TaRanda Greene is often seen on the popular Bill Gaither Homecoming Video Series and has also made appearances at numerous cities with the Homecoming Tour. She has also become a favorite guest vocalist at the famed Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, NY. She was invited by the Church to be a special featured soloist on the latest two Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir recordings "Declare Your Name" and "A Brooklyn Tabernacle Christmas." She was also invited to appear before the United Nations for a special Christmas concert, where she thrilled representatives from around the world with her rousing rendition of "O Holy Night."
Recently, Greene was signed to StowTown Records and she has just released her debut "Stronger" for the imprint. We are so honored to catch up with her for this Hallels' exclusive interview.
Hallels: Congratulations on the forthcoming release of "Stronger" on StowTown Records. Tell us, how did you get connected with StowTown? And what's it like working with the folks at StowTown Records?
Several years ago, before my husband passed away, I received a call from Ernie about working together & future plans. Well, when Tony passed, all of my plans came to a halt & I lost contact with Ernie & many people for the most part. But when this project was near completion, Landon Beene took it to Ernie & had him listen & as it is said, the rest is history. It's wonderful to see something come full circle & I love the Stowtown family. The brilliance of Wayne Haun mixed in with the years of integrity & faithfulness from Ernie & now a marketing genius like Landon makes me proud to be a part of such a label. Especially for such an important release as Stronger.
Hallels: On the record, you have covered quite a range of songs from Mary Mary's "Shackles (Praise You)" to Kari Jobe's "Healer" to Willie Nelson's "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain." It's not very common for a Christian/Gospel release to include "Blue Eyes," why did you decide to tackle this song?
Haha... Yes. My musical taste pretty much covers the map. I would do every genre if I could get away with it. On every solo record I've done to date, I have recorded a song for Tony. And with the timing & the message of this recording, I wanted to have a song on Stronger dedicated to him. As I began to hear songs, they were communicating a message that the audience would clearly understand was for Tony. And they were so sad & lonesome. That's not what this CD is about for me. So, I recalled a conversation I had with Tony about his favorite songs & "Blue Eyes" was one of his top 5 favorite songs. With the lyric in the second verse "Someday soon we'll meet up yonder. And we'll walk hand in hand again", it was perfect for me. It gave me hope & reminded me there's a life ahead of us where we'll meet again. Just another song to encourage me to be Stronger.
Hallels: I really like how you took May Mary's "Shackles (Praise You)" and made it your own. Why did you choose to cover "Shackles"?
Thank you. After the death of Tony, I was diagnosed clinically depressed: medication & all. And as I was coming out of the depression, I listened to Mary Mary's version of "Shackles" quite a bit. It was an upbeat song of courage. There's nothing like clinical depression to make you feel shackled in chains. And once God delivers you, you definitely want to dance. I recorded this & many of the songs on Stronger because it gives me courage. I love singing this song every night. I love the message. And I LOVE the beat!
Hallels: You have had also been through some trials in the last few years, which sadly also includes the death of your husband Tony, how did you find strength to face these unfathomable pain and loss?
I felt I had no courage or strength for a while. I was diagnosed clinically depressed. Four medications a day. I did not want to wake up to my reality. I hated my new reality. So I crawled in any dark place I could find for a while. But one day, I talked with Jesus & told Him I was at the end. I told Him I wouldn't survive without Him stepping in. And He did. It's been a day by day journey & sometimes a minute by minute, but today.. I'm depression medication free & I have hope for tomorrow & joy in today. God delivered me & now I can see that it's true that ALL THINGS work for the good. It's the dark places in life in which we find out who we are. And there, the very fiber of what we believe is tested. In time, I have found having close friends who you can really count on, my two daughters, my Mom & Dad give me a daily reminder that life is worth living because we have hope in The Lord! Jesus helps us when we ask. And He's there even when we're too numb to feel. And He's faithful to carry us through.
Hallels: I hear a lot of your own story and testimony on many of the songs on this new record. If there's a song on "Stronger" that best testifies to how the Lord help you through your ordeals which would that be? And why?
Man, that's every song. I'm going through the list in my head & every single one has a deep place in my heart. But for my life. Right now. I'd say "Where Amazing Happens". I can't even sing that song without weeping. The lyric is so powerful! Dan Dean wrote my story when he wrote this song. And I stand today having come through my muck to sing to y'all that this day & the days to come are where my amazing happens! I'm so happy & looking forward to everything God has in store for me. He's brought me from the pit & now... I'm watching MY amazing happen!! God brought me back to life to see my broken dreams live. Yay!!!! I'm so thankful to be here.
Hallels: You have also been involved in singing with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Can you tell us more about your involvement with them?
Are you still singing with them?
Several years ago my family group, The Greenes, were invited to sing at The Brooklyn Tabernacle. And through the years, we developed a beautiful relationship there. And The Lord has blessed me to sing on their projects & be able to be with them in service several times a year. When I'm there, it's like going home. I've made lifetime friendships there that I wouldn't trade for anything. I was just in service with them a couple weeks ago & will be a part of their Christmas shows. There's no place like The Brooklyn Tabernacle.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to purchase "Stronger" and/or find out more about you, where can they go?
It is available at Christian bookstores everywhere! You can also go to my website www.tarandamusic.com <http://www.tarandamusic.com> for any information on my tour dates, products, etc. And you can follow me on Facebook www.facebook.com/tarandamusic <http://www.facebook.com/tarandamusic> & twitter @tarandagreene .