BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Tammy Trent is ‘Stronger’ Than Ever
By Heidi Krumenauer
CBNmusic Guest Writer
Seven years ago, Tammy Trent was carefree, hanging out her husband – her childhood sweetheart. Then in a blink of an eye on September 11, 2001, tragedy struck. While most of the world was glued to televisions trying to make sense of the multiple terrorist attacks on American soil, Tammy was trying to make sense of her own tragedy in the waters of the Caribbean. While diving off the coast of Jamaica as he had done so many times before, her husband, Trent, didn’t resurface after going for what seemed like a another ordinary dive. Tammy waved to Trent before he went under the water, and then life changed. Tammy was alone.
Rather than wallow in her sadness, Tammy has pushed forward, creating a new life for herself – and helping others to deal with their own sadness along the way.
Heidi: At what point was it that you decided you had a platform and a great message to share with others?
Tammy: Wow, you know, I was standing on the edge of the water and knowing that my life was forever changed when I realized that Trent, the love of my life, was gone. At that moment I wondered how I would ever do this again. I was so numbed and so shocked that I wondered how I would ever be able to make music again. Yet, when I came home and began to heal, and in the worst moments of my life and in the darkest moments of my life, I could still feel the presence of God. I thought ‘Tammy, if you choose to do something with this, it could be great if you choose to make a big deal out of God in this moment.’
Heidi: Did you know what that ‘big deal’ was going to be?
Tammy: I think there were times I didn’t feel like I had anything to give and I didn’t have a clue about the direction in my life. I had asked God for a year to heal, and it was like he said ‘OK, cool. You can have a year.’ When the year came up, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. And then the phone rang. It was Women of Faith, asking me to come share my testimony. I didn’t feel like I was ready, but I felt like I had to hold up my end of the deal.
It was at that moment that I not only knew that I would survive but that I would overcome. I knew in that moment that there was great purpose, and God was calling me to a new place and it was up to me to walk in it. And in the past few years, I’ve chosen to walk in it.
Heidi: And now you’ve released your new album, Stronger, which is obviously shows that you’re still walking in it.
Tammy: Oh yeah. It’s more than just the music for me. For me, the story is more of my life than the music…more of a reflection of the real me.
Heidi: How do you describe Stronger?
Tammy: It’s deeper, more mature, and more timeless than what I’ve put out in the past. I wanted a new side of wow! In order to find what I wanted, I had to walk away from a lot of producers who were just programming the tracks. I wanted a live orchestra. I wanted a live drummer. I wanted real people in the room playing music with me. It’s more creative, and I found some real artful music this time. And the ministry of this music is really a thrill for me.
Heidi: How is this album different from your others?
Tammy: It’s been a couple of years since the past album and as I have continued to grow in this journey and stand in a new place in my life, new music was just naturally beginning to grow. It really became time to do something new to show people a new side of me, so when I jumped back into the studio last summer I kept thinking ‘How can I take my personal journal and put music to it?’ I didn’t want to make the hippest, latest record….or make it as commercial as possible.
Heidi: You wanted to make it something more substantial.
Tammy: Exactly. I’m the one on the front lines with audiences, looking into the faces of these people…especially women…and hearing the cries from their hearts. ‘Can you help me, Tammy? Can somebody inspire me? Can you help? Is there hope?’ I walked in the studio and said ‘I’m speaking for the woman who wrote to me, feeling like no one understands – the woman who can’t conceive, who’s husband just left…and so on. I want to speak a truth and a promise into the hearts of people who felt like they were at the end of the rope. Every song on the record is like that. I want every song to matter.
Heidi: Do people relate more to your story or to your music – or do they go hand in hand?
Tammy: They totally go hand in hand. When I started with Women of Faith, I wasn’t up on stage because I was an artist or an author. I was just there because I was a broken woman who was trying to heal. We all have our own stories – our own struggles. I shared my brokenness and then I opened up my mouth and shared my song. All of a sudden the song made sense. And I started to move just slightly back and forth. I didn’t plan it, but I was dancing! They had heard the words and then they got to see it. And through the past few years, that’s what I’ve been doing – getting stronger and stronger.
Heidi: How do you help others recognize that they, too, will find strength in tough times?
Tammy: There are days still that I hate this. I still tell God ‘I hate this!’ There was a day last week that everything was going wrong, and I sat in my closet and I cried. And then I looked at my shelves of shoes, and I thought to myself ‘Tammy, look at all the roads you’ve traveled in those shoes. Look at where you’ve been.’ I looked at my sandals and realized that I’d walked the beach alone, and I made it. Or I saw a pair of boots and realized that I’d made it through a winter. I’d tell myself that I was much stronger than I thought. And that’s what I share with others. That’s what comes out in the lyrics of my songs. For me, the best gift I can give to anyone is a song – a song that they can claim as their song.
We can’t live in a state of hesitation. It has to be a life of progress. I’m in a process of becoming. And that’s far more important than what I’m accomplishing in life. And I hope that’s what others are hearing.
Heidi: When we lose important people in our lives, it feels like there are pieces missing. Is it possible that you’ve become more whole since the loss of Trent?
Tammy: The answer is absolutely, without a doubt. There were tons of shattered, little pieces that somehow come back together, but they never really feel the same. There are always pieces that will always be missing. The struggle of being on this side of heaven is that complete healing will not happen until I get there. The pieces have come back together…they just look different now.
Heidi: So you can say that you are stronger?
Tammy: To be stronger means that we have come from a weaker place…a painful place. I’ve come from there, and just like the title of my album, I am stronger every day.
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