SARASOTA -- Nigerian-raised singer Martha Bako dreamed of making an album of worship music.
She wanted to record gospel with an R&B setting like Contemporary Christian stars CeCe Winans, Kirk Franklin and the sister act Mary Mary.
But the Sarasota resident couldn't find the time.
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"Childhood dreams, as you get older, sometimes die," Bako said. "Life just happens. You're busy."
After years of contemplation, the 31-year-old recently decided to realize her aspirations.
"I got to the point where I felt like God really wanted me to do this and use what He gave me," Bako said. "If not, I would be held accountable. It had to be done."
The singer scoured the Internet and stumbled upon the independent record label Tate Music Group.
"Are you in a band with a desire to take your music career to the next level?" reads the company's website. "Maybe you're a singer looking for that big break."
Tate Music Group partners with artists to provide production and manufacturing assistance, distribution and promotion.
This month, Tate Music Group announced the nationwide release of "Arise My Beloved," Bako's debut album.
"Searching the Internet I discovered Tate Music Group and sent them my songs," Bako explained. "They liked them and sent me a contract."
The recordings were made at the label's headquarters in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Produced by Tate Music Group, the collection includes 10 tracks (titles include "Only You," "I Will Obey" and "You've Been There"). All are available at the iTunes Store, Amazon.com or directly from TateMusicGroup.com.
Bako wrote the words and music for nine of them.
Her husband, Elisha Bako, composed the final track, "I've Found My Rest."
"His voice is also on the track 'I Just Need a Word,'" Bako said. "Our 3-month-old son can be heard on track No. 8 ('Sometimes')."
"I Just Need a Word" also happens to be the song the artist chose as the most meaningful on the album.
"Before I do anything I need a word from God," Bako said. "I've seen how He brought me where I am. It's been the word of God that has kept me, and keeps me going, the rest of life. Without His word you have no compass."
Raised by her pastor father after losing her mother at the age of 5, Bako gave her life to Christ at the age of 11, and soon after began writing her own song lyrics.
"I realized I was a sinner and needed salvation and the only way was through Jesus," she said.
"My dad was a pastor, but growing up as a pastor's daughter doesn't make you a saint. You have to make your own decision."
Bako, who is not a member of any church, wants her songs to encourage others to find salvation through her savior.
"You have to put your hope in Jesus Christ alone and have a desire to live on God's word," she said. "God's calling you to come to Him."
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.