Local Gospel Singer's Dream Becomes Reality
A Winder resident has released her first gospel album.
Aug. 16, 2011, was a big day for local gospel singer Sondra Watkins. It is the day that all her dreams came true — dreams that at times she thought might never happen.
That date was the release date for her new gospel album, “Let’s have Joy”, produced and distributed by Tate Music Group out of Oklahoma.
“I started singing when I was 3 years old, and wrote my first song at age 12,” said Watkins, who was involved in church choir at every opportunity and who has led several gospel groups in her community over the years.
As happens with many, life’s journeys took her away from her passion for a while, but one day changed all of that.
“I heard God speak to me and say that it is time for me to do what I was meant to do," she said. “I just held that promise close to my heart.”
And from that point on, doors began to open for Watkins. With her self-taught keyboard skills she continued writing songs. She researched the Internet to find music publishers, and eventually emailed an MP3 file of her song “He Will See You Through” to Tate Music Group.
Then the return emails came.
Tate Publishing liked what they heard and three short months later Watkins found herself on her first airplane trip to Oklahoma. The producers were open to her input on all levels, and together they recorded eight songs for her first album, “Let’s Have Joy.”
Rich vocals and gospel accompaniment are the hallmarks of Watkins’ heartfelt first endeavor.
The single “That’s Why I Pray So Hard” is reminiscent of some of the ’60s girl group vocals providing dynamic background vocals and foot tapping ease.
“He’ll See You Through”, another featured cut off the album, rings true of traditional gospel tunes ages old. Watkins’ lyrics encourage listeners to hang on despite all odds, counting on Jesus to see you through. Her passion comes through in her lilting true notes and soothing vibrato.
“I Love To Call Your Name” starts with a lightly driving drum beat that you simply must tap your foot and bob your head to as accompaniment.
Inspired by the gospel greats Jessie Patterson Jr., Shirley Ceasar and Mahalia Jackson, Watkins hopes to one day fill arenas and concert halls across the country. Meanwhile her closer to home schedule of appearances is available at Tate’s website, which also handles all of her booking and promotion.
“I plan to go as far as God will allow me to go,” Watkins said.