The incomparable Anita Wilson recently released her third solo project from her own label. Sunday Song is a phenomenal body of work with music that will give you a Sunday experience everyday.
I was blessed with the opportunity to chat with Wilson about her new project, her new company and much more. Check out our conversation below:
I love your album. In real life.
Anita Wilson: Oh my gosh. Thank you!
I’m a huge fan. I’ve got all three projects. I remember before I started blogging, like 5 years ago, I tweeted you about something and you tweeted back. I lost my mind.
Anita Wilson: (laughs)
I will always remember that moment.
Anita Wilson: Awh, how dope is that. I try to reply. I always try to reply. That’s one of my favorite parts. Of course there’s a lot of messy stuff on social media, but I use it for good and not evil. That’s the main thing that I love about it. I’m able to be real and directly in contact with supporters and listeners. So thank you!
So Sunday Song. Can you tell me where you got the title from?
Anita Wilson: Yeah! I love the opportunity to really dig into this and unpack. At first hearing of it you may think it’s just a churchy album for churchy people and Sunday mornings, but there’s a deeper meaning of this album for Sunday. I find that a lot of times when we go to church on Sunday we can go feeling down or depressed about situation, but then we get into worship, praise and the word and feel motivated to take on the week. We ride on that for Monday and Tuesday, but then life begins to happen on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday we’re down and depressed again. All we see is what’s in front of us. Situations get to us and we can’t wait to get back to church to get that Sunday fill up.
God encouraged me. And I want to encourage everybody else that everything that is available to us on Sunday, is available to us every single day of our lives. We can press play on some good worship music. We can press play on some good praise music. We can get motivated. We have our smartphones. We have the Bible app. We can meditate on a verse all day to keep us motivated. God is always with us. Everyday we can have a Sunday kind of song in our heart. We don’t have to wait to get back to a building. I’ve heard worship leaders say things on the mic like, “He’s here! He’s here! God is here! You can’t get this at home! Get what you need! You can’t do this at your job!” I get that as a worship leader. On the other side, I don’t want to leave anybody behind. I never want to give the impression that God is just at church and that you can only be in God’s presence at church.
That’s why the song “Don’t Have To Travel Far” is the unofficial title track. That’s really what Sunday means. Sunday is everywhere God is you are, and you don’t have to travel far to access his presence. You can sit at the desk. You can peel off to the back. You can be on the beach. You can be in a jail cell. You can be on a corner. Wherever you are, God will meet you there. That’s the deeper meaning of Sunday and the title Sunday Song. We can have that motivation in our hearts to know that God is always with us.
Wow! This is so true. So you released this on your own label. What is that like?
Anita Wilson: Yes! It’s really a beautiful experience. Within all that beauty is hard work. It’s a lot of effort and work to put into it. I’m playing the apart of about ten different people. (laughs)
Anita Wilson: It’s crazy sometimes. In addition to being the artist, I’m the writer and the producer along with Rick Robinson. I’m the label executive, so I have to make the decisions about when it will release and how this album will look and feel. I have to be the marketing director to put the visuals together, videos and radio rep. It’s a lot of different hats to wear. It’s definitely a bigger work load, but it’s much more rewarding to own my music and to not have a middle man telling me to not do something. I like to do stuff differently. I like to be unpredictable and own the lane I’m in. That comes along with different creative and quirky ideas. I just like the freedom to be able to try it. The industry is so different. You have to spread the word best you can, so sometimes that means getting out of the box with different events or cover arts. I like being in a position where no one can say no to me. I’m able to make the decisions. If it goes well, thank God! If it doesn’t, then let’s try something else. Overall it’s really much more rewarding to release this. I don’t have any babies from my womb, so this is my baby. Nobody will really handle your baby the way you do, so I’m just really grateful to handle it and have fun with it.
Yeah! Your cover art really speaks to the whole concept of being able to access Jesus wherever you are and any space you are.
Anita Wilson: Thank you! Thank you! I had to fight for that! My team was like, “I don’t know about that. It would be good if you were kind of serving it up.” I’ve served it up before. I could do that on some promo pictures. I really just wanted it to have some texture and to have a different kind of feel for a Gospel album. I want to get out of the box of just Gospel. I want to reach everybody, so thank you!
Speaking of reaching everybody, I feel like I got hit with so many genres of music listening to the album.
Anita Wilson: Wow.
Especially your lead single, “I’ve Seen Him Work,” that is good. It’s a bop. (laughs)
Anita Wilson: (laughs) Thank you! I always do that. I love kind of giving an ode to the artists, writers and producers that I grew up listening to. The way I say it, the people who taught me to do what I do. 70s, 80s and 90s R&B and Soul music. Part of the influence for “I’ve Seen Him Work” comes from the Thompson Community Singers. It’s like them meeting Luther Vandross. I like the challenge of marrying influences together while maintaining the integrity of both genres. It was fun!
I love it! I also love tracks 12 and 14. Especially number 14 when it starts turning around. It gets me caught up!
Anita Wilson: (laughs) There’s a shift! That’s Kim McFarland. You know her voice from great Gospel songs like “For The Good Of Them” and “I Tried Him And I Know Him.” Her voice is still as amazing as it was then. My Donald Lawrence and Company family had my back on this album. I sang with Donald Lawrence for almost ten years. It was a cool, humbling and full circle experience moment for me. I pulled Kim McFarland out to help sing “Praise Him,” and she did her good singing too.
What was it like having Yolanda Adams on the record?
Anita Wilson: You’ll hear me say this word all the time because it’s really how I feel. It was humbling. God has allowed me to be connected to many people I grew up listening to. She’s one of those people. She’s one of those people I listened to as a little girl. I asked her to come and introduce me and to just be there at the live recording. She consented. She was so cool and down to earth. She didn’t have a list of a whole lot of demands. She actually didn’t ask for anything. She just came to be there, and that within itself is very refreshing. She was just there to be there. Of course I couldn’t have her be in the room and not have her sing a little bit. It was real cool to sing with one of my influences.
I’d imagine. With your label, do you plan on bringing on other artists or pursuing talent?
Anita Wilson: That is definitely the plan for the near future. I chose to call it a media company because it just won’t be music. We’re going to do a lot of things with events and other kinds of content. I want to venture out and branch out into a bunch of different things outside of the box to get my feet wet. I’m my guinea pig. If I make any mistakes, I’ll make them on myself. When you begin to take someone else’s career in your hands, you don’t take it lightly. These are people’s lives and passions, and you have to be really respectful of that when you take that on.
That makes a lot of sense. I’ve had an amazing time chatting with you, but before you go, can you give me five adjectives that describe you today?
Anita Wilson: Peaceful. Grateful. Confident. Humbled. Hopeful.
It was an honor and privilege to chat with Anita!
You can download Anita Wilson’s Sunday Song here. Make sure to get it! It’s everything!
Bryant Smith is the founder and owner of The Top Tea.