Tammy Jones Robinette - Rising Up
Deon Unthank: When did you first realize that you had a special talent? How did you know that you had to use it for God?
Tammy Jones Robinette: I think I first realized God had placed this call on my life when I was very young. I started singing with my mom and dad in church, and when I sang, I could feel the song . The words took life in my spirit. They made me cry. They made happy. They made me rejoice in my Savior, and the gospel just came alive in me. I knew I had to share that with others. It wasn’t something I could do on occasion. It became my passion and my desire. I’m truly thankful the Lord called me and trusted me with this ministry.
DU: How do you describe your style of singing and ministry?
TJR: I am a mixture of Country and Southern Gospel. I try to pick songs or write them based on the message and the words. I truly try to minister these songs from my heart, giving God all the glory. With my accent I couldn’t sing any other way! Ha ha!!!
DU: I know that you used to sing with your family, but now you are singing solo. Is there a big difference between how you have to minister as a soloist as compared to singing with a group? What are the pros and cons of each method of singing?
TJR: There definitely is a difference between group or soloist. When I traveled with my family (The Jones Family from Ohio), we had the band and the family element. We traveled together for twelve years and recorded three projects with the Eddie Crook company. The only problem is is that we were all so young. So one by one someone was getting married, then the babies started coming, and it became very difficult for all of us to travel and meet family obligations. We had a wonderful run for a while, and then we disbanded knowing it was the right thing to do at the time. As a group we had a bus, seven to ten people to feed, equipment expenses, and never forget diesel gas. As a soloist, I don’t have that family element or the live band. The expenses are definitely less, but the ministry part has not been affected.
DU: You have had some good success as a songwriter. What are some of your songs we might recognize? Where does the inspiration for your songwriting come from?
I wrote the song “There Has Never Been” which was recorded by The Perrys. Also, "I’ll Live Again" which was recorded by The Bishops, “What Happened to Your Hands,” “Behold His Coming,” “Until I Hear from Heaven,” “We Are Proud to be Christians,” Rise Up My Children” and many others. Most of my inspiration comes from something I may hear in sermon or something someone says in a testimony. Inspiration comes from a lot of different places, you just have to be listening for it.
DU: Do you think that the situation is different between a female and a male soloist in the Southern Gospel field.
TJR: I really don’t know that it’s any different. I think we both have a place in this arena. I think it’s a challenge both ways, and if you are a hard worker and can keep a good Spirit, you can do very well as a soloist no matter what gender you are.
DU: How is your family involved in your ministry?
TJR: My family consists of my husband Jim and our son Preston. Preston is a sophomore in college, so he’s not very involved right now but he has been vver the years and traveled from infancy up until about the tenth grade. That’s when he became involved, or should I say immersed, in high school golf. My husband is my manager. He keeps me booked and on the go. I couldn’t do what I do without him. He is the wind beneath my wings. We own TS Promotions, so he is always working diligently either for me or our other groups. He drives, sets sound, promotes concerts, and come to think of it the only thing he doesn’t do is sing!!! We have been married for 24 years, and I'm very blessed to have him. He’s my best friend and ministry partner.
DU: Did you have any early influences in your singing? Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
TJR: This is one of the easiest questions to answer. My parents were my earliest influences without a doubt. I started singing with them when I was about seven years old. We traveled and sang in revivals, campmeetings and gospel singing for many years when I was a young girl. My grandpa was a pastor, and he had a radio program, so we supplied the music for him also. One of our nightly rituals as a family after we ate supper was to pull out the guitars, the mandolin, and the fiddles and sing and play until bedtime. Mom and Dad introduced me to Bluegrass, Southern Gospel and Black Gospel music. My mom loved Mahalia Jackson, Loretta Lynn, The Goodmans, The Hinsons, and the list goes on and on.
DU: Where do you see Tammy Jones Robinette five years down the road?
TJR: If the Lord allows, doing exactly what I'm doing right now. I'm excited about new opportunities and new doors opening for this ministry. I hope to be out there winning souls and lifting hearts. I don’t think my best songs have been written yet, so I’ll be listening for inspiration and singing every chance I'm allowed. I certainly don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I'm glad I know who holds all of my tomorrows! Um, now there’s a song idea!
Find out more information on Tammy Jones Robinette by visiting http://www.tammyjonesrobinette.com!