Beyond the Song by Jantina Baksteen
For this edition of Beyond the Song, it was great to get back with the Bates Family. These singers are no strangers to gospel music. They are from Pennsylvania and group members are Tim and LaDonna Bates, along with their daughter Laykin.
Jantina Baksteen: You’ve been traveling the roads since 1985. Are there things you have learned from all the years of singing every weekend? Is there a road story that stands out to you
Tim Bates: Sure, sometimes the road can be a weary place to be. However, it’s at those times that someone will approach you to let you know how much your music has meant to them and that gives you an even greater appreciation to walk in the calling that God has for your life, and to just keep doing the next right thing.
JB: Is there a road story that stands out to you?
TB: To pick one is hard, but if I had to pick the one that stands out in recent memory, it would be the time we were in North Carolina at a conference and I was preaching that Sunday morning. I had already had my sermon prepared and was ready to go, when just before it was time for me to preach, God changed everything and had me preach on the topic of addiction. At the altar call, there was a young man who responded, told me that the message was for him, that he prayed, “God if you still love me have the preacher preach about addiction today.” Turns out, it was the pastor’s son who was going through a divorce, caught his wife cheating, and turned to alcohol and pornography and lost his job. Two weeks after the conference was over, I had received a phone call from this young man telling me that God had restored his job and he won his court case to get custody of his children. Needless to say, we were both in tears as we rejoiced together. God knows how to love you back together.
JB: On the last interview, we talked about your song, ‘Somewhere Prayin’.” How was this song been received?
TB: “Somewhere Prayin’” has been a pretty special song for us. Besides it going (to the) Top 40 (music chart), we have heard from so many people across the country that have been directly impacted by the message in the song. And, it came to radio in the middle of the pandemic. Only God can orchestrate something like that. Some folks have called it our signature song. I’m not sure about that, but we enjoy staging it night after night.
JB: We all have roadblocks in our lives. How has your song writing reflected your own roadblocks?
TB: Of course, it is our life’s blood as a writer to be influenced by roadblocks, challenging times, moments that are out of our control. With that being said, there have been a ton of positive influences as well. I think, as a writer, you have to stay open minded to whatever creative opportunities may present themselves. I think, when you write about personal experiences, it has the potential to connect faster with the listener. We all go through things from time to time.
JB: Right now you have a new song out to radio entitled, “He Never Gave Up.” Please share with us about this song.
TB: “He Never Gave Up,” is about someone whose back is against the wall, feeling hopeless and afraid, and wondering why the struggles of life are lasting so long. They are really struggling with continuing their relationship with Christ, but somehow their faith carries them through to the realization that through it all “He Never Gave Up,” on them. One of the most powerful songs we have had the pleasure of recording.
JB: Your wife LaDonna takes the main vocal in the song and does an excellent performance. Does she have a story when she could say, “He Never Gave Up?”
TB: When she first heard the song, she fell in love with the lyrics. It reminded her of her stroke experience and she just knew she had to sing it. And I agree with you she did a great job on it. Here is a fun fact for you: This is the first song she sang lead on after her stroke. Isn’t that cool!
JB: Is there a song you wish you had written?
TB: Yes there is a song I wish I could’ve written! It’s called “Had It Not Been,” (written by Rusty Goodman).
JB: How does God reveal lyrics to you?
TB: Songwriting is a craft, just like a mechanic, doctor, contractor, etc. You have to work on your craft to be able to have the ability to connect with the listener. The best way for me to do that is to ask God to help me to work in the spirit of excellence and to anoint my creativity. Anoint means to have the ability to do a thing. Sometimes, I get the chance to co-write and other times I’m flying solo. At any rate, God gives the lyric and helps me craft it with the melody at the same time. I have always written in this fashion since I started in the early 80’s.
JB: Then there is young Laykin. She does an excellent job as a young artist. Does she have skills in writing too?
TB: Laykin is our 13 year old daughter and we are so proud of her. She absolutely loves music, and is currently taking piano. Not sure if that leads to songwriting or not; that is yet to be determined. LaDonna is teaching her harmony parts with us and she is catching on pretty quickly. It is such a blessing to get to sing as a family.
JB: What are her plans in life? Is she thinking of singing as her career?
TB: As far as a career goes, we hope that she will want to spend her life serving the Lord in this capacity, however, it will be her choice. We will be supportive no matter what.
JB: What is ahead for The Bates Family in 2021?
TB: Like other artists, to get back on the road again. And for me personally, I would love to expand my label Harmony House and do more work on the studio side of our ministry. I really enjoy that side of it.
JB: What is the best way to get in touch with you, to get your music or make a booking?
TB: The easiest way to get in touch is through our website batesfamilygospel.org . Just go to the contact page and you can find what you need to reach (us). You can also buy downloads or full projects, read about us in more detail, or if you want to see if we’re coming to your city, always check out our Bates Dates.
We hope you enjoy the Bates Family singing, “He Never Gave Up.” Click on the picture below for the audio version.
Thank you, Tim and LaDonna for once again sharing your ministry with SGNScoops. Many blessings in 2021. We pray that God will open doors for you to serve Him through song.