With a vivacious laugh and warm personality that instantly illuminates a room, Tara Jackson is the friend you've always known--even if you just met. A consummate "people person," her engaging spirit befits the calling to ministry and outreach she has long embraced. But then she opens her mouth to sing, and it's obvious what Tara was ultimately born to do.
"Music can speak to people's hearts in a way that words alone sometimes cannot," she shares. "In tough times or when I just need some encouragement, I always find myself going to specific songs of praise to find peace."
Gifted with an impressive vocal range and effortless ability to deliver a song, Tara adeptly harnesses the heart-gripping power of music to share Hope through her highly-anticipated sophomore offering, Love Come Down--a smartly polished collection of bright pop melodies and moving ballads. Produced by Jay Speight, who has penned songs for such artists as Trace Adkins and Travis Tritt, along with Tyrus Morgan, whose writing credits include GRAMMY®-nominated NewSong's recent hit single, "The Same God," the song selection and recording process were very personal endeavors for Tara.
"Love Come Down is an honest reflection of where I've been, where I am, and who God is molding me to be," she says. "Music, by its very nature, is an outpouring of triumphs and trials, stories set to song that encourage and uplift others. I was very intentional in making sure each of these songs spoke deeply to me--testifying to God's goodness and grace in my own life--and it's my prayer they will speak to others' hearts as well."
From the infectious hook of the album opener, "All About Love," to the earnest and reflective piano-driven title cut--a plea to be filled with His love and grace in difficult times--to the worshipfully poignant "Great, Great God," and the bluesy Gospel anthem "Relentless," Tara's musical versatility is more than evident as she passionately sings of a Savior she wants the world to know.
"I've realized it is so easy to become inwardly focused, when God is calling us to look out and up to Him," she shares. "He wants us to see the world through His eyes and heart. Love Come Down is about allowing God's love to break down walls and barriers around my own heart, to lay down my expectations and let Him overtake."
A glimpse into Tara's own journey reveals a vulnerable heart ever-learning to embrace His ways above her own. With the words of Habakkuk 2:3 in mind--For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end--it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay--she knows firsthand the difficulty of waiting on God's timing, yet her life is proof that the waiting itself can be fruitful.
Raised in central North Carolina's Piedmont Triad--her father is a music minister and her mother a singer and nurse--home was alive with "the sound of music" for Tara and her two sisters. Fittingly, she dedicated her life to the Lord during a Christian concert at the tender age of six. "I remember being so impacted by the ministry of music that it changed my life forever," she recalls. "I want to have that same impact for the Kingdom, using the gifts that God has blessed me with."
Graduating from college with a degree in music industry studies and vocal performance, Tara's path seemed set, and she soon moved to Nashville. Furthering her musical pursuits there, Tara also had a providential opportunity to serve in ministry at one of the city's most respected outreaches. Working at The Bridge Ministry--founded by award-winning Gospel singer-turned-homeless advocate Candy Christmas--was a life-changing experience. Helping coordinate weekly meals, provisions and even a worship service for as many as 500 homeless under a downtown bridge affirmed Tara's calling to both music and ministry.
Last year she and her husband, Kyle, closed the chapter of their Nashville lives and relocated to Birmingham, Alabama, for his career. It was a bittersweet transition. Excited for Kyle's new opportunities, leaving Music City on the cusp of recording her new album admittedly left Tara questioning God's timing.
"The move to Birmingham has not been without its struggles. It isn't exactly what we thought or even what we hoped it would be," she honestly shares. "However, I felt like God needed to get us out of Nashville to help us get to our 'Promised Land,' so to speak. He has provided in ways that are just too cool to not take notice of. In fact, God has blessed me with ministry opportunities I couldn't have had if we had remained in Nashville. I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is where God wants us to be for now as He continues to weave our story together."
While her gracious--and often gregarious--personality alone invites instant friendship, Tara's transparency about life's unexpected twists and turns is also refreshingly relatable. It's an important reminder that our steps are carefully ordered by God.
"On one of my most recent trips back to Nashville, I stopped by to visit The Bridge," she shares. "A volunteer stopped me and said, 'I just want to thank you for coming to my church a couple years ago and sharing your testimony through song and about your involvement with this ministry. God used that to speak to my heart. My family and I began volunteering, and doing so, it saved our lives. It brought us closer together, and closer to God. So thank you for coming and sharing.'
"To be honest, I was a bit in shock, but it just reaffirmed why I do this," Tara concludes. "It isn't about me; it's about being a vessel for God to use in reaching out to people and bringing them closer to Him."