Nominee at the 10th annual LA Music Awards
17th LA Music Awards Showcase series event
In a time when musical originality in artists has given way to constant duplication, Lisa LaShawn stands as an experienced voice in the gospel music industry today with distinguishable lyrics. With phenomenal vocal passion, Lisa electrifies audiences in her event appearances. Her music has been heard nationally and she hopes her music will reach the international masses to change lives.
Lisa LaShawn was born Lisa LaShawn McClain to Cedric and Maggie (Barnes) McClain in Panama City, Florida. Lisa LaShawn developed a passion for music when she began singing at the age of 6 in her home church, St. Paul A.M.E. Her mother pushed her to sing and lead songs in the church choir and her father soon became her biggest fan. Lisa LaShawn wrote her first tune at the age of 6 and wrote her first song at the age of 8. She was asked to lead songs for many events starting at a young age, resisting at times while she was still young but always feeling and recognizing the tug and call on her life for gospel music ministry. While at St. Paul A.M.E., Lisa LaShawn participated as a delegate to the annual Sunday School Convention and participated in the Young Peoples Division (YPD) in addition to singing in the choir. Lisa LaShawn attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL upon graduation from high school for her first two years of college where she sang 1st soprano with the University Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. Ronald Burrichter and with the University Gospel Choir under the direction of Pastor David Richardson. Also, while a student at the University of Florida, Lisa was chosen as a finalist in the B.E.T. Annual Talent Search Show held in Gainesville where she won 2nd place in the vocalist division as a member of the Panama City Crew. During her sophomore year, she returned home to Panama City where she finished her A.A. degree and continued in discipleship and growth by joining Free Spirit Community Church where she participated in a special praise ensemble. She also ministered on occasion with Pastor Darrel Kelly, a.k.a. D-Poetic Preacha of Free Spirit. Simultaneously, Lisa LaShawn sang and toured the United States with the New Gulf Coast Youth Association Choir of Panama City, Florida as a young adult. As an alto in this choir, Lisa shared the stage with Daryl Coley at a concert at Greater Bethel A.M.E. church in Panama City, Florida and shared the stage with Bobby Jones on the Bobby Jones Gospel show on the Black Entertainment Network (BET).
In late 1996, Lisa moved to Tallahassee, Florida and finished her Bachelor’s degree in accounting at the Florida State University College of Business. The next year, she joined Celebrate New Life Tabernacle (CNLT) in Tallahassee under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Dr. Joseph W. Henderson where she acted in several capacities over the 12 years of membership including choir director for 5 years, praise and worship leader, choir member, praise team member, finance worker, speaker on tax education at summer Vacation Bible School (VBS), and deaconess. It was in 1998 while ministering praise and worship at CNLT that God showed Lisa the vision of herself ministering in song before multitudes or “seas” of people, spreading his love and his word and his comfort through song. She accepted invitations to minister as praise and worship psalmist for the CNLT Annual Women’s Ministry Retreats. At CNLT, her desire for things of God and the fruits of the spirit grew stronger and her passion for music ministry grew too. The two songs she wrote in 1998 “He Is” and “All My Days” were on her first project released in 2003, Lisa LaShawn. During this time, Lisa shared the stage with gospel artist and producer, Troy Sneed, where she and her daughter participated in his music workshop at Jacobs Chapel in Tallahassee, Florida singing in the alto section.
In 2003, Lisa LaShawn submitted an original song to the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) to enter a national talent show. She was selected as a semi-finalist and traveled with her daughter to the regional semi-finalist round in Orlando, Florida where Lisa sang her original song “All My Days” and won a finalist spot for the TBN television show. For the taping of the TBN talent show, Lisa LaShawn’s children, her daughter and her toddler son at the time, and long-time family friend and gospel recording artist, L. Michell, traveled to Nashville, Tennessee during the summer of 2003. As part of the TBN Exalting Him Talent Search broadcast, Lisa LaShawn debuted her original song, “All My Days” on TBN in November 2003 which aired again in January 2004. Though LaShawn did not win this competition, there was no other artist who debuted a gospel song with its uniqueness and contemporary, high-praise nature on the show. She realized after this wonderful experience that her vocal and lyrical gifts would not be discovered by way of talent shows and competitions but that God would reveal his music through her in other ways, such as ministry opportunities at events and through her music albums.
In 2008, Lisa LaShawn began to minister as guest psalmist for several local churches in Tallahassee and Panama City that did not have fully-developed praise teams or needed a psalmist for special events. The next year, she left Celebrate New Life Tabernacle with the blessings and covering prayer of her pastor to pursue a call to assist with the praise and worship team of a newer ministry in Tallahassee, Truthgatherers Community Church (TGCC). Under the leadership of Pastors Joseph and Robbin Davis at TGCC, Lisa LaShawn, affectionately known there as Sis. Lisa, has soared in writing songs of the Lord many times ministered in God’s presence during the worship services at TGCC and has continued her growth tremendously as a praise and worship leader. Lisa LaShawn continues to minister occasionally as a guest psalmist for local and regional churches who do not have a full praise team. She is also a volunteer planning member for the TGCC Women’s Ministry, Ladies of Virtue and Excellence, L.O.V.E., where one of her passions is assisting with events geared toward domestic violence prevention.
In 2010, Lisa launched a non-profit outreach effort, S.O.O.N.A., Speaking Out On Nonphysical Abuse, focused on raising awareness about nonphysical abuse and teaching/training through her inspired writings on what true Christian love looks like and feels like. While allowing God to heal her from a past of abusive relationships, she applied to and was accepted into a Masters Program for Human Services and began writing and publishing articles on abuse and hope for the abuser and the abused as given by the Holy Spirit. Lisa produced the first S.O.O.N.A. newsletter in January of 2010 and the outreach effort has grown with over 300 people receiving each issue. The songs Lisa writes touch the lives of those who need healing in all areas.
The songs Lisa LaShawn writes are mostly birthed out of life experiences or songs of the Lord from worship experiences inspired by the Holy Spirit about: trusting God when you can’t see your way, holding on to holiness in the face of divers temptations, submitting your will unto God’s will, your rights as a kingdom citizen, loving God’s people, God’s love for His people, encouraging yourself in God, proclaiming the blessing of God, beseeching the Holy God, and giving praise to the great God who loves us so much and always makes a way. Lisa LaShawn has a catalog of more than 80 songs she has written, and the one she chose for the title cut of this new release is “Amazing Love” because the theme of the release is how amazing God’s love is. The upcoming project with this title cut share Lisa LaShawn’s testimonies of regardless of what life throws at you, regardless of how others turn their back on you or have abused you, God will use all these things as stepping stones to transform you into the image of His Son Jesus Christ taking you to your next destination of glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). During this period of late 2011 and crossing into the new year 2012, it was during this time finding herself alone that God inspired Lisa LaShawn to invest in herself and in her ministry gifts of singing and writing and music and to step out on faith conquering fears she has had for a long time…including the fear of being alone. She attended a UF Gospel Alumni Choir reunion at the end of March 2012 after many years of being afraid to return to the campus and face the memories of horrible things she experienced there as a young adult. At the alumni reunion concert, she led a song with the alumni choir “Thank You Lord for ALL You’ve Done for Me” and God used her mightily to minister the song not as a victim, but as a victor and an over-comer with His power and strength! Lisa LaShawn testifies that though you may seem alone because no one is physically there with you, though you have endured unthinkable acts and been let down so much by life and by people, and though the enemy may try to immobilize you with horrible life events and thoughts of your past, you are 1) never alone because God is with you, 2) you can forgive people even for the most horrendous acts they’ve done, 3) you can be and are forgiven for your sins, and 4) truly loved by God with an “AMAZING LOVE”! Lisa LaShawn’s new EP project entitled “AMAZING LOVE” is expected to be released in the fall of 2013!