In life everyone has a testimony, a life story that is unique to their struggles, successes, and failures. However, each individual shares his or her stories differently. For musicians and recording artists they usually share their life stories in song, dance, or visual art; and Tracy Randall is no different.
Having achieved educational and economical hierarchy Tracy Randall was at the top of his game as a lawyer, producer and songwriter before he hit his 30’s, but when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 his life would drastically change. After receiving the horrifying news that he would have less than a year to live Tracy literally had a conversation with God. The conversation would change his life forever, influencing him to step out from behind the scenes and blossom into a singer and songwriter in his own right.
After producing for the likes of 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Keyshia Cole, and being nominated for a Grammy Award in 2011 for helping to write Shaggy’s song, “Summer In Kingston,” Tracy was ready to share his testimony and the word of God through song. Tracy chatted exclusively Artists on the Rise about his own music, battling cancer, the differences between worshiping God and religion, and how Christian symbolism in hip-hop is a form of worship.
Where you always a church going man?
No I wasn’t. Unfortunately as a child my experiences with people in the church were not as favorable as they could have been. I never called out to God or even really prayed.
You started out in the business field as a scholar with a Bachelors in Business Administration, a JD (Law Degree) and a Ph.D., in International Business and Marketing, what inspired the career change to utilize your God giving talent of singing and song writing?
I have always been a part of the music scene (Entertainment Management, Production, Tour Promotions) at the early age of 16 I was managing platinum artist and booking them into venues (mainly clubs) that I could not even get into. The irony of it all is that I never aspired to be a recording artist. While growing up I was always writing songs even while I was an undergrad, but the downside was when I would hire demo vocalists they could not understand what I wanted to convene through the music I had written which forced me to want to begin recording.
I watched your testimony video in which you described being diagnosed with cancer hearing the news that you had 6-7 months to live. How did surviving that sentence affect you personally and with your song writing process?
It was actually a rebirth for me to learn to be patient, be more caring, be more loving and to be thankful for the little things in life. I used to take so many things for granted especially my health. Trust me I still battle from depression on a daily basis because it was a traumatic experience for me to have to endure chemo, radiation and all of those forms of medications and still have to wear a smile because I did not want my family to worry about me and/or my clients feeling that they could no longer entrust me with their business and legal affairs. But I was actually okay with the outcome if I can explain it I was and still am at peace because I know God for myself and I believe in His promises of EVER LASTING LIFE.
Watch Tracy Randall’s inspirational Testimony:
In your testimony you also talked about finding God and connecting with God on another level, one like you never had before, how do you think your music would have been had you pursued your career prior to finding Christ?
I really do not know. I never even thought about it. I find myself with mixed feelings and not one particular answer comes to mind. What I do know is that life happened and in each phase I grew whether it was emotionally, financially, family wise and/or spiritually to prepare me for what was to come.
Is your music extension of your testimony?
Not only an extension but actually an accurate account of the “Drama” I was doing through. Especially the songs entitled “Dwell In the Safety”, “It Feels Good”, “Troubled Times”, “Hallelujah”, “Gangsta Fo’ Jesus”, “Oh God” and my favorite “I Am Free.”
I watched some of your video’s like “I Am All You Need,” from your 2012 sophomore album “Troubled Times,” you have an urban look according to “societal norms,” how important is it for you to still be you while upholding your faith?
It is very important to me. Unfortunately that is the only person I can be. However, I do want people to know that God is God all by Himself and I do am not God. My relationship with Him may be a lot different from others so I praise Him the best way I know how. I love the fact that God accepts me as I am and I want others to know that He will accept them as they are.
Watch Tracy Randall’s “I Am All You Need” video:
Spining Off of the theory that people praise God in different ways, what do you think about Christian symbolism in hip-hop? For example Kanye West’s song and visuals for, “Jesus Walks” or his new song “I Am A God?”
In all honesty Kanye is actually breaking barriers for gospel music because people who typically do not listen to Gospel music are hearing the word God and Jesus on mainstream records. “Jesus Walks” made it cool for hip-hop artist to ultimately praise God openly. “I Am A God” though I have not heard it and I was not there when the brother created it, nor am I in his heart for the purpose. So to be totally honest I am sure he has a purpose for the record and the message. I do not believe that he was calling himself God. Now the “Jesus Piece” thing is cool with me. As long as they want to know Christ and it is through fashion, music, or jewelry hey who am I to judge.
Do you agree with conservatives on the idea, expressing religiosity in the form of an iced out “Jesus Piece” or on a rap song is blasphemous?
I certainly do not feel that it’s blasphemous. Again, God is everywhere and if someone wants to uplift Him with a “Jesus Piece” let them. I do not know their intention that is God’s job and I believe that is what we need to do. I do not sit down and sit over think whether someone is genuine about Christ if that were the case my entire day would be consumed with nonsense.
I love your song “Hallelujah,” the production in conjunction with your vocals is amazing. You have an R&B meets gospel, meets hip-hop feel. How do you think that you fit into the progressive gospel music movement?
Thank you for the compliment. I like to call my style “Rhythm and Gospel.” I never thought of myself as “fitting in”. “Hallelujah” was actually a song that I just went into the studio and just began to sing without any lyrics written or any real idea as to the direction of the song. I was just in worship with Christ and being thankful to Him for the blessings that he has bestowed upon me. As far as being a part of the progressive gospel movement, I am just glad to be a part of anything that uplifts Christ in a positive light. I just wished that Gospel radio felt the same, but it will happen when it is time.
As a singer/song writer who happens to be Christian, you have also written and produces songs for artists outside of the gospel genre?
I have a production team, Original Man Entertainment Group, Inc., and we have produced and written for the late great Whitney Houston, Keisha Cole, Jamie Foxx, Fantasia, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne just to name a few. And of course I write and producer at least 95% of everything that I record for myself. I also co-founded, Sinners Have Souls Too Music, Inc., an independent publishing company who has placed records records on Jennifer Hudson, Shaggy, Co-Starship, Mary J. Blige, Fantasia, Keisha Cole, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, and more.
“Summer In Kingston,” a song you helped write for reggae artist Shaggy was nominated for a Grammy in 2011. Does you dedication to your religion ever make it hard for you to venture as an artist?
My dedication is to God and not to religion. I believe that people make it hard for Christian artists. Often times when I am in the studio with “secular” artist they pray, we talk about Christ, but you know the most interesting thing is I always hear. “Man I see the changes in you but you are not like those other people always trying to make you feel bad.” I am in there just to do my job and that is to give people a hit. I am just working and want to treat people fairly and justly because I want them to know that we are all children of God and at the end of that day that is what’s most important is to love everyone unconditionally.
Listen to Tracy explain how dedicated he is to God and Jesus on his song “Gangsta Fo’ Jesus:”
Now that “Troubled Times” is complete and you released the singles “It Feels Good (So Good)” and “I am All You Need” what is next for your solo career?
There are a lot of things happening for me: Tour, more writing/production projects, TV production project, of course management NBA, NFL, Track Athletes. I am also working on my next album. Also, the fans have spoken and the next single will be “Hallelujah.”
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