We had the good fortune of connecting with La’Kea Stokes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi La’Kea, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
If you had asked me this question 4 years ago, I would probably say “NO” to risk taking. No! absolutely NOT. Fear has been a big factor in me not pursuing my passion/career fully. I always knew I was talented but never felt good enough, you know? Comparison is a real thing and can be paralyzing. I’ve learned that confidence is half the battle! If you can let fear go, you’re halfway there! I am a very eclectic person, but gospel music is my first love. As a kid I would often remix secular songs and change them to Gospel songs. When I turned 30, something happened! It’s like I was born again, but this time as a Dare Devil. I decided I would pursue my career in full force. I began a journey to becoming an independent gospel artist but with a secular r&b sound, risky huh? I know! I started referring to myself as the “planter”. In 1 corinthians 3:7 it talks about how one man planted the seed, another watered it and God gave the increase. I feel like my music, will be the music that peaks the listeners interest (the planter) , someone else can “water” and then the ultimate goal is accomplished, increase in the kingdom of God! If that means going against the grain, taking a few risk, then sign me up! I’m here for it! I was always told to do me, stay in my lane. This is my lane. I’m cruising, and risking but so far I’ve had great results! Your gift will always make room for you, as long as you’re not afraid to be YOU. .
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I would say I am definitely something you wouldn’t expect to hear in my genre. It kind of reminds me of the Legendary Clark Sister’s story. Like them, I too grew up in the church with a C.O.G.I.C background. I was always interested in different types of music but I was only allowed to listen to Gospel. The Clark sisters broke barriers when they remixed Stevie Wonders’ song ‘Master Blast’. The song “You Brought the Sunshine” went on to be very successful in both genres. My first single ‘What A Friend” was a remake of the classic hymn What A Friend We have in Jesus. It starts out very tradition, and quickly turns into a dance song with plenty of 808’s and trap sounds. I think, things like that are what sets me apart. I brand myself to be an artist for the church as well as the Unchurched! Wether you’re in church every Sunday or just on Easter, You can still relate to my music. Although I find it rewarding to bring something new and fresh, it can also be challenging. I don’t make music that your praise and worship team can necessarily sing on Sunday Mornings so it can be hard for Gospel radio to find a “fit” for my music. I’ve learned to find other ways to get my music heard, often taking my ques from other genres. I’ve gone so far as to pitch and ultimately had my songs played on several secular stations. My latest single Performance (Work God) will feature a full length visual to go along with the unique song inspired by Jeremiah 1:12. I’m very excited about this journey. With no manager, No funding or real industry backing I’m still building a solid fan base and streams are increasing monthly. I know this journey takes time but I’m excited to see where this thing goes. I’m just a girl from Fort Worth, raised in a single parent household, no father, married at 19 and I’ve seen so many struggles. (Definitely a while book in its self) Nothing comes easy and I’m no longer waiting for a seat at the table but rather building my own table!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’re definitely hitting up Madea’s Down home cooking for dinner! OK, let me back up I got excited about those ox tails and collard greens! I sleep in on Saturday’s but brunch is always in order. Between Snooze and The Social House, those are my go to brunch spots! Shopping in Clear fork is always a must, actually anything in clear fork! It is so much to do! When it’s time to hit the town Deep Ellum in Dallas is a cool place to hang. They have many live bands featured on any given day. You can literally go from one bar to the next and enjoy great live music. This may sound weird but I love going to the casino with my favorite girl (my granny) don’t judge me. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t go and spend my mortgage and tithes money, but I will indulge if I have an extra $20 laying around. It’s like the adult Chuck E Cheese! haha!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Definitely! First Giving all honor, Praise and the biggest shout out to God! Without Him, there is no me! Period! My husband (Greg) and three children Greg, Ka’Lea and Adia they have got to be my biggest fans! They encourage me, critique me and yell for me the loudest. My Grandmother who is my best friend! My choir Director of the first choir I was apart of and my first introduction to singing in a organized setting, Valarie Hines (Aunt Val). My high school choir teacher Jewell Kelly both of these woman were very influential in developing my stage presence and singing with passion. I don’t officially have a team but I have a few friends that I call and they are always willing to make it happen for me. So shoutout to my unofficial team! I was blessed with amazing family and in loves! The support is on 1,000 with all of my endeavors. For the past 7 years I’ve been a background singer for Tamela Mann and the things that I’ve learned from her and her husband David are priceless! Last but certainly not least, my mother! She recognized my talent at an early age and cultivated my gift. She would literally drive me all over the city and surrounding states, to sing! It’s kind of like if Ike Tuner, Joe Jackson and Dr.Mattie Moss-Clark had a baby. It would be my Mom! She only accepted excellence and Her sacrifice is unmatched!
Evelyn Jones-Reed, Brandon Allen Photography