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|Marshall uses God-given talent to spread the gospel|
Tanisha Marshall has been dropping jaws with her vocal talents since the age of 7, when she decided that she wanted to sing and praise God through her music.
Jaws typically drop a little more after she tells people she has never had any formal vocal training.
The 28-year-old Pittsburg, Calif., native moved to West Monroe 12 years ago. These days she can be found every Sunday morning singing at First West (First Baptist Church) in West Monroe during the 8 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. services.
One day while doing some work at a recording studio in West Monroe (which is no longer open), someone heard her and introduced her to First West's Carvel Avis, the guitarist for the church. He invited her to sing at First West; she has been there ever since.
"I feel like God orchestrated that … I don't think I really went there (recording studio) to record an album," Marshall said. "I think God sent me there to meet Carvel to sing at First Baptist."
On Easter, she sang the last song, a solo, titled, "Lord You're Holy."
She says Christian songs always warm her heart. She hopes to one day have a career as a gospel singer.
"Music is my passion … ever since I was a little girl I've sang in choirs, and I just love to sing Christian songs," Marshall said.
She hopes her singing brings others closer to God. From some of the comments she has received from the audience over the years, she thinks it happens more often than not.
"I feel like everyone has a gift from God, and God has given me a voice," Marshall said. "That's why I do Christian music. I feel like this is my gift from God, so I'm giving the gift back."
Marshall also writes her own gospel music; she hopes to record her own songs one day.
"My dream and goal is, of course, to be educated, and my heart and desire is to make it in music ministry, however God moves me," she said.
Marshall plans to enroll at the University of Louisiana-Monroe in the summer as a nursing student. She currently works at St. Francis Medical Center as a surgery technologist assisting doctors and patients during surgeries.
Through her work in the medical field, Marshall says she is moved by the doctors and nurses who positively touch other's lives on a daily basis.
"I hear them talk about them touching lives and how rewarding that is for them," Marshall continued. "Well, this is my reward -- to let Jesus' spirit come inside me and then flow out through song and have it touch the hearts and lives and spirits of others.
"They'll come and tell me that they've been touched, and that's rewarding because it's not me, that's God that you feel. When I do sing, that's the Holy Spirit. I think that's amazing."