When Tara Darnell sings, her music comes from the heart. This is the prerequisite to success for all gospel singers. A daughter of the church, her background and training can be heard on her aptly named CD Let It Shine. On that 1996 recording, she sings in the gospel tradition on "Amazing Grace" and the moving finale, "Gospel Medley." She also exhibits her mastery of other styles, exemplified by her fine interpretations of "God Bless the Child" and "The Thrill Is Gone." Backing her are some of the finest musicians in the city of New Orleans, from gospel music's Michael Robinson to the jazz world's Cornell Williams. Darnell has also performed and recorded with other outstanding New Orleans artists. She appears with New Orleans "Tan Canary," the late great Johnny Adams on his CD, Verdict, as well as with the New Orleans Soul Queen Irma Thomas on her album Walk Around Heaven. Darnell is in demand as a backup vocalist. Samples of her work can be heard on A Tribute to Edith Piaf (1994) and Till the Night Is Gone: A Tribute to Doc Pomus, (1995).
Darnell has been most visible in her work with blues and gospel diva Marva Wright. Those high-energy recordings and shows have left their mark on the young singer, whose style is also meant to get the feet moving and the spirit soaring. The listener can check out their combined efforts on a number of Wright's CDs, such as the 1999 recording Bluesiana Mama. Outstanding numbers include their harmonies and shouts on "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "Let the Good Times Roll." Darnell also excels as a songwriter. She penned "I'll Be Here for You," which appears on the Let It Shine release. The song was a regional hit, and its success hints at the big things that beckon on the horizon for this talented young artist.