(Photo courtesy of Hoganson Media Relations)
Q&A: Tanya Godsey
By Sarah Komisky
Quiet. Deep. Introspective. These are the words that define Tanya Godsey’s music. Yet, her life has been far from quiet. Undergoing an emotional whirlwind, she dealt with her own struggles with fear and later walked alongside her husband through the dark valley of depression. All this occurred during the making of her new release, Love Lines the Last Horizon. Yet, in all the chaos, there came forth a quiet, melodic masterpiece.
Here’s the backstory.
I know you are known for being a pianist. Has that always been your niche as a musician?
Tanya: I started learning piano when I was eleven and that grew into a natural love for the instrument. It is still the place where I feel like I can express myself the most creatively as far as instruments are concerned. I picked up the acoustic guitar when I was 18 and entered the world of alternate tunings and found a beautiful musical space there to create from as well. So much of my previous records have incorporated guitars and I wrote and recorded guitar on a few songs from my new record as well. I love both instruments and they are very much a part of my artistry and songwriting process.
Who are your musical influences and why?
Tanya: I have a really broad variety of musical influences. I grew up on Amy Grant and Rich Mullins and then later gravitated towards artists like Peter Gabriel and Coldplay. In general, I think I’m really drawn to artists who have something important to say and who have learned to say it with originality, courage and passion.
Where did the idea for the new single, “We Are Your Song,” come from?
Tanya: I wrote “We Are Your Song” after an extended period of musical silence. I think over time it’s easy to let the noise of the world ring louder than the still and small quiet voice of Scripture and of the Spirit’s voice in our lives. The writing of this song was a breakthrough moment in a time when I was able to attune my heart to that still small voice again, and the song wrote itself really quickly as a natural extension of this reawakening.
Share about your partnership with the International Justice Mission and why it is so important to you
Tanya: I led worship at an If:Gathering last Spring where IJM was featured. It was the first time I was able to really hear the heart behind their mission and the real-life stories of impact. I wanted to donate the proceeds from “We Are Your Song” to further the social justice work they are doing around the world because I believe they are bravely doing the hard work consistent with the Gospel. I’m hoping lots of people will stream the song and then purchase “We Are Your Song” to benefit the worthy work of IJM. I’m hoping to spread further awareness of what IJM does to encourage others to support their mission in any way they can.
A big part of this album is about an “emancipation from fear.” How did you begin to start trusting God more and letting go of fear?
Tanya: I’ve learned that all of life is a process. There aren’t any equations or simple fixes. Life is a journey. My journey with fear began when I was a young child. I was timid, shy and afraid. My process with the Lord has just been continually saying yes to Him and the doors He opens, even when I’m afraid. He’s constantly calling His children to a place of deeper trust and dependence and that often requires letting go of our desire to control everything and just trusting Him to do what He does best: be the loving Father He’s always promised to be.
Later, you share that you and your husband went through a hard time as he went through an extended period of depression and anxiety. How did God use you to come alongside him after your own battle with fear?
Tanya: I would say the ministry of presence is what carried us through this season. Sometimes it’s not about what you can say to a person, it’s simply about being there and offering to sit with them in their suffering. Sometimes it’s about making a choice not to turn your face away from their pain; it’s about doing the compassionate work of lamenting, hoping and praying alongside them.
How did you and your husband work through that season when it was during the making of this album and how did it influence the music on the album?
Tanya: To be very honest, while we were relationally unified, there were countless days when we did not know whether we were going to survive this season physically, mentally and emotionally. Between my late and long studio hours, the accompanying sleep deprivation and parenting two small children, we were stretched as thin as we could be stretched. I remember praying and asking the Lord to give us the strength to keep showing up and to keep going. Having faith that God would use the music of this album to bring hope and restoration to people’s lives and hearts was very instrumental in helping us persevere. The beauty and potency of this album can be directly traced back to the very faithfulness of God as He empowered us to do what felt impossible (to us) in the moment.
How would you say young wives like yourself could come alongside and encourage their husbands in trials and be a blessing to them?
Tanya: Again, I would say the ministry of presence is a big one. Every person likes to receive and give love in a different way, so I don’t think there’s an equation. Good communication is huge and even during our season of suffering we made prayer an intentional priority. Praying daily with each other has been and continues to be a major priority for us.
What are you most looking forward to with this album release?
Tanya: I’m looking forward to seeing the ways God will use this music to continue to bring redemption into people’s lives and in our own lives as well.
Share a small encouragement for young readers regarding the subject of purity
Tanya: I’ve always believed that everything flows from our relationship (or lack thereof) with God. In the quietest moments of our day, and in the most public moments as well, we will make decisions based on our intimacy with God and how attuned we are to His word and His Spirit. I would encourage readers to have a living and growing relationship with God. All of life as a believer hinges on our ability to know His word, His heart and His voice. This intimacy equips us for every challenge we’ll face in our relationships, especially the area of purity.
Pre-order Tanya’s new release out September 30th at: http://apple.co/299xpVF