Interview With Natalie Wilson
The Heart of S.O.P.
Natalie Wilson and The S.O.P. Chorale are back with the message of the "Good Life". The New Jersey based choir continue to shine, with breath-taking vocal arrangements, sick instrumentation and awe-inspiring lyrics.
Natalie Wilson talked to Gospelflava.com about her mission and S.O.P.'s heart for worship.
Gospelflava.com: S.O.P. has generally been typecast as a "hip hop choir". But you also incorporate many encouraging ballads and worship songs on your album and in your concerts. Tell us about your heart for worship.
Natalie Wilson: It's nothing that I try to do intentionally. In spite of the typecast, generally, I am a worshipper. That's the side of S.O.P. that hasn't been revealed yet. I had complications when I was born. I've been prophesied to about my calling as a worshipper. Every morning, every night, my heart is connecting to God. I just worship Him in my lifestyle, in my music and everything that I do. That's just the side that a lot of people don't know about S.O.P. yet.
Gospelflava.com: What would be your mission for The Good Life?
Natalie Wilson: One mission is to revolutionize our generation spiritually, musically and psychologically. I just really want to change the way most of us think in terms of our generation; what we think and what we perceive God to be. I just want to broaden that and reveal God in his most unlimited way. I hope that's what this project is able to accomplish.
The Good Life|
There is much proclamation on The Good Life, evident on the uptempo "Free" and the dancehall-tinged, "Conquerors". On the latter cut, Wilson and choir declare victory over Satan and sin over a hot Flip track...|
See full review.
Gospelflava.com: You had two guests on your album, Papa San and Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins. Explain what they brought to the picture.
Natalie Wilson: Well, Papa San is such an incredibly influential reggae artist. He was very popular in the R&B scene years ago. He brings that authentic dance/reggae chant. He brings that authenticity to song "Conquerors".
"Conquerors" is a powerful testimony in itself. Last year I was a survivor, but this year I'm a conqueror. It's not enough just to be a survivor. We as children of God have to learn to be conquerors. We have to learn how to dominate and overcome things.
Rodney Jerkins is just family to us. We all came up together. Rodney just does his thing. You can't compare it to nothing else. Good energy and the synergy that we have when we do collaborations is just unstoppable. I'm really excited because his rap reinforces the message. You'd rather be rich in life, but I'd rather be rich in Christ.
Gospelflava.com: The S.O.P. Chorale has such incredible harmony and vocal delivery. What does it take to get the arrangements and vocals so crisp?
Natalie Wilson: I think that it's a combination of loving each other, connecting with each other. We hang out. We talk and we laugh. The more we connect, the more we begin to sound alike. It just becomes tighter. It's also attributed to Joe Wilson. He is not only an incredible producer, he basically engineered this whole project.
I decided to step up my game with really having our vocals come to the next level. The initial part of S.O.P.'s career was about the tracks and the band, but now I really wanted the choir in the forefront in terms of vocals. So it's just a combination of us being a close-knit family, Joe as our engineer and my vocal arrangements with the choir knowing what they can and can't do.
Gospelflava.com: How do you and Joe go about writing a particular song?
Natalie Wilson: Wow. The chemistry between Joe and I is so beautiful and it's so unique. We've worked together for so long that he knows what progressions and what chords I want in terms of what I look for in a song. When God gives me a song, I'll sing all three parts for Joe. Before I finish writing a song, Joe has it. God gives it to him.
There are some times when we are on a set and Joe will play a chord. I'll tell him to play it again. Then I'll make a song out of it. Our collaborations and the chemistry that God gave us to work together blows my mind sometimes. It's really amazing. Sometimes we don't see eye to eye and that is funny. He'll say, "I don't think that it should go like that." I'll say, "I do." But [those situations] are very few and far between. For the most part, it's just a puzzle.
Gospelflava.com: You have beautiful peace-themed songs like "Peace and Tranquility" and "Healing and Rest". Where were those songs birthed from?
Check at the end of this interview for more album release party photos for Natalie Wilson & the S.O.P. Chorale, courtesy of saxophone artist and jazz radio host, Tony Smith.
Natalie Wilson: They were both birthed out of my personal experiences; through different challenges that I had to ago through.
With "Peace and Tranquility", I wanted to hit home with a lot of our people in the church dealing with relationships. We often don't reveal that side of us. Hey, we are on this earth and there are going to be times when people are going to walk in and out of your life. How do we deal when God allows that season for a particular person to be out of our lives? So I really wanted "Peace and Tranquility" to minister to the people that no matter who comes and goes, God is still there to help you through it with peace and tranquility.
"Healing and Rest" is a song that was birthed out of some of my issues dealing with depression and mental torment. "Healing and Rest" was just a song that I really wanted to convey to people that really in your worship, that's what really gets you in a place of healing and rest. If you touch the hem of his garment, everything can be made whole. That's where healing and rest comes in your life.
Gospelflava.com: Who inspires you?
Natalie Wilson: I have to say that a lot of my inspiration came from the early contemporary Gospel artists such as The Hawkins, Andrae Crouch, The Clark Sisters, Thomas Whitfield. That's where a lot of my inspiration comes from.
I support and I push each and every artist. I'm elated and ecstatic about Deitrick Haddon, Tonéx and all my friends and colleagues in the industry. However, I don't want to listen the recent records that I've purchased because I don't want it to interfere with the creativity and the uniqueness that God gives to Joe and I.
Gospelflava.com: What would like to tell the body of Christ and those who are lost?
Natalie Wilson: I would like to convey to them the message of the "Good Life". That is, we assume it to be all of the outward manifestations that God gives us. Essentially, the "Good Life" is the inward manifestations of peace, joy and being free, being conquerors and not harboring hate and bitterness. That's what I would like to convey to both believers and unbelievers. God is able to grant you the "Good Life" and it's available to those that would really heed and hearken to the voice of the Lord.
This is message that goes beyond this album. I view this album as a soundtrack to the experience of Natalie Wilson and S.O.P.; our lives and what we're going through, the places that God has brought us from to build character and integrity. It's a testament to who we are. I want people to realize that the best is yet to come in their lives.
—Dwayne Lacy —
Gospel saxophone artist (and photographer!) Tony Smith took the pictures of Natalie Wilson & The S.O.P. Chorale below, on the occasion of the choir's album release party in October 2003 at their home church in Rahway, New Jersey at Agape Family Worship Center. Check it out!
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