Co-founder of the contemporary Christian group, Anointed, alongside her brother Steve Crawford, Da’dra Greathouse spread her wings and released her first solo album All of Me back in March which debuted at number five on the Billboard charts.
Produced by Grammy-award winner, Aaron Lindsey, the album transcends through upbeat pop arrangements and ballads which she hopes can come across as another “night of Praise and Worship.”
Empower got a chance to talk with Greathouse about her album, her role at Lakewood church, and how she balances it all.
How did it feel to release your first solo album?
Initially, it was scary because, you know, how it is when you’re doing something you’ve never done before and the fear of the unknown. I really expanse the fear of failure as well as the fear of success that I had to overcome. What if nobody likes it, what if nobody buys it? Which quickly were erased.
Once it released, I was so excited. I love the record and more than anything I’m just amazed at how God brought everything together so beautifully.
What did you want to express through this album compared to your past work with Anointed?
So much of what Anointed did was a part of who I am and I know people know me from that era in my life, but then there are a lot of people that only know me as a worship leader. So my goal was to combine the quality and excellence that Anointed was known for delivering on the project with what people expect from me as a praise and worship leader.”
“I wanted to combine those elements sonically. When you listen to the record you notice that some sounds they don’t even stop just like if you were in a live recording. I just want it to feel like you showed up to a night of praise and worship and we just go on this journey from beginning to end. That’s the kind of project I really wanted to deliver.”
You released All of Me back in March. What were some of the highlights between the release and now?
The first night of release, John Gray, kind of debuted the record and spoke a word over me and this project that is coming to pass already. That was a highlight, just coming out the gate at Lakewood Church.
I also had one of the Radio One radio programmers contact me and tell me that she heard about my record online and decided to stream it, but she loved it so much that she bought it. Now listen, this is a Radio One radio programmer… they get music sent to them all the time. They don’t have to buy anything so I was so honored that she said I had to buy it.
How was it working with Grammy award-winning producer Aaron Lindsey?
Aaron and I have known each other since we were kids. I think the world knows him as a multi-Grammy award-winning producer, but he is really like a brother to me. We’ve worked together on other projects he’s done, but we’ve never worked together on my project since this is the first one and it was the best experience I’ve ever had working with a producer.
Now I know why everyone loves him and why he has so many Grammys. He brings the best out of you and encourages you when you need it. So kind, so professional and he is a beast of a producer. He just put me right at ease from the start and was able to help me pull things out of me I’ve never really done before. I’m grateful for that.
What is your favorite song off the album?
Ok, my favorite song changes per week depending upon where I am. I have to say a lot of my artist’s friends, I’m included, we record a record and we never listen to it again because we are so over it by the time you hear it, but this record is different. In Jesus’s Name has been my jam this week, it is the third song on the record, I sang it all the time here before it was ever recorded and people were looking for it so I had to put it on the record.
I heard a stranger fully funded your project? Can you tell us that story?
That is a true story. I was sitting in my kitchen on a Friday and just prayed a very simple prayer. I said God I’m going to give you a yes on this CD if you send me the money, I’ll do it … four days later I walk into Smashburger, order my food, and the very next guy behind me recognized me from having visited our church.
We struck up a conversation and he asked me what I was doing and I said I feel like God wants me to record a record and he said ‘great you need funding’ and he gave me all the money I needed.
Who does that, who walks into a burger and fries place and someone gives them thousands and thousands of dollars to do a record. To me, it was just a sign that God really wanted me to do this and when things have been tiring, challenging, and when I’ve wanted to give up along the way I remember that moment. It is like a hallmark for me.
When did you find out you were diagnosed with throat cancer?
As if I hadn’t been through enough already. I developed what was called a goiter. We all have a thyroid, it is very small, right in front of your neck. Well, mine grew so large that it became the size of both of my surgeon’s fist. He’s 6’5 by the way! It looked like a football was in my neck and the doctors didn’t know how to stop it from getting any larger. They told me I was in danger of it blocking my wind pipe and killing me. It had to be surgically removed, but they said once it comes out you will most likely never sing again.
I had surgeons turn me down. They didn’t even want to touch me. I looked like a freak to them and I didn’t see anyone else who had been through that, but God lead me to the right surgeon and two months later I was singing again. Can you imagine? You just got offered this position to lead worship at the largest church in America and then your doctor tells you, oh by the way you’ll never be able to sing again. That was a test.
What was your initial response to the news after you were called to lead worship at Lakewood?
“I was in shock and I cried because I think a part of me just wondered why I was going through something like this. I spent my whole life trying to represent the Lord and inspire people with the voice that he gave me and now all of a sudden I found myself in a situation that I didn’t know about and didn’t know anyone who had been through it.
I was devastated, but I didn’t cry for long because I had the word of God stored up in my heart and it just came up when I needed it. I thought there is no way he would open up this door for me to lead worship for millions of people and do this to my voice.”
How was it uprooting from Nashville to work at Lakewood Church in Houston?
It felt like a natural progression because it provided a great season of stability for us as we were newly married. Also when you are an artist and you are working out of different cities you don’t get to spend a lot of time with the people that you meet. I longed for a situation where we could actually pour into people for an extended period of time. So it was the perfect fit.
In terms of leading worship and singing, I mean it feels like I’m on tour every day.
How do you balance being a mother, worship mentor, a 22 year marriage, and music?
Carefully, with much planning! I guess the greatest thing is that I don’t put pressure on myself to do everything perfectly. I just get up every day and spend time in prayer and when I’m quiet God gives me strategy for my day and how to accomplish everything.
Our family puts an emphasis on quality time as opposed to quantity. I have a date with my son Evan every week and I have a date with my husband on a different day. My youngest son, he doesn’t really care about that as long as I bring him a gift here and there. Every night around eight or nine, we check in with each other. I learn a lot of what my kids are dealing with during those conversations, but my calendar is my friend.
Find Da’dra Greathouse’s album on Apple, Spotify, Google Play and CDs are available for purchase at http://dadragreathouse.com/.