What prompted you to begin singing Gospel Music?
I was raised in a Christian home and attended Green’s Temple Church of God in Christ in Pittsburgh, PA. where my father was an Elder of the Church and my mother taught Sunday School and I sang in the choir.
How long have you been singing?
I have been singing for 52 years. I started at the age of three.
What are some of the issues that you have gone through that Gospel music helped you heal?
I had two endometriosis surgeries and undergone 6 surgeries for an Inverted Papilloma Tumor in my left sinus cavity. I always sang His Eye on the Sparrow before and after each surgery. In 2013, I was diagnosed three times with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in my left sinus cavity. My doctor prescribed Vancomycin, Phenergan with Codeine, and Benadryl to me and I experienced an adverse drug reaction. These three medications produced, PCP, Cocaine, and Opiate in my system. I was hospitalized for 3 days. Placed on a 5150 for 3 days, and in a mental institution for 3 hours. I suffered an altered mental state, an acute renal failure, and a seizure. It was my faith in God and the music in my heart that got me through it. My two favorite songs are His Eye Is on The Sparrow and Amazing Grace because His eyes watch over me and His grace keeps me through it all.
Do you recommend Gospel/Spiritual music for emotional healing?
Yes, I do recommend Gospel/Spiritual music for emotional healing. Gospel Music calms the savage beast that is within us. It gives us hope to continue our journey. Also, you must know the word of God. It is God’s word, that will help you to heal if you believe. It is all about faith, Forsake All I Trust Him. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” We must have faith in God for our emotional healing.
Who inspires your music the most?
The late Mahalia Jackson, the Queen of Gospel inspired my music. In my hometown, I am known as this Generation’s Mahalia Jackson. That title was given to me in 1979 when I was a contestant in the Western Pennsylvania Miss Black Teenage Pageant. During rehearsals, we would have a 30 minutes crying session, after I sang “IN THE GARDEN.” This went on for 6 weeks. One of the contestant’s mother wrote a poem entitled, the “Great Black Hope” and dedicated the line “THIS GENERATION MAHALIA JACKSON” to me.
What are some of the challenges you experienced going into making music?
The number one challenge is not having enough money to do a recording project and trying to find the right person to invest in you without compromising your belief. Another challenge I experience, I recorded my CD entitled, HE CHANGED MY LIFE this past January at Tate Music Group. I recorded 8 songs on Thursday, January 12, had a photo on Friday, January 13, flew back to LA on Saturday, January 14 and the company closed its doors on Tuesday, January 17 because of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit with Xerox. It was a dose of reality. I was hurt but not devastated. I believe what the Bible says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” It may not feel good while it is working but it is working for my good. TMG closing was a blessing for me. God will not allow anybody to take an advantage of me.
What advice would you give to someone going into the Gospel Music Industry?
My advice to someone going into the Gospel Music Industry is to go in it with the intent to minister to the glory of God. It is not about how much money you can make but about how many lives you can change and how many souls can you add to God’s Kingdom. When you sing Gospel music, you are representing the body of Christ and not yourself. Please represent us well.
Do you write your own music?
Yes, I write my own music. I started writing music when I was eight years old. My first song was, THE SEASON TO REMEMBER.
Is there anything you want the world to know?
I want the world to know about the love of Jesus Christ. He loved us so much that He died for our sins, so we might have a right to the tree of life. Without Christ in your life, it is impossible to survive in this cold and evil world. Ask Jesus to come in your life, forgive you of your sins, and accept Him as your Lord and Savior. There will be some trying times, but Jesus Christ will be there right with you. Just like He was in the fiery furnace with the three Hebrews boys and in the lion’s den with Daniel.
Originally published at www.sheknows.com