Gospel music singer and songwriter Sue Neil releases her brand new album "Through the Fire" this week. Featuring the singles "Shinning" and "Lord You Are My Strength," both singles have already been warmly embraced by Gospel radio. Neil will also be touring this summer in support of the album. The "Through the Fire Tour" will begin in July and last until August. Sue is scheduled for National TV appearances on TBN, radio interviews and performances in Illinois, Indiana, Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Hallels: Thank you Sue for this interview. Tell us a little more about yourself, how did you come to know Christ?
Thank you for the opportunity
I grew up in a very traditional strict Christian home with two sisters and three brothers. We knew nothing else but going to church and in those days it was quite normal to do so on a Sunday. However, I do remember developing a hunger to understand the bible and to have a more meaningful, relationship with the Lord. I wanted to find out the do's and the don'ts for myself because the church I attended didn't get into the stuff that young people need answers to.
I set of on my journey and met the Lord in my heart, soul and mind. I realised that his Father and my Father, God, loved me enough to die for my sins. That was the beginning of understanding that Christ as the mediator between God and myself, paid the price for me to have life and to have it more abundantly. It's been an interesting journey.
Hallels: Besides being a singer you are also a pastor. Tell us more about your ministry.
Ok, so I went on my journey and found my Lord. Let me say that having a mother that is preacher of the gospel most probably set me on the path for Christian living and although I wanted to know more, I only got so far without teaching and being accountable to someone. I did things my own may after a while. All the while My siblings and I were a family gospel band and I started Of playing the keyboards. Then I wasn't good enough and they suggested that I tried singing. So I did, reluctantly, and realised as a result that I could sing.
I then got attracted to the glitz of the world and branched out into becoming a full time singer in the secular music industry and did very well doing so also.
One day in Portugal, Lisbon, coming towards the end of a world tour, I lay on my bed and heard the voice of the Lord communicate to me that I needed to stop what I was doing or else I'd die. I obeyed and handed in my notice. I didn't know if God meant literally physically or spiritually but I wasn't going to hang around to see which it was. I've always had a fear of him even though at that time I didn't know him as much as I thought I did.
I left. Burned my passion for singing and performing live on the alter, took on a 9-5 and submitted myself to my church. I became a Sunday school teacher, then moved into women's ministry, then youth pastoring, finally it was clear that God was calling me to speak.
I was placed as a pastor of satellite church in 2005. To the glory of God, we've seen , many souls saved.
Hallels: Let's talk about your music ministry. How would you describe your style of music? Who are some artists you look up to?
I'd like to think of my music as having different a different sound to what you'd otherwise be accustomed to . I guess you could call it contemporary gospel? But I am also a worship leader and a songwriter, so ensuring that the lyrics to whatever song I sing on whatever beat I choose to do so, must glorify God.
Hmmm.. The artists that I look up too...There are a few but for times sake,
Fred Hammond is my main mentor. I admire his endurance. Musical Talents, gift of singing and songwriting and of course the Spirit of the Lord that is so evident in his music ministry . His songs have seen me through by the grace of God more than a few dark days and I aim to structure certain songs the way that he does sometimes.
Then there is Dorinda Clarke Cole...do we have time to even discuss how she helped me to stand as a female preacher and singer? Not to mention her incredible love for God that is clearly heard in her songs.
Hallels: What are some lessons you want listeners to grasp after hearing "Through the Fire"?
Well, every song has a different message. I would like for the listeners to treat them as mini moments of encouraging or for them to be enlightened.
Dance if the best to a song gets you and worship the Lord if another speaks to your heart.
Hallels: Currently you have two singles released off the album. Tell us more about these two songs.
Shining? I love this. This is my happy song that reminds me that no matter how cloudy the day is, the truth is that the love of God, just like the sun , continues to shine on his children. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Lord you are my strength? Quite an emotional one this. This song was birthed after a very tearful time of prayer and the essence was simply that I knew that the Lord was my strength, he saw my tears and had answers to my problems before I could even speak.
Or do you mean? Wherever you lead me?
That one is my heart. As I tried to convey in the song, it states, I'm alive because of his love so I'm eternally grateful. I owe him my life and wherever he leads me - I will follow.
Hallels: I believe you are also embarking on a tour in support of the album. What can fans expect from seeing you in concert?
On this tour, They can expect to see me do TBN programmes and there are some live appearances . I will also be at Sharon baptist church in philedelphia. I will generally, wherever it is that I'm due to appear, sing songs from the album and if not only that I will be worshipping the Lord with whoever is there in the audience.
Hallels: And where can our readers find out more about your tour details and/or your album?
I'm on Facebook as Sue Neil or , Twitter and Instagram: @sueneilofficial and with regards to the music, followers can listen to snippets online before purchasing.
Through the fire is ready to go!
I sincerely hope that it is enjoyed.