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Nancy Bilonda | Features

Artist Of The Month


A seed to the nation
Nancy Bilonda

Born, in the Central African nation, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Nancy Bilonda has been singing since she could talk. Raised with strong oral and musical traditions, it's no wonder that she feels at home the most when surrounded by rhythms and smoot harmonies. Her cultural heritage coupled with the God-loving upbringing she's received make Nancy a self described "Presence of God Junky"

Nancy BilondaThe daughter of Pastors, Herold and Rose Aubourg, Nancy is a fourth generation minister of the message of Jesus Christ. From an early age, Nancy has been involved in ministry. Like most PKs she's done it all: Singing in the choir, playing drums, teaching Sunday school, leading the youth ministry team and organizing the Christmas and Easter programs. These days, however, she's finally where she belongs, serving as the Lead Worshipper at her parent's church, The Evangelical Charismatic Center in Boston Ma. She also, serves in this same capacity for the Reverence Gospel Ensemble, under the direction of Minister Dennis Montgomery III, at the Berklee College of Music, where Nancy is a member of the graduating class of 2003. She will receive her B.A. in Music Business/Management.

Growing up in ministry and knowing first hand it's sometimes harsh realities has not deterred Nancy from heading in that same direction with her own life. Her debut album, Fall Deep, which has been released in March 2003 is a clear indication of this choice. Along with extraordinaire Boston based producer, Pierre Huberson, Nancy co-produced her album. Her songs are written from a very non-artificial place, with honest lyrics that speak of a real walk with God. You won't find any played out, feel good cliches on this project. It's full of spiritual reality that is packaged with the intention of honoring God and speaking to his heart of the masses.

This project seeks to unashamedly draw the listener into the presence of God and to encourage a tangible personal experience with Him. "Fall Deep", the albums title track is definitely one for radio. The danceable track is laced with raw lyrics that speak of pursuing the heart of God for the sole purpose of simply falling deeper in love with him. There's also, "We cry holy", a previously released single that put Nancy on the map. A simple song of adoration to God, birthed in a quiet moment of worship during a church service, "We cry holy" will bring you to your knees before the throne. Reminiscent of Gregorion sacred music, this song instantly bringst the listener to envision themselves in the serenity of a great Cathedral. One of the Album's many pleasant surprises comes on track 6, "Rodney: A prodigal story". Accompanied by famed guitarist, Tyrone Chase, Nancy tells the story of the prodigal son in a today's generation voice. Her vocal rendering is completely uninhibited and shows off her beautiful tone as there are no other instruments on the track. This is a song you'll have on replay for sure.

This album's great songs, all of which are written by Nancy herself, except for two of the songs, and the tremendous production work, make this independently released project a great accomplishment. Pierre Hubberson (Freda Battle and the Temple Worshippers), Roger Ryan (Wynona Judd, Yolanda Adams, CeCe Winan) and Alvin Speights (India.arie, TLC) are all the crème of the crop in the music industry today. Each one brings a high level of experience and expertise that place this project at the forefront. There's also musicians involved, whom are all amazingly anointed instrumentalist. They provide a notable edge to "Fall Deep". Chris Loftlin (Brian McKnight), Thomas Pridgen (Destiny's Child, James Hall and Spirit of Praise, India.arie) Tyrone Chase (Brian McKnight, Walter Beasley) and Jesse Bond (FreeStyle) just to name a few, bring so much to this project.

With the release of "Fall Deep", Nancy anticipates continuing to keep doing what she's always done: loving people and creating an environment through worship where they can touch God and be touched by Him. Though she's young, 22 to be exact, Nancy is no rookie. She's traveled extensivly throughout the country and has a strong desire to take her ministry to the nations of the world. She's ministered with her parents and with Youth With a Mission for years, not only singing, but also dancing and bringing forth the word. She's been blessed to also minister with great men and women of God from all over the world. However impresive her resume might be, Nancy delights most in knowing that she's walking in her calling and fulfilling the purpose for which she was created; to praise and worship God.


7 questions to Nancy Bilonda

Q: How would you describe your music?
A: I would describe my music as a marriage of honest lyrics with smooth instrumentation, joined to form a fresh approach to contemporary gospel. I pen songs to make you bop your head and songs that will still your soul. I feel my music has a lot of depth, content wise and musically as well. Every lyric has purpose and meaning and the instrumentation just serves to further express my musical intent towards my audience. I feel so privileged to be a channel through which God's love can be expressed because it's really His music. I've discovered that music originates from the Heart of God and those of us blessed enough to manifest it here on earth are basically regurgitating what he allows our hearts to hear.

Q: Who influenced you musically?
A: My very first musical influences would have to be my family. My mom, grandmother, aunts and uncles and my whole tribe of cousins. Music was a part of every day life and still is. There was always singing to the sound of African drums and percussion instruments. But as my own taste began to develop I really opened up to artists like Cece Winans, who is my absolute favorite, Deniece Williams, Boyz II Men, Whitney Houston, Virtue, India.Arie, Amel Larrieux , Yolanda Adams and so many others. And then there are the trailblazers: Salt n' Pepa, TLC, Kirk Franklin, Commissioned, Take 6. Some artists influence me on different levels. I love Fred Hammond for example because he's songs go straight to the heart. They're honest and unashamed to show weakness or imperfection of humanity, therefore reinforcing our need for God's mercy and love. Another would be Brandy, whose background vocals on her last album (Full Moon) where ridiculous! Her arrangements and voicings where so tight on that records. But it's important in being influenced to always remain sincere to who you are musically. I don't mind reminding listeners of certain artists, but I refuse to be a clone. Individuality is the key to keeping one's music real and genuine.

Q: How do you get your inspiration for your lyrics?
A: I'm inspired in so many ways for lyrics. For the most part I find that when I'm a zone with God that words will just flow out of my mouth, sort of like freestyle rap. I always get familiar with the message and emotion first, before the lyrics come to me. Sometimes It can start from having heard a single word or phrase which develops into an entire song. And then there's the realities of every day life that demand narration.; Love, faith, hope, joy and pain loss and even death. I also like to try to create specific images with my words that will cause listeners to further consider my message. I want them to feel me, so I'm careful in selecting words and how I'm placing them.

Q: Do you listen to music from Congo?
A: I certainly do listen to Congolese music. I actually just got back from the Congo. I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the music while there and to even play some gigs with local artist. Our music is so potent. I hope to one day soon be able to unite the concepts of traditional Congolese music with concepts of Contemporary Western music. It would be a powerful blend. There are artists out there that have already begun to introduce the world to Congolese music such as Makoma, Zapp Mama, Alain "Nkosi" Konda, Papa Wemba, and Kofi Olomide, just to name a few

Q: What was the last CD that you bought and why?
A: Legend- Bob Marley. I couldn't find mine and couldn't bare to be apart from it while in Congo, so I just bought a new one.

Q: If you found a genie in a bottle, what 3 wishes would you make?
A: 1. Peace and Prosperity for my Congolese people, 2. Sell a million records, 3. Sell out the Madison Square Garden

Q: If we visit Boston, where would you take us and why?
A: I'd take ya'll to the Hood, where real people live. Where you can get a beef patie with coco bread and cheese, haitien rice and beans. All that for a fraction of what it would cost you to get a dried up half of a sandwich in town from a pretentious establishment.

Copyright © 2003, SaveOurSoul

Fall Deep
Nancy Bilonda - Fall Deep Track Listing:
1. Anything
2. Fall Deep
3. We Cry Holy '03
4. I'll Praise You
5. Luiqid Love

6. Rodney: A prodigal Story
7. Lord You Found Me
8. I Draw Nigh (Spirit Song)
9. I Wanna Be More
Nancy Bilonda website