Interview With Tarralyn
Being Young, and Living Saved
When you talk to Tarralyn Ramsey you quickly find a mature perspective that matches the mature voice that flows on her debut project. She is a warm person that seems to have a burden for people. That burden is something comes along with her calling to minister to the hearts of men through song.
"I love people.
I love different types of people. You can't do this without being a people
person. It'll never work. You can't be a Gospel singer and not love people,
because you have concerns for their souls."
That weight for the things of God, began at a very young age.
Ramsey says that she was sure of her calling at the age of eleven,
when she found that her ministry didn't stop with singing.
"[Things] progressed from just singing. Then it got to the
preaching aspect of it around eleven and twelve. [But] to be
very honest with you it gets to a point where you [just] want
to be a singer. At first, I was totally loving Whitney Houston just
infatuated with her whole little lifestyle, and infatuated with her voice
just wanting to be Whitney.
"But then when I would get up and sing at a
church and I would see the reaction the church people would
have, and it would get to a point where I would begin ministering
in the middle of a song that's when I came to know that this was
so much bigger than a vocal thing. This is so much bigger than just
singing. I know that this is my ministry."
Ramsey preached her first sermon at twelve, which would
cause some to be skeptical. What could possibly be the
catalyst for a young girl to preach the Gospel? Was
it all an act? Something she was coached or told to do? "No!
I just knew! Nobody ever told me. I always had a
relationship with God and I remember Him telling me that
I'm going to use you to do this or that.' [At that time] I
just started feeling different and being more in tune to God.
remember singing a song at a concert and it got to a place where
the atmosphere started to change. And a lot of people don't
know about atmosphere changes, but you can get to a place
in a service where the anointing just totally falls and it's
at a whole other level. It got to a place where singing
wouldn't get to the people. You had to just minister to
[their hearts]. And that's when I knew!" And that
ministering in song graduated to the pulpit.
It is difficult enough to have the mantle of ministry on one's
head, and even more so if you happen to be simultaneously
dealing with adolescence. At an age where most of us are just
trying to figure out who we are, Ramsey was finding out
who she was in God something many grown folk struggle with
for years. Adults and children alike weren't sure of what to
make of it.
"I got lots of different reactions. Some were
intrigued. Some were like 'This cannot be real'. But the majority
of the people [around me] really supported me, and knew that
it was real. Because it was not something that I could just get
up and do [on my own power]. I think more than anything it was
the knowledge and the wisdom that came with it. It's not like I
just started talking about things that I didn't know anything
about. No. Wisdom was imparted to me, and I began to say things that
[fit with what people knew to be
As a result,
had an interesting road that she likens
an unlikely biblical personality.
"In a weird sort of way I love
the Job story. I know that's kind of strange because he was an older
man and he had obtained a lot of things. [But] I totally identify
with his story. I know I'm young, but I come from a really
good family that had "things", but in a sense I've really
been by myself. The spiritual walk is a lonely walk and being
anointed is really lonely, because you're going through things
by yourself. You can be in a crowd of people and feel like
you're alone, just because there's something different about you.
"I talked to my sixth grade teacher the other night. She said
'Tarralyn, do you remember when you were in my class?
In school you were always like twenty-five?' And that is true!
I got along with all my teachers we were like best friends
and never really understood [my age group]. I never really
got a chance to be eleven and twelve. I was always older.
I understand now that
because I was anointed and I was different and was really seeking
God. I was [beginning to preach] then so I was totally in a
different world than my friends."
On her recently released project (see
had the opportunity to work with many different producers.
"Everybody offered a different feel and a different type of song.
You have Donald Lawrence,
the more traditional producer, and then you have Tonéx, who was off the chain
urban and everything! It all kind of just goes together. I love it all!"
She has been compared vocally to the likes of Yolanda Adams, Karen Clark and
Whitney Houston and counts it an honor to be mentioned in
the same breath. "You have the greats in Gospel Yolanda and Karen
and when I listen to myself
I don't think I sound like
Karen Clark. She'
s bad! And then
Yolanda, I hear similarities there. Now Whitney, yes, that's all I
listened to. I used to practice singing like her trying to be
It's a big honor. I hope I can live up to it!"
As for how she balances being young and being holy she says "It's not in what you
it's not in how
you dress. It's about relationship. I could have a dress on and it could
be to the floor and not be saved. You have to go beyond the clothes and look
and [really] see. I know people judge you on how you look and carry yourself.
Personally I love long skirts, I went through a period where I did the
whole long skirt thing, but now I'm 20 and I want to look fresh and young
and yet and still look saved and sanctified. It's not in the clothes.
I just really believe that you can 't judge a book by its cover. Holiness
is a lifestyle. It's not in the look or in the way you wear your clothes or
hair. It's in your heart."
Having the opportunity of a lifetime to share her heart with the masses is just
about more than she can take. "I was just sitting here crying.
or so many years, I've waited for this and gone through things and never really
understood why I was going through this or going through that. But I
understand now, because
I've gone through,
I'll be able
to minister to somebody else and tell them, 'You know I've been there.
I know what it takes to be delivered and stay delivered. I know how to be
twenty years old and live holy maybe not be perfect and
yet still falter and fall. But, I know how to tell another young woman or
what you have to do stay saved."
And is the cost of being different worth the preciousness of the
call? "There are times,
look at other people and think 'Why can't I just be like them?'
[And the answer to that is] because the responsibility of
ministry on my life is so great and because I understand the
magnitude of people I have to touch. [I understand] that my
living saved and being where God wants me to be so
many peoples' lives depend on just me being right.
time I was like 'God why?' But I count it an honor now and
I count it a privilege because so many people are struggling
trying to get what I've got, and don't know what it
I'm just grateful."
— interview by Melanie Clark —
All content in GospelFlava.com ©
copyright 2000. No
information to be reprinted or re-broadcast from this site without the expressed
written consent of GospelFlava.com. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed in GospelFlava.com articles do not
necessarily reflect the opinions of GospelFlava.com