It all started in a church choir in Birmingham, Alabama for Rekeshia Bennett. There she honed her skills and fulfilled her spirit, becoming proficient at her craft at an early age.
Church choirs have produced some of our greatest musical talents, and Bennett seems to be no exception. Although the coronavirus pandemic stalled some things for Bennett, her ability to release music wasn’t one of them. Earlier this year she released a single, “Rising Star,” and recently followed that up with, “God Flow.”
Refocusing on music, she plans to release more music later this year or the first quarter of next year. The Alabama native, now residing in Houston, credits her Southern Baptist upbringing for soulful gospel sound.
I had the opportunity to speak with Bennett about her musical and spiritual journey, her single, “God Flow” and upcoming releases.
Percy Crawford interviewed Rekeshia Bennett for Zenger News.
Zenger: Has music been your therapy through everything that’s going on?
Rekeshia Bennett: Oh yes, for sure. I have a very musical household. My family… we love music. We listen to all types of music, my children as well. So, music has been a great help for me and my family during this pandemic.
Zenger: The type of music you are delivering is so important because there are so many people out there who have lost hope or given up on it. How important is it for you to deliver music right now with the message you provide?
Rekeshia Bennett: It’s very important, number one, because I’ve been there. And every now and again, I still go there. But my faith in God and my music just helps me understand. And I feel like that’s a way to help me teach others, another way of coping or dealing with the stress of our environment or our times, or whatever situation they are going through.
Zenger: I love your new single, “God Flow” because it’s relatable Gospel music for a demographic that needs it. It’s upbeat while still being uplifting and serving its purpose. Was that done intentionally?
Rekeshia Bennett: Yes. It was purposely done. To create a more vibrant sound, so that everyone can listen to it, not just the younger crowd, but middle age and the older crowd. If you wanted that musical or dance sound, but you want good lyrics and positive lyrics — you’re going to hear God in it — and yes, it was purposely done.
Zenger: We see so many singers who started in a church choir and they eventually stick with Gospel or go the R&B route. That’s definitely where your roots are. How did being in the choir define you as an artist?
Rekeshia Bennett: First, my faith in God has guided me. That has always tugged on my heart. Growing up in a Baptist choir and singing those songs just brought a different sense of calmness over me. I grew up in low economic standards, poverty and all of that, but something about those Christian words and having God gave me hope to hold on to. That kind of helped me to keep pushing forward in my day-to-day life and achieving goals. I listen to other types of music. I love R&B, I love hip-hop and rap, but my heart’s message has always been in the Christian faith, always.
Zenger: I think it’s important as a Gospel singer to listen to and draw from other genres of music, and I’m sure what makes your music sound so good is that you listen to other genres.
Rekeshia Bennett: I definitely like to incorporate different genres of music. Of course, I think it is important that we try and create music that is relatable to all audiences. We know for sure that our younger crowd is going to suffer the most and needs the message the most. So, I definitely try to dib and dab here and there because I like all types of music. I don’t think the genre really matters if the message is clear.
Zenger: You see more people say that we’re getting away from faith and God and righteousness. When you’re creating music, are you conscious of this or do you want to create music off your vibrations and not social vibrations?
Rekeshia Bennett: I’m conscious of it, but I also believe in being authentic to who I am. That’s most important. If I’m relaying an authentic message of what God has been to me and my faith in God, then I believe the message will get across. I believe if I’m being sincere and honest and truthful in my relationship with Christ, the message will get across.
Zenger: You not only provided the “God Flow” single, but you also have a video for it as well. How did the song come together, and what made you go with the black-and-white background for the video?
Rekeshia Bennett: I honestly just wanted to keep it simple. I didn’t want to be over dramatic because I wanted to make sure … like we discussed previously, I wanted to make sure the message got over. I didn’t want to do anything too grand or too flashy. I just wanted to keep it simple, and that’s how it came about with the black and white. I was like, “Let’s just do black and white. Black and white is classic; it’s always in style, let’s stick with that.”
Zenger: Earlier this year you gave us “Rising Star”. We have talked about the new single, “God Flow.” It appears you are getting into your musical rhythm. Can we expect more music from you to close out the year?
Rekeshia Bennett: Yes! Most definitely! I plan on dropping a new single, if not in November, by the end of December. There will be more music coming!
Zenger: Has COVID interfered with plans you had for the year, maybe a collaboration that’s now pushed back? Or do you feel like it’s given you the opportunity to be creative and get into your own sound?
Rekeshia Bennett: I think it was both. I honestly think God purposely does things. Before COVID, it was a bust life trying to put stuff out and manage everything. But then, God was like, “Look, ya’ll need to be still; be still and take some time out to reflect on me.” And also, it was pre-planned for me to get more music out and do more things. I hadn’t had it out before COVID came. There were things that still needed to be done. So, with “Rising Star” for example, we pretty much finished that at my home. We didn’t want to let COVID stop us. There was room to grow, and we were just like, “we’re not going to let this stop us.” We weren’t going to be negative about it, and we wanted to get our music out. We wanted to get our message out. So, we did it at home. We did the visuals, that video for “Rising Star” at my house. So, it kind of hindered us a little bit, but I’m so grateful because we still pushed through. We still got it done. Even with “God Flow,” it was very minimal contact with people. We are still very heavily social distancing in my family. It was a little difficult, but with God’s grace and his permission, we got it done. It worked out.
Zenger: When you look at the positive and negative that social media can attract, how do you approach your navigation to that world?
Rekeshia Bennett: Oh my God. That’s such a good question. I get so much anxiety from social media — even before I decided to pursue my music wholeheartedly. But just with everyday regular social media, it’s one of those things that gives me so much anxiety. But what I do now, I post because I am trying to get more traction on my music and me as an artist. But I post and walk away. I tell my husband or somebody else, “You can look at it, and tell me what I need to do and not do, but I don’t want to look at it.” It’s so hard to say that because you need to, right? You need to look at it to see what you’re doing, and it takes so much out of you to look at it. It’s just such a hard place for me mentally sometimes to be in. But I’m doing it. I’m using my social media platform right now to promote the music and get the message out there. Hopefully, it works out.
Zenger: You have an amazing voice, and you pick amazing production, but there are always intangibles that go along with being an artist. What are some of the intangibles that you feel you’re gearing toward or working on?
Rekeshia Bennett: Just being more comfortable in myself — trying not to get too much into my own head. Everyone has struggles and their way of doing things, and this is my way. I keep telling myself that this is my way of getting my testimony out there. This is my way of teaching. I’m one of them type of people that want to help. I want to help. But how do I help in my way, and this is my way. This is what I know how to do, so let me do it in this way. I’ll continue to learn through so many great, great, great artists. I’m such a big fan of a lot of musicians, so I’m always willing to learn and always willing to work.
Zenger: I appreciate the time. I love your message and your music and wish you continued success. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Rekeshia Bennett: Follow me on all my social media platforms and look out for more music from me in the future. Thank you!
(Edited by Stan Chrapowicki and Allison Elyse Gualtieri)
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