For Anna Golden, the road to national recording artist was anything but a predictable path from the church pew to the sanctuary stage. The 23-year-old native of St. Louis, MO started her career as a showbiz kid—the youngest of four unusually talented siblings. By her early teens, Anna had spent the majority of her childhood in Los Angeles audition rooms, landing a manager before she could drive and earning consistent work with mainstream entertainment outlets including Radio Disney.
“All of my siblings—John, Liz, and Josh—are involved in mainstream music or acting,” Anna explains. “I started in the mainstream also, but at 15 I remember having a moment with my parents where I told them the attention was too much pressure for me.”
That honest confession to her parents changed the focus of Anna’s career and led her to her true passion—worship ministry. “I loved leading worship because none of the attention was on me,” Anna says. “All the glory is directed to God.”
“Both of my parents led worship in their young adulthood. So, when I was growing up, they were always singing and writing worship songs,” Anna reflects. Her father, a chiropractor with a private practice, only played worship videos in his office where Anna was a frequent visitor. “I remember just sitting there watching videos and seeing Michael W. Smith lead worship from the piano, and I loved it so much.”
Anna’s love for playing and listening to worship were set, but it would take an unexpected encounter with God to nudge her toward leading worship in the local church.
“When I was about 11 years old, I remember being in a service with my youth group. Our pastor told us, “Find a place in the room. Let God speak to you,’” Anna says. ”I had this little red notebook, and I just remember writing down that the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘Music will be your calling. I gave you this gift for a reason. Your voice is a gift.’ I just remember being so impacted by that and thinking, OK I’m not going to run from this.”
After several years as a member of the youth worship team, Anna began leading worship at Faith Church in her hometown. By age 18, she was put in charge of the worship team and began recording and releasing her own worship songs independently.
Her commitment to the local church earned her an unexpected opportunity that would gain her national attention.
In 2017, Tasha Cobbs Leonard was planning the recording session that would become her historic album Heart. Passion. Pursuit. “Tasha reached out to all of her closest friends, including Adrienne Grimsley one of the pastors at the church where I was on staff. She asked, ‘Who’s ministering to you at the moment?’” Anna recalls. “Adrienne responded by sending her my EP.”
The GRAMMY-winning worship artist, who achieved global prominence with her groundbreaking hit “Break Every Chain,” trusted her friend and visited Anna’s social media pages, watching videos of her leading worship. “Tasha was really moved by that,” Anna says. “So, she actually sent me an email. I’ll never forget opening that email and being requested to come and be a part of the record.”
“When I got there, it was incredible. It was like meeting your heroes and not being let down by people just being prideful or crazy,” Anna continues. “Tasha was so kind and considerate and really took the time out to be with all of the worship leaders who were part of the project, giving us vision. She actually asked me if I would be featured on the song “Gracefully Broken”. It was honestly an incredible moment. From there we’ve been very close. It felt like we had known each other forever.”
The connection extended beyond the album, with Anna traveling with Tasha as a background vocalist and serving alongside her in the local church where Tasha was worship pastor.
And when Tasha made the move to launch her own imprint, TeeLee Records, in association with her longtime label Motown Gospel, she chose Anna Golden as her debut artist.
“Anna is a relevant and necessary voice to this generation,” Tasha says. “Her influence has already crossed barriers and built bridges culturally. I expect her impact to be explosive, quickly.”
Anna has not disappointed. In late March 2020, shortly after the Coronavirus pandemic began to impact the world, Anna Golden caught the internet’s attention when she—joined by sister Liz Golden and pop superstar Selena Gomez— uploaded a stripped-down cover of the worship anthem “The Blessing” to Instagram, while in self-isolation in Los Angeles.
The post instantly gained massive attention for Anna in the mainstream and worship worlds, helping to launch her song “Peace,” to critical and consumer acclaim. Starting as a private expression from Anna’s own experiences, “Peace” quickly turned to a musical balm that she knew would speak to the waves of anxiety and depression so commonly crashing against people today.
Anna’s melodic and pure voice, enveloped in warm pads and ethereal strings, washes over listeners like healing water. “I use my voice as an instrument,” Anna shares. “Often times when I’m singing, I’m picturing the notes being painted on top of the instrumentation like a brush to a canvas.”
On “Peace” and the other songs she has written for her major label debut, Anna is finally realizing the global impact of the gift she first embraced in that youth conference so long ago.
“I believe that music is a beautiful translator to anything that the Lord wants to say to someone,” Anna says. “My mission when I’m leading worship is to extend what has been extended to me—the power that’s in worship, the warfare that’s in worship, the peace.”