This episode of Trevor Talks is a deep dive into the season of life that fueled her solo venture, which was co written and produced by Jon Guerra. Taya explains how the sweetness of the Lord was the theme that wove its way through this project, how that was manifested even in the right people being led to collaborate at the right time. She also offers insight into some of the cornerstone lyrics on this project, and her perspective on the Hillsong community that she has faithfully served alongside.
Get her debut album TAYA at taya.lnk.to/tayaTP.
As part of the Hillsong family, Taya Gaukrodger (better known as simply Taya) has given voice to some of the most recognizable worship anthems of our generation— including Oceans (Where Feet May Fail), Touch The Sky, Captain, & Even When It Hurts (Praise Song).
That powerful voice is now coming into its own through her debut solo album, TAYA.
This episode of Trevor Talks is a deep dive into the season of life that fueled her solo venture, which was co written and produced by Jon Guerra. Taya explains how the sweetness of the Lord was the theme that wove its way through this project, how that was manifested even in the right people being led to collaborate at the right time. She also offers insight into some of the cornerstone lyrics on this project, and her perspective on the Hillsong community that she has faithfully served alongside.
Get her debut album TAYA at taya.lnk.to/tayaTP.
For more Trevor Talks:
Taya Gaukrodger 0:00
I looked up the definition in the dictionary of what passion is. And the first one is like a very strong and almost overwhelming emotion. And then the second definition, and it's in the dictionary, so I'm just like, wow, like it's pretty crazy that that has it. The second definition is that, you know, the depth and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Wow, I wish I was like, I know, there's a movie called The Passion of Christ, which, you know, maybe that was like a little clincher. But if I'm ever waning in my passion, during a live service are even in my devotional time, or even my prayer life when no one else is seeing that I have lost sight of what passion means, which is the death and the resurrection, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. And I need to go back to that. And if I've ever, you know, for a moment, just like, gone through the motions, or like, I hope that, you know, because our lyrics that we sing, I'm based on the Word of God that they will jump me back into the reality of what I have because of Jesus Christ. And man never get too far from that.
Trevor Tyson 1:10
What's up, everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of Trevor talks. I'm your host, Trevor Tyson. And I'm so excited that each and every single one of you have decided to join us today. And I'm honestly, I don't know if my facial expressions will tell it enough. But I'm so excited for today's guest. Today's guest is a powerhouse vocalist, singer, songwriter, and worship leader and most notably, one of the driving voices of Hillsong. united with over 1 billion streams globally. I'm pretty sure she doesn't need an introduction. But I'm trying, I'm here. I'm doing it. Just like everyone shows up for work. I showed up for this interview, no matter how intimidating it was. I'm here, and we've both made hit. So please help me welcome the one and only Taya Taya, thank you for being here today. Very controversial. I don't know if I can live up to that introduction. And I'm probably one, the one that's nervous, because it's such a joy to get to be here with you and getting to talk about this record. So I'm so grateful to be here. Thank you for having me. Well, again, I'm so grateful that you're here. Once I saw like in all caps, which is just brilliant for your brand, just to be honest, because you've got such a unique look to you. Like the hair, your facial structure, the Lord had something special for you. And you're beautiful, by the way. So it's like, everything just mapped together. I was like, we've got to do this interview, and I can't butcher it. So this is my attempt not to butcher it. But I'm so excited for people to finally hear this record. So congratulations on getting like this far into it. As we're recording this. The record comes out on Friday. What the heck, like how excited are you about this? I mean, yeah, it's It's wild. I mean, you're very kind, just in your genuine excitement for this. It's, it's very sweet. And I'm just honored to get to tell, you know, my, from my own story and my own life, who Jesus says to me through my own songs that I have, you know, written and
Taya Gaukrodger 3:22
which is something that is new for me, you know, I am known for my voice I have, you know, been given the privilege of stewarding other people's songs for so many years, like nine years, in fact. And so what a treat to get to tell people about Jesus, in my own words, my own expression and melodies of who he is to me. And so it's kind of we're on the Yeah, we're on the cusp of this thing going live this thing being released into the world. And it's kind of like birthing a baby. Not necessarily in the natural sense. I mean, I have witnessed one and it was incredible and mind blowing, and I'm like, Wow, I can't you know, God is real, and he is amazing. But to get to learn how to steward something and release it into the world, and I'm kind of, I'm kind of thankful that God knew it had to be a two year process for me personally, to be able to, I don't know, get over myself, and then just be willing to be like, Okay, let everybody hear this and let them you know, put their own meaning on these songs and what it means to them in the season that they're in. So it feels like a really, a really holy and sacred kind of couple of days with trepidation and excitement, hand in hand.
Trevor Tyson 4:31
And I would agree, like as I've went through and listened to the album several times now, I'm like, there hasn't been a more perfect time for this to come out. And a lot of people just say that and I genuinely mean it. Like this record, like we're not all locked down and everything everyone's starting to get out and about and you guys just did an amazing tour. And I don't know, like the whole song record. It's like you've been busy. Oh, Over the pandemic, and even up until recently, like, obviously, it's almost like you guys just put out a record a few weeks ago, which if anyone's been living under a rock helps Hillsong, United did just put out a record. So now that you're rolling this out, it's like, they couldn't be more different. And I mean that in the best way as possible, like Hillsong. United is known for being a key factor in bringing these church, our songs to the church and being a global imprint of what worship is right. And then you've got Taya, and this is more of a different direction for what we're used to seeing from you. So obviously, you're known for your voice, you said that, and I'll say, I'll preach that like, it's this. I don't know what it is, there's something about your voice. And I have some specific moments I want to talk about with your voice and this, but this is a different record. It's not necessarily, quote unquote, what you would classify as a worship genre record, which I think is funny that we have a genre for worship, because any kind of music like I've heard a metal core music I hear a lot that is worship, it's an expression of worship. And this is a lot different for you. So I would love to hear like, what is the elevator pitch for this new project, like Taya as an individual as a solo project self titled, what's the elevator pitch for this?
Taya Gaukrodger 6:20
Yeah, well, I mean, it started, this is gonna sound crazy, but kind of the first initial moment, discussing, you know, could this be a thing was back in 2016, actually found the email that Joe sent to everyone in United, you know, back then, when it was a completely different United record that was about to come out. And we were talking about a few different just things that we were going to do to draw up excitement, like tours coming up and all that stuff. And one of the dot points right at the end, he also just said, A, maybe a tear album. And the thing is, he hadn't ever talked to me about this, he just put it, you know, like, center or like in United. And so then I like wrote back was like, hey, you know, what, what was that little thing that you put up there? Because I definitely the best, I'm like, wow, okay. And I'm definitely a work of being not necessarily a CEO type. So I'm not the person that's going to be like, hey, like, you know, pick me. Again, God knows, you know, who we are, before, you know, we step into something because he needed us together in our mother's room, like he knew that I would need just gentle encouragement from an older brother or something. And so he then quickly wrote to me and said, Hey, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to send that to everybody with that little point, without talking to you first, but maybe this is something that's in your heart to do? Or maybe it's not, you know, what do you think. And I was really grateful, because I had grown up writing songs, particularly when I was 1718, was when I really stepped into it. And when I moved to Sydney at 21, because I'm from the country, I told my parents, I'm going to become a sign recording artist. But when I moved, I, you know, just worked in retail, I didn't go to university. And so the instrument that I played on was piano, but I couldn't necessarily afford to buy one because it was like, do I buy a piano? Or do I eat for the week? And of course, yeah, food, what food one out, like, every time. And so then it was basically, you know, kind of the excuses, and then I got busy. And then I started traveling with United. And so I kind of just put it to the wayside. So when he said that initial thought, something resonated on the inside, because I knew that I wasn't being a good steward, with every gift that perhaps I felt like God gave me, which is a bit like the, you know, the parable of the talents in Matthew, where Jesus is talking about, essentially stewardship and, and when it's his talents, it's not like gifts, but it's these little money bags and a monster comes and he, you know, gives five to one and three to the other and one to another seven, he says, hey, when I come back, I want to see what you've done with it, essentially. Have you been a good steward of what I've given you and so when he comes back, the one with five talents doubled it, and the master was thrilled the one with three doubled it as well, but the one with the one talent buried it because he said, I knew that you were so stern, and you're like a harsh boss. So I was really afraid so I just buried it. So here it is. And then the master was devastated because he said he didn't even put it in a bank to get
Taya Gaukrodger 9:24
you know, some kind of investment on it. Like yeah, just nothing and then he said, I'm gonna take it off you give it to the one that did really well with with what I gave him and you can go to the place where there's gnashing of teeth, which is essentially hell Oh, my God is not and so I just got heaps of Reverend fear about okay, am I you know, we I just think we view for me personally, sometimes I viewed my own life in time as if it's my own, but actually, you know, it's a God given thing. I don't know how many days I get an offer. My job is, is to be a good steward with what God It's given me to being living in close proximity to Jesus. Because if that's the case, everything else is going to fall into place. And I'm going to be doing what I should be doing, treating people how I should be doing. But I just knew in that kind of in that email, but then also just as a, you know, that was in 2016. So as the years kept rolling on, I'm kind of just having this like, I know something's coming, but I don't know exactly when. But I had some really kind friends, which I think is also another big part of my story of, which again, same with Jolie, and so many others of people just calling out the God thing, you know, before I could know that that was the thing that God perhaps had for me. And I'm so grateful for people that you know, iron sharpens iron were meant to come alongside each other, and, you know, help the Sharpen and just become smoother. And hopefully, we will become like Jesus as we grow in community together and break bread. And similar to what they said in the New Testament, you know, don't forsake the gathering of the saints together. And so anyway, it was it was through all of that, that I received even more encouragement of, hey, they didn't know what was coming out that they had been spoken about an album, but they said, I know something's coming. And don't worry, you're not going to have to force this, God will bring the right people around you at the right time to get out the thing that's in your heart that you feel like you're meant to be doing. And again, they had no idea and I'm so grateful for, you know, the Holy Spirit just dropping it in their heart, they weren't really sure what it was, but it just resonated with me again. So when it came to 2020, we had set aside six months of that first year, we had no tours, it was like the tail project, we're gonna go to OC we're gonna go to London, Nashville, like all the plans in the world. And then the world shut down. Yeah, like, I'm in unprecedented times in our generation, you know. And so then it was like, Okay, let's pivot to zoom. And the thing is, I hadn't been writing since I was 17. So truly, I had never successfully co written. When I say successfully, I just mean finishing a song. Sure, where I felt like I was able to give my creative expression or opinion or something, because it sounds silly. But the girl who, you know, was known by voice didn't really know how to raise it creatively in those type of settings. Yeah, and I tried I am. But again, what the other thing that I would say about this project, which you kind of alluded to it before is God's timing is always perfect. It may not be our own. But always in hindsight, you look back, and you see, just the sovereignty of God's hand in moving things around and moving people around and situations and even in spite of certain things. And, you know, I know, we said that we weren't even going to like mention, but I just have to be honest, like, you know, even the timing of some of this being released, whilst the most devastating news within our church family has also been released. Like, there's so many things where I'm like, God, I've been working on this for two years, like, I don't understand this. And yet, at the same time, I experienced His grace and, you know, receiving just kind of text messages where it said, hey, where there was heavy news release today, I'm ungrateful for a song of joy that actually talks about leaning not on my own understanding, but in all my ways, trusting and acknowledging God, and He will make my path straight. And so again, I, you know, just in the humanity of life that we are living in and facing, like, I just see God's kindness, in spite of our own decisions in our own humanity. And, and so it's just wild as well that say, with all this project, I don't think this will be the album that we that I have in my hands, it's about to go out into the world if it wasn't for pivoting to zoom. And I say that lightly, because I also know that this season is held so much for so many different people loss and disappointment and partake, and perhaps the, you know, Hope deferred and waiting and, and yeah, I believe that we have a God that comes close. And, you know, so many times in the Bible says,
Taya Gaukrodger 14:09
Not not just like, Don't worry, and you know, pointing to nature to be like, hey, so you know, the birds of the field and the birds of the air, sorry, and in the lilies of the field, like one there, the lilies addressed that in the most elaborate colors and designs, does God not even care more than you? And those lilies are here for one day and gone the next. And then it's like birds of the year who don't even have a home like God looks out for them. And he knows how many hairs are upon your head. So don't worry, like I'm actually I've got your back and I'm going to work in and amongst this if you just trust me, and it's probably going to be an unexpected mysterious ways. And all that to say like, through this whole time. I think the songs that we have a just by the grace of God because it ended up being such a pivoting time and It allowed me to find my voice through that mute button to be able to gather my confidence and then go, You know what, like, I'm writing with someone across the globe. I've never met them before, like, what about this and just like, you know, playing in our little one bedroom rental apartment, you know, with the piano that my husband gave me when I was 30. Like, there was just so many sweet things that when I think back upon it, brown like God, you're so kind, you just knew what I needed before I knew. And so, and I referenced that word sweet, because that was the words that I felt God speak to me, at the last gathering we had as a local church before the world did completely shut down. And it was just that it was to be like, Honey, sweet, palatable, easy to digest, but because honey has healing qualities as it does get ingested and you know, people meditate on it, in perhaps even in the background, and not even truly understanding what it is that they're listening to. That it would be, you know, that it would be healing, that it would allow God by His grace, and by His Spirit to attend wounds that maybe people didn't realize were still saw or needed, tending to in the first place. And so it's so again, I say, like, it's kind of wild, some of the, even just the sweet little testimonies and stories of people experiencing it already, which I just say, Oh, thanks. And praise to Jesus, because I know that, you know, if this had been in my own ability, or things that I was doing, it would hold no power. So I'm just grateful that God was present.
Trevor Tyson 16:38
And I love that, like, when it comes to your brand was call it, you don't look like a simple person, right? You have like a stage energy is monumental. Like, I would get so tired. Like, I don't sing. I mean, I do, but it's not good, right? So I can't imagine bouncing around the stage like you do. And still having a voice after like, I would be so winded and out of breath, I would go lay down behind the drum kit and like just die for a few hours. Right? And I love how you guys brought the music video for I believe this my whole life, right? Or no? Sorry.
Taya Gaukrodger 17:23
No, you know,
Trevor Tyson 17:26
I love how y'all brought the music video forward with it was almost like you were acknowledging the United days with you swing in your hair and such. And then it's kind of staticky and goes into just so peaceful, painting it on your face. And I'm like, Oh, this is about to get good. So what was the creative strategy behind that? Was that something that you were like, Hey, I kind of want to touch on this, but want to segue into this? Like, what's the story behind it?
Taya Gaukrodger 17:51
Yeah, it's it's kind of you know, it's kind of the journey that I'm on right now, which is, yes, I'm still a party united. This has been a major part of my life, and still will be, you know, I never had older brothers growing up. And all of a sudden, I've inherited 14 older ones. And I love them. Oh, yeah. Because there's, there's 11 of us on the platform. But then there's like so many behind the scenes as well, I Tool Manager and production manager, and I love
Trevor Tyson 18:20
that you are mentioning them too, because you don't hear that very often. So I love I love hearing that. That speaks to your character too.
Taya Gaukrodger 18:29
Oh, that's very well, with I mean, my family, we we've literally traveled for like nine years, and we're not perfect. We're literally like a family. Sometimes we bake care. And sometimes we're just like us a worst, but I love you and we're in the family forever. So you know. But yeah, so they're just the best, they're actually the best. And it would feel wrong if I didn't, you know, acknowledge where I've come from and because, you know, I was just like the ring in when I first came in with United, I had no idea what I was doing didn't go to Bible college, I hadn't had any singing lessons. And I truly learned how to Yeah, tour and hopefully be here for the long haul with all these guys who have been doing this, you know, now, like over 20 years, so they got, you know, 11 years on me and they're just so gracious and kind and, and I think it was through all this whole process that I was discovering what I was really passionate about and which I just want to say before I get into the music video, just the one thing that you were saying, I don't know how you do it, like being so passionate and present. And you know, in the moment I was asked about that at a conference many years ago and I looked up the definition in the dictionary of what passion is on the first one is like a very strong and almost overwhelming emotion. And then the second definition and it's in the dictionary, so I'm just like, wow, like it's pretty crazy that that has the The second definition is that is the, you know, the death and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Wow. Wish I was like, I know, there's a movie called The Passion of Christ, which, you know, maybe that was like a little clincher. But if I am ever waning in my passion during a live service, or even in my devotional time, or even my prayer life when no one else is seeing that, I have lost sight of what passion means, which is the death and the resurrection, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. And I need to go back to that. And if I've ever, you know, for a moment, just like, gone through the motions, or like, I hope that, you know, because our lyrics that we sing on based on the Word of God, that they will jump me back into the reality of what I have, because of Jesus Christ, and man never get too far from that. So that aside, that, that that's always like a, you know, I don't know, just something that that's going on in my head that I definitely come back to quite often. It was such a joy to kind of pull back, it felt like we're pulling back the curtain and letting people see like, this is me. You've seen, you know, the the worship leading and the stewarding of other people's songs, but this is me completely, like, you know, the almost six foot I'm 511, like 511, totally messed up. You know, Kelly had like, weird facial things where it's kind of sticks out. Girl that's from the country who loves a family and is just, you know, grew up skateboarding because I didn't drive a car because I didn't have a schedule that lined with my parents, you know, cleaning schedule, when I was growing up. So I just felt like such a sweet way to say a nod to who I've been, not only with United, but all the way back when because some of the rooms that we were filming in like was that that was a very room that I started writing. And when I was 17, that was in my parents home with those like wooden slats, like it just felt full circle. And, you know, I say this humbly. So, you know, maybe only a few people from different countries watch that video. But I wanted to show the world where I was from, where I came from, and the place that helped shape and form me who I am today. And, you know, skate skateboarding and being at the beach, and then getting to show off, like the area that I'm from on that grassy hill, like just some of the most stunning beaches, I think in the world, let alone Australia. And yeah, and then also to be in the church that I got married to my husband in with JD, one of my United brothers, you know, conducted the ceremony, to then having those friends who around me from my local church campus, which isn't the main, you know, hills on campus, it's the it's a little one in the city. And it just felt incredibly sweet. And then to get to shoot it with a whole bunch of, you know, insanely talented visionaries who are helping the visual aspect of the album come to life and, and you know, the photographer, and, you know, she was the one that shot my wedding, and she's become one of my close friends. So it just felt very wholesome. And like, I just got to give people a glimpse into the real me. Not that I've been hiding. Not that I've been hiding. No,
Trevor Tyson 23:29
just not at all. complainy Yeah, it's, the lyrics are so simple. And I have a few of the songs that I would really like to talk about a little bit later in the interview. But I love that you've been describing the project as honey. Could you elaborate a little bit on that? Because the first thing that comes to my mind is like Brookes, new record, there's only you in the rock like it's, it's such a unique way to describe art. And you've always been really good with that. And as I was telling you, before we logged on here, like, I was on that whole Hillsong run in 2015. And you were always and you probably don't even remember it like I was a baby then like it was 2016 the year I was graduating high school, no beard. It was an I was out there, like interning and doing the thing. And you would always check in it was you and Jen Johnson. We're always like, are you good? Are you okay? And it made the experience so much better to know that like, oh, they actually see and they're like, taking care of me. And it's like, it was it was a unique time, especially like as a high schooler. I'm like, Oh, God, well, I got a big tour. Like, it was scary, and I'd never done it before. So that speaks to your character too. But it was it was a fascinating time and seeing all of this come together. I like the honey analogy. Just, I want to hear more about it because it makes sense. But I can't quite grasp the extent that it probably goes in your creative brain.
Taya Gaukrodger 25:12
No, I love that. I love that. Well, I mean, very kind. And I pray that I'm always hopefully present and aware of other people around. I mean, Jen definitely is like that bookies like that I hope I'm like these amazing women who do that all the time, others focused, you know, and selfless. But with honey, I really cried out to God for a word for this record, because I felt like, I'd be like Moses, you know, if you don't go with this guide, if your presence doesn't go before us, if you if it's not obvious that you are with us, like I don't want to go, I don't want this I don't, I can't do this essentially, was I was pretty desperate, because I was stepping in one to writing again, first, for the first time, like properly co writing, not knowing how to do that, and knowing how to bring my own voice not knowing how to be confident in that, which is funny, because I'm a, I think I'm a confident person, because I know who's I am and who I am and Jesus and and yeah, I just I wanted his words that I could keep coming back to and kind of, you know, it's a blank canvas is quite scary. Because it's because there's no parameters and which is funny, because I also sang a song about you know, trusting God, where there's like, no borders, like hahaha, God, like, here we, here we are, you know, this is 2.0,
Trevor Tyson 26:38
sing a song you sang the songs. So good.
Taya Gaukrodger 26:45
I got God has like a sweet sense of humor, but also just, you know, a lovely way of reminding us through circumstances in details that he's detail orientated as well. And, and so I've just been reminded so many times throughout this whole process, when God's like, remember, when you pray that or like, remember, when you said that little thing, or if I could only be part of something blah, blah, you know, he's just, yeah, he's just been really kind and the little remembering things. And so when I was at that conference, you know, it was like, and we didn't know that it was going to be the last thing that we were at all together. I had a friend that was really believing and praying for me that God would speak to me because she knew kind of that it was weighing on my heart, but also that I wouldn't move without it. And it was during a gift moment of a women's conference, the gift was an eye mask, I sat down and I wore that I'm asked during a free worship moment, Brookie was playing on the keys for like 20 minutes. And just like, you know, going where the Holy Spirit was telling you to go and I sat there and I wore that iron mask, which no one else was wearing. Like, you know, people worshipping are sitting there wearing an Iron Mask, it would have looked ridiculous. And I've got photos, because apparently someone took photos of me in that moment. And I said, I'm not taking this off God until you speak to me, because I can't do this if you don't tell me what to do. And I felt like you said the words like honey, and the crazy thing is, is I wrote it down. And then I went home. And it taught me about God, you know, he's with us. And he's a personal guide. Yes, he is. omnipresent. And unless it like he's just amazing and sovereign and holy and reverent. Sometimes we can get a little too mean, I can get a little too comfortable. And, you know, taking him for granted. And he's still the same guy that smited armies, you know, so I love you. And, but in his kindness, yeah, he speaks in our language, because he's a person of God. And He knows us innately inside and out. He knows every single day of our life before we've even, you know, come out of the mother's womb. And so he just, he just knows, and so he spoke the words like honey, and I was thinking, Am I hungry? Cuz I love sugar. I don't have diabetes, but maybe I was like running a bit low, you know, like three o'clock, like, I need a sugar peak or something. So anyway, I came home, and I was literally had my legs up in bed with my book against them just looking at it going, what? Like, was that actually from Hugo? Like, I'm not sure. Like, I know, I asked me to speak, I felt this. And I'm kind of new to this whole. I wasn't an audible, you know, there wasn't the audible voice of God. But it was an impression on my spirit. And so I wrote it out. My husband came in the door. I hadn't seen him all that all that time. This was a women's conference, he was helping a friend move in wine country and in Sydney, similar to what the Napa Valley is in America. And, um, and he said, I got you a gift. And you know, because we're adults, and we're a couple of years into being married, like I was like, Oh, he's gonna give me like a rose a and like we're going to try and you know, be cultured and all that. And the hands in this brown paper bag and he says, I saw this thought of you and so I got it for you, which kind of also tells you who he is. Of how he'd just live. is in that sweet space with the Lord. He's not forcing anything. It's he Yeah, it's just a child with his Heavenly Father and when he hears go here he does. And so he handed his brown paper bag I put my hand in and I pull it out. And it's a jar of honey.
Trevor Tyson 30:18
There's no room for coincidence there at all.
Taya Gaukrodger 30:22
No, it that's a that's a god incidents, and it gave me the confidence to go okay, God, you said like honey. And from there, it felt like, again, sorry for the pun, like the sweetest create creative journey from there because then I started researching about honey. And even though I felt the Holy Spirit, say like honey, that it's sweet, palatable, easy to digest, as in, there's not going to be songs on here, we're just thinking the whole time, like, what is the meaning behind this? Like, what does that mean? And because I'm not that type of person, either. I wish I was more like, stately and all that, but like, what you see is what you get, like, I'm just honest, and this is me. And, and so it's, it's kind of funny that he also talked about the healing qualities, but then when I went to go do deeper research about it, like, it's crazy, what people would put honey on, like wounds and scabs, and things that hadn't healed correctly, and just all the healing properties within honey. And then also the fact that, you know, I've always said that I'm a bit of a worker, bee, not a CEO, and then also how bees are a part of the honey coming in. And even right through this process, like, I kept looking up, you know, in the midst of like, writing the songs over zoom coming out, you know, because we were also in lockdown for a long time in Australia over this whole process. And coming outside and just being grateful for like a little snippet of a backyard where I can look up and I kept seeing blue, a fraction of green, the sun yellow, like so I just my mind in a really fun way, it was kind of sad, never thought creatively like this before, you know, just like looking at everything through the lens of hunting and going God, you know, what are the colors for the record? What are the things that you? Because, again, He speaks to us personally? What like, what are the things you are bringing up in my heart that perhaps had been there for, you know, even though seven years that I didn't write, like, what are the what are the verses that have been rumbling around in my head in my heart for this whole time that you have wanting to put your finger on and go write a song about that, and right, so it was just, you know, there was still so many stretching moments during this whole whole project, for sure. But I was so grateful for the words like honey to keep coming back to as my tune off. Because I was just reminded, it was just meant to be sweet, even to the point where, you know, I'm just gonna drop a few like crazy little bombs just really quickly. And I got asked to go out of Australia during the middle of a lockdown last May, by a very famous singer in Italy, who is a secular artist, in the classical genre, I'll just say that. You know, he, he, someone wrote a letter, he signed it, and it went to the government and they gave permission because they weren't letting anyone leave the country. I got out to Italy that was in May, last year. Did that was a most, you know, beautiful experience, almost like, of course, you do this in a worldwide pandemic, where I would get to come to a country that I've always dreamed of even just going to with whoever my husband would be when I was single. And I was just thinking about, wow, that would be beautiful. Then off the back of that going. We're out of Australia, we've been given permission to leave. Imagine if we went to the the United States, and met my producer in person, John Gara, who was like John the Baptist, who's kind patient, but also like, so potent when he does speak in the best way. I imagined if I could meet him in person, imagine if we could write in person. And because I've been doing this truly on Zoom, and finished the record and we ended up coming to America. And for three weeks, we wrote six eighths of the album. And then in five days or a little bit less, we then did a whole week of production and recorded those six eighths of the album which is like ridiculous because I'm a singer. And that's the thing I care the most about. And anyway, God's grace and kindness was upon that. But just before I stepped into the studio to start recording in that final week, there was this moment where I was taking a moment to pray and to warm up and just be again present with Jesus and he's going this is actually this is wild. And we're kind of doing this in faith and taking steps because we don't truly know like, what are these the right songs like we think they are but like, Lord, you're the one that knows everything like please direct us. And I felt like the Holy Spirit just opened my eyes and then moment and I looked out at the past the hood of the car, and I saw a little bee. And I felt like the Holy Spirit said, Remember the honey.
Taya Gaukrodger 35:08
And it was just like this, a cool little moment. Again, I'm like, I'm here. I've spoken this, trust me, don't stress, don't try and do this in your own strength. I've got this, I called you to this, and I'm going to, if you trust me, and you lean into me, it's going to be sweet. And it doesn't have to be this crazy, forceful thing, which isn't in my nature anyway, you know. And so we are at the sweetest moment where we release it and go God, you know, whatever happens on the other side of this, this is your territory. I don't know whether you use it, whether you don't like it's all in response to you. And so he can fully take care of that. Obviously, we're, you know, praying that it would resonate with people 100%. But this is his thing.
Trevor Tyson 36:01
And the record will resonate with people because it did resonate with me. And there are a lot of stories that you've shared today. And usually, like, we'll dive in, like, what's your story, all that good stuff, but like, for time sake, I was like, I really want to dive into some of these lyrics. Because this isn't a united interview. This isn't a let's promote the Taman United tour. This is like, this is your solo project, the words that the Lord has given us specifically. And a lot of the stories you've shared, again, have a lot to do with how these lyrics came to life and such. So I'd really like to start with for all my life. And the lyrics that I jotted down are, I won't lean on my own understanding, I will let go follow empty handed you say your yoke is easy, you say your burdens lie. So I'll let you lead me for all my life. When it comes to this salon in particular, what comes to mind it can be about the writing process of the song, it could be what it means to you, whatever, like what's something unique, that people might not hear everywhere.
Taya Gaukrodger 37:11
It was? Well, it's scripture, which I love. It's proverbs three, five, and six. And also Matthew 1128 2930, which kind of I feel is the overarching, just like secret a theme of this record without knowing it until later, we look back and I that's actually what you were speaking over this whole thing is that this is us just learning how to walk with Jesus. And it's in the Message version of even Matthew 11, where it says, you know, walk with me, and, and watch how I do this. Let me show you the unforced rhythms of grace, I'm not going to place anything heavy or ill fitting on you, for my yoke is easy. My burden is light. And what was really sweet about these lyrics is that it came from an honest conversation that day with Hank Bentley and John Gara, who both co wrote and also CO produced this track, which also is classic Jesus, you know, I don't know how to write it, you know, a radio single, let alone I was trying to finish songs. So it's just the grace of God that we had something that later on when the, you know, the label team heard it, they're like, oh, my gosh, thank you, Jesus was God. radiuses. Like, you know, just stuff I didn't really understand, or know about, especially coming from United. And we're like, we're doing nine minute songs like, that ain't gonna be no. So it's kind of funny in that regard, but it just came from honest conversation of Yeah, I mean, there was also like, honesty in there of, yeah, I've just watched lashes looked like and perhaps even things I didn't know. I want to say that. Things that had been really sweet for me that I just felt a little naive about if I'm being honest. And yet, what I would want my confession to be, regardless of any circumstance, good or bad. And that was kind of illusion to the, you know, I'll fully even if it looks like it's empty handed, because the joy of my life is not in materialistic things, or things that actually have no value when it comes to paternal perspective. It's actually the joy of my life is walking with Jesus and trusting him and and truly, when I when I've done that, in many circumstances, he has brought so much more joy and treasure and paste in my life, the stuff that you know, moths can't destroy down here and, and the things that truly matter in this life and so we had been talking about my testimony up into that You know, kind of that day and what God had done on what God was speaking. And so I can truly say that after we wrote the song, I listened to it. And I kind of had a moment because I was like, this is something that I'm actually really happy to put my name to, and something that I want to sing for the rest of my life, whether, you know, there is success in the human definition of that, or whether there is not a weather. Like this is a confession that is reflective of the Bible and the word of God that I've come to know, to be true, and to be of the most value in this life. And so I was secretly grateful for those for those words, as well.
Trevor Tyson 40:51
Yeah. And lastly, I want to talk about getaway, which happens to be my favorite song on the record. You said? Are you burnt out on religious things? Are you worn down, lacking inner peace? Take a real rest, walk along with me in the pastures of My presence, you can be yourself and you can say what's on your heart. I already know it all. Doesn't matter what you say, come and get away with me. I know where you are, where you've been, and what you've seen. Doesn't matter how you come come and get away with me? Are you burden from all the heavy days, it's not your job to shoulder all the weight? Let me do it. Let me come and take the lies you've been believing in. The truth is that you have a place to a lot of the record feels like a letter, like a personal like just you and God. But the simplicity again of your songwriting, and you just describing what God's been doing in your life. It can be everyone's anthem, these can be everyone's letters. And I love that. And I would love to hear how the song came to fruition.
Taya Gaukrodger 42:05
No, I love that. And I'm so humbled that it would resonate with you because again, you know, you're essentially blindly writing going, Lord, I hope this has been directed by you, and then it would help you know, which I always think telling the truth is the best way to do that. But also, like sometimes, it's hard because it's honest, and sometimes we love to pretend that everything's okay and again, like, life is a funny thing. It holds so many different seasons, and thank goodness their seasons, you know, this too shall pass and there's nothing new under the sun which is great. But I think we've get away there was at the end of that three week intense songwriting essentially writing camp just in an Airbnb and, and I was riding with to John Garin, my producer, who was also like, my main co writer, and also Lindsey sweat, who's just a sweet human who is a pop artist herself, which I love because it meant that she wasn't writing within, you know, for lack of a better term, like Christian boxes, of like, this is what the church needs is like, because I'm like, we have the Holy Spirit like He'll guide like you'll if we give him space to speak, he will direct and guide us and and I don't know the rules anyway. So I you know, I'm always I'm always like, don't box me you know, and fumble a word that someone gave to me many years ago was don't box guide, just because it looks like this for someone else doesn't mean it has to look like that for you. Just don't box guide and have been reminded of that, and perhaps is that little thing on the inside, where I'm like, Well, I like Paramore. And I also love beautiful, classic classical music and I love top 40 And I love the most, you know, insane hymns. Like anyway, so that's just a little again, another little aside of like, this is a She's crazy.
Trevor Tyson 44:14
mean we're all a little bit crazy.
Taya Gaukrodger 44:17
I wear the apple of our Heavenly Father's eye and we are all made in His image. So we've got it, he's got a sense of humor, so we're gonna laugh along with that. But um, for this song, it was at the end of that week, we're a little bit tired, to be honest. And I had written with both John and Lindsay separately and together before and we'd written quite a few different songs and I I also just resonated with the way that they wrote which is honestly and it was intricately and and I guess God just knew that we needed that song, even just personally. It's actually straight out of Scripture. It's Matthew 1128 2930. Again, that overarching theme, but it's In the message, paraphrase translation by Eugene Peterson, which I actually have to No, no, everyone loves it. But I credit the whole bunch of my, you know, first leaning in leanings in to the Bible in the Word of God to that translation if it wasn't there, I don't know, maybe how long it would have taken for me to switch into that space where it became my own revelation of this is the word of God. And it's an everyday language, like it just unpacked it for me in a way that I hadn't received, you know, a download from heaven like that before I was 17. And I wish I kind of got my hands on when I was really little. Just because I'm like, listen, more more proximity with Jesus, the better. But I just loved those words, because that was straight scripture, like, you know, a burnt out on religious things, a worn down lacking in a piece. And just this, we have this insane invitation from Jesus that says, Come to me. And yet it is unfortunately, the thing that we fight the most. Sometimes we try and do everything else. It's on our to do lists, except for coming to the Lord, when we should have done that as our first point of call. Or when things are going wrong. We choose to stress and strive and I'm putting my hand up as being in this category, like, you know, I don't get to just negate the human existence, because I'm singing about it like, No, I'm 100% there. And yet, we have the Prince of Peace, the one who works deeply and tenderly and says, I'm an ever present, helping your time with trouble waiting. And he says, Come to me, I can actually show you how to do this, I'm not going to promise you a perfect life. But my promises, I'm with you that I will be with you. And that PS I have seen everything that you've seen, I've been with you the whole time, I have felt everything that you've ever felt in the human experience, there's nothing that I don't understand. And there's nothing that I can't redeem or work to the to your betterment, because I'm just that good. And so I just loved that this was a, you know, it wasn't me saying to God, it was God's words over us and a good reminder. And so when we finished writing this song, I looked at Lindsey and I looked at John, and there was a sign that was released from one of us, and there was just this word that said, I think I really needed that. And perhaps I didn't know that that's what I needed. And so kind of the pref, I guess from us from that place, is that, you know, people would essentially get a getaway with Jesus, where you wouldn't have to pay the money to go have a holiday, and that you would actually realize that you can have it at any moment. And it's right there. And he's just as present as he ever has been any, you know, he was the one that gave you the very breath in your lungs. So he is so and it's his, and it's so present, and he's there. And, and again, I would just again, honestly say like, timing is wild, again, working on this and putting all these timelines in place and everything, you know, starting to talk about that at the end of last year and the start of this year. So again, timing is not ours, and yet, God's is perfect. And if we submit it to him, he would do exceedingly, exceedingly better than we could ever expect. And things beyond our wildest dreams. And so to hear that it's resonating, and
Taya Gaukrodger 48:27
perhaps being like a honey bomb to your heart is very special to me. And, and it was wild, like it's a, it was like a three minute 30 song, which again, is like other, which now I know is like, the great, like, some time that you should try and write for or whatever. But it just was wild that it felt like a pop song like the Lewis Capaldi just tend to back with piano and the Wild Thing is, that's just my demo vehicle. And you can hear the fridge in the background, the little hum, because we just recorded in the Airbnb, and later on when we were retracting, and, you know, just trying to set out a few of the songs, we just realized, we just felt honest, and there was nothing that we were going to capture that would say it the way we did in that moment. And I don't know whether it's the, you know, now I know like, I'll be taking a whole lot more time when recording demos just to be like this could be the vocal, you know, but maybe that was it, that it was just an honest expression at the end of a long three weeks of just pouring out. And just what is our confession at the end of the day, even when it's been tough, even when it's looked differently than we expect? Isn't that what God wants from us honesty and, and just to come and so it kind of felt sweet that that feels like the thing that was recorded and captured on that day and perhaps is, you know, hopefully bringing real rest to people's hearts because again And it's God's words, and my words don't change anything, they don't hold any weight. But when it's God's word, which is eternal, and no one is impervious to His Word, perhaps that would bring truth and bring rest and bring light and the revelation that a yoke is something that brings two people together. And if we would just be willing to come to Him, that we actually get to be with him, and learn how to do this life. So
Trevor Tyson 50:31
you know, these interviews never get old. It's like you have these people sitting right here having a conversation with you that have made a global imprint on not only the church, but have man just made such an imprint in the world. And Taya in particular, is one of those voices that you hear and you're like, oh, that's Taya, that's Hillsong, whatever, like you hear Ocean's it was such a monumental track. And it's still a cornerstone piece for Hillsong to this day. And I love that she was open and touched on kind of the controversy that's been going on with Hillsong because it shows her character, and she's not hiding anything, which that had nothing to do with her. So some people were like, Oh, are you sure you want to have someone from Hillsong on obviously, like, the actions of few should not dictate conversations that we have with people. So I'm just super grateful and honored that Taylor would take time out of her day to join us for this and actually have a story that I wanted to share. In 2016, I was laying in my floor in Washington DC at a hotel because I was having such bad panic attacks. And right when the clock hit midnight, the album of dirt and Grace became available on Apple Music. And I remember hitting play on even when it hurts, because that's my favorite song almost of all time, pretty much. And I don't know what it was about it. But the vulnerability and the lyrics, everything, just all the Holy Spirit use it to heal that panic that I was experiencing. So if you're in the midst of panic or anxiety, I pray that this interview was healing that the Holy Spirit uses to heal some of what you were feeling and if you are feeling down depressed or need some extra, someone to talk to reach out to heart support death to wife, for the ladies out there beneath the skin, and then also the teen HopeLine for teens out there. And be sure to stream the self titled debut album from Taya, which is obviously called Taya, and I'm sure that you'll be impacted by it. But thank you all so much for tuning in to this episode. Again, thank you to Taya for being here. All the links are gonna be in the description below for her new record, the merch, all of the things and I'm pretty sure she's about to go on tour. So be on the lookout for those tour dates that shouldn't be out now and we'll talk to you guys next week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Trevor Tyson is a speaker, podcaster, and media personality. He is the founder of Transparent Media Co and serves as the voice of the Trevor Talks podcast, positioning him as a key voice in conversations around mental health, media, and faith. Trevor lives his life with a mission set on helping people empower themselves and overcome the hardships in their life. At the age of 17, Trevor went through a season of depression and anxiety, forever changing his outlook on mental health. After receiving therapy and diving deep into his faith, he finally found his voice and his message: fear doesn’t own you, anxiety doesn’t hold you, and you CAN overcome your hardships with the right mindset and a set path to follow. Carrying out his mission to encourage and equip others on their road to recovery, Trevor has been featured by GodTV, CCM Magazine, Faithwire, and others.
Long before TAYA became one of UNITED’s most acclaimed and impactful vocalists, with over
one billion streams and numerous world tours over the last decade, her journey with Jesus began
in the small town of Lismore, Australia. Her mother led her in the sinner’s prayer at age five and
she attended a small community church with her family where her father was an elder & worship
The singer grew up listening to the local radio stations, her father’s record collection (Fleetwood
Mac, Beatles) and classical music. Even before her six years of classical piano and cello studies,
TAYA would spontaneously make up and sing songs around the house. She credits her high school
music teacher for calling her out, encouraging her talent and teaching her how to harmonize.
After starting to lead worship in her high school years, TAYA cried out to God to use her: “I love
to sing but whatever you want God.” A few years later,she got her first taste of performing publicly
before thousands, throughout Australia and New Zealand, traveling as a backing vocalist for an
R&B artist. As much as she enjoyed it, she couldn’t shake the strong feeling she associated with
singing faith-based songs. Prompted by the still, ever faithful voice of God in her life, TAYA left
Lismore for bustling Sydney at the age of 21 with only $200 dollars to her name and a very specific
goal: to make music her career.
Not wanting to just attend a church, TAYA began serving as a youth leader in her local church on
Friday nights when she was off from her retail job. While setting her hopes for secular musical
success by auditioning for the Australian version of “The Voice” – which she whimsically notes,
ultimately rejected her – her church began offering her opportunities to share her gifts, culminating
in UNITED longtime producer & guitarist, Michael Guy Chislett, inviting her first to sing backing
vocals on a recording project (which turned into UNITED’s Zion album) then singing lead on the
song that became the group’s record breaking worship anthem of the decade, “Oceans (Where Feet
Driven by hundreds of millions of streams for “Oceans” and others like “Touch the Sky” and
“Whole Heart (Hold Me Now),” tracks led and stewarded by TAYA have amassed over one billion
global streams. The four-time platinum-certified “Oceans” was a #1 radio single, remaining in the
pole position on the Billboard Top Christian Songs chart for a record setting 61 weeks. The singer
also became one of the church’s most storied and acclaimed road warriors. Starting with her
participation in the South African leg of their Zion tour, the singer racked up over 265,000 flying
miles in her first year. Over the past decade, between her tours with UNITED, Hillsong Worship
and Young & Free, TAYA has performed live for more than 10 million people in 12 different
countries, across six continents.
“Singing these songs over many years, I have had such life-shaping experiences getting to lead
people across the earth to Jesus,” says TAYA. “I am most passionate about music that points
people to Him, and my hope is to always lead people to worship more authentically and
passionately as they discover more about who He is. It’s not lost on me that by God’s grace, I have
been able to do the thing I love the most for the One who loves me best.”
While TAYA fully committed and immersed herself in the whirlwind of recording and touring
with UNITED, she set aside her own songwriting for seven years. Still, she knew God’s timing
was purposeful. “I knew it would emerge eventually, but I didn’t know what it would be or look
like,” she says. “I wanted to give expression of who Jesus was to me. I loved stewarding other’s
songs, but I knew I was not honoring the full gift He put inside of me.”
With the current release of “For All My Life,” the lead single from her long-awaited self-titled
solo debut album, God is continuing to provide TAYA with opportunities to share her talent with
a worldwide audience. Opening with the soaring, ethereal “In This Place” – in which she sings
‘Welcome Spirit of God/ Give me the eyes of faith/In darkness or brilliance/And I will say/Surely
You are in this place’ – TAYA showcases her extraordinary depth as a songwriter and artist apart
from her previous experiences. Her chief songwriting collaborator and producer is veteran artist
(and former worship leader of Chicago’s Vertical Worship) Jon Guerra, whom TAYA fondly calls
“Jon the Baptist” for his patience, prophetic insight and the musicianship he brought to their
Due to the ongoing pandemic, much of the album was written and created via Zoom sessions and
recorded remotely in early 2021 – but a full three quarters of the project was recorded later in a
single week (after three weeks of more songwriting) with Jon and Hank Bentley at Bentley’s home
studio in Nashville, Tenn. Each writing session began with a prayer: “Who is it that we seek? We
seek the Lord our God.”
While “For All My Life” is the album’s first single, it was the last song TAYA, Bentley and Guerra
wrote. “When I looked back over the lyrics,” she says, “I realized it was my testimony put to
melody. It’s all about the faithfulness of God, for His far supersedes our own – a song I can stake
my life upon, one I will happily sing for the rest of my life.”
Other key tracks on TAYA include the honest, rock-edged “Carry Me Home,” a co-write with
Switchfoot front man Jon Foreman; the emotional piano-vocal ballad “Glory Hallelujah,” written
for the singer’s former teacher, who is grieving the loss of her son (and by extension, all who have
suffered loss during the pandemic); and the heartfelt, soulful “Sorry to Grieve You God,” a socially
conscious lament about the events of 2020 that shone a spotlight on racism, a lack of compassion
and, she says, “other things we perhaps had chosen not to acknowledge for a long time.”
She adds, “Overall, the album is an old school 14-track record full of stories about the faithfulness
of God, His Kingdom, His kindness, and His mercy. It’s all about who Jesus is to me. God said
this was to be ‘like honey’ – sweet, easy to digest and healing as it goes down. My prayer is that
the listener comes to know Jesus in a whole new way like I did whilst creating this. He is the God
who speaks. May they hear His voice louder than mine. And you all know how much I love to belt
it out, so look out!”
“For me right now,” the singer adds, “My favorite scripture sums it all up. Romans 12:1 –
‘Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living
sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.’ This is my offering of worship; sacrifice and obedience. It’s
something that’s been coming for a while but whose timing was not my own yet perfectly His.
This album is my response to God.”
TAYA is signed to Capitol CCMG and her debut solo studio album, TAYA, releases May 27, 2022.