Accomplished singer and former member of the London Community Gospel Choir Diana Stanbridge has released her debut album 'Sing'. Stainbridge was originally born in Denmark but moved to London at the age of 20 to study performing arts at The School of Creative Ministries under the leadership of David and Carrie Grant. She spent 6 years with the London Community Gospel Choir, was on the worship team at Kensington Temple and now sings with Noel Robinson.
Q: Diana, thank you for your time. Let's start with yourself, tell us about yourself and your involvement with London Community Gospel Choir.
A: Thank you for having me! My name is Diana Stanbridge and I live in London with my husband Carl and our 3 beautiful children. I'm a singer, songwriter and worship leader. I was born into a Christian family; my dad is a pastor and his parents before him were missionaries first in China then in Africa. I came to London from Denmark at the age of 20 to study performing arts at 'The School of Creative Ministries'. One day Bazil Meade, the founder of 'London Community Gospel Choir', came to do a workshop with us and I loved it so much that I decided to audition for the choir. I sang with the choir for about 6-7 years and had an amazing time. I learned so much, travelled around the world and met some really interesting people. Most of what I do now can be traced back to my time with the choir: A lot of my session work doing backing vocals is through an agency called Aklass founded by the amazing Patsy McKay who I met during my time with LCGC. Integrity artist and worship leader Noel Robinson was the guitarist in the choir at the time, we struck up a friendship and I ended up singing with him as part of his group 'Nu Image'.
Q: What prompted you to pursue a solo career and now your solo record "Sing"?
A: I have wanted to sing and be a recording artist from as far back as I can remember. I've been leading worship from a young age in my dad's church in Denmark and later in an Elim Pentecostal church in London where many of the songs were written, tried and tested. Over the years I have begun the journey of recording an album on a few occasions but was always met with a closed door. This time, to my surprise, the doors keep opening - it feels very much like now is the right time, it's very exciting!
Q: How would you describle the style of music as reflected in "Sing"?
A: 'Sing' is definitely a praise and worship album, an emotive mix of gospel, soul, blues, funk and pop sounds. I wanted to include a few songs that are of a more singer/songwriter style as I wanted to share a bit of my journey. We are spiritual people but we also have a 'natural' life and we are all on a journey. We can learn from each other and encourage each other along the way.
Q: What are your hopes for this record? How do you wish this record could help both believers and non-believers?
A: My hope is very much that this album will reach people both inside and outside of the church. I love worship and spend a lot of time listening to worship songs. I know the power of worship to bring a sense of God's presence and I would love for people to be able to connect with God through my songs. In terms of non-believers: for them to get a sense of how much God loves them and to realise that a life with God is a life of purpose, fulfillment, constant peace and joy.
Q: I believe your husband Carl is very much involved in this album. Tell us more about him and his involvement.
A: My husband has been absolutely amazing and has worked incredibly hard at making this album a reality. He is a professional bass player who has played with many great artists including Mavis Staples, Gloria Gaynor, Noel Robinson and blues guitarist Matt Schofield. He not only played bass on the album but also co-wrote 2 of the songs, arranged, produced and mixed the entire album. As if that wasn't enough he then shot, directed and edited the music video for my single 'Sing!'
Q: Recently, we just published an interview with worship leader Noel Robinson. How did you get to work with him on this record?
A: I met Noel during my time with the London Community Gospel Choir and started singing with him back then. We lost contact for a few years as I became busy raising a family. When I needed a guitarist for a radio interview I contacted him, we re-established contact and I started singing with him again. Noel has been a huge support over the last few years and I honestly don't think I would have come this far without him!
Q: If you have to choose two songs from the album to introduce to our readers, which would they be? And why?
A: This is the hardest questions as the album is so diverse. The single 'Sing!' is the song that tells the story of my journey so far. I have wanted to sing from an early age but it hasn't always been an easy journey. The song is about a very defining moment in my life when I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. As I poured out my frustrations to God it felt like all of the angels were shouting their encouragement: 'Sing girl! You better sing girl!' - a bit like people might encourage each other in a gospel church. It was an incredible moment and I haven't looked back since.
'You alone' or 'Lord, You are worthy' featuring Noel Robinson are great uplifting praise songs if you feel like 'getting your praise on' - but honestly I like so many songs on the album I find it hard to choose!
Q: For our readers who would like to find out more about you and/or to purchase your new album, where can they go?
A: The single 'Sing!' is out now and available on iTunes!
The album 'Sing' is being released Friday 10th of June and is available to pre-order now on iTunes, Amazon and from my website:www.dianastanbridge.com
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