Former Katy Perry Back-Up Singer Turned Down Pop Stardom to Serve God Through Christian Music

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MAY 28: Tasha Layton performs during the 10th Annual K-LOVE Fan Awa
Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Christian singer Tasha Layton, a former American Idol contestant and back-up singer for star Katy Perry, says she turned down a chance at pop stardom to dedicate herself to Christian music and serving God.

Layton’s new release, “Never,” is climbing the Christian music charts and is based on her own journey of turning to God during tough times, Fox News reported.

“When I was growing up, I wanted to be in ministry full-time,” Layton told Fox News. “I wanted to be married with a family. I just had this picture of what I wanted life to look like. I was in my 30s and that still hadn’t happened. I just thought, ‘What’s wrong with me? God, are you holding out on me? Did I do something to deserve this?’ The deepest part of my heart wanted this thing and it wasn’t happening. I just felt like I was forgotten and abandoned.”

She added that she wanted to highlight that journey with “Never.”

The singer said that in 2010 she joined a few friends at an American Idol audition at the Rose Bowl in California and found out she would have to sign up if she wanted to hang out with them. She did end up putting her name on the list even though she thought the chances were slim she or any of her friends would get into the contest.

“I thought everyone was crazy. There’s 14,000 people coming to the Rose Bowl and they’re only choosing 300. Like, none of us have a shot. This is just for fun. And then when I got picked… I was like, ‘Oh, I gotta follow through with this now!'” she told Fox.

She was right about American Idol, though. Neither she nor her friends got near the winner’s circle. But not long afterward, she was asked to audition as a back-up singer for pop singer Kesha. She was quickly offered the job and was told she would be leaving for Japan almost immediately. But then she turned it down because it didn’t seem to be a job she really wanted.

“I just felt that small voice say, ‘Don’t do it,’” she explained. “I had gone against that voice enough in life… So I called them and I said, ‘I’m so sorry. I just feel like maybe this isn’t right for me.’ And they were so gracious.”

But fate was not yet done with her. After worrying she was “self-sabotaging” her singing career, the same day she was supposed to be at her first Kesha rehearsal, she was asked to audition as a back-up singer for Katy Perry.

“At 2 p.m., the same time I was supposed to be starting rehearsal with Kesha, I get a call from Katy Perry’s manager. ‘Can you be here in 20 minutes?’” Layton told Fox. “I had taken off my 9-5 to go to this other rehearsal. So, I downloaded the song on my phone, and I learned it on the way to [the studio in] Hollywood. I was the last girl of the day. I met Katy, spoke with her for a few minutes, auditioned, and then I got a call the next day. I needed to show up for rehearsal, and we were leaving for Madison Square Garden on Friday.”

Layton went on to say that Perry was a fantastic boss despite the pressures on her and took the high impact life of a pop star in stride.

It was her turn with Perry that garnered notice from producers who thought that Layton might be a good candidate to be the next Katy Perry. But Layton says she “had no interest in it at all” in the offers of fame and fortune. And she says it was being so close to Perry and how hard the life of a pop star was that turned her against the idea. It just wasn’t Godly enough, she felt.

“Having experienced that culture and that pressure from being on the road with Katy and seeing it firsthand, I got a bird’s-eye view of how damaging it can be to your soul,” Layton said. “And I just missed singing songs that directly connected people to God. I’ve always led worship in church. And you know, when I’m on my deathbed looking back, I’m not going to care that I built a career. I’m going to care that I helped people. I just didn’t see how a mainstream deal and the music that they wanted me to sing, the kind of thing that they wanted me to do, was going to be helpful for anyone and much less, connect people to who I believe is the creator of the universe.”

“And there’s so much icky stuff that goes on behind the scenes with that kind of thing that it didn’t really tempt me at all,” Layton added. “I think there was a lot of money thrown at me to do that kind of thing, to do that kind of music, a pop album by a big label. And it wasn’t hard to turn it down.”

She said that after her years with Perry she felt “stuck” but her faith in God helped propel her on.

“That’s the impetus for everything that I do,” said Layton. “I want [people] to see God’s hand in my life over the years, through the valleys and the hard times… And when they see God’s hand in my story, my prayer is that they’ll be able to see God in their stories, too.”

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