Radio hitmaker SADA K talks to Tony Cummings about her years in music ministry
When in 2015 Sada K released her debut solo album 'Long Story Short' it received thumbs up from the Christian music world. CCM magazine called it "a colourful collection that volleys between soulful ballads, with a mix of pop and danceable celebrations" while New Release Today praised Sada for "showing off a unique urban and soulful vibe in her music." In fact Cross Rhythms radio picked up on three songs from the album, "Fly", "All About Love" featuring Jonathan Thulin and Sada's current radio pick "Stand Up" featuring Chief Wakil. The latter is a song with particular resonance for the 33-year-old California-based singer/songwriter. She explained, "'Stand Up'" was the first single I released after suffering from a knee injury that wouldn't allow me to physically stand up when I recorded it. I went from living on a tour bus to learning how to walk again after two surgeries. It was a song of victory and a song to encourage people to live life and shine our lights bright in this world."
Sada was born Sada Kristin Irvine Spearman on 4th June 1983 in Kansas City, Missouri. With her brothers she sang regularly at the Quindaro Church Of God In Christ before relocating to Los Angeles. Her music career began in 2009 when she joined the Christian pop rock band Press Play. Their synth-driven approach to pop, rock and dance brought something fresh to worship music and for a season Sada was caught up in the excitement of a local worship band exploding onto the national CCM scene with a massive marketing help from Universal Music once they'd bought Dream Records. Sada remembered her Press Play days: "I served on the worship team at the LA Dream Center and as my relationship grew with the members, I began to sing with them on the road and was able to record two albums with them. It was truly a blessing and a huge learning experience for me. It was a blessing to be able to travel and touch so many people's lives. My favourite part of it all was being able to connect with people at the merch table. I was able to pray with so many people and love on those who really needed it. It was a beautiful time in my life."
But then disaster struck the young singer. "I'd had problems with my knees throughout my childhood and one day, after coming off of a long tour, my knee dislocated with a simple step and it didn't go back in place correctly. It took the doctors a while to figure things out but God's timing was everything. I learned a lot of valuable lessons through recovery and physical therapy and one thing is for sure, every step counts and never take a moment for granted. Without my faith, I don't know where I would be. I literally had to walk by faith, even when I couldn't physically."
After major surgery things finally began to improve for Sada. "I knew I wanted to release an album and the vision became clear in 2014. It's hard to share your story in three-minute songs but I tried my best to do so. That's why the album is called 'Long Story Short'."
The singer spoke about her other radio hits from her debut. "'Fly' was inspired by a message I heard from Joyce Meyer about the Eagle and the Chickens. I wrote the song with an amazing musician and writer named Jon Jackson. I wanted to create a song that expressed the Scripture Isaiah 40:31 and also expressed the beauty of enjoying a life of purpose and fulfilling big dreams. 'All About Love' is a song I wrote with Jonathan Thulin. I wanted to create a song that expressed that God is Love, as it says in 1 John 4:8. I was tired of seeing people shaming others and wanted to express that I'm all about love, because God is love, with hopes that others would join me."
I asked Sada why the American Church still seems very divided between black and white sections. Was my observation fair? She responded, "I've never been asked this before and it's definitely a sensitive subject here, but I would say that it's a fair and unfortunate observation. Many churches are trying to unite people, but there's still a lot of work to do. I've dealt with it a lot with my music, not fitting in on a specific side or genre, but I'm determined to bridge those gaps and continue to be creative and be able to share my music with people from all walks of life. I believe it can happen."
What about the difficulties faced by independent artists? It must be very difficult to get a foothold (gigs, airplay, publicity). She replied, "It is much harder than when I was on a label with Press Play, but the hard work is worth it in the long run. I'm thankful to be able to have creative freedom and as I continue to grow as an artist, I pray that the opportunities and the amount of listeners will grow as well. I've been singing in church since I was three years old and I continue to learn about the gift God has given me and the doors he has opened for me to minister. It is truly a blessing to be able to touch lives through something you love and for me, I just want to continue to be able to grow and touch lives. The biggest lesson I've learned is to never think the labour is in vein because if it's just to bless one person, it's all worth it."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.