Dr. Harper: Melinda, what was your life [like] for you before your decision for JESUS as your personal SAVIOR?
Melinda: I came to JESUS at a very very young age; I believe I was four years old. So, I don’t remember a lot before hand, before that decision. I grew up with just me and my mother and she lived very strongly in the Word of God. I know that she has been a wonderful example to me. It was kind of a no-brainer that that was the route I would go.
Dr. Harper: You said it was at four years old that you received JESUS. Where was that?
Melinda: I was in Saint Louis, Missouri when I went to Grace Outreach Church. I was a big part of the ministry, absolutely loved it there and I remember going up to receive CHRIST during one of their altar calls.
Dr. Harper: How would you say your faith in JESUS has influenced your music?
Melinda: It influences who I am. For me, being a Christian is who I am. Singing is what I do. So, obviously me being a Christian has an influence in every single thing I do. I’m very careful about the songs I sing, about the words I’m singing, about what message I’m getting out there. I believe that as Christians, we experience all aspects of life, whether it be our Christian walk, our relationships, our friendships, any of that. So I definitely love to cover everything, but I want to do it in a way that represents the love of JESUS CHRIST.
Dr. Harper: Yes, that’s wonderful! HE is the best MUSICIAN ever and it’s great to be influenced by Him! Would you be able to share about a gratifying experience or a response as a result of witnessing for CHRIST?
Melinda: I think my favorite experience was being on a show like American Idol. Every week we would sing different songs, different genres. We’ve had Bon Jovi one week, Diana Ross week, all of these weeks that you wouldn’t necessarily think are Christian weeks or weeks that people would say “Oh, she’s a Christian.” A lot of the feedback, during and after the show, has been “thank you for the light” or “thank you for standing up for what you believe in.” It could be just as simple as what I wore, making sure that was modest or just my reactions to the judges. Even if the judges said something bad, I would just take it in stride and understood that what was supposed to happen would happen. I think a lot of people have come back and said that really was a light for them. That, for me was one of the most amazing things that has happened in the past. It’s just people being able to see that light in the midst of whatever I am doing.
Dr. Harper: Specifically, how have you been able to share your faith in JESUS with people in the music industry?
Melinda: When people come up to me, whether when I was in a meet and greet line and a little girl came up to me and said “I love the light in you, what makes you smile all the time.” I was able to tell her that it is JESUS that makes me smile all the time and that is why I get to sing because HE was the one that’s given me this voice. I got to talk with her quite a while.
Dr. Harper: That’s wonderful when we get to share the truth with people like that and I know that we have to be sensitive at times [about] how to share that. But, all the glory goes to JESUS. What are your plans musically in the future?
Dr. Harper: How did you learn you were musical or how did you get started in your career?
Melinda: I started early. I’ve loved music all my life. When I was about in the sixth grade, I really started getting into music and by the seventh grade I really wanted to sing. I would audition for choirs and they would say you have so much charisma, but you are tone deaf – you can’t do it. So, I went to my Momma and said “Momma, I want to be a singer” and she said “Honey, well you’re gonna have to pray because you’re not very good at it.” I just sat down and said “I love music so much and I want to be able to sing. I will just practice and pray and practice and pray.” My ultimate goal was to be able to sing in a talent show that my youth group was having at the time. I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma and attending Rhema Bible Church and really wanted to sing in their talent show. So, I signed up for it, sang in the show and at the end I was getting a standing ovation. My mom was in the back crying and there was a voice that came out of me, different than what we heard over the past year. I wasn’t tone deaf anymore, I was really singing, people were actually enjoying it! That’s what is keeping me going right now, that’s what helps me give the glory to God, because I know that me by myself, I’m tone deaf. But, GOD really gives me a voice and gives me something to sing about.
Dr. Harper: I praise GOD with you for that! Are you the only child in your family?
Melinda: I’m the only child between my mom and my dad. I do now have a step sister and I absolutely love her. I consider her my sister definitely. My dad’s been married to her mom for sixteen years now.
Dr. Harper: I wish you all the best and I thank you for this time.
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