Singing Freely with Elevation Worship's Tiffany Hudson

Podcast Episode #169

Tiffany Hudson joins the podcast to discuss developing an engaging stage presence, singing from a place of authenticity, and the relationship between the vocalists and the band.

Jason and Kristina debrief Easter gatherings and the tools that change a worship leader's life. 

On when she first caught the music bug

I already loved singing and wanted to write music. My parents were pastors and when you are the preacher’s kid you’ve got to take over the roles when there’s no one to fill them. We didn’t have a worship team at our church and so I kind of knew how to sing and play keys so I started filling that role and through that, I just fell in love with being in the presence of God through music. In college, I didn’t study music but instead focused on ministry and found an internship at Elevation church where I'm planted right now.

On going from a small church to Elevation

There were some parts that were intimidating but a lot of people don’t know that Elevation has 20 campuses all over the city and they are all like gritty little church plants. I was familiar with that world from my upbringing so I just got in there to serve the city in the best way our church could.

On leading vocally without an instrument

I feel so much more comfortable without an instrument because I don’t have to focus on the next chord. I can also move freely and express myself without having to be connected to an instrument, which I enjoy. There is though, a huge value to understanding music on an instrumental level as a vocalist. I can communicate with the band members in the language that they speak and be in tune with what we are trying to do as a group; it’s a huge plus.

I also think it’s important to trust one another in our gifts. It means the world to me when I can tell the band has my back in a moment and they’ll support me the way I need it. It goes both ways, too. I never want to tell a musician what to do. I don’t want to steal away from their genius. Having a trusting relationship allows us to do more together than we do apart.

On developing stage presence as a worship leader

I would say it was something I definitely had to develop. Your first time on stage is always awkward and you’re very aware of every movement you are making but as the Lord has helped me grow and  be freer in my own personal worship times and I’ve been able to transfer that to the platform. It’s really important to be authentic when we’re leading. If we as leaders are uptight then it can make the congregation feel the same way and that’s not in line with what we are trying to do.

On the songs that really connect with the church

I am always surprised by what our people grab onto. When you’re writing you never really know what God’s going to do with a song. You might wonder if anybody is even going to like what you’re doing. There are some that blow up the first time you lead them and others that take a few times. Ultimately we have to be aware of how a song is being received and used by the people we are serving.

On getting an authentic vocal performance

I really try to sit with a song a long time before I lead anybody with it. I sat with Available for months so when I sang it really came from a heart place. Even in a song like Never Lost, I was nervous singing that song because it was really out of my usual vocal style but being a part of the writing process and taking my time with it help me to communicate those words in a powerful way. I think you can really tell when people mean what they sing so I really try and internalize a song. Even if it’s not in my vocal wheelhouse, I know I can sing it because I have that conviction

On what makes you trustworthy 

You build trust by stewarding what you’re given well. If I’m just starting a song, I’m not going to take a 9 minute flow moment. I’m going to do what I’ve been asked. I want to honor the work and the time I’m given. I want to be consistent and dependable not only in my ability but even in my mood and approach. It builds trust.

Follow Tiffany Hudson and Elevation Worship on Instagram.

Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Jason Houtsma is the co-founder and guitar teacher at Worship Artistry, where he is helping musicians of every level answer the call to worship with passion and confidence. Jason has been leading worship and writing music since he was 15 years old and currently serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA. He is husband to Alli and father to Bjorn and Asher.

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