Lisa Foster Wilson Grammy Hopeful
Martone: I am so delighted with the opportunity to interview Lisa Foster Wilson, on IRMIXRadio.net today. Lisa Foster Wilson is quite the accomplished vocalist, classically trained since the age of 14 years old, now holding a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance Opera from the prestigious Boston University of the Arts has made her mark in the gospel industry. Lisa has fine-tuned her craft with years of training seamlessly blending soul and gospel to produce an inviting sound. I have to say, that I am now a new fan, Lisa thank you so much for participating in this interview.
Lisa Foster Wilson: Thank you so much for having me, I am honored to be here.
Martone: There is so much that I have to ask you, so much that I want to know. It seems that you and I had both attended the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, in 2017, and both were under different circumstances – but, you were on the ballot, and rightfully so for God’s Groove, a rich blend of gospel and soul. That had to be one of the most exciting moments of your life. Please tell our readers a bit more about that experience, and where were you when you found out that your song had made it to the ballot for a nomination.
Lisa Foster Wilson: Yes, it was very exciting, I went from watching the Grammys to being a voting member, submitting material, and ultimately attending. It really was a dream come true. It was a full weekend affair, interviews, makeup, hair the dress. Meeting and mingling with peers from all genres and aspects of the music industry, it is overwhelming but a lot of fun. I submitted my music, and it goes through the process, if accepted then it is included on the ballot and handed out to members of the academy to listen and vote. I was so honored to see my name there among musicians I admire so much. I didn’t get the nomination that year, however, the delay is not denial.
Martone: I have to say that I love house music, I am an admitted house-head and house artist. I love the fact that you have house music in your repertoire. Is this something that was always a part of you, or was this something where a house music producer got a hold of your track No One, (I’m Free) and asked for permission to do a remix?
Lisa Foster Wilson: Dawn Tallman is definitely someone I would call my musical mentor and is known as the Queen of Gospel Energy for her work in Gospel house music, sang background, and was a featured artist on Gods Groove. We finished the track No One I’m Free which was produced by Grammy-winning producer Edwin Ramos, I uploaded a snippet for people to hear, well one of Dawn’s producers, Glenn Thornton, heard it and asked about doing a remix. I jumped at the chance and it was very well received, it was one of the most successful tracks on the CD. It was played all over Europe, on the radio here, and on roller skating rinks, which was a total surprise. It was amazing. I sang all the popular house hits growing up but never connected House Music to being spiritual until I met Dawn. I definitely want to do that again.
Martone: I recently read some info about you and found out that you were a P.K. (preacher’s kid) which is another thing that we have in common. Tell me, how was it when you told your parents that you wanted to sing? With you choosing a career in singing, was singing something that they supported? If so, did they have a plan for you as to the type of music that you would be singing?
Lisa Foster Wilson: Yea I am a PK Kid. My dad was a singer and a very talented baritone. My mom loved music, and my sisters and brothers sang, so music was a part of our everyday lives. When I told my parents, I wanted to sing it was well received, they took me to all my lessons, all the music competitions, and every audition they supported me in every way. I was also singing while in the church being groomed on pitch, harmonies, and blending. My father didn’t necessarily understand the Opera choice, but my mom had visions outside the church.
Martone: I am going to take you back to 2010, when you released your debut single, I’m Taking It Back. I have to say that you basically came out of the gate swinging and have not looked back. Your debut single gained notoriety in the gospel world by charting on three separate gospel charts nationwide, making it to #30 on Mediaguide, and making it to the top 100 on BDS charts. When you look back on your achievements how would you define those moments?
Lisa Foster Wilson: Thanks so much, that song was the beginning of everything. I had left music behind and I was a director at a financial securities company, the bottom fell out of the economy and I was laid off. That was the catalyst for me getting back into music. My husband Timothy, fully supported the move emotionally and financially, having that support and having it be received as it gave me the confidence I needed to jump all in and let God use me as He sees fit. I had people come up to me and email me to tell me how that song empowered them, and they still play it to this day to get them through, that’s the reason I continue to do this, to spread hope and fill a need.
Martone: Do you ever find moments where you feel like you have accomplished something great, a personal success, are those moments fleeting and leave you feeling like you have to do something else to top what you did prior?
Lisa Foster Wilson: I still have many things I haven’t accomplished and feel like what I have now is a foundation to be so much more. Somedays I feel like I haven’t done much of anything and that keeps me pushing but I am never without thanks to God for his blessings on my life.
Martone: I understand that in 2011, you had the opportunity to perform as a featured vocalist on Radio One Love Gospel Cruise, alongside Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, and Shirley Caesar, when I look at those names I am just in awe. It must have been an amazing experience. How did you feel when you were offered the gig and did it?
Lisa Foster Wilson: My first day on the boat I’m sitting with my husband and Yolanda Adams walks by, I’m looking at her and when I turn back around Kirk Franklin is sitting at my table, so yes it was surreal. That offer came at the right time, I had released my single it was doing well but in January of 2011 we had a fire in our home, and it was uninhabitable. We had the clothes on our backs, our dog, and our cars and that was it. I remember feeling such despair my daughter was in the back seat of the car and said “Mommy, I’m hungry.” I was numb. We ended up in a hotel for 5 months and I thought do I put the music on hold? I didn’t I kept pressing and left everything to God. I concentrated on music and family. Because I trusted God, I was awarded that awesome opportunity. I got to sing my songs and see the reaction of people close up and also meet with people in the industry to hear some valuable knowledge firsthand.
Martone: We had already addressed career highs like the Grammy ballot, and working alongside Gospel greats. Now, I would like to ask about career lows, if there were any, how did you overcome them?
Lisa Foster Wilson: In 2019, I started working on new music and in February I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, which is a paralysis of one side of your face. I couldn’t sing and could barely talk for 2 months this was my second time having it which is extremely rare. Also, during this time my sister was ill and in April 2019 died unexpectedly, this was 10 months after unexpectantly losing my brother, then later in October 2019 I lost my father. I couldn’t function emotionally, and Bell’s Palsy affected my ear and my face was still slanted, I felt lost and unmusical. Emotionally I was drained, my friend Dawn told me this was the time to write, just put anything down, and let it all out. That was the best advice and just doing something lead to doing all I needed.
Martone: So, the New Year is rapidly approaching, and I am sure that everyone is happy for 2020 to be coming to an end. What are your plans for 2021, will there be any new music coming from you? If so, when can we expect it?
Lisa Foster Wilson: I will be going back into the studio to put out new music, got a lot of things brewing. I have been through a lot and I know others have as well I want to share my healing and how I got through to help others.
Martone: Since we are in the season of reflection and thanksgiving, what are you most thankful for?
Lisa Foster Wilson: I am thankful for the friends and family God has sent to cover me. Life can be lonely, and trials make things difficult if it wasn’t for my Husband, my daughter, my pastor and his wife, my brother, and my best friends covering me when I needed it most, I might not have made it in one piece
Martone: What advice would you give to anyone that is seeking a career in the world of music?
Lisa Foster Wilson: Music is a business, do not think just having talent is enough, that is only half of it and to some not even the most important part. If you don’t understand the recording process, songwriting, copyrighting, contracts, and marketing, learn then go to someone who is a professional and knows and learn more. People often work the music and neglect the business and that can be very costly.
Martone: Where can our readers find out more about you and your career?
Lisa Foster Wilson: They can find information on my website http://www.LisaFosterWilson.com , Facebook and Instagram Lisa Foster Wilson Music, @LisaFosterWilsonMusic
Martone: Are there any final thoughts that you would like to leave our readers with?
Lisa Foster Wilson: Please check out my music, hit me up with questions comments, virtual gigs, chit chat, whatever I love communicating with folks.
Martone: Thank you so much for participating in this interview with me. I wish you nothing but success for the rest of 2020 and beyond. I do hope that when we launch on March 1, 2021, you can come back so that we can have an on-air conversation about your music.
Lisa Foster Wilson: Absolutely I am looking forward to sharing new music with you and your audience. Thank you so much for having me.