Grammy-nominated artist Ricardo Sanchez will release his new album, Taste + See on Friday, and the Mexican born singer says the diverse collection of tunes is a reflection of Heaven's diverse love and acceptance of all of God's children.
Taste + See is Sanchez's first project in nearly two years, and will be released through Difference Media, a division of John Hagee Ministries, founded by the popular evangelical pastor. The album was recorded live during a taping attended by The Christian Post at San Antonio's Cornerstone Church.
The album features 10 eclectic selections that showcase Sanchez's signature Latin and Caribbean grooves, in addition to his jazz and funk influences. The Dove Award-winning singer/songwriter wrote and co-penned and produced the entire album with Louie Higuera.
Sanchez is best known for writing some of the most influential songs in modern worship, including "Power of the Cross," "I Call Your Name," "Great God," "The Power of One" and "It's Not Over (When God Is In It)," recorded by Israel & New Breed. He's also a renowned mentor and teacher on worship, offering popular Windows 2 Worship seminars.
The following is an edited transcript of Sanchez's interview with CP in which he discusses the heart behind Taste + See, the role of Christians in America, and the heart of God concerning racism and hate.
CP: Taste + See is your first album in two years, we'd love to know your heart behind it?
Sanchez: If you include some of my Independent projects, this is my eighth full-length album. You definitely see an evolution of lyrics, music and relationship with God through my various projects. When my label challenged me to do a live worship record again, I was quickened to the idea of a more "soulful approach" musically. I not only want listeners to hear the message of Jesus and be encouraged in their faith, I also wanted them to have a good time while listening to the music. I hope everyone enjoys it.
CP: We love that you are the writer behind some of the biggest songs in modern Christian music. How do you go from doing Tejano music to contemporary music?
Sanchez: Thank you. I'm flattered to even be considered in that category. My honest answer is that I never set out to achieve that specific goal. I'm a pretty straightforward cat. I write and produce what is on my heart — whatever I'm going through and whatever God is taking me through, and I've been blessed to have people record, produce and buy our music. I'm a Christian man who happens to be Latino, not a Latino who happens to be a Christian. Truth be told, I've just tried to be faithful to what God has placed before me. I've simply planted and watered and God's the one who has brought the increase (I Corinthians 3:7).
CP: You have a heart for worship and want to see others get to that place of true worship. What advice do you have for believers who are distracted with the political climate and DACA?
Sanchez: I've heard it said that worship is a lifestyle. When it comes right down to it, music has very little to do with worship. If we are supposed to be more like God, and God never changes, then we are the ones who need to change. Sometimes reading the Bible and believing the Bible are two different things. Galatians 2:20 tells us we are dead to ourselves (our flesh) and Proverbs 3:5-6 says we must TRUST in God. Between those two truths alone, we have nothing to fear and we can put all of our concerns into the hands of our Savior because He has everything under control.
CP: How do you keep yourself from getting caught up in the cares of this life? What would you say is the role of believers in this day and age?
Sanchez: You tell me and then we'll both know! Seriously, I work out my faith EVERY DAY. I've been in full-time ministry since 1984 and three things I've come to know are this:
1. There is no such thing as a professional Christian.
2. We are all SINNERS saved by God's amazing grace.
3. Nobody is ever too far gone to be rescued by God.
I believe the role of the Christian today is to show the world the love of Jesus. I know that may sound overly simplistic, but the Church has gotten too accustomed to judging. We need to get back to the basics of our walk with Jesus and let the overflow of that relationship translate into really caring for and loving people.
CP: Your new music is a mixture of all types of styles and flavors, would you say that's how God wants the Church to be?
Sanchez: Yes, I truly believe Heaven will look and sound incredibly diverse. I do think in the present state of both the Church and society we have a long way to go toward accepting and loving others that look or act differently than we do. There is still a tremendous amount of segregation, especially in the Church, and most of it is by choice. Honestly, I believe racism baffles and hurts the heart of God. As a parent, if one of my sons treats his brother with disrespect — or worse, with hatred — that is not tolerated in our home, and I believe God doesn't tolerate it either.
Love is the language we as believers must speak. Galatians 3:26 says we are ALL children of God. The spirit of God is Love. I would be as bold as to say that if you are unable to love, you likely are not a Christian. I know that sounds harsh, but the word Christian comes from "little Christ," meaning we operate and behave with the same spirit as our Savior. The premise of our faith is based upon John 3:16, "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son." I think it's time for a lot of us to stop the selfish cycle and start loving and giving.
CP: Which song on Taste + See is your most personal song and why?
Sanchez: That's like asking me which of my children is my favorite! For different reasons, they all have special meaning to me. A song that's speaking to me in this season is "You Surround Me." Sometimes in life, my failures speak louder than my victories and I need to be constantly reminded that though my enemies surround me, my God surrounds my enemies. If we're truly honest, we've had to mentally battle failures or fears more than once in our lives. "You Surround Me" is a song about God's grace and protection and His divine plan in a season of insurmountable obstacles.
CP: What is your hope for this album?
Sanchez: My hope for this record is that it gives people an opportunity to sit down at the table and feast on the discussion of Jesus. Whether it's His love, grace, strength, patience, loving-kindness, mercy — whatever people need from God at that moment, I hope this album speaks to those areas of uncertainty and pain, and that the message of Jesus brings healing. Once you TASTE God's presence, you will SEE that He is good!
CP: What can we expect from you next?
Sanchez: I'm wide open. I've never been intimidated to write music, to minister through leading worship, preaching or teaching, or even writing a book or acting. Who knows what God will put before me? Regardless, my heart is settled and content doing what I love to do above all things, and that is being a husband to Jennette, the most beautiful and wonderful woman I have ever met in my life, and being the father to three of the greatest, most-handsome young men in this world: Ricardo II, Josiah and Micah.
Taste + See will be released on Sept. 29 and features vocalist Blanca on the modern hymn "A Bridge" and the Salsa-infused "Tu Gracia." To get your copy of for more information, click here.