Few would dispute that Chicago serves as the mecca for Gospel music. From The Caravans to Rev. Clay Evans…from Roberta Martin to Ricky Dillard…from James Cleveland to Albertina Walker, the long list of anointed artists who’ve called ‘The Windy City’ home is sweeping and significant. Sunday morning, Chi-Town worship centers and storefront churches have churned out so many music ministers, you may think there’s something in the water.
Joining the ranks of Chicago’s recording artists is local daughter and dedicated servant, Loretta Golden. Her gift as a certified psalmist is sure. Her calling to turn hearts and souls to Christ is clear in her song, He Is God, a passionate praise anthem that exalts the Almighty. Loretta has lived a life that’s shaped her music ministry and created a firm calling to follow where God leads. BlackGospel.com conversed with Loretta about the many steps that have led to her walking by faith, into a full-time ministry ordained by God.
Christopher Heron: Growing up in Chicago, I’m sure you had the benefit of experiencing some powerful music ministries? Who were just a couple of your favorites?
Loretta Golden: Yes, indeed. The late Reverend Milton Brunson and The Thompson Community Singers were my favorite. I enjoyed Dr. Charles G. Hayes and The Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer Choir as well.
Christopher Heron: Were there any other special attractions unique to Chicago that you totally embraced and shaped your view of the world?
Loretta Golden: Surprisingly nothing in particular comes to mind, Christopher.
Christopher Heron: Chicago is one of the largest cities in the world, yet you sensed early on the difficulty of fitting into a crowd. Could you speak to this hardship and how you were able to finally overcome this painful reality.
Loretta Golden: I’ve never been fond of crowds. For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed being alone. As an adolescent, I was not popular in school. I didn’t hang out with the sought-after crowds in grammar nor high school. I can remember longing to be a part of certain “cliques”. I wanted to befriend those who were in my eyes, the more favored crowds. Yet, I’ve always felt deep down inside as if I didn’t “fit in” with everyone else. As a young adult, I started “trying to fit in”. I began seeking approval from others which caused me to say and do things so that I would be accepted. Oftentimes I would compromise my character and even my own personal values.
In a nutshell, I wanted people to like me. But I began to finally overcome this painful reality when I went on a personal, spiritual sabbatical about seven years ago. I spent three full days in a room with just me, God, and my Bible. During this time, the Lord really ministered to me about me, about His thoughts toward me, His plans for me, and how much He loves me. I took these truths to heart. I meditated on them, and over time I started to be okay with being different simply because God made me this way. Now, let me add that my overcoming has not happened overnight. It has indeed been a process. As a matter of fact, I am still treading through this process even today.
Christopher Heron: Did you grow up attending church as a child, and how did church and home life nurture and prepare you for your true calling?
Loretta Golden: Yes I did. I was born and raised in the missionary baptist church where my late father served as a deacon. He and my mother took their children to church faithfully. My parents would make my siblings and I read Bible verses every night. And when we didn’t do it, we would get in trouble! But at some point, the motivation behind my reading began to shift. Without a doubt, I was afraid of the wrath of my parents especially my daddy, but I started to become intrigued by the Bible. I wanted to read it and learn more about it. As a little girl, I remember having a yearning to really know God the way I would hear Him being talked about when the saints would get up to testify in church. I wanted to experience Him. My early church life made me want to know God personally. I believe these were some of the factors that were instrumental in nurturing and preparing me for my true calling.
Christopher Heron: When exactly did you turn the corner and go from being a talented vocalist from the church to seriously pondering recording music, as a Gospel artist? And what were those small steps that inspired you to finally pursue it?
Loretta Golden: Pursuing the ministry of being a Gospel recording artist is something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time. I’d say I actually “turned the corner” in March of 2016 when I connected with and hired my manager. All at once, I realized just how serious I was about moving forward with this. There was no turning back for me at that point. My desire to pursue music never went away. The hunger has always been there which is what I now believe was the reason behind the constant boredom and rapid frustration with other occupations I’ve held.
In recent years, the utter dissatisfaction I’ve felt for many of the “day jobs” I’ve worked has grown by leaps and bounds! But it was certainly not because I didn’t need the income. I am now convinced it had everything to do with me knowing I should and could be doing something else, and that something else meant pursuing my passion. Deep down inside, I wanted to do this and had come to the realization that I probably would not experience true satisfaction and fulfillment until I was seriously and actively following my heart.
I had to stop being afraid I would fail. This is one of the first small steps I took that inspired me to finally pursue this. I had to stop comparing myself with other artists. I had to be comfortable with the gifts and talents God has given me (which goes back to the point I made earlier about ‘overcoming’ being a constant work-in-progress). And, I had to pray and ask God for His guidance, wisdom, blessings, and favor in this endeavor. I had to trust that He would be with me. Then I had to go for it. As a result, pursuing my passion is what I am now doing.
Christopher Heron: The journey has reached its destination with the release of your inspirational music. Your latest release is entitled, He Is God. Where did the inspiration for this song come from? And what is the important message to be found in the lyrics?
Loretta Golden: The Lord gave me this song during my personal time in prayer a few years back. I was at a very painful place in my life. In particular, my oldest child had just turned eighteen years old, and she’d left my home for good. Upon her exit, we were not on good terms. The circumstances that led up to her leaving weren’t pretty at all and I was completely heartbroken. I spent many waking moments just weeping over her until one day, I got down on my knees and began to cry out desperately to my heavenly Father.
After crying my heart out, I quieted myself and waited for Him to answer. Moments later, he responded by saying, “Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 KJV) Immediately this tune was downloaded into my spirit and I started writing what I was hearing. The melody and words just flowed out of me. Ever since then, my prayer has been for God to be the songwriter, and that I would only be the pen.
The message in this particular song is quite simple yet very profound. “Be still and know that I am God…” This phrase to me says it does not matter what’s going on in my life, it does not matter who decides to walk out of my life. It doesn’t even matter how horrible the situation I’m facing may seem in that moment — God is admonishing me to just be still, know that He is God, and allow Him to be exalted in the midst of what I would consider to be a terrible situation. In other words, I don’t have to be anxious. I don’t have to fret about anything or anyone because God declares in His word that He will be exalted! And when God is being exalted, the focus is not on myself nor my situation. My focus is entirely upon Him and He alone receives all the glory!
Christopher Heron: As you walk with God today and balance your multiple roles as mother, wife and Christian, where do you believe God’s next destination is for you?
Loretta Golden: I believe God’s next destination for me is worldwide. I am of the persuasion that in His timing, He will open the doors and provide opportunities for me to teach His word to people of all ethnicities. In like manner, I believe He is birthing a ministry of intercession through me that will eventually manifest in the earth, but also in His timing.