Exclusive: Tasha Layton Digs Deep On Full-Length Debut Album ‘How Far’

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How Far, the long-awaited full-length debut from one of Christian music’s leading female artists, Tasha Layton, is now available to download/stream via BEC Recordings. Produced by GRAMMY and Dove Award winner Keith Everette Smith, the definitive 10-song set brims with soaring ballads and bright pop gems, putting Layton’s signature vocals front and center to extol themes of hope and encouragement. Anchored by Layton’s #1 single “Look What You’ve Done” and her 2020 breakout hit “Into the Sea (It’s Gonna Be OK),” How Far showcases four newly recorded selections, including the debut single and title-cut which is currently impacting radio. Layton co-wrote nine of the project’s 10 tracks, and How Far also features songwriting contributions from such names as Matthew West, We Are Messengers’ Darren Mulligan, Matt Hammitt, Aaron Shust, Ethan Hulse and Andrew Bergthold (We The Kingdom), among others. In this TCB Exclusive, Tasha talks about choosing the title for the project, early listener feedback and what lyric the world most needs to hear right now.

Congratulations on the recent release of How Far! What prompted you to pick the title for the project?
I felt like “How Far” really encapsulated God’s overarching love that’s throughout the whole thing. So when we chose the title track, I think it’s a mixture of the story of the prodigal son and Psalms. I think it also sums up my story and what God’s done in my heart.

You’ve previewed the full project with some of your recent singles. Has there been a recurring theme to the listener responses?
Well one of the things I hear recurrently is that the lyrics dig deep. And I think even the up-tempo pop songs are not shallow. The feedback I’ve gotten over the last couple weeks is that it’s really digging deep in the heart and God is meeting them in that place. That’s what you pray for from the beginning to happen, so when you finally birth the album, it’s great to hear that what you prayed for is coming into fruition. 

Which track or lyric do you think the world most needs to hear now in its current state?
I don’t have a favorite, but I love “Thank You for the No.” It’s about thanking God for not just the yes’s in our lives, but for the no’s, not yet’s, not now’s, hold on, the silence. We don’t always thank God for shutting doors and preventing us from walking down certain paths. In the bridge, it says “I can finally see you working, all your ways are better. You’re working things out for my good.” And God is always bringing mountains low, bringing valleys high, bringing crooked paths to straight. And sometimes we don’t see that. But He always gives us what we need, and what, at the end of the day, will make us look more like Jesus. And He promises not to leave us in the middle of that. I wrote that with Keith (my husband) and Tony Wood and Andrew Bergthold. 

You cowrote 9 of the 10 tracks. Was that something you set out to accomplish at the start of this project?
I think most people in Nashville cowrite and I think there’s a beauty in that. And I think there are strength in numbers, and I love playing off the emotions of other writers and what God has done in their hearts. It always inspires me as a writer. When you are getting together and sharing your story in the room, and when you are all believers, there’s always this unity that happens. So I love cowriting. I’ve written some songs on my own, but I just love the process of it.

You wrote and first encountered many of these tracks years ago. Is there a track or lyric that means something different to you now?
Definitely “Thank You for the No”, the one I just referenced. I didn’t get married until I was 32. So for many years when I was single in my late 20’s, I thought that all I ever wanted to do was serve God with my family, and I wasn’t sure why it wasn’t happening. I was wondering if I wasn’t getting His best because I wasn’t good enough or what I had done to deserve this. I think thanking God for the no now has nothing to do with my singleness and everything to do with what he may be saying no to now. So that song definitely lives on a new meaning every day, and I think they all do in a sense. They are all asking God to help in that moment, to let go of whatever we are trying to maintain control of – an ever present battle for most of humanity.

How will you define success for this collection?
Ultimately I define success if my family is healthy and whole. If home is good, if my marriage and my relationship with my kids is thriving – no matter what I do on the music side, God is proud. As far as the music solely, I really just want people to feel freedom and dig deeper when they listen to the song. For it to not just be fun to listen to, but also challenge where they are in their thoughts about God, their doubts, fear, and anxiety. I really think that if I can connect people to God somehow, it’s a success. 

What have you learned personally from creating this project?
I think I really learned a lesson from the Holy Spirit in just releasing my expectations and allowing God’s timeline to take precedence. I have two kids under five and a husband who tours, so it’s crazy in my world. And some days I don’t have time to think about it, I just get it done. And so I think that letting go and trusting God that it’s going to be what He wants it to be, for this time and this season, and that I can release my expectations and let Him craft and shape it. 

What are you most expectant for in 2022?
I am expectant for the remainder of the year to live out of a place of rest. It’s been a lot of work for a working mom with a husband who travels, it’s just so much work sometimes. I’m constantly doing something, but there’s an internal place of rest that when I’m trusting God, that He’s working on my behalf to get things done that need to be done to fulfill the ministry He’s called me to. It’s not just working down a to-do list, but it’s taking ground for the kingdom of God.

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