The history of the Christian church has been marked by singing. This is especially true within the traditions of the African-American church. Whether on a recording, in a concert setting or within the context of a worship service, the music birthed by the African-American church—the foundation for today’s massively popular Black Gospel genre—has long incited worship within the hearts of generations of believers hailing from a wide array of national, racial and denominational backgrounds.
For Tasha Cobbs Leonard (her recent nuptials to music producer, Kenneth Leonard, resulted in the new name extension), her musical influences have long been steeped within her church experience. The daughter of a pastor, Tasha grew up observing the power of music in unifying her local congregants to worship God together. But with the explosive popularity and subsequent international recognition of her modern worship standard, “Break Every Chain,” the Georgia-born singer and GRAMMY-winning gospel artist has now become a musical force and worship resource connecting thousands of diverse congregations converging under the banner of Christianity across the globe.
Reflecting her call and obvious gift to bridge the Body, Tasha invited dozens of worship leaders, musicians and songwriters from around the world to contribute to the sound and the spirit of Heart. Passion. Pursuit. (Motown Gospel—buy)—Tasha’s latest release and, in her words, her current spiritual “assignment.” In this exclusive CCM Magazine cover conversation, Tasha expounds on her passion to unify the universal Church through music, and mentoring those musicians leading the way.
CCM Magazine: Growing up, I would often attend concerts featuring some of my favorite Black Gospel artists—artists like CeCe Winans, Donnie McClurkin and Kirk Franklin & the Family. I quickly observed how in the African-American church, music was utilized as a resource to incite worship among the people. I observe this from you on your platforms as well. Has that been your experience as an artist and worship leader in the African-American church?
Tasha Cobbs Leonard: Absolutely. I believe that God uses music as one of His tools to reach people. I’ve been leading worship and singing, basically, all of my life. I’ve had people say to me, “When the sermon couldn’t reach me, or the message couldn’t reach me, the song that you sang today really ministered to me in a way that I needed.”
Music reaches the souls of people. It touches you in an emotional place, where sometimes words that are spoken can’t reach. So that has been my experience in the church where, sometimes, the worship song just does what you need. And I believe [music] is a tool that God uses to reach His people.
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