Interview with The Bad Girl of Gospel-Carol Calloway
Album: Send The Comforter
I like nice gospel singers that like to hang out with metal heads. So, in the interest of being open minded, I spoke with gospel recording artist Carol Calloway. I am a regular music ambassador! Read on kiddies, it’s time to do the churchie thing.
MusicIncider: What is the message you are trying to get across with Send The Comforter?
Carol: I am just trying to give a message of soothing hope; a message that the holy spirit, which is the comforter, can comfort us in any situation we are going through-whether that situation be sorrow, sickness or disappointment.
MusicIncider: Who are your musical influences?
Carol: Mahaliah Jackson, Albertina Jackson, and Dorothy Norwood. It would especially be those three.
MusicIncider: Who is the greatest gospel singer of all time and why?
Carol: That would be Mahaliah Jackson, because she has a voice of power and authority. The reason why she was singing was to bring a message of hope, and to esteem her brother and her sister higher than herself.
MusicIncider: What is your greatest achievement of all time?
Carol: The greatest achievement is getting this album done. This is my first personal album. I have recorded with the Tri State Mass Choir. I have recorded three albums with them.
MusicIncider: Tell me about being a recording artist with six kids.
Carol: Well, I would say (laughs.) People ask me how I do it, and I say I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). People say to me, you seem to have more than twenty-four hours in a day. It is like teamwork here. They all know and accept the calling on my life. They are very receptive to that, and they also help. They are all about the traveling and singing that I do for God. They all say, “That’s my mom.” We do what we have to do to make sure I get where I need to go. In spite of all that traveling and being away from home a lot, I think I got the world’s greatest kids. I am very proud of being their mother.
MusicIncider: If you had one million dollars to donate to any charity, what would that charity be and why?
Carol: That would be the United Negro College Fund. That’s because there are a lot of African Americans that are unable to pay for a college education. We are losing a lot of our African American young people. It is because of low self esteem, and us not supporting them and lending a helping hand. It seems like it has been so much easier through the years to say a lot of negative things about them rather than lending a helping hand. I think that we could give them our time as well as money, our listening ear.
MusicIncider: Do you think the music of today (non-gospel music) is affecting the kids in any way?
Carol: Yes I do. I think it would be rap music, depending on what they are saying. I do like some rap music, but if it is promoting violence it has been too far powerful of an influence on our young people today. There has been so much put on them, regardless of race, that they are already mentally beat down and angry. They listen to these words and lyrics, and to me, it promotes non hope.
MusicIncider: Who would be your ideal act to open for and why?
Carol: As far as rock and roll, it would be Elton John. I like his style and his whole spirit about him. Stevie Wonder. Gospel wise, I would love to open up for Albertina Walker. She is known as the queen of gospel.
MusicIncider: Tell me what you think about America going to war.
Carol: I totally disagree with it. I believe a lot of unnecessary government money is being spent. There is so much that needs to be done right here. People are suffering right here in America. Soldiers are being taken away from their families right here in America. We don’t have the backing of other countries standing with us on this. We would be losing our men, the fathers of our children. They are going off to fight a battle. There are going to be a lot of casualties. Meanwhile, we have a big deficit here in the United States. Somehow, there is money to fight an unnecessary war. People don’t have health care, and our senior citizens are constantly being pushed to the back burner.
MusicIncider: Tell me where you think spirituality is needed the most in everyday life.
Carol: I think that it is needed most in our daily devotions to God, first thing in the morning. We need to be giving thanks and praise to God for waking us up in the morning. That day is not promised to us. Thanking him for what we have, and thanking him for putting us where we can be a blessing to other people.
MusicIncider: Where is the one dream place you would like to sing the most in the entire world and why?
Carol: Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. It would bring back history. Mahaliah Jackson was the first African American to sing there. To me, it would be a great achievement. I have actually sung at Constitution Hall with the Tri State Mass choir. As we were standing there having our sound check, I felt like I was back at that time. I was imagining how Mahaliah Jackson must have felt. It was a turning point in history for African Americans.
MusicIncider: Tell me about the tour you are going on with the production company.
Carol: It is Wayne DeShields Productions. It consists of two gospel plays. One is entitled, Sho’ Do Need ‘Im Now. The next one is entitled, There is a Friend. They are both comedy gospel plays. We are calling it a national tour, but it is more regional. We will be in Goldsboro NC, and Raleigh-Durham NC during Mothers Day weekend.
MusicIncider: At what age did you start singing? Did you feel a calling to sing?
Carol: It just felt natural. I belonged to two churches growing up. My stepfather belonged to one, and my mother to another. My mother worked rotating shifts, so I sang at both churches. I was always being passed around, sitting on somebody’s lap. Somebody gave me the microphone when I was three, and it just started. Those two churches were The Union Baptist Temple in NJ, and the other church was St. Philip’s Missionary Baptist Church.
MusicIncider: Who is your favorite non gospel singer and why?
Carol: Stevie Wonder, Elton, Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, Donna Summer. Earth, Wind, and Fire. My manager, Jessie Williams, used to play for Earth, Wind, and Fire.
MusicIncider: If you could take a month away from your six kids, where would you go and what would you do?
Carol: My husband is my oldest child (laughs). I would go to some beautiful island, with some nice beautiful water. I would walk along the shore with no sandals on my feet.
MusicIncider: Do any of your children sing? Do you feel they have a calling?
Carol: My two daughters, Iyesha and Felicia. Felicia sounds and looks like Ashanti, and Iyesha has a beautiful soft voice. Iyesha sounds like Mary J. Blige.
MusicIncider: Tell me about what it feels like when you sing.
Carol: I feel free. I feel like I am right in the spot where I should be, like a part of the missing puzzle. I feel like there is a big puzzle, and I am that missing piece.
MusicIncider: Do you write your own music? Do you play any instruments?
Carol: I co wrote the songs on the album. The lyrics are real. I can play a little keyboard.
MusicIncider: Describe yourself as a person.
Carol: I am caring, soothing. I am loyal, and one that somebody can depend on. I have a great sense of humor. I like people to be happy.
MusicIncider: Tell me what success means to you.
Carol: Fulfillment. Happiness.
MusicIncider: Tell me what you feel about what happened on September 11th. Has it changed your life at all?
Carol: September 11th was an extremely sad time for us. I saw it on television. I could not believe my eyes. I think about it often. I don’t like to see people hurting and crying. It was a day of serious morning and of us coming together as one. God wants us to care for our brother and our sister. It was a sad event. The good that cam out of it was the prayer and unity.
MusicIncider: Do you think the towers should be rebuilt, or some kind of memorial should be put up?
Carol: Yes. It was an event that we should never ever forget. Maybe a small scale twin towers, with water around it. A unity day, where we can go pray would be good.
MusicIncider: Where is your favorite place to perform live?
Carol: In Church.
MusicIncider: What is your favorite song off of Send the Comforter and why?
Carol: You are being hindered. It gives a message of hope. It talks about different things that I have experienced. I was going left, when I should have been going right. I know there are a lot of other people that share that experience.
MusicIncider: Do you believe in psychics?
Carol: In a way. I have had readings done. There are things that come true. Some people are doing it for the wrong reasons. I believe some do have a gift from god. You know it comes from God when it comes to pass.
MusicIncider: How does it feel to be in a metal rock magazine with all those bad boys?
Carol: It is a prayer answered. I know it is funny. I have talked to my family about this. When I decided to answer the call, I had asked god to put me in places that were out of the ordinary. It is hard to minister to people in church. I like to go places were people won’t dare to go. I am a rose in a bunch of harmless thorns. All music belongs to God. I want to show a message of love, not repentance. You can catch more flies with honey. I can just be myself. Jesus even sat at the table with republicans. I can hang out with metal groups. I don’t have to drink, but I don’t have to be stand offish either. What makes me any better than anybody? We all have common ground.
MusicIncider: Who is your favorite metal band?
Carol: I have heard of Ozzy Osbourne. I like him. How about Anthrax? Carol: That’s a band? I thought that was that stuff going around in the mail! I have heard some Incubus and Creed. I love Creed.
MusicIncider: I am going to throw up another one to you. How about OVER KILL?
Carol: I have heard the name. I have teenagers. They listen to everything that doesn’t promote violence or downgrade women. I love Bruce Springsteen. I just like his style he reminds me of Prince. I like Garth Brooks, and his whole style. I like Kenny Rogers and Tim McGraw. I like country music. I grew up hearing Johnny Cash in our home. Johnny was just deep down home country. His tribute album is wonderful.—You know who I like too? Rod Stewart. I like his whole mannerism and how he carries himself on stage. I actually met Rod Stewart. I met him at Bally’s Grand when I was working there in the accounting department. He was up on the roof sunbathing. I said hello to him, and he said hello to me. I just like his style. I had always wanted to meet him.
MusicIncider: If you were to cover anybody’s music (non gospel) who would it be?
Carol: Kenny G. I like his soothing sounds. It is just soothing music. Stevie Wonder, definitely.
Carol and I had a great conversation. In ten years, she would like six or seven recordings out there. She would like to act and -GET THIS- play the bad girl in the movies. It was hard to believe, that she could act like a bad person. The one thing she wants to help improve is the welfare of our senior citizens. So, you must understand the title of the article!
She is a nice Cancer girl. I like her. Listen to her album.