When God has given you a desire, chase after it and walk through every door that God opens for you. Although singer/songwriter Tammy Trent was speaking within the context of comparing her infant days in the music industry with the recent recording of the CD I See Beautiful, the words make a statement about the way she approaches her life.
Twelve years ago, Trent adopted her husband Trent Lenderink’s first name as her surname for stage purposes. On September 10, 2001, her world was rocked when her husband died in a diving accident. After stepping away from the music scene to heal, Tammy Trent slowly made her way back through music and sharing her story from the platform of conferences such as Revolve (for teenage girls) and Women of Faith. The release of I See Beautiful in 2006 signaled that the dance music queen had returned and done so in style.
Responding to my description of her song “Pray” as hip hop meets pop Trent laughs and says, “I love it, I love it. When I signed a record deal in 1994, the love of my life was definitely dance, hip hop and urban (music). I was listening to the sounds out of Detroit and Minneapolis. Laughing she says there wasn’t a whole lot like that coming out of Nashville. There was really good pop music but nobody was really doing any dance stuff.”
There are people who might think that Trent has not changed with the times and ten years later is still performing dance music while many Christian artists are into worship or pop rock. In response to that line of thinking Trent replies, “I want people to say, ‘I was a fan of hers ten years ago and she still has great stuff to this day.’ I think you have to keep changing with the sound of the times, but stylistically this is absolutely who I am.”
Trent says, “A song like “Pray” really captures who I am. It is such a song of my heart. There were times that I walked through the door of my house, fell to my knees, was lost for words and did not know what to say. I felt lonely. I was hurting and going through the pain of losing a spouse. I remember reminding myself, ‘Tammy there is probably somebody praying for you right now. Someone is lifting you up before the Father right now. Get up, you can do this.’ I would get up, wipe the tears and say, ‘I can do this God.'”
Continuing to talk about “Pray” she says, “I could have written a ballad that would make us just want to worship God. “Pray” is a song of celebration. It made me want to get back up off the floor and say yes, does anybody want to pray with me. Do you really want to pray with me? I think that is why I took this direction for the song. It makes you want to dance.”
Six weeks after her initial record release in 1994 and her single “Your Love Is For Always” debuted, the song rose to number one on the charts. “That started everything for me. I knew I was just following my heart. Until this day it is who I am musically. I love music that makes me want to dance,” says the singer.
The words to Trent’s songs are not merely filler used to satisfy a beat. She instead relies upon heartfelt true life experiences that infuse her lyrics. The lyrics are dropped into a blender with great beats and the combination creates excellent tunes. “I am a drummer so when you listen to any of my records there is this groove. Even on a ballad you will hear that undertone because of the drummer in me,” she notes.
“In 2007 I will probably spice up my set a little bit and throw in the drums. I think it is inspiring for other little girls that want to learn to play. I am going to bring them out on the road with my own band. I think there is something to be said for an artist that gets up with an acoustic guitar or somebody like Nichole Nordeman that sets up behind a keyboard. (Hopefully people will say) she’s not only a singer/songwriter but she can actually play an instrument as well,” says Trent.
The title track “I See Beautiful” and the track “Is This Love” are collaborations between Trent, David Garcia and Tim Miner. The songs are good dance grooves that celebrate God’s love. Miner and Garcia also produced both tunes. Miner who has been a solid R&B artist and a prolific producer puts a solid urban stamp on the tunes. Miner’s past clients have included Debra Cox, CeCe Winans, Anita Baker, Mariah Carey, Montel Jordan, Babyface, Teddy Pendergrass and Vanessa Williams. Garcia’s musical roots run deep in gospel, R&B and hip hop music. “I See Beautiful” and “Is This Love” provide evidence of Trent’s energetic vocals, and her ability to motivate people to get up and move.
“I See Beautiful” is Trent’s testimony of emerging from dark shadowy days to celebrate God’s divine intervention and guidance in her daily life. “I feel I just (need to) open up and share the honest places of my life with people. Those are the kinds of things that will reach out to people more than pretending I have the answers or pretending that everything is all good just because I have God in my life. I think I have learned to be an open book thinking that if that helps somebody then that is what I was created for,” she says.
The song “Stop The World” is dedicated to the memory of Tammy’s husband. It was written by their friend Pete Orta shortly after her husband’s death and was sung at his funeral. As the megaphone vocals envelope the words “Somebody stop the world”, your heart breaks for Tammy Trent’s loss, but you also find hope in her words. The song talks of shared memories, of carrying Trent Londerink’s heart deep within her hear forever. The tune speaks of a God who comforts us and breathes life back into us even during our darkest days.
“I think it was important for me to capture on this record that God has restored me and healed my life,” she says and then adds, “There are some artists who feel called to write deeply thought provoking poetic songs. It seems to me that my music is a bit more conversational. I create songs that somehow will make you put your clothes on the right way in the morning and help you march out that front door to take on the day.”
The decision to enlist the services of four producers for the album (Miner, Garcia, John Mandeville and Tony Montana) contributed to a record that sounds alive and fresh. “I think when you are working on a record it is always a challenge to find something new in you. You are hopeful that a new producer will be able to capture that. Even thought I love dance, hip hop and urban I was also looking to capture them in a new way,” she says.
The courage to tell her story, back it up with her lifestyle and create danceable music has attracted a lot of attention. At the end of December, I peeked at Trent’s tour schedule for 2007 and it was booked solid. She has an ambitious tour that will visit thirty cities and is already accepting bookings into 2008. She also refers to the album I See Beautiful as her fastest selling album to date.
The Bible says David danced before the Lord in praise. Trent’s legacy will be that she inspired others to get up and with grateful hearts dance before God.
Copyright © 2006 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague. Joe Montague is an internationally published freelance journalist / photographer.