Tasha Cobbs Leonard
Every once in a while, an artist comes along and, from the first listen, you know there is something special. GRAMMY® Award-winning singer, songwriter Tasha Cobbs Leonard is one of those special artists. The apex of her still-expanding career, can be witnessed on her new album, HEART. PASSION. PURSUIT. An extraordinary and ambitious project, HEART. PASSION. PURSUIT.is significant because of its creativity and substantive worship.
The process of recording was visionary and ambitious. Singularly focused on truly creating a “universal sound of worship,” Cobbs Leonard shared her platform with 25 worship leaders (some she had never even met before the recording) to come and spend a week with her in Atlanta, GA for a week of impartation, prayer and singing, culminating in a remarkable in-studio live recording.
“When God told me this time that I would be creating a universal sound, I knew I had to gather different people to create that,” said Cobbs Leonard. “I was born in a predominately black church and have listened to gospel all my life so that is my foundation. I knew I had to reach out to worship leaders from different cultures and different walks of life to help me create this special sound. In bringing together people who have different foundations … it helped me find fresh sounds. The sound you hear on HEART. PASSION. PURSUIT.is from an intentional process of merging together people from different nationalities and different cultures.”
Supporting the God-given vision and ideals of a universal sound, Cobbs Leonard also offers a global viewpoint with her writing team. Collaborating with her husband, renowned music director, Kenneth Leonard, Jr., and top writers Matt Redman (United Kingdom), Jonas Myrin (Sweden) and Brenton Brown (Africa), Tasha unintentionally incorporated an international perspective in her lyrics.
“We didn’t set out to find writers from different countries, we used writers who reached out to us. When I realized where everyone was from, I thought ‘man, thisis much bigger than I initially thought’,” Tasha said. “It literally became a universal sound, lyrically and sonically. We were not just bridging the gap between cultures and races ,but now it is between nations. It was a great surprise from God.”
The songs are prolific. HEART. PASSION. PURSUIT. is exceptionally produced and authentically presented. Although convention is thrown out the window, it all works seamlessly. Songs are of varying length and tempo, but as Cobbs Leonard explained, the album reflects the recording experience.
“The album flows just like a service,” explained Cobbs Leonard. “When you listen from the first song all the way to the last song, we left them the way we sang them that night, so you’ll hear songs piggyback off each other. It is exactly how it happened that night.”
Years ago, God told Tasha that she would be a “bridge.” Eleven years before her career took off, her then-pastor, Bishop William Murphy, proclaimed her to be “the worship bridge to all nations.” That statement now rings true. “When Bishop [Murphy] would say that to me, I don’t think I got the full revelation behind it until I released ‘Break Every Chain,'”said Cobbs Leonard. “That song afforded me the opportunity to be invited onto different platforms and stages, to see and hear different cultures, how they operate in ministry, how their services flowed … And I was able to take all those experiences back to my home church. I also saw how myministry was affecting people, how my energy influenced and excited people. It was then that I started to see how I was able to take something from the platforms I was on, as well as give back something.”
Bridges are built for strength and for longevity. For a bridge to be useful it has to be able to withstand constant pressure. Tasha Cobbs Leonard is undoubtedly a bridge, a connector and HEART. PASSION. PURSUIT.is the embodiment of that. Cobbs Leonard wants to close the gap both inside and outside of the Christian communities. That is evident through her diverse list of worship leaders such as Anna Golden, Breona Lawrence and Jimi Cravity. It is also seen on her list of close friends who appear on the album. Cobbs Leonard joined forces with Kierra Sheard on the beautiful ballad “Your Spirit,”and with Bishop William Murphy on the memorable “Forever At Your Feet.” Tasha also added an unexpected knockout with Nicki Minaj on the smash“I’m Getting Ready.”
The album’s 16 songs are sure to resonate with longtime fans as well as win new ones. Highlights include the gospel Sunday-morning-ready “Great God,” and the stunning ballad “Wonderful Grace.” In anotherunique moment (on an album full of distinct moments), Tasha includes the reverential“Gracefully Broken,” which she co-wrote with Matt Redman. Redman believed the song would be so impactful, that it also appears on his new album featuring Tasha as a guest vocalist, further solidifying the strength of the bridge that is being built.
There is bravery in creating a project like HEART. PASSION. PURSUIT.From the recording process to the collaborative choices, Cobbs Leonard’s clear courage and maturity is what makes the album one-of-a-kind and truly visionary. “I am proud of this project,” said Tasha. “It is a project that show my maturation. It shows someone who is not afraid to walk into her calling. I feel it shows a solid understand of my calling and who I am.”
Coming into her own, she has risen to become one of the premier artists in gospel music. Her 2013 debut album, Grace, featuring the RIAA Gold-certified smash hit“Break Every Chain,” earned her a GRAMMY Award and continues to be one of the highest-selling albums of the past five years. With her 2015 follow-up, One Place Live, she earned another two GRAMMY nominations, multiple Stellar Music Awards, Dove Awards and numerous accolades, including two Billboard Music Award nominations, a BET Award nomination and being named the Top Female Gospel Artist and the Most Streamed Gospel Artist of 2016 by Billboard.