In a world of chaos and confusion, the songs and sound of Samanthia
Cassidy roll like waves in perfect sync with the rhythm of God's grace.
Don't try to label it, because you can't. Don't try to package it into
any one musical genre, or group of people at the expense of any other,
because it won't fit. On her debut MCG album, You're My Heart's Desire,
in a voice that's warm and rich, soothing and soulful, Samanthia sings
songs given by the Lord and written from her heart for people... all of
God's people. And once you've heard Samanthia Cassidy, you don't need
categorizations to understand. As familiar as a chat with a dear friend;
as fresh and new as the first glow of morning light, it just feels good,
and right.. .and you know you are hearing something very rare and
Born in Courtland, Alabama-a fly-speck of a town on the map of north
Alabama¬Samanthia came into the world a part of an extended family in
which music seemed to run in the blood. "My family had a big musical
influence on me," Samanthia recalls. "They were all wonderful singers
and writers, and their harmonies were probably some of the most
beautiful sounds in the world."
Completely "color-blind," in a time when that was not always necessarily
the case, Samanthia was also deeply impacted by the Gospel music of her
black friends and neighbors, and has felt a lifelong affinity for the
music of Gospel great, Mahalia Jackson, in both her artistry and
With just that bit of background, one can definitely trace roots in
Samanthia's voice and style that reflect both white (or "southern") and
black Gospel musical traditions. And though she's surely right at home
on soulful, swinging black Gospel classics ("I Think I'll Run On;" "Movin'
On Up"), she's every bit as believable and powerful on the
southern-Gospel-flavored "Lord, I Need You," and is utterly
heart-rending on "You're My Heart's Desire," a ballad with the gorgeous
orchestration of a great pop song.
One of Samanthia's greatest gifts, of many, is that no matter the style,
genre, influence or origin of the song, be it original-as are nine of
the eleven on You're My Heart's Desire-or a great standard of the
church, she is always decisively, inimitably and unmistakably Samanthia.
Like all truly singular vocalists of any era, Samanthia Cassidy simply
embraces a song and makes it her own.
Other stand-outs on an album filled with them, include "My God Will
Always Come Through"-which Samanthia renders with a perfect, bluesy
touch, as she recounts-some of life's hardships, and the power and
faithfulness of God that conquers them all. "If we just hold on to the
Lord and praise Him, no matter what our circumstances, He always comes
through," says Samanthia. "I love that song. It's for everybody ... all
the body of Christ."
The stately, deeply moving "Come Go With Me," resounds like a modern-day
anthem of the church. "It's a call to everyone," says Samanthia. "It's
not about a denomination, or a man's belief. Its about the mercy and
grace of a loving God; and His house is wherever we meet Him. Come go
with me.. .there is everything there, for everyone."
Samanthia moved to the bigger small-town of Corinth, Mississippi, in her
teens, where she would eventually meet and marry her husband now of 29
years, Bill Cassidy. She remembers, at the age of 18, a
two-and-a-half-year period where she "danced with the devil," as she
says, but by the time she turned 21, "God got a hold on me, and I
rededicated my life to Him, and have been singing and working for the
Lord ever since." Samanthia, also an author, tells her life story in her
gripping autobiography, Dancing in the Wilderness, of which The Saturday
Evening Post proclaimed: "More compelling than fiction, Dancing in the
Wilderness is a bittersweet blend of Southern lore, gripping pathos and
Though she'd been writing songs since she was 15, her marriage to Bill,
who moved to Corinth to help start and run a printing plant, kept her
musical expression largely limited to her church choir, and churches in
the area for years. But in 1994, Bill took early retirement, suggesting
to Samanthia it was time for her to step out with her musical gifts. The
couple founded Samanthia Cassidy Ministries, and went to Nashville to
record what would become the first of five independent projects
Samanthia would do before signing with MCG and releasing You're My
Samanthia's ministry flourished over the next ten years, as she traveled
and performed steadily all across America, promoted and booked entirely
by word of mouth recommendations. She sang at churches and conventions
large and small, black and white, and mufti-denominational.
The year 2000 saw her invited to Nigeria, where she wrote a song,
"Nigeria, Oh Nigeria," that was embraced by the nation and its
president, and elevated Samanthia to a high public profile in the
country, to which she and Bill have returned yearly since. On their
visit in the summer of 2006, they were accompanied by a team that
included a doctor, surgeons, businessmen and another missionary
evangelist, bringing medicine and medical equipment to the country as a
first step in establishing what Samanthia envisions as a major,
mufti-faceted missions outreach to the country.
Back in America, her music ministry received a huge boost in 2004-2005,
when she was hired by evangelist Jimmy Swaggert to sing at his Family
Worship Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Samanthia and her songs both
became immediate favorites with the local congregation, as well as the
national and international audiences of Swaggert's SonLife Radio
broadcasts, on which she can still be heard today.
As she stands poised for an even greater level of ministry, music and
outreach, Samanthia reflects on a conversation that inadvertently, but
assuredly, seemed to be pointing her way. "Someone raised the question,
'Where are we going to put her?' in terms of the audience or style of
music that might be the best fit for me," she says. " And the answer
was, 'Let's just send her to the world!' I just cried and said, 'Lord, I
And, indeed, that just might be the one "box" into which Samanthia
Cassidy fits with divine perfection.
GORDON ELY, Billboard Picks