This is the season of celebration for Gospel artiste Neesha Woodz. She will release her third album Incredible God on March 28 at Hilton Barbados. She will also be celebrating ten years in the music ministry. But that is not all. The artiste will also be celebrating her 33rd birthday.
Neesha is absolutely ecstatic about the upcoming event, she told Bajan Vibes during an exclusive interview.
“It is going to be an event that you won’t forget and you can’t afford to miss. This will be a show like no other; it’s an album launch but we are also incorporating my birthday [festivities], as well as celebrating ten years.
“For the production, every detail has been thought out with the patrons in mind. For me, no matter what is coming, it is going to be the concert of the year. A lot of work is going into the planning. Early bird tickets are sold out, so only general admission tickets are available. I expect it to be a sold out show. I am using the hashtag #weinside because I don’t want anyone to be outside. I am just excited thinking and talking about it,” she gushed.
But as Neesha sat down and opened up about her journey, she admits that her career and professional approach to the business of music ministry was born out of the saddest period of her life.
It was on May 12, 2010, when she lost her mum, Hortence Wooding, that her world was turned upside down. Neesha purposed to answer God’s call and honour her mum by taking her music ministry to the next level. A decision she does not regret.
“I pretty much started ten years ago and birthing this was really just out of pain. My mum would have passed away ten years ago, that was the driving force behind me taking it more seriously and despite the challenges, it has been a really good ride. It has been amazing. It hasn’t been perfect. Obviously, with everything, you know you have challenges but it has been amazing. There are people I know in the gospel arena that would have started out but because of lack of funds, because of criticism, because they may not get enough airplay for various reasons, they may have thrown in the towel.”
The musician who can play guitar, drums and keyboard, credits her love of music and a deep attachment to Caribbean vibes to her upbringing.
“Growing up, my household was very musical. My father [Emmerson Wooding] is the one who really got me started. He used to have a lot of cassettes. He and my mother loved Shine the Light and Grace Thrillers. So every Sunday, I would hear Grace Thrillers, Joseph Niles and The Imperials blasting.
“I think hearing those Caribbean genres consistently had impacted me to the point where even though I can sing worship ballads and other genres, hearing those influenced me to sing Caribbean genres. As I got older, it was people like Papa San, Lieutenant Stitchie, Prodigal Son.”
Neesha has accomplished much over the past decades. In 2016, she was awarded Female Gospel Artist of the Year at the Barbados Music Awards. In 2017, she made history as the highest nominated female for the Caribbean Gospel Marlin Music Awards with a historic nine nominations and came out victorious with the title Soca/Calypso Female Vocal of The Year. She also got her first international award from the Prayze Factor People’s Choice Awards in the category International Song of the Year with her hit single So Amazing, held in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 2018, she won Soca/Calypso and Dance Song of the Year for her single Worth. She has shared the stage with the likes of Grammy Award winners Tasha Cobbs, CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, Erica Campbell and Michelle Williams, as well as award-winning artiste Sinach, just to name a few.
Her music has taken her all around the globe. She has toured in St Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua, Bahamas US Virgin Islands, Canada, Atlanta, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Washington among others.
“It is really different. Even though I get good support here, I remember the first time I travelled was to St Thomas; the hospitality and everything I would have received really blew my mind. It is different when you are in your hometown. People know you, but then when you go as an appearing guest act in another country, everything is on a different level. Because people don’t see you every month or every year, the reception is amazing,” Neesha said of overseas events.
But one moment on stage that will forever stay with her was at her album launch in 2015.
“A moment that I hold dear was at my last album launch where a young lady gave her heart to the Lord. I think for me that was paramount above anything else that might have happened throughout the ministry. Being able to have an event and ministry in song and your testimony [impacts someone] and they actually give their heart to the Lord… That was one of my more crowning moments in the ministry.”
She recalls another memorable moment when she first met Nigerian gospel artiste Sinach whose real name is Osinachi Joseph. A bond was born, and a close friendship formed.
“She has had an impact on me as an artiste. When she first came out and I listened to her music, one thing that struck me was that her songwriting was very simple but still effective. When she came for Gospel Fest 2016, I was able to meet her. I realised she was humble. She actually invited me to sing with her on stage. At the time, I wasn’t very prepared. I didn’t take up the opportunity, which is one thing I regretted. Since then, we have maintained a friendship. She is one person who has inspired me,” Sinach said.
Neesha, who worships at Cave Hill Wesleyan Holiness, said the upcoming album is a little different to her previous work.
“With this album, my writing style has changed slightly because I want to make sure that the songs I put out there have in the Word and also that the message or theme of the songs is relatable. I wrote every song on the new album except Be Alright. Samuel Medas from Guyana wrote that one. There are 15 tracks on the album. There are a few collaborations.”
She continued: “I have over 200 written songs. For me, the inspiration is easy where God has given me so much material and I am not the kind of person who would want to keep it to myself. I believe we are in the last chapter of the last days, so as much as I can, and as much as finances allow, I try to get the music out there so that it could touch people’s lives.”
After her concert, she will be heading to St Vincent’s Gospel Fest in April. She will also be in Tortola for an event in April. Her next goal is to commit herself to the music production end of the business.
“I want to start learning the ins and outs of music production. You can bring songs to people and you know what you hear and because they don’t hear what you hear, it is hard to translate what I am hearing. I believe I have the ability to be a producer. In doing so, I would want to make it very reasonable for young artistes who are coming up to be able to help them get off the ground. There are a lot of talented people who want to do what I am doing but they always say ‘Neesha man, it is the money.’ I want to do that not only to benefit myself, but to help others. I would want to do so under a label as well.”
She has a passion for young people and upcoming artistes. Her advice to them: “A relationship with God is paramount. Hone your skills, be able to go the extra mile and enhance your skills so that when opportunities come, you would be ready for them.
“Once you know that it is something God has called you to, always have a unit that would pray you through. Make sure to have persons around you who are positive and share the vision that God has given you. As much as there is an enemy who brings obstacles your way, there are also people in your circle that will try to tear you away from your path. They may appear to mean well. So you have to be careful,” she cautioned. (IMC)