Genesis of a Gospel Song: “Amazing” – Tiff Joy

TiffJoy-300x300Tiff Joy, as told to Bob Marovich:

I knew I wanted to do something ministry-wise, but I didn’t know if it was going to be preaching or music. It was probably during my late years at Rich South High School in Richton Park, Illinois, when I started to connect with music and knew that it was something that I would do.

I was with a group called Tony Tidwell & Uncommon Favor for a couple of years. We were going to do a record—we didn’t actually go through with it—but I wrote a song for the record called “Thank You.” Then we recorded “Amazing.” It was the first song I wrote that did well for me.

I actually wasn’t set to write that day. I was sitting and the lyrics just kind of came. They are not complex at all, real simple. I think the song took me ten minutes to write. Tony asked me if I had a song, and I said, “Here’s one right here!” And that’s how it happened.

“Amazing” is a combination of where I was [in my life] and how I feel about God. Considering all of creation and seeing Him move in different people’s lives—that’s amazing.

When I gave the song to Tony, I absolutely had no clue what it was going to become. We sang “Amazing” around Chicago a lot, and after a certain amount of years, I thought the song was done. But Donald Lawrence came to a concert that Tony was at. He heard the song and presented it to Ricky [Dillard]. Donald told Ricky he should let me lead the song. I met Ricky a couple of years ago and he said he was looking for me.

The first time I thought it might be a hit was when we sang it at the Stellar Awards two years ago. This was the first presentation of the song with Ricky after we did the recording. I thought maybe the song had something for real.

But the biggest success of the song for me is hearing people’s testimonies, how amazing God is in their life and how the song uplifted them. Someone telling me that they don’t listen to gospel music but this song blessed their lives. “Amazing” has blessed me in my career. It has given me a chance to travel and hit many different platforms, so I’m still in awe of this process.

There is pressure to write another “Amazing,” but I try not to look at it, because if I try to compete against the song, I’ll fail. It was so genuine the way the song came. I try to keep my mind there and not try to outdo the “Amazing” song.

My parents are happy to see what’s happening. Especially my dad [Pastor Timothy McGhee], because he’s a songwriter. He’s written worship tunes, a couple of songs for Chicago Mass Choir. He’s probably happier than I am!

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.

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