Naomi Raine is used to making history.
As a key part of Maverick City Music, Raine has helped break records on tours and became one of the first Christian artists to perform at the Grammys in nearly two decades. Now, she’s part of another history-making moment.
This spring, Raine joined forces with Tasha Cobbs Leonard, TAYA and Natalie Grant for the “It’s Time” tour, marking the first time four female Christian artists have co-headlined a tour together.
“We get to make history, and hopefully we’ll get to keep making history because this is important,” Raine told RELEVANT.
In between a brief break from the tour, we caught up with Raine to find out more about how it came to be and why it’s important to create a similar space for other women in the worship industry.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Hear more of our conversation on the latest episode of The RELEVANT Podcast.
How has the tour been so far?
Naomi Raine: It’s been really good. Like I’m really excited about every single night. It’s been amazing, and the ladies are so fun and just kind people. I think we really connect on a lot of places. So it’s really, really good.
How did this tour come to be?
I was actually talking with one of my business partners, and we were talking about going out on tour and seeing like what felt right. I was planning to go out with Taya, and Tasha was planning to go out with Brooke Ligertwood. And so we were like, what if we all just went together and did a big, women worship tour?
What if we just did that? What if we tried this? And it was actually really something, I think it worked way better. Obviously, Brooke couldn’t work out, but I felt like it was really God’s idea, you know, that we just kind of stumbled upon.
I can’t think of any other time where I’ve gotten to see four female worship artists leading together.
It hasn’t happened before. It has not happened. And so I think it’s super dope that we get to kind of make history, and hopefully we’ll get to keep making history because this is important. Men dominate the tour space in Christian music, so you hardly see collaboration like this.
And you know, there have been some talks that women can’t get along or we’re catty — and that has not been the case on this tour. We’ve been getting along very, very well. From the moment that we talked about it, we just clicked instantly and it made sense. I think the hand of God is on it. I’m hoping — and if I get to live a little longer — I’m praying that I’m a part of more things like this, even if I’m just supporting it, encouraging it, pushing it on. There should be more, God willing.
Do you have any advice for younger women who want to become worship leaders but they see this fairly male dominated space?
That’s a really interesting question for me because I want to say, “you don’t want to become a worship leader.” And I’ll tell you why I think that.
I know that leading worship is literally just worshiping God, right? And other people following you. You know, you showing them who He is. It’s like, “don’t look at me, look at Him.” But we’re in a space now where it’s glamorized. People are put on pedestals and given a platform, which I think is God ordained and God used. But I think, then, people aspire to be like other worship leaders rather than aspiring to be like Him. And when you aspire to be like Him, then He can put you in a position that we’re in. So I think it gets a little slippery with that.
But to young women who are artists and music is their gift and the Lord has called them to lead worship, I would say: keep going. Be the best worship leader, singer, artist, guitarist, drummer or whatever it is, because there are so many spaces to lead worship in this industry. Just be the best that you can be. Do it with your whole heart toward the Lord. I believe that the Lord will place you exactly where you need to be.
It’s interesting. I was having a conversation with someone about this earlier. I’m so blessed. to have been on stages that many worship leaders have never even been on. And for a second, I almost took it for granted because I almost didn’t remember that most women don’t get this opportunity. This is not something that is afforded to many women.
I don’t have the luxury of passing on a tour like this or passing on an opportunity to do something like this again to make space for other women and saying, “hey, how can we do this next year and include this or that?” Because I can’t wait for that space to be made for me. I have to make it. Since I’ve gotten this opportunity, I’ve been blessed and now I’m thinking, “OK, how can I make this opportunity for other women?”
And I would say don’t get discouraged. You know what the Lord has for you. Be prayerful because there are women in some of these spaces that are now saying how can I open the door for other women? How can I open the door for other people?
We have an opportunity to come in and not to shrink back from those spaces, but go, how can I add to this? And how can I be who God has called me to be in this area for His glory and shine my light so that younger girls see it and go, “okay, I can do that, too.”
It’s exactly like you said: there is space there, but someone just needs to take that step forward.
Yes, but I think sometimes we can forget when you’re in it, you’re just doing it and you’re trying to, you know, just do it. And I try not to be think, “Oh, there’s men doing it more than me.” You know? I try not to be bitter in it or complain about where I am. I think you try to enjoy it and to own your space. But then I think that I can sometimes forget that there are other women that don’t have these opportunities.
And so now I’m starting to go, OK, how do I look at this objectively — not complain and be miserable and bitter in it — but also create opportunities for other people? I had to change my perspective. Because when I was looking at it for what it was, I could get disgruntled and I don’t want to do what I love unhappily. I want to serve the Lord with gladness and open spaces for other people to serve him with gladness.