: I remember being called upon to do what I do. At times, it felt uncomfortable, and I didn’t know how to go about it. One of the things I tell my mentees is to remain faithful where you are. Even if it looks small to you and your vision is very large, be faithful where you are. One of my favorite scriptures says, “God rewards the faithful. If you are faithful over a few things, God will make you ruler over many things.” A lot of the time we try to kick in doors and name drop to help ourselves when all God wants from us is to be faithful where he has you so he can open the doors for you. I will say to be patient, love God where you are, love the people around you and watch God open doors for you in his timing.
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