Rising gospel star Tasha Page-Lockhart didn’t have to look far for inspiration when it came time for her to record her major-label debut, soul-and-spirit-soaked tour-de-force Here Right Now.
All the Detroit native had to do — with the help of album executive producer and gospel great Kirk Franklin – was mine diary-personal material from her deeply painful past: a more bitter-than-sweet childhood marred by sexual abuse, promiscuity and heartbreakingly low self-esteem.
On the 11-track Here Right Now, released through Franklin’s label, Fo Yo Soul Recordings/RCA, Tasha — who struggled for years under the crippling weight of addiction — is a woman reborn through the power of God’s love. Here Right Now will bless all within the sound of her incredible voice with personal testimonies of His saving grace.
Though she was raised by gospel singer Lisa Page-Brooks and stepfather Michael Brooks, a founding member of gospel group Commissioned, life was not easy for the winner of season six of BET’s reality-show competition “Sunday Best.” A one-time honor student and aspiring WNBA player who dropped out of high school her senior year after she got pregnant, Tasha spent most of her life trying to overcome the shame of being seen as the troubled child of the family. After being raped and molested between the ages of 7 and 14, she numbed the pain for years with marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, and alcohol.
But God would not allow the troubled adolescent to fade to black. He sent her lifelong friend and now husband Clifton Lockhart to help pull her out of the darkness of her life and onto the stage. There she now stands under the spotlight as a living testimony of the power of prayer and God’s mercy.
“If it hadn’t been for Cliff, I probably wouldn’t be here,” the 31-year-old gushes about her first boyfriend, whom she met when she was just 8 years old. “God used him to take me out of a bad environment,” she recalls. “He called me from Atlanta one day in 2006 and said ‘I want you to come visit me for my birthday.’ I thought, O.K., I’ll go visit him. We got married two weeks later! I wound up staying in Atlanta for three years, joining the New Life International Family Church, and getting on the path to sobriety.”
Born to a mother who was lead singer for the all-female gospel group Witness, a grandfather, Warren Harris member of The Motown group The Monitors and a producer for an uncle, Charles “Ollie” Harris (Yolanda Adams, LL Cool J, Ciara), music practically ran through young Tasha’s veins. By age 5 Tasha was singing jingles and commercials for major brands like Betty Crocker, Kmart, General Motors and United Way. By the time she was a teenager she had a job as a “demo girl,” singing and recording songwriting samples for stars like Whitney Houston and Brandy.
But she was not meant to stay in the background.
Recognizing her enormous potential, one of Tasha’s friends called with a surprise birthday gift for her last March. It was a plane ticket to the “Sunday Best” auditions in Houston the following week.
She went, but she didn’t think she stood a chance.
“People had been telling me for years to go on Sunday Best,” says the mother of two and first female act signed to Fo Yo Soul Recordings/RCA. “They were like, ‘You will win,’ but I didn’t believe them. I didn’t think I was good enough to compete with the other singers.”
Not only was she good enough, she was the best — wowing the judges, blowing away the competition and ultimately taking the top prize.
Franklin, the host of “Sunday Best,” says he knew he had a star on his hands when he understood the magnitude of the struggle behind Tasha’s magnificent sound.
“I am always impressed with transparency and honesty,” says the 9-time Grammy winner of his protégé’s sonically stunning debut. “That is a lost art form, especially with people who are in the public eye,” he explains. “So when I see someone who is that way, I run toward him or her.
Tasha expresses tremendous gratitude for her second chance on the blissful, big-brass-enhanced single “Different,” encouraging the people she’s known all her life to give her the same do-over Jesus has. “I’m different, y’all, I’m not the same,” she testifies on the lush, choir-backed track. “Ever since I met the savior my life has changed/ I must admit back in the day I did some crazy things / But that’s my past and my past has now passed away, because I’m different.”
She sings with sweet conviction about her thorny years and long journey to becoming drug-free on the album’s jubilantly candid title track “Here Right Now”, making it abundantly clear that the dark clouds are far behind her.
The golden-piped vocalist makes a tender plea to God on the piano-lead ballad “Faith Come Alive” that she co-wrote with husband Cliff, who is also the song’s producer. On it she bears witness to His ability to transform her life and the lives of all who trust Him into something wonderful.
She throws a festive, spirit-filled praise party featuring Kirk Franklin on “Just a Little Bit,” guaranteeing fans that having even just a mustard seed of faith is enough to make miracles occur in their lives.
Throwing down on the handclapping, feet-stomping, soul-testifying duet “I’m Living” with mom and gospel singer Lisa Page-Brooks, Tasha continues to expand her musical ministry by celebrating her roots in the church.
On the luscious and heartfelt “Fragile” she, humbly asks God for His help in understanding some of life’s deep spiritual mysteries and thanks Him for never allowing us to fall.
Tasha teams up with celebrated musician and producer Shaun Martin for the spiritually rousing “Best Work” and then dedicates her life to Christ in her collaboration with R&B singer and Maroon 5 keyboardist P.J. Morton, “Yours.”
With her mighty voice an undeniable blessing, Franklin says Tasha is living proof that everything happens exactly when it’s supposed to.
“No one can determine why time moves fast for one person and slowly for another,” he says. “Tasha has been on a long mission to fulfill one of her life’s purposes. We just have to trust the One who is in control of time. Since we trust Him, we simply celebrate that Tasha’s time is now,” he adds. “With that being said, I am extremely excited to be Tasha’s partner during her anointed season.”
Here Right Now is scheduled for release on August 5.