Angela Bryant-Brown is a singer and writer of worship and praise songs. Music is her passion. She talked to Spectrum about inspiration, her many projects, a memorable performance as a third-grader, her YouTube channel, and her record label.
Question: You wear many hats in your life, including singer, songwriter, inspirational speaker, talk radio host, nonprofit founder and CEO, wife and mother. Have I missed any big ones? What do you consider your primary occupation?
Answer: Completing wholeheartedly whatever tasks God assigns me at a specific phase of my life. In other words, I occupy this space in time to do my Father's will and for me His will looks different at different stages of my life.
Question: How would you describe the style of music you write and sing?
Answer: Some say that I have a smooth, sultry jazzy sound that soothes the soul. Others say my style of music is praise and worship ushering the listener into the throne room of God. But I say that my style of music is a combination of the two, in addition to being inspirational yet soul-stirring and compelling. I hope that my music encourages people to seek and/or deepen their relationship with God. Each song I have penned comes from my own experience with God – my testimony in song.
Question: If someone wanted to hear your music, where would they go?
Answer: To purchase my music one can go to www.sounds4thesoul.com, iTunes, and cdbaby.com. To watch some of my performances and speaking engagements, go to my YouTube channel: angela bryant-brown.
Question: What would you say is the most memorable performance you have given?
Answer: When I was in third grade, our school was invited to participate in a concert during Academy Days at Union Springs Academy. This was an annual event that allowed students from surrounding junior elementary private schools to come fellowship while scoping out the academy. Each school was to select a music student to represent it in the concert.
To my surprise, I was selected to represent our school, Parkview SDA Junior Academy. I sang "Somebody Bigger Than You and I" while my piano teacher, Billy Skipper, an awesome musician, accompanied me. I remember being so nervous but not afraid.
And when I finished my last note, there was a loud outburst of applause and my classmates, even the ones who never paid me any attention, showered me with hugs and compliments. They were so proud of me that day and I knew for the first time that God had given me the gift of song.
Question: How many albums have you recorded? Are you able to earn a living from your music?
Answer: I have recorded three CDs. Unfortunately, I have not been able to quit my day job, so to speak but a lot of that has to do with my choice to stay home and raise my daughter instead of pursuing a full-time career in music.
But that will not always be the case. She is older now and I feel much more comfortable leaving her when I go on the road. So be on the lookout for a concert or performance near you!
Question: When did you begin to sing?
Answer: I was seven when I sang my first solo, “He.”
Question: What has influenced your music the most? Did you take singing lessons? You attended Oakwood University - did you sing there?
Answer: My life experiences have influenced my music the most; even the songs I didn’t write I choose to sing because I personally relate to their message. If a song doesn’t speak to me personally, I won’t sing it.
And yes, I did train in 3rd grade and off and on through high school and college. I highly recommend lessons for all levels of singers. They keep you fine tuned!
As for Oakwood, I didn’t do much singing as a soloist due to severe allergies I developed upon my arrival in Huntsville, Alabama. In fact, I was devastated since I was majoring in music performance and had to change my major to business. So unless it was in a choir or group, I didn’t sing. Most people were shocked to later learn that I had the gift of song.
Question: Are Adventists your main audience?
Answer: Earlier in my ministry Adventists were my primary audience. But I learned the hard way that I needed to broaden my audience. So I minister in various types of venues to include secular platforms when offered the opportunity. It has been a true blessing to me and to the audience.
Question: You started your own record label, Sounds4theSoul, in 2005. Why? And how is that going? Do you mainly work with Adventist artists and market to an Adventist audience, or is it wider than that?
Answer: I started Sounds4theSoul because if I didn’t I would have never recorded my three CDs. The industry is saturated with artists and there are just not enough record contracts to go around. So me and my colleague, producer Reginald Reid, produced my debut CD “From You.”
In addition, I have more control over my music and performance schedule. Although I enjoy being the boss, it takes lots of money to successfully run a label. And that is the one advantage major labels have over the indie labels like mine.
Currently, I am the only artist.
Question: What goals do you have for your singing career?
Answer: For the next 12-18 months, I plan to do self-funded regional themed tours. In addition, I plan to seek ministry opportunities internationally. In the next two to three years, I plan to open my own Christian music cafe providing indie artists a platform in the DC area.
Question: You started and now run a nonprofit called By Your Side Ministries. Can you tell us about that? Why did you start this ministry? Is it affiliated with the Adventist church? How is it funded?
Answer: BYSM is a teen and young adult mom mentoring program in the DC metro area. In addition we offer health and wellness seminars for underserved and depressed communities.
We are a 501(c)3 organization but we are not affiliated with the SDA church. Our funding currently comes solely from donors and fundraisers. Should anyone like to receive more information about by your side ministries and/or to make a donation of any size, they can go to bysm.org.
Question: You have a weekly blog talk radio show. How many people listen in? What demographic are they? What message are you trying to get across?
Answer: It’s called “Life Happens.” The number of live listeners varies from week to week. However, depending on the topic, the archive listeners are in the thousands, worldwide.
The message I want to leave with my listeners is that no matter what life throws at you, God's got a catcher's mitt big enough to catch it and handle it! Just trust Him.
Question: What advice would you have for young people who want to have a career in music? Or what advice for young people generally?
Answer: When planning your life, seek God first. Include Him in every phase of your life's plan. That may mean seeking counsel from your parents, pastor or trusted adult or even fasting for clarity and affirmation from God. And once you know your purpose, remember this: If God's called you to do it, He's also equipped you to fulfill it!
So don’t give up when it gets tough and it looks like you made a mistake. Keep praying, reading God's word and listening for His instructions while looking for the open doors He has just for you.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/5338