by Tracy Darlington
"You are beautiful just how you are. Remember, God made the most beautiful detail in a butterfly's wings ... and you think He made a mistake in you? Not hardly." --Plumb
Plumb (aka Tiffany Lee) got her start as a background singer for the group Benjamin, but it wasn't long before her first album hit the shelves in 1997. This self-titled cd produced the hits "Unforgiveable", "Crazy", and "Damaged".
She's since put out many more albums (including Chaotic Resolve, candycoatedwaterdrops, and Beautiful Lumps of Coal) and had her songs appear in movies and tv shows. Her latest, an album called Blink which is dedicated to her two sons Solomon and Oliver, shows us a mellower side to Plumb.
She sat down with us and talked about this album, what we can expect from
her in the future, the message she hopes listeners come away with, what she's
learned about God over the past couple years, and much more!
Tracy: What artists or bands have had the most impact on you and your development as a musician?
Plumb: Suzanne Vega, Alanis Morissette, Patty Griffin, Poe, Garbage, The Cure.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started in music?
To own your publishing no matter what. I do now… I didn’t when I was first signed.
You say in your bio, “your career is not something you planned; it found you.” Can you explain that?
I was working as a bank teller fresh out of high school to save money for college, where I planned to major in nursing. I got a call to sing back-up for a band from a family friend. After that, one opportunity came after the other, and I have simply tried my best since then to be faithful with those opportunities. So it literally found me.
Talk about the song “Children of the Heavenly Father” off your album Blink. Is there a story behind the track?
It’s an old hymn that the A&R guy (who found me and signed me in the beginning) sings to his 3 girls each night. He is a single father, and I have had the utmost respect for his efforts to raise his girls to be godly women, as well as the impact his life has had on mine. So, I dedicated this new arrangement to him and his girls.
What message do you hope people will come away with when they listen to Blink?
There are several. First, to keep a childlike faith. Second, no matter what is going on around you, if you belong to God, you are safe. And another, to keep dreaming. Those are just a few of the messages.
What’s your favorite song on the album and why?
I don’t think it’s possible to have a favorite on an album like this. But “In My Arms” is very close to my heart. It represents so well the entire project, and where I am at in life right now. It’s a message I so strongly believe in for my boys… that in Christ we are always safe.
Can we expect more mellower projects like Blink from you in the future?
I’ve made a career out of surprise, both in my own life and in the life of my art. So, there’s no way I can answer that. Ha. So wait and see what is next… I think you’ll like it.
What’s the biggest challenge in you career that you’ve had to face, and how did you get through it?
The biggest challenge was when I learned that to some, this is just a business and nothing more. And with that, seeing people compromise their integrity to make a buck made me want to leave it entirely. To get through that, realize I am not immune to the greed and vanity monster either, I welcomed more accountability in my own life. I also became more active in the church and distanced myself from a lot of the ‘business’ of the business and involved myself more in people than my work.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about God over the past couple years that really sticks out in your mind?
That I am free. He did not give me a spirit of fear, something I let reign and rule in my heart and life for a long time. Freedom in Christ is free. We were created to be Christians, to know him, live him, and share him and be found faithful in our generation. It’s the most rewarding thing I can imagine being a part of. It’s why we exist. And I don’t believe that comes from being afraid to be who he died for us to be. It comes from being the church he died for--without apologizing--and living the message of grace and peace and love. Real love.
Let’s say you’re sitting across from someone who’s not at all sure about this “Christianity thing.” what would you say to them?
I certainly wouldn’t focus on what I know, but on simply getting to know them and loving them just how they are . I’d leave an open door to answer any questions they may have.
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to reach their friends for Christ?
Really love them. Don’t judge them from a standard in which they do not know. It’s not your place. You just live that standard… show them grace, and peace, and love, and keep the door open to them always. Pray for them and for the opportunity to be the example you were created to be.
What steps would you give to a person who wants to get closer to God?
First, if you want to be closer to Him… all he longs for is to be close to you. So just talk to him. And listen. You get to know him by the dialogue of prayer, reading his Word, and in fellowshiping with his children by being an active part of the church. It’s amazing how fast the romance will blossom.
If you could say one thing to this generation what would you say?
Treat others exactly how you would want to be treated. Really think about that. In what you say about others, in how you extend grace to them, or maybe how you don’t. In being tolerant and patient while they learn about the same Jesus you might already know. Maybe they are learning about him in watching you.
And another soapbox of mine is for the ladies out there. Realize your inner beauty, and don’t feel so much pressure to let insecurity take front seat and be reflected by your dress and behavior, compromising your innocence. You are worth waiting for! You are beautiful just how you are. Remember, God made the most beautiful detail in a butterfly’s wings . . . and you think He made a mistake in you? Not hardly. Have the confidence to walk boldly and know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. The most attractive thing to a man is a strong sense of self (not ‘please look at my cleavage’).
What advice can you give to people who want to pursue their dreams, but don’t know where to start?
Start on your knees. He’ll open doors. Just be willing to walk through some you may not really want to, but should. And be okay if your dream for you isn’t his dream for you. Because His is best, and the most rewarding, place in the world to be.
What has been your most memorable on-the-road story?
Wow… there are a lot. I think praying with the bartender of the club we played at in South Carolina is pretty high up there. What a beautiful moment it was to see someone decide to follow Jesus.
When you’re not singing, what do you enjoy doing?
Doing anything with my husband. We especially love movies and playing with our two boys Solomon and Oliver.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Toast and ginger ale . . . I am on the morning sickness diet, Ha.
You’re next in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering?
Caramel steamer with skim milk, add the whipped crème on top!
What’s left unchecked in your “goals for life” list?
To write a book and act in a film.
What’s currently in your cd player/ipod?
Colbie. The ‘Once’ soundtrack. Snow patrol, Baby Einstein lullabys, and demos I am pitching via my publishing company.
When was the last time you cried?
Last night. I was putting Solomon to bed and looking at his face . . . his eyes closed . . . and I was praying for him. Thankfully he was sound asleep or he’d have been freaked out as I sobbed thanking God for him and asking God to keep him safe from harm of all kinds and to walk with him hand in hand for his whole life.
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.