Tasha Layton on Her Suicide Attempt, Singing with Katy Perry & Working on Her Own Music
"Into The Sea (It's Gonna Be Ok)," the vulnerable new single from acclaimed BEC Recordings' Christian music singer/songwriter Tasha Layton, is now available. An affirmation of God's presence and providence in a chaotic world, the timely track was co-produced by GRAMMY® winner Bryan Fowler and Hawk Nelson's Micah Kuiper, and was written by Layton, multi-GRAMMY® winner Keith Everette Smith, Fowler and Kuiper.
South Carolina-native Tasha Layton launched her music career in Los Angeles, quickly becoming an in-demand session singer. She appeared on Season 9 of American Idol and spent four years as a back-up vocalist for pop superstar Katy Perry. Layton's voice has also been heard in productions for Disneyland and Cirque du Soleil, as well Nickelodeon television.
Layton is married to GRAMMY® and GMA Dove Award-winning producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and member of TobyMac's Diverse City Band, Keith Everette Smith, and the couple reside in Nashville with their two children. Her critically acclaimed BEC Recordings debut EP, Love Running Wild, released last year.
Q: Thank you Tasha for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself: for some time, you were wandering in the wilderness which included an attempted suicide. What happened there?
Growing up, I loved God and loved the church so much, so when I was so hurt within church it wounded me deeply. The story of that hurt is for another day, but those wounds coupled with a lot of humanistic philosophy I was exposed to in college caused me to find myself in a place of questioning. I didn't want to wander, I just needed peace and truth and sought it out wherever I could find it. I figured all truth was God's truth and didn't care whether it was in the form of another religion or not. I went to synagogue, mosque, Buddhist meditation camp and even studied mysticism. In the end, all of the paths I sought out couldn't compare to Jesus. In all of those religions I was striving to get to God, but in Christianity, He was in pursuit of me!
Q: When and what triggered the turning point?
The suicide attempt was the turning point. I knew then I couldn't fight the battle alone. And at my lowest of low, I realized Jesus was the only One out of everything I'd experienced who offered true peace and any power to transform.
Q: How are you now? Describe for us your season of life now.
I am in a very chaotic but sweet season. With a newborn and a toddler, I am BUSY! I am so in love with my sweet little family and trying to enjoy every second. It's a constant balancing act being a mom. "Who's been fed? Who needs a diaper change? How am I going to make all of this work? Who can I call for help? How will I spend time with my husband this week?" And sometimes my most ignored area, "Am I taking care of myself?"
I am so grateful for my life and this ministry God has entrusted to me and my husband. I feel especially thankful when I think of how I prayed to be able to minister to people when I was younger, how I wrestled with my faith, and now, how I get to live out my calling.
Q: Before you started singing worship songs, you were a session singer as well as a backing vocalist for Katy Perry. Tell us about working with Katy.
I loved working with Katy. She's a special person and really good to her people. I was able to travel the world and see and do so many things that I had to make a new "bucket list!" Professionally, I learned a lot. What I didn't anticipate when I began was that touring so extensively is also very difficult. It's physically taxing and can be lonely in some ways as you're away from loved ones for such long periods at a time.
Q: You have a new song out "Into the Sea (It's Gonna Be Okay)." How did this song come about and what does it mean to you?
We wrote the song about some dark nights of the soul in our lives-each of the writers coming from a place of deep honesty. Personally, I channeled a lot of the pain I experienced during my season of searching.
Not that long ago my son came to me with tears coming down his face about something and I took his little face in my hands and said, "It's gonna be ok, honey." I can think of so many times when I have needed God to figuratively take my face in His hands and tell me it was going to be ok.
The greater potential a song has for ministry, the greater its meaning for me. I think "Into the Sea" means so much to me because it can speak to people on so many different levels. We've all been in need of hearing "it's gonna be ok" at some point in our lives. None of us could have anticipated the song releasing during a global pandemic, and I believe people need to hear the message of this song during this time.
Q: Your husband is also a musician. Tell us a little about him. Have the two of you collaborated on any music together yet?
My husband, Keith Everette Smith, is an amazing musician! He is a producer, arranger, and plays in TobyMac's band. He's incredibly smart and there aren't many instruments he can't play. On top of that he's a wonderful father and one of the funniest people I know.
We collaborate on almost everything I do, and we love it. Sometimes working together as a married couple can present its challenges but it's only made us stronger over time.
Q: Give us a glimpse of what's to come - are you working on a new album? If so, what can we be looking forward to?
I'm always working on something! Right now, I have been focusing on several songs in particular, but a project is coming, yes. I have a wonderful team rallying around me to support the call of God on my life and my music, and I am thankful for them. Without them I wouldn't have been able to put music out as consistently as I have this last season.
Q: In this time of anxiety and fear, what words of encouragement do you have for our readers?
We serve a mighty God. He has never and will never let us down. We are in His hands and He knows every detail of His plan for our lives. End of story!
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