Ever since Tasha Cobbs debuted her first national release “Grace” earlier this year, via EMI Gospel, she has been one of the new faces to watch. And for good reason!
In the blink of an eye, Tasha has the ability to mesmerize an entire audience and usher in the presence of God that takes precedence over anything else.
I recently sat down with Tasha Cobbs to discuss how she got her start, her new CD “Grace” and the big looming question…how she lost all the weight!
When you recorded “Grace” were you at all nervous?
No, I actually wasn’t nervous. I was prepared for it. A lot of the preparation was from my first indie project that I had done. When I recorded “Smile” I learned all the hard things and what I needed to know for the next one.
What kinds of lessons did you learn from recording the “Smile” CD?
I really learned about the technical end of things. It’s not that I didn’t prepare, but there are just things you don’t know as far as the production aspect of it, that you don’t learn until you are actually doing it. I’m one of those people that ask a lot of questions. So throughout the whole process of “Smile,” I was asking Ron Phoenix a lot of things. He also co-produced “Grace” too. So I became well versed on exactly what needed to happen when we were ready to record “Grace.”
What is your opinion…do you think it’s better to go independent or sign with a major label?
It really depends on what you desire to do as an artist. I’m happy I went the indie route on my first album. It allowed me the time I needed to create my brand and the sound that I wanted. I didn’t have a lot of people giving their opinion. It was just me and God then. It gave God time to speak to me and really craft and create what he had called me to do. So when EMI came, I already had the Tasha Cobbs brand. And that’s one thing they complimented me on. Independently, I think I had maximized my reach. I needed a vehicle that could push me all across the country to do what God had already called me to do. God knew I wasn’t going to be easily swayed and so he opened the door for me to sign with a label where both of our visions were clear for me. They respected that I knew who I was and what I was called to do.
What song on the project were you kind of the fence about, if any?
This answer might surprise you, but that song would be “Confidence.” That song is just out of my comfort zone. When I have to lean all the way over the to the traditional realm of squalling and all that stuff, it makes me a little nervous. It’s a little outside of the Tasha Cobbs lane, which is weird because I wrote the song and love it. When we decided to do it, VaShawn absolutely loved it too. So, one night I came to rehearsal and VaShawn took me in the back and said, “I need you to sit down.” I was like, “What have they done!!” I had recorded “Confidence” on my “Smile” project, but it didn’t have that churchy vamp on the end. He told me they made some changes and when I heard the background singers sounding amazing and the band sound amazing, I was like there is no way I can pull this off! VaShawn told me I was really going to have to go there and sell it! Luckily, I think I pulled it off and I love the song because it really ministers and the label loves it too.
Let’s talk about a somewhat sensitive subject…weight! Between your first project and your new one you have slimmed down tremendously. How did you lose all the weight and what exactly did you do? And did you decide to drop the pounds because of your record deal?
I’m happy to say that me deciding to do something about my weight happened way before the industry. The thing with weight loss is that you have to decide that you want to live. Not that you necessarily want to be skinny or you want to wear the latest trends, it can’t be about that. Your health and your livelihood have to be your focus. One other thing that helped me make that decision was that I was always athletic. I played sports all my life. I was an active child. I gained a lot of weight in college because I just wasn’t as active as I used to be. An incident that really changed everything for me was one day my cousin and I were walking through the mall and we had to stop so I could catch my breath. That was the first time I had really felt my weight. I had never even noticed it before. I was one of those overweight girls who just knew they were cute! It didn’t matter to me that other girls were skinny. But that day in particular was a reality check for me. It wasn’t about my image or how pretty I thought I was, it was about me not being healthy. I had also just turned 30 at that time. And at 30, you just view things a little differently and life becomes a little more valuable to you. So I prayed about if for a couple of days and I knew God had called me to the nations, but I didn’t want to be on medication, stopping to take insulin shots in the airport or getting there 3 hours early because it would take forever for me to get to the gate.
I was thinking about my career, my life and how my body is a ministry. We always think about the worship leader and the pastor living holy, but what is my health saying to people? Me being overweight and not taking care of my body, is that leading them into worship? It wasn’t. I was being a hypocrite. So I got a trainer, talked to my parents and a few friends and I made the decision to do a procedure that wasn’t very non-intrusive. I know this subject is taboo in the church community because we don’t want to talk about it and everybody looks down on it, but I have suffered with weight all my life. And if you have never had a weight issue, people can’t understand it. But this is how I explain it. God has given us the Holy Spirit as an aid to help you live holy. The Holy Spirit is not a crutch; he’s there to help you. God spoke to me and said, “If you need an aid to help you do this, then get an aid!” After that I was freed. And I don’t care who knows! The Holy Spirit doesn’t stop you from sinning. He just helps to convict you and you can choose to ignore the conviction or listen. I still have to eat right and go to my trainer consistently. It’s easy to gain the weight back, so I have to stay on top of this. The surgery was not some quick fix, as many people like to call it!
Tell me a little about your personal life. Are you single? Dating?
I am single and I have no boyfriend. But if you see him, call him out! (lol)
So what are you looking for in your future husband?
Well of course, he has to love God. He needs to be creative, focused, and business minded and settled. Also, I prefer that he be taller than me.
What about kids? Do you want them and do you care if he has any coming into the relationship?
I love kids. I don’t mind if he has one. But, when I get married, I’ll probably have just one. I used to be one of those women to say if I have them cool. If I don’t, I don’t. I realize now that way of thinking was a little selfish. One thing I remember my pastor used to say to me is that when God has gifted you with so much, why would you die and not leave that to someone else.” So to thank of it that way, I want to leave what God gave me and impart that to someone else.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I love beautiful voices and talented singers like everyone else. Like Kim Burrell is amazing! I think she is the 8th wonder of the world! She is absolutely amazing. But one thing I like to mention about people who mentor me or artists I look up to is that their lifestyle matches up to their music. CeCe Winans is someone I look up to. Not only does she have a beautiful voice and can lead us into worship, but she lives a holy life and loves God for real! And she loves God’s people. That speaks volumes to me. Donald Lawrence is someone else that I admire. His work ethic is incredible. He puts his everything into what he does. He’s been consistent with his sound and he knows what God has called him to do. And his music is always relevant to the times, yet he still keeps the Donald Lawrence sound. My pastor William Murphy, he lives worship. He lives the music he sings about. So those are the people I look up to, not only because they are talented, but also because of the life they live.
What do you do to unwind?
I love to shop!! I can walk through a mall and not buy anything and its just therapy. My girl Kierra Sheard and I are exactly the same! I could have had the longest week in the world and I get back to Atlanta and the first place I’m going is the mall. I don’t want to sleep or go see my family; I want to go to the mall! My mom will call me and ask me am I resting and I say yeah at the mall! I love to read self-help types of books and worship material. I also like to go to the movies every now and then too.
TASAHA COBBS’ 10 RANDOM TRUTHS
1. Favorite movie? “Clueless.”
2. Guilty pleasure? Cheesecake.
3. Commissioned or The Winans? The Winans.
4.Tramaine or Vanessa Bell Armstrong? Tramaine.
5. Pet peeve? Repeating myself.
6. Introvert or extrovert? Introvert.
7. Favorite restaurant? “Sybil’s” in my hometown of Jesup, GA!
8. Texting or talking on the phone? Texting.
9. Martin, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or The Cosby Show? “The Cosby Show.”
10. If you could do a duet with any artist who would it be? Brandy.