One of the most underrated female artists in the CCM music industry currently, Tammy Trent has been within the music industry for quite a while, and releases her brand new album next week titled ‘Sunny Days’, which features the hit singles ‘Don’t Let Him Be The Last To Know’ and ‘I’m Running’. Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing her via email, discussing her influences in writing the album, as well as what she hopes the listeners of this album will experience. Below is the interview questions and responses.
1. You have been writing and recording music for quite a while, releasing albums in both the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. Can you share about how you try to keep your music fresh, invigorating and interesting for listeners who hear your music in a studio and live setting? What have you learnt from all your years as an artist that you have incorporated in recording and producing Sunny Days?
I love listening to Pop music myself so I just try to write music that sounds current and fun and fresh and something I could hear on the radio in the mix with everything else that’s being played at the moment. There’s a certain amount of balance that I need to obtain however, knowing what my Christian audience is. I’m never out there trying to make the next hippest cutting edge record that won’t get played on Christian radio nor could I sing at a Sunday morning church service. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years of ministry it’s that you have to write songs that are real and relevant and authentic and to not be afraid of wearing my heart on my sleeve. Add a little fun in there too, and WALA….here comes the new album, ‘Sunny Days’.
2. For those of you who don’t know the history of Tammy Trent, or even what your musical sound is like and who you think you sound like in the CCM industry; can you let us at IndieVisionMusic know a little bit about your history as a recording artist and what the Lord is wanting to show you in both a musical and a personal sense in this season of your life?
I signed my first record deal in 1995 and 6 weeks after my first radio single was released, it hit #1 on the top of the charts. “YOUR LOVE IS 4 ALWAYS”. I was over the moon excited. Mainly because I signed a deal with a smaller company at the time, but the only one who would take a chance on me and the style of music I wanted to make. Christian pop-dance. I guess when my first single went #1, I realized then that you have to always stay true to God’s call on your life and know what that is. Since then, I’ve released 5 more albums with a string of hits that followed, always being grateful for all that the Lord has done. Although my life has changed immensely, my music remains the same. It’s filled with a message of life and hope based on my relationship with God and how he’s brought great healing to me through tragedy. If I couldn’t sing about Jesus, it would all be empty for me. I’ve travelled too many seasons to waste time singing songs that don’t matter.
3. What is the main theme from your forthcoming album, and what do you think listeners can take away from the album when they listen to these songs on your CD and at your live shows?
I think my message is bold and it’s clear. You will get through life’s tough seasons. Not somehow, but triumphantly. We may have walked through horrible circumstances in life that have crushed our spirits, but this one truth I know: God’s plans and purposes for our lives are good. They were good at the moment we were created and are still good today. I know life is hard, but I also truly believe God is faithfully good and he has the power to restore the broken places in our hearts. Remember, God’s intent is never to leave you where you are in a place of hurt, but rather to move you to a place of wholeness and healing. I know that fear of the unknown can be overwhelming some times, but try to keep seeking to be whole and finding something beautiful within the ashes. There are plenty of rainy days, but as surely as the sun will rise, God will always come for us, bringing us SUNNY DAYS.
4. You have a pop-dance-contemporary sound, with the overall atmosphere of the album being happy and ‘sunny’. It is an album that will definitely be played by myself in the car on long drives just listening to the album on full volume. How do you think you would describe your musical sound from an objective standpoint? Personally, the music reminds me of a similar style to artists like Natalie Grant, Mandisa, Britt Nicole and Kerrie Roberts.
Oh Wow! I LOVE that! There’s nothing better than full volume in my opinion on any fun record! LOL And you’ve certainly put my name in the hat with many other amazing artists that I’m soo fond of. Honestly, I think you’ve nailed it in describing my music and this new album. “Sunny Days,” lives up to its title, it’s a ball full of energetic pop dance tunes balanced by some thoughtful worship ballads. But more importantly, “Sunny Days” is a Godly testimony that though grief may come for a night, in Christ the morning always arrives. And when it comes, we can dance, sing and worship.
5. Both ‘I’m Running’ and ‘Don’t Let Him Be The Last To Know’ are radio singles from Sunny Days. Can you share the message behind both of these songs, and if either ‘I’m Running’ and ‘Don’t Let Him Be The Last To Know’ have any special meaning for you personally as you share the message of hope and trust in 3 and a half minutes and 3 minutes 40 seconds respectively?
“I’M RUNNING” – I could see her trying desperately to make her way through the crowd to get to me as I was leaving my event. I thought, no worries, just one more autograph or hug. But then she stopped right there in front of me, smiling through her tears. I could see her struggling to find the words. But it was her words I journaled and will never forget.
She said, “Tammy, I’ve been running my whole life chasing after things that never seem to fit. I’ve been lost, broken and empty. But tonight I felt hope. I felt loved. I felt captured and not abandoned for the first time. I can’t stop smiling knowing that I finally found where I belong and this is a new start for me. I want Jesus to be in my life”.
Amanda, I wrote this song for YOU and anyone else who is running….someplace. Keep running….but run straight to the one who will do more than just get you through the storm. You are never alone! Jesus says, I will be with you whenever, wherever and FOREVER! Matthew 28:20
“DON’T LET HIM BE THE LAST TO KNOW” – “Tammy – My husband went to heaven almost 3 months ago after complications from a car accident. I’m completely heartbroken, lost, angry & confused. Now I’m left 23 weeks pregnant with our first child and I don’t know if I can do this alone. I’m trying soo hard to believe that God has a plan and that I need to trust His will. Can you please give me any words of wisdom on how to get through this? I know you understand my pain.”
I sat down and wrote this song for Emily. My words of love and wisdom to her and anybody else feeling a life crushing blow would be to allow the Lord to walk this road WITH you and promise that He’ll ALWAYS be the FIRST to know exactly how you feel and what you need. He will never leave you alone. And as surely as the sun will rise HE will always come for you. – Jeremiah 29:11
6. You have had quite a journey in your personal life during the course of your musical career so far. What has God been teaching you about Himself on the road as you travel and perform your songs of encouragement, both from Sunny Days and from albums gone by that have been life-defining for you? Is there any song that you have sung on your travels (can be either from Sunny Days or from previous albums) that God ministers to you with?
I’ve been travelling pretty hard over the last 10 years sharing my music and testimony on hundreds of platforms. I’m soo thankful that God has taught me how to give my pain purpose and at times when I feel like I’m empty and have nothing more to give, He always shows up to carry me the rest of the way. God’s grace has been enough for me. I’m not perfect and have made many mistakes on my journey of life, but I love that His love and forgiveness are perfect beyond measure. Every song I sing and write ministers deeply to me, because they have everything to do with my own life at that exact moment and they are a life line tying me to hope.
7. Is there any particular artist (band or individual singer, Christian or mainstream) that has influenced the process of writing and recording for Sunny Days, or even influenced your style of singing and performing over the years? Are there any bands/artists you currently admire, or that you’d like to tour/write and record with someday if given the chance?
Not really. I listen to a lot of Pop music to hopefully stay as current sounding as I can, but lyrically I sit down and just try to tell the stories of the hundreds of people I meet out on the road or through email and hopefully write that ONE song that will reach ALL of them at the same time as they listen to it. Songs of hope, to keep going, to see beautiful in life’s breaking moments, lead them into worship, encourage them to let go, remind them to run into the arms of Jesus, give them permission to dance, or just simply speak into their lives when they have no words to pray anymore. If I was EVER given the chance to tour or write with Amy Grant, I think I’d go into shock! LOL She is my forever favorite artist and dream collaborator.
8. Are there any songs that have ever been difficult to write (for any reason)? Has there ever been a case where the difficult songs to write, record and perform each night the also the songs that have become the catalyst used by God to speak to you through your daily life and walk with Christ? Any encouraging stories from the road relating to how a song of yours impacted their life somehow?
My most tender song ever recorded was my song “Edge of the Water” on my last album ‘STRONGER’ because it was my story…my testimony of saying good-bye to my husband of 11 years one sunny afternoon while on a mission’s trip in Jamaica. Only I had no idea that I was saying good-bye forever this side of Heaven. He died that day and I’ve had to fight to go on ever since. I always sing this song after I share my testimony on the platform. It’s a beautiful song about how God has carried me through and will carry anybody who reaches out to Him. He will always be our reminder that we will learn to live and breathe again when life knocks the wind out of us. On this new album ‘SUNNY DAYS’ I think my song “DON’T LET HIM BE THE LAST TO KNOW” will be my most tender song to sing with that same kind of message about letting God carry us when life is filled with questions and doubt. We are never alone!
9. Is there anything that keeps you grounded in your faith throughout the years you have been a music artist? Is there anything that places things in perspective as you travel and create music, a song, or Bible verse, or even famous quote that reminds you about why you do what you do and the motivation behind it all?
My family and friends keep me soo grounded and give me permission to be real and live an authentic life without religious legalism. I love that. My parents are pastors, so there’s not much I can get away with even at my age! LOL My life verse is Jeremiah 29:11. I had it tattooed on my wrist on the 10th Anniversary of my loss. I wanted to be able to look at it every single day and be reminded that God’s promise to me is a hope and a future! I can’t begin to tell you how many countless times this tattoo has opened up the door for conversation about the things the Lord has brought me through and to. It’s not just a promise to me, but to ALL of us and I LOVE telling people about that…especially the ones who had NO idea about Jeremiah 29:11 for their own lives.
10. How is the rest of 2013 for you? Are there any tour plans for the remainder of the year, whether it is inside the U.S. or around the world? I hear that you are going on a cruise next year with Avalon and Jaci Velasquez. That must be exciting!
I have a full touring schedule which includes many women’s conferences and events throughout the United States and hopefully internationally in the Spring 2014. You can check out my website Writing A Paper On Structural Functionalism. for more information as dates are added weekly. If this album does well I’m hoping to jump on a fun tour in the Spring 2014. And yes, I sooo LOVE cruising. This will be my 7th ministry cruise. They are always such a great way to spend quality time with everyone and to make some new friends. There’s tons to do and soo much to see on a cruise and at the ports. And I think my favorite part of cruising is always worshiping out at sea together. Being OFF the platform is where my heart feels the most at home with friends and fans, so this is the perfect place to have that time with everyone. Plus I get a GREAT tan!! lol
11. For those who are reading this interview who could be feeling worried, unsure or anxious about their life circumstances, what advice can you give them? Also to young musical artists wanting to break into the music industry, is there any advice that you can give as to how to succeed in the industry yet also keep your beliefs, values and integrity intact?
Life is filled with beginnings and endings. Some people call them chapters in life. Bankruptcy, loss of a child or spouse, death of a dream, a friendship that failed, fired from a job, end of a marriage, end of a career, or a ministry that didn’t make it. But here’s the really cool part, we get to write the next chapter of our lives. Nobody can write it for you. You have to write it yourself. That means you have to make some choices for your life today, and trust me, I know they’re not easy. Everything in my life has been shaken. All my plans have crumbled. But I am still standing, and deep within, I know I am stronger than I have ever been in my faith, my purpose and where God has me today. I have known the depths of heartache and I have also known the even greater depths of God’s love and sustaining power, and you can to. Keep choosing life today and allow God to breathe in your direction. And my words of wisdom to anyone wanting to breaking into the industry would be…. Work hard! Work hard! Work hard! Serve first in your home church and wherever else God opens a door freely. Love it for all the right reasons and never lose sight of giving God all the glory.
12. Is there anything you’d like to add that hasn’t been discussed in this interview yet?
Sure! If people are wanting to know how they can stay connected with me, here’s are a few ways:
Twitter (@tammytrent), Facebook (How To Write An Interview Essay here. ) where you can email me directly from there anytime.
Be sure to check out Tammy’s new album next week, and take a squiz at it now on New Release Tuesday as an album stream!