Updated: Jan 27
Ministering through music or poetry is an art form, as unique as the person delivering the message. Being able to use your voice as an instrument is one thing, being able to move people with your words and sounds is another. There is a difference between ministering through music and just singing a song or reciting a poem. There is a genuine message that moves through the person that intently connects them to their audience. One that allows them to relate to the experiences of others even if their experience is not identical to theirs. Through song, spoken word or poetry, the message can help one forget problems, feel support or joy or somehow helps in that moment. Maybe ministry through art goes as far as offering new hope and courage. But that message has to be delivered by the right person; the right somebody. Tell me... are YOU that somebody?
Cookie Gamble is that somebody. From her sounds and words as a songstress, as the poet or as the spoken word artist, the message is always God-bodied and authentic, ministering to all...often bringing comfort, healing and encouragement to those whom which she engages. She is versatile and fluid, moving from poetry to music to acting to songwriting.
As a songwriter, Cookie contributed to the soundtrack of The Seat Filler, for which she co-wrote two songs, "Follow Your Destiny" and "I Need A Love," performed by Kelly Rowland in the movie. As a singer, Cookie has toured with both Jessica Simpson and BabyFace and has appeared on The Ellen Show with Christina Aguilera, in guest appearances on BET, CBS and, FOX, and in the 2006 film DreamGirls. Cookie’s vocals can be heard on Christina Aguilera's #1 album Back To Basics , on Patti Labelle’s Classic Moments, and featured on Michael Bublé's "That's Life" under the direction of David Foster and Mervyn Warren. Cookie also studied acting under the great Ivana Chubbuck in California.
Cookie, Tell me your story:
I know you as a performer, poet, actress, writer, singer and advocate. How would you define Cookie Gamble?
CG: Cookie is a nickname that was given to me in middle school. I was born in Edenton North Carolina as Clorishey, pronounced Clor-ree-sha. I am family oriented, a wife, daughter, sister, business woman and friend who loves the simple things in life like a good laugh, movie, a great conversation and hanging out with friends and family. As I was growing up, friends and family would always tell me that there was something different about me. I was creative and dressed differently with other differentiating factors and certain people that recognized this tried to make me feel like I was strange because I did not want to follow the crowd. Through this experience, I positioned myself to support the underdog, misunderstood or the least likely. I would consider myself a lifelong learner who strives to invest my time in adding value to my family, friends and community through education, love, true friendship and being a model of a good steward of what God has blessed me with. I love God and work to contribute to Kingdom fulfillment. To sum it up, I am an ordinary person who God has blessed with gifts and talents who has made herself available to allow God's supernatural to operate through me for God's Will on earth.
When performing or asked to perform, how do you determine your message? What is your process?
CG: I am highly selective regarding the types of invitations I accept for ministry in the church, community and marketplace. I say ministry because I consider my art to be ministry no matter what arena I am in due to the content and context of the type of art I deliver. I first ask God to reveal to me if it is ok for me to accept the invite. If He says no, then I don't. If He says yes, then I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to me the type of message that needs to be brought forth and the style in which it needs to be delivered. People receive differently through different styles. The Spirit of God will tell me if I need to lead with rap, poetry, singing, empowerment speaking or a mix of them all. Everything is not for everyone but when the Spirit leads, I trust that what needs to happen and how it needs to happen is fulfilled for the purpose of what God needs for that particular audience when I obey the voice of the Lord. This is important for God’s work to be done through me and not for an ego boost! I weigh it against what I stand for and who I represent, which is God and myself whose mission is to uplift, inspire, empower, enlighten, encourage and be a light in this world.
You use music to minister to the people. Do you find your outward worship and testimony to be well received? Have you had an experience where it was not?
CG: People have always been receptive overall but there have been times in which certain people express their preference of poetry over rapping or singing over spoken word. Prophet Kevin Harris spoke over me during a worship service at Greater Love Tabernacle church (Boston) and he said " you are talented, but you are anointed!" He followed that by saying " the church is going to challenge you, but you tell them my ministry is not for you, it is for them." Them meaning those outside of the four walls of the church. Mark 16:15 states "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation". God has called and chosen me to bring the good news to all, not just those behind the four walls. I love people period, saved or not saved. Most of my messages are very universal as I speak to the human experience through my art as well.
Considering the people whom you wish to reach, what kinds of music or media do you think best reaches them (i.e. spoken word, song, gospel – a soup of all ingredients)?
CG: Music is universal and different genres/styles reach different people. Music is supposed to be unique, different and have the ability to touch people in many ways. When I approach writing, I don't force a message to be, I pray and God downloads what needs to be shared during a specific season to a specific group of people or I take a deep dive within myself to seek out what I am burdened with at the time. Our talents are not given to us to show off and say "look at me, I can sing or dance," it is to inspire, motivate, inform and transform in some cases. With that being said, it is not every artist's responsibility to try to reach every type of person with the style of music they authentically create. It is that artist's responsibility to hear, create and deliver the message God inspires at the time until God shifts them into another assignment. This is my perspective and how God communicates with me.
Mark 16:15 states "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation".
We are often led to our purpose through our passions, even when we fight against it. What are some of your passions and do you see your passions as your purpose (or elements of your purpose)? Please share an example.
CG: I do see a close relation in the things I am passionate about and my purpose. They are connected for the most part. I am passionate about lots of things but If I had to share a few the first would be the ability to be creative. I love that we as people can think about something and then create, to bring it to life! That is such a blessing and so amazing to me. I am passionate about helping the youth understand their identity and their "why." I love acting! I do not talk about this much but the times in which I had the opportunity to play parts in theatre productions, a tv show or a movie, I absolutely fell in love with the art of embracing the script and embodying the character. There is something about it that makes me feel like I am truly exercising a part of me that God intended to live out loud! I am passionate about singing, my family and the opportunity to have great substance filled conversations.
If someone asked you to describe your personal strengths, what would you tell them?
CG: I have encountered many hardships and situations in life that most people do not make it out of. I may write about it in a book at some point but through it all, I learned that I am very resilient. I also learned that a large part of the resilience comes from me wanting to fulfill God's Will and be there for my family. I try to always see the good in people and situations first. There are days when I feel down but I always find a way to speak positively over others regardless of how I feel and it is genuine. Once I set my mind on a goal, I get it done. I am disciplined when it comes to education and learning, respectful, friendly, authentic, organized, funny, social and I work well with others.
Do you have any areas in which you desire to grow or are currently working on improving?
CG: God told me that 2021 was a year to invest in me. I spend lots of time pouring into other people because I have a heart for people. I have done this to the point of burn out. I am always stressing the importance of self-care to others, now it is time that I give back to myself the way I have given to others in this season. This can be hard when it is like second nature for me to care for others but this season is different. This is a year to make sure the foundation of business, family and education is firmly rooted for longevity. I am working for legacy! I have vision and not just a dream. This is the reason why some things take longer to manifest! I invested in self development and discovery over the last year. I used this season to learn more about me, things I like and things that I do not care for but it has allowed me to see me and address what needs to be dealt with in order to become a better me. I enrolled in Leader school under Apostle Matthew Stevenson out of Chicago in 2020 and will complete graduation in 2021. God gave me a plan and directions during the pandemic. He accelerated me in some areas and positioned me to grow and execute my 2020 goals in which I successfully accomplished during 2020!
You are a leader and an advocate for the youth. What are some of the qualities needed to effectively engage the youth and to help empower them to be leaders?
CG: Advocates and youth supports should be integral, great listeners, show empathy, be selfless, have the right intentions and motives, be loving, kind and value themselves in order to properly teach them how to value themselves. A great way to empower youth is by helping them discover the greatness within them and helping them finetune their gifts to be excellent!
How would you describe your vision of what you would love to see nurtured and developed more within our youth culture and within our collective community?
CG: I work across multiple industries, many of which also help engage Boston’s youth with creative expression. Since 2017, I have occupied one of the judges’ seats for the Poetry Out Loud competition and also acted as a judge for the Louder Than A Bomb Poetry Competition. In my roles as an empowerment speaker and poet, I have shared the stage with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Mayor Marty Walsh, Mayor Thomas Menino, and Bishop William Dickerson, Pastor of Greater Love Tabernacle Church in Dorchester. I support my community and I assist in different ways whenever I can but I carry a burden for Teens. As a Teen Director, I make myself available to youth that need good role models and mentors that are intentional about properly cultivating them by providing healthy atmospheres, helping them build great relationships and value themselves. I provide spaces for education, programs and resources. Sometimes I just listen so they know their voices matter. I do believe that it takes a community to help raise the youth but people have to be intentional about making themselves available to assist. We have to show up and really help when and where we can. We have to ask about the specific needs and if you are not skilled in that area to properly assist, refer someone else who is but do not hinder that person's life trying to posture yourself as a mentor for optics. These are people's lives we are affecting and I take that seriously. I would love for the community to continue working together for successful outcomes.
What can we expect from you in the near future? Do you have any current or developing projects?
CG: I am currently working on a number of exciting upcoming projects. I will be releasing new poetry and music soon, both of which will primarily focus on faith, empowerment, and positivity. My husband and I will soon be launching a clothing brand focusing on uplifting messages promoting healthy lifestyles, healthy relationships, healthy communities, and self-care through visual imagery. I have a song on the compilation album project Sidiooo Vol.1 titled "Most High. "I will be releasing a few songs in the near future in collaboration with one of my producers Eric Seats (Aaliyah, Beyonce, Missy and others) who produced Project Sidiooo Vol. 1. I am especially excited about this one joint titled "Testify!" I truly believe that God gave me these lyrics. I believe my lyrics are divinely inspired by God and provide messages of hope, direction, clarity, warning and preparation for our society as a whole and individually as it pertains to life. I will also be launching an online mentoring and consulting agency for established and upcoming performing artists.
Are there any words of advice or encouragement you’d like to offer our readers?
CG: Be sure to always do your own research on a topic or issue. Never agree with people just for the sake of agreeing with the majority. If you feel differently about something, do not be afraid to express what you feel but also keep an open mind and know that feelings are not always facts! You expressing your difference in thought could be the very thing that releases you or someone else from their bondage, introduces the next innovative idea or invention that helps mankind! Remember to love and create! Life is short but while we have it, let's manifest all that God has allowed us to see so our vision and dreams don't end up in the grave! Go forth and be great!
Follow Cookie on social media, email for performance bookings and check out her business (even better, join her team)!
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