Tasha Cobbs Leonard on ‘painful’ 2020: ‘I’ve learned to celebrate the joys’

The Grammy winner also dishes on her single with Ciara and fighting through depression.

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Tasha Cobbs Leonard has a booming career as one of gospel music’s biggest stars and an arsenal of awards to show for her hard work, but the talented vocalist who inspires millions with her songs has had to battle through her fair share of obstacles.

theGrio caught up with the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter who has collaborated with everyone from Nicki Minaj to Kierra Sheard, and most recently, Ciara, on her new single “In Spite of Me.”

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Ciara, Tasha Cobbs Leonard. (Photo: Getty Images)

“We were actually done with choosing all of the songs for the album and I was like, I feel like I need another song,” Cobbs Leonard said of the latest song that features vocals from the new mom.  

“She reached out to me in a DM and said she and her family had been listening to my songs and my name was such a blessing to their house. I knew she was nine months pregnant and due in two weeks, but I really felt like I’d love to see her be a part of this. I shot her a text and sent her the song and she and Russell fell in love with it.  I believe it was like a week or two after she had the baby, she went into the studio and recorded the song and it sounds incredible.”

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The artist who released her latest album, Royalty: Live at the Ryman in September says she has been especially busy this year and her music has helped her fans cope with the hardships of 2020.

“I think in times like these, people always need good news. We get a lot of bad news. The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, so I think it’s an amazing opportunity to spread good news and inspiration to people. It’s an honor to be called to do this. It is an honor to sing about God and to bring glory to him with our gifts. It’s about someone greater than us,” she says. 

Tasha Cobbs Leonard (Photo Credit: JD Barnes)

“I think we’ve done great as a nation of people to try to keep it moving and I’m really proud about that. Watching the way the churches have made that pivot to do this online, to stay in touch with the membership makes me proud. We’ve got to keep inspiring people and spreading the gospel.

“I’m proud of the creative spaces being innovative, like the award shows. Everybody has been so creative. I think a lot of people have done things that they never thought they would do and that’s to be commended.”

Despite her continued success, the award-winning singer knows that this year has been a struggle for so many. Still, she’s hopeful we will come out better on the other side.

“I believe that God has really shown us that as a nation we were cluttered, we were selfish, we were consumed in our routines. Things were revealed in this season that many people thought were suppressed and thought we had gotten over. The social injustices we have witnessed have brought one of the most painful seasons for a lot of people,” she continues.

“The pandemic, the COVID-19 deaths have made 2020 one of the most eye-opening seasons that we’ve ever seen, but I think we need to see it all in order to become better. I really, really pray that there have been lessons learned and that we can be more of a loving, kind, nation.”

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Tasha Cobbs Leonard (Photo Credit: JD Barnes)

Tasha Cobbs Leonard has been open about battle with depression and she knows a thing or two about pushing through hard times.

“For me, success has always come with some level of sacrifice. When I think back to winning the Grammy, (a lot of people may not have known this) but seven days prior to that, I lost my father. Here I am, standing on the stage accepting one of the greatest awards you could ever get, but my heart was broken,” she explains.

“A lot of people didn’t know that I was in very, very dark season where I could see people being set free through the songs that I was singing, but I would go home and struggle with my own war against depression.”

Her experience has taught her how to hang on to her faith and accept the good with the bad. 

“We have these seasons of mountaintop experiences, but with those also come the valley experiences. I’ve learned to celebrate the joys when they come and also embrace those seasons that are not so comfortable because I have to believe what the Bible says when it says that all things are working together for our good,” she continues.

“I celebrate the joys as they come and then I also embrace those seasons when I’m not so joyful because I know that there’s a lesson in it for me.”

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