Music Movie Lovers what a wonderful week I’ve had. I shared with you two posts ago Black Music Month and it’s significance, and the last week in June is also labeled Black Music Month Week. So how fitting it was to start the week with a concert featuring gospel music at Tamika Patton’s Praise Party, which took place last Sunday evening at World Cafe Live here in Philadelphia. Headlined by Ms. Patton herself, the concert included Theresa Noye, Kevin Jarido & Nu Virtu, and a special performance by Sunday Best season 2 winner Y’anna Crawley (the latter of which I also interviewed so make sure you check out Part 2!). When I say that it was the most engaging night of praise and worship I’ve taken part of in a long time, I really don’t feel like I’m doing it justice. The lineup was incredible, the worship was real, and Ms. Patton came on stage and truly displayed why she was recently named Radio One’s Best Inspirational Singer, and why she has received so many accolades and performed with some of the top names in the gospel industry including Yolanda Adams, Karen Clark-Sheard, Vickie Winans, and Kurt Carr. So sit back and get to know a little more about Ms. Patton and her highly anticipated new release Presence.
Me: What did it mean to you to become Radio One’s 2011 Best Inspirational Singer in America?
Tamika: What it meant to me was that the Lord was now taking our ministry on a national level. It wasn’t so much a competition for me, because I don’t believe in competing when it comes to gospel. But it was more so a launching pad. So I said Lord I’ll go. If this is an open door to speak to the nations what You’ve invested, then I’ll walk through this door. I guess I had in mind, I know how these things work, it’s political or whatever. And I already had in mind you may or may not (win). I’m not a riffer, screamer, I don’t give you all the gymnastics and calisthenics. I just sang because I love Jesus. So, I went, I gave what God gave me to give, met some wonderful people, networked, met awesome worshipers, had no idea I’d win. Came back the next day from church, and when they said my name, it didn’t register. If you watch the video, when they actually announce that I won I did the matrix (acts out), I couldn’t believe it (we laugh).
I thank God for that opportunity and meeting James Fortune and having him pen the song More Than Faithful. I had only met him once, but he wrote the words that were on my heart. God has been more than faithful. So I know the Lord gave him that song for me. And that was a concern because when someone that’s already in the industry says well this is your prize we’re going to write a song for you…my first thought was is it going to be me. Because if I can’t feel it then I can’t sing it effectively for anybody else to feel it. But to hear the words of More Than Faithful, “You were there when I needed You, You were there when my friends walked away, You never left me standing all alone” that’s me. That’s my life. And He’s been there all my life every step of the way.
Me: You actually just answered my second question, because that song More Than Faithful is one of my personal testimony songs, but I wanted to know what it meant to you . I know that’s available on Itunes and Amazon and people picked up your CD here tonight. But for people who aren’t fortunate enough to be in the area, when can they purchase it in stores?
Tamika: We did a regional release, because a lot of my base was like “where is it.” And in Philadelphia it’s available at CLC bookstores and the Sound of Market store. You can also order it on my website and we’ll ship it out to you. Or you can follow me on my itinerary, come see me live and get it signed, a hug and everything (laughs). But within the next month, we (management and I) are looking to release it nationally so we can show the rest of the world what Philly already knows, that God favors us.
Me: And it’s title is Presence, can you tell me what the title means?
Tamika: We wanted to reach everybody, we didn’t want it to be boxed. And the Lord directed us with each track that we selected. It’s a smorgasbord of music, but each song takes you into His presence in a different way. So if you’re a praise and worship person, we got you, a traditional person, we got you. You’re contemporary got that too. Mother of the church, got that, young person, got that. So this is a CD you can put in, let it play in the minivan driving on vacation, and everybody has a favorite track.
And it ministers to each person, each facet of a person. If it’s someone who’s like (I) grew up in the street, mom went to church but I really wasn’t feeling it, and I heard her singing a Mahalia Jackson song but it don’t do anything for me. Okay, well we got (the song) Another Chance. And the hook is the first two measures of the bass line. Gotcha. And then when you hear the message! That’s the one thing, I never have a problem with music being hot, but don’t compromise the message. Don’t water down the message that you get so caught up in the beat that you…you’re not going to swing your hips to this because the message is clear. You might groove to it, might get a head nod, open the sunroof and lean to the side when you’re driving, but that’s about it. The message is clear. And it’s a simple message that I think people forget because we mess up so much. We make so many mistakes in life and sometimes we bury ourselves in it, and we rile in it. Instead of knowing that you got another chance to wake up; another day after you really screwed up royally on Thursday and you got to see Friday? That’s another opportunity to right your wrongs. That’s your day to forgive the person you didn’t forgive, that’s your day to go back and say sorry to the person you didn’t say I’m sorry. That’s your day to say Lord forgive me. That’s your day to repent. So, we just wanted to drive that message home.
Me: My blog is music movies thoughts, so I want to ask something for the movie fans. Now, I know that you have received accolades and acclaim for portraying Queen of Gospel, the legendary Mahalia Jackson in the theater. I know about the play here, but I read you portrayed her as well in LA?
Tamika: It’s the same production, the director is based in LA now, and we’re going back out there in December of this year to do it again. But, yes I’ve been blessed to portray her, we won’t say how many years (laughs). That role changed my life. Her life parallel(s) mine in so many ways that I think it no longer is a role. She’s taught me, without even being here physically, how to handle myself with grace in ministry and yet still be in the (music) industry. Because if you maintain your integrity, and be real and transparent in ministry, then you don’t have to shift when you deal with the industry. You can just be who you are. So all we did was bring her (Mahalia Jackson) to the 21st century. We paid tribute to her on the (CD) project and did Ode to Halie, Halie was her nickname. And we did a medley of some of her more well-known songs. We took it straight back porch with the scrub brushes, spoons, organ, and little church with the two pews, I mean it’s straight back in the day. Sounds like bible water in New Orléans, or N’awlins (laughs). And so we paid tribute to her, and everybody loves that track. And it’s making people go and You Tube her, and it’s a blessing. I was honored to play the role, and honored to bring more light and attention to such a great woman. She did so much for gospel music.
Me: My mother’s favorite movie is the Lana Turner version of Imitation of Life, and the Mahalia Jackson scene is one of my favorite scenes (as everyone in room nods or shares a word in agreement ). So, you’ve played her and done it well. If you could choose another person past or present to portray in film, in a play, who would it be?
Tamika: (pauses for a bit)…Me (laughs). I can’t think of anyone else. I pray that my life will be something to encourage somebody. I would like to play me in a Tyler Perry production, that is my dream’s dream. Everybody’s like seriously? Yes. I love Tyler Perry. I really like to have fun and I’m silly; and a lot of people can’t shift gears from worship to just me being silly. I’ll say whatever God is telling me to say, but I can’t help it that I’m silly and I have a sense of humor. So, I love his work and I think we’re blessed to have in this lifetime an African-American that owns his own studio, produces his own films, can bring to life whatever he chooses, and he helps others and reaches back. And that’s what I can appreciate.
Me: I like that he has stayed true to his initial fan base as well. He remembers who made him Tyler Perry.
Tamika: Yes. He didn’t go industry.
Me: Tamika thank you so much, this (interview) was a huge blessing and thank you also for the worship opportunity you gave everyone tonight.
Open and very transparent in her ministry, Ms. Patton remains in constant demand to perform both locally and nationally and if you listen to Yolanda Adams’s syndicated show on weekday mornings like me, you will often hear her describe Tamika Patton as one of her favorite singers. I’ve attached links below, so you can go on her site to learn more about Tamika Patton, get her itinerary and listen to the first release More Than Faithful, written by Stellar Award winner James Fortune. I will be sure to update this post when her album is released nationally, but for those not in the Philadelphia region you can go to her website or purchase the single on Itunes, Amazon.com and CD Universe. And don’t forget if you live in the area, you can pick up the CD at CLC bookstores or Sound of Market.
Up next, part two of my sister chat featuring Ms. Y’anna Crawley, so no usual tagline here…check back tomorrow and click over to the next post!
Tamika Patton Official Website:
Amazon link for More Than Faithful:
CD Universe link for More Than Faithful: