Thursday, April 3, 2008
Gospel singer cuts first CD
By SUE WATSON
Megan Tate of Potts Camp, at age 19, received CDs from her first album “Taking It Back,” produced by Stronghold Studios of Pontotoc.
The completion of her first CD has been a long-time dream she has actively pursued for over a year.
The CD has 10 songs including the title song and “Four Days Late,” “The End of the Beginning,” and “One More Time.”
Prior to recording with Stronghold Studios, Megan recorded a demo CD with Kevin Thomas of Holly Springs to include in her press kit.
Megan said some of her dreams are coming true.
“I’ve gotten a lot of great breaks this year,” she said.
Those breaks include receiving some original songs to work on. A group in Tupelo has promised to send her some songs, also.
Some dates on her schedule this year include – Anderson Chapel CME Women’s Conference in Holly Springs Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12; an April 19 event at Sparks Store in Potts Camp at 6 p.m.; an invitation to sing at Brewer Baptist Church near Tupelo March 30; United Ministry in Caledonia, Friday, May 2, at 7 p.m.; Locust Grove Baptist Church’s in New Albany, May 17, at 6 p.m.; Friendship Baptist Church homecoming, Sunday, May 25, at 10 a.m.; performing at Singing on The Farm in Cypress, Tenn., May 29, 30 and 31; singing at the Gospel Expo August 1 and August 2 in Dyersburg, Tenn., a performance October 31 and November 1 at a Gospel Expo in Meridian; and singing at a church in Meridian November 30.
Megan said she is looking to book appearances outside the state of Mississippi in order to expand her ministry.
“It is very exciting because God is blessing my ministry,” she said.
Megan is in her last year of high school and also is working on an associate degree in theology with Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, through its correspondence program.
Megan started singing at age 9 as she tagged along with her grandparents Linda and Larry Tate, who were volunteers for the North American Mission Board for the state of Mississippi and the Mission Service Corps.
The Tates have been in music for years, meeting while young Larry was on the road playing rock, pop, then country before playing and singing gospel music for church. Both of them are knowledgeable about the music business.
“Larry was a musician in his own right,” said Linda Tate. “He played and sang and worked for United Artist Corp and travelled all over the states.
“We started playing in church after he stopped playing on the road. Megan would go with us and sing along with us when we started singing gospel.”
Larry Tate is also an ordained Baptist minister and evangelist.
“We’ve been doing that for 25-30 years,” Linda said.
Now that they have had a good run on their own, the Tates want to sit back and rock a little on the porch.
“We jokingly tell everyone Megan wants to buy a tour bus and hit the road and we wanted to sit on the porch in our rocking chairs,” she said. “But Megan told us she wanted to put the rocking chairs in the back of the bus.”
Megan began life on earth four months ahead of time, weighing only two pounds and two ounces at birth. She spent the next four months on a respirator and was not expected to ever be able to breathe on her own. Her family was told she would be blind due to the oxygen used to keep her alive.
Devastated, her family asked their church to hold a prayer service and invited anyone who would to come and pray for her. After the service, no one left and the family was surrounded by the congregation in prayer.
The next morning her family was called by the hospital staff. The nurses reported Megan had pulled the respirator tube out and was breathing on her own.
“I have been ever since,” Megan said. “But the doctors were right about my loss of sight. I was indeed blind.”
Tate said her loss of sight has had a positive impact on her life.
“Now I use my lungs for Christ,” she said, “ministering through my music to people everywhere. My mission is to touch hearts through my work and to lead as many people to Christ as possible with what God has given me.”
Megan performs in churches and at festivals, benefits, mission banquets, state meetings, mission groups, youth rallies and senior citizen events across Mississippi and in now taking her ministry to surrounding states.
A writer, she has two mystery novels started which she expects to self-publish.
Since she experiences life through her other senses as well, Megan has favorite colors and textures.
“Orange was my favorite color,” she said. “I love warm colors and really have grown to love wine red.”
She also is loves angels - but not in a religious sense.
She loves hearts and roses, velvet and soft fur textures, the nuances of spoken French.
She loves cats, the songs of birds, sunshine and the sounds of nature.
And her favorite star, for now, is Celine Dion, whom she hopes to see in concert while Dion is on her world tour.
Megan’s CD is available for $15. To purchase a copy, call 662-274-0409 or 662-544-1466.
Words from the music family
Jeremy Staggs, with Stronghold, said he met Megan Tate at an event at Slayden Baptist Church. Southern Gospel is the genre of music his group, Kevin Thomas and the Thomas Singers and Megan Tate work with, he said.
He’s not in the recording business, he said.
But he agreed to help Megan with her CD because of her talent and presentation.
“She’s just a sweet girl to work with,” he said. “She has a tremendous ear for the music. She saw things that needed fixing before I did.
“She really just blew me away at the singing we had in Slayden. We were the feature group and she sang four or five songs.”
Staggs, who is employed with Light Gas and Water at New Albany, said Stronghold travels on weekends and puts everything back into paying expenses for the ministry.
He and his wife Amanda, who started the group in 1989, have helped youngsters get a musical start.
“We travel with a live band,” he said. “A lot of groups travel with track music. It’s hard to find people dedicated, because we don’t get paid. We put everything back into the ministry. It’s expensive, especially with diesel going up.”
Staggs is the drummer and bus driver, his wife sings and emcees, Kevin Lowrimore sings baritone and bass and controls sound on stage. He has been with the Strongholds since age 12.
Steve Sloan, 18, is lead guitarist and a senior at Tupelo this year.
Staggs said the older ones keep the young artisans out of trouble.
He pointed out that Stronghold is strictly a musical ministry.
“We are not preachers,” he said.
Kevin Thomas, with the Thomas Singers, has recorded Megan on two projects - once in 2004 and the demo CD in 2008.
“For several years I’ve known her, from day one I saw when she starts singing everybody’s face lights up,” he said. “She’s special. She impacts everyone she comes in contact with.”
Thomas said she has overcome obstacles that would keep the average person down. He’s never seen her without a smile and a determined attitude.
“She has a powerful voice, a huge vocal range and most of all, an anointing in her singing,” he said. “She will tell you, it’s all because of Jesus. I also have been where she has sung to large venue crowds and she is as comfortable there as talking one-on-one.
“I’m thankful Megan has given me the opportunity to record her and to get to know her. I know she will continue singing about God, if other opportunities come.”
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