Pop artist Beckah Shae is gold. She’s been refined by fire and polished to a sweet, smooth finish. Now, she’s emerging, armed for life’s battles. She’s up for the challenge with her fierce new album, Destiny, a collection of songs born out of a wealth of experience.
The beginning of her journey was marked by hardship and depravity. Her parents divorced when she was young, and her mom went on to remarry several times. Her mother came from a Jewish family; therefore, Shae grew up around her extended family’s Jewish traditions, yet also attended church and Sunday School thanks to her mom’s early conversion to Christianity. She credits her mother as being a key influence in her spiritual development. Although she moved often growing up, Shae stayed mostly on the West Coast or in New Jersey, where her father lived. A self-proclaimed “conformist,” during her unstable teenage years were a barrage of raves, Tijuana and Vegas, fake I.D.s, experimental drugs and eating disorders leading to depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. “The enemy had me confused. I was considered the ‘good’ one in the bad environments I found myself in, so I really didn’t realize how lost I was, or who I was,” Shae shares.
In her early 20s and at an all-time low, Shae moved to Las Vegas and joined a cover band, healing from a broken heart after a failed relationship. In the midst of “Sin City,” Shae began to feel emptiness creeping in. Searching for some sense of home, she found a church online and attended a worship service there. This was a turning point.
“During the worship service, I was crying out to the Lord, ‘Make a way out for me. I’m so sorry.’” She soon encountered a woman at the church who suggested she move to Nashville and pursue her gift of singing—a talent and calling Shae discovered at an early age. Shortly after, Shae moved to Music City. “Moving to Nashville was an act of obedience and faith, which God honored,” says Shae.
Now, hearing Shae communicate passionately about her beliefs, her husband of seven years and their two daughters, it’s hard to believe this is the same person who grew up in rented spaces, trailer parks and battered women’s shelters. Her struggles with identity are hard to imagine when she radiates with self-assurance. “To see yourself the way God sees you is the beginning of freedom,” says Shae. “Together truth and love reveal what’s real and what’s not. You can’t have one without the other. Truth is ineffective without love, and love simply does not exist apart from the truth! I’m passionate about exposing the enemy and his attempt to rob God’s people of their purpose and self-worth by convincing them to accept a false truth and identity.”
The confident singer and songwriter has already experienced immense success in her short career. She’s appeared on Jonny Lang’s Turn Around (A&M), TobyMac’s Tonight (ForeFront) and, most recently, on the title track of Montell Jordan’s new album, Shake Heaven (Victory World Music). In 2010, she garnered two consecutive Top 10 hits at CHR radio (“Here In This Moment” and “Life”) and was featured as iTunes’ “Discovery Download” of the week. Shae received her first Dove Award nomination in 2011 in the category of Urban Recorded Song of the Year for “Life.” Her discography already includes four independent projects: Butterfly (2006), Joy (2008), Emmanuel (2010) and Life (2010).
Today, Beckah Shae is a woman living out her artistic calling through her fifth album, Destiny, an explosion of club beats and bold color. Her music is flavored by Top 40 influences à la Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Rihanna. However, her lyrics and lifestyle couldn’t be more different from these platinum-selling pop culture icons riding the tumultuous waves of superstardom. “I’ve spent time researching the artists and lyrics to the songs topping the charts, because I’m interested in what is being released and received by this generation; and I found myself feeling physically sick afterward,” reveals Shae. “What one generation tolerates, the next embraces, and I will not be held accountable for being silent about the things that I know are offensive and harmful not only to God but also to my children.”
Shae regrets that there aren’t more alternatives available to counteract the negativity found in mainstream music but is doing her part to provide a healthy supplement with a relevant sound. “People are only listening to what’s being handed to them,” she says. “It’s up to us to give them something more to help renew their minds. We are a desperate people, starving for truth, and it can only be revealed by the living God through the power of His Holy Spirit.”
Destiny—produced by Shae’s husband, Jack “Shoc” Shocklee (Montell Jordan, TobyMac, Group 1 Crew)—may have the same beats that current Top 40 hits use to entice listeners, but the songs serve as a wake-up call for this generation. “This album is an anthem for the army of God, for those who are surrendered and focused on their purpose and mission to be strengthened, encouraged and ready for battle. It’s also a wake-up call for those who aren’t ready, to get in line, get in position and be reminded that God’s greatest victory is but a breath away.”
Shae’s posture is one of love—the kind that is both given and received. “I believe the most necessary thing in order to share God’s love, is to first truly receive God’s love... to spend time in His presence where He can remind us of who we are and how He sees us. That’s where I find my strength to share. We can’t pour out anything unless we’ve first been poured in to,” says Shae.
“Love is the universal language of God. Paul urges us, ‘Make love your highest aim.’ This is what we have to be after. Love should be everything we’re seeking; for without it, everything means nothing. I wanted to create a movement that will stir up love and good works,” she explains. Her perspective is best reflected in “#putyourloveglasseson” from the new album.
Shae lives this out in tangible ways through her work with ministries like Kids Alive, an organization that rescues abandoned and orphaned children; and the A21 campaign, which creates awareness and demands justice for victims of human trafficking.
Shae says of the winding road she has traveled, “I know God’s allowed me to endure all the things I’ve gone through in life just to know Him better and develop a true compassion and genuine love for people. I’m on a mission to dive deeper into the heart of God, and I’m committed to sharing the truth and treasures I find while I’m in there! I am just one voice rising up to proclaim God’s truth and power for such a time as this. A great and terrible day is at hand, and it is my desire that through songs of victory, we will usher revelation and courage to those who are hungry, thirsty and willing to follow the narrow road.”