Lime interview - Music
EDITOR - Vernia Mengot
The 2011 winners of the No.1 Gospel talent show in the UK.
Together Neresa Maye, David Balogun, Nadine Ceaser and Lawrence Rowe create hot British vocal group Divine Divine; who began their public journey as the runaway winners of the first Time 2 Shine talent search in 2011.
Having won the hearts of the public and the judges, the group has since undergone a busy year of travelling, performing, writing and work on their debut album. In this interview the quartet tell Lime about their plans for a musical future using their talent as tools of ministry, what they learnt from their experiences on the show, along with making their mark in the world of the gospel music.
Congratulations on your debut album out next month, a lot must have changed for you since winning Time 2 Shine; tell us about your year so far.
Nadine: The year has been an interesting one. We have travelled, met some amazing international artists and had a chance to learn about some aspects of the gospel industry.
Neresa: It’s been a hectic one thankfully, music-wise. In addition to writing and performing our debut album, rehearsals, video & photo shoots, I’ve travelled to some far-flung places such as the Black Sea, Russia and Beirut with The London Community Gospel Choir, and to Barbados (Whoop Whoop!) with Divine Divine, courtesy of Time 2 Shine Ministries.
What have you learnt from being on last year’s show?
David: I have learnt to accept myself for me and be me to the best of my ability.
Neresa: I’ve learned that while things may not always initially turn out as you might expect, if you keep trusting in God, working hard and doing your best, all things can work together for your good. I really didn’t expect to be part of a winning group, but the way things came together, I can only say that there was some divine intervention…
What ideas were behind the group’s name?
David: It originally started off as D-Vine, which was Mercy B's name for us during the competition, as us being the Branches of the True Vine - God. With a little bit of word play Divine Divine was born, with T (our manager) being the pioneer.
What inspired you when it came to writing songs for the album?
Nadine: Each other, life experiences and our journeys so far as believers of Christ.
Neresa: We were inspired by our own life stories and experiences. For example, the song ‘Don’t Worry’ was inspired by my experience of looking much younger than I actually am and how people’s expectations can shift when the truth is revealed. It’s about going below the surface; after all, age is nothing but a number…
Lawrence: Whatever was on our hearts is what came out musically.
Has singing been a part of your lives from an early age?
David: Most definitely; most of my childhood memories are painted in music, specifically singing.
Neresa: Absolutely! From the age of five I remember mimicking the songs on TV Ads and singing along to my parents’ LPs and at family parties. I was always involved in school choirs and musicals, or forming harmony groups with my friends.
In my teens I started performing on stage as a Backing Vocalist, not being confident enough to step out on my own. But things soon progressed to doing vocal sessions, recording my own songs and performing as a lead vocalist in my own right. I just can’t seem to get away from it!
What would you like to gain from your music?
David: I strive to always gain inspiration from my music. If it objectively inspires me, then I'm sure it'll inspire others, as a lot of us are the same in many ways. I also await the day my music making pays the bills and some.
Neresa: I believe it will enable me to help support my family and to bring encouragement to those who hear it. I’m always so blessed when people tell me how much something I’ve sung has touched them, but I am also realistic. God has given me this ability to work with, which I do, and the Word says ‘the labourer is worthy of his wages.’ (Luke 10:7)
Lawrence: Inspiration, upliftment, joy and much more. In what I want to gain from it I want everyone to be impacted in the same way. I can't wait for the day when I can live off music full time (the only way of income from me)
Who do you admire musically?
David: There are too many, but names that will always pop up in my answers to this question are- Brandy, Kirk Franklin, Kim Burrell, Darkchild and Mary Mary.
Nadine: Lauren Hill, Nas & Mali Music
Is there anyone that you would like to work with?
Lawrence: I would love to work with both Kirk Franklin & John Legend. As I think their ear for music is truly incredible.
What advice would you give to this year’s Time 2 Shine contestants?
David: Know exactly what you're getting into and what it requires, ask lots of questions, make your expectations known, and be the best you can be!
Nadine: Pray for wisdom, strength and work smart and tirelessly from the word GO!
Lawrence: Know what you're getting yourself into. It's not gonna be all about you, as it's a group. Be true to who you are always. Also, know it’s not all about music it's a business as well.
What things do you take from your heritage that you can apply to your daily life?
David: This will be 'African Fever' for me. The heritage swims in respect... I believe respect should be a derivative of love, so I'll say 'to do everything with love & good intention'!!!
Neresa: Don’t take life too seriously. And stop rushing! Seeing how life was in Barbados made appreciate how to enjoy life. Seeing people from my kind of background succeeding and being the best at what they do through dedication and living a simple life is a true affirmation that I can do it too!
Nadine: Building from nothing to something. My close family are excellent examples (to me) of starting from nothing, building up to something, losing everything and then re-building to something greater. I love each of their fearless attitudes and unique work ethics.
Lawrence: That would Jamaica fever for me. Always show respect, spread love always and remain humble.
Divine Divine release their debut album entitled Edge Street at Under the Bridge, London on 18 August 2012.
Tickets can be purchased from www.ticketweb.co.uk
The new series of Time 2 Shine Gospel Talent Quest is on Vox Africa, Sky Channel 218, every Sunday at 7pm. www.time2shineministry.com
Fazer - Killing Them
Oya Dance for Abrantee
Interview with Neeru Bhandari