From Gospel to Blues

Marsha got her start singing Gospel music at the young age of 6. Ever since then she has sung for church folks at services, weddings, anniversaries, convocations, and even funerals. Interestingly, though, the Gospel music world essentially does not support her. Even after recording her song "Balance" and selling tens of thousands of copies of it, she'd approach churches and ask if she could be part of their programs only to be turned away. This got very discouraging. She thought, "I've done what the church wanted me to do: I stayed in school, got married, had kids, didn't do drugs, didn't mess around with anyone else's husband...and yet the church would rather embrace someone out of jail or with 15 kids."

One day about four years ago, Marsha went to the Niagara Falls Blues Festival. She heard a man singing "Don't Let The Devil Ride." Marsha found the concert promoter, Toby, and told him she could sing that song well. He gave her the opportunity to host a "Gospel brunch" at the festival. At that first one, she sang "At Last," the Etta James' classic, and that's what sealed the deal for her foray into singing Blues. Toby and his wife danced to that song, and from then on, Marsha was given time on the big stage, where the audience instantly loved her.

Marsha found that the Blues audience welcomed her with open arms, as opposed to the Gospel audience which did not. Marsha will tell you that she has lived the life of a Blues singer, anyway, as she has had to endure the loss of so many loved ones, including her parents and siblings. Ever the fighter, Marsha takes Blues music and sings it with all her gusto, and audiences respond accordingly. They see and feel her pain, but they also notice that she's not stuck in sadness or bitterness. Indeed, Marsha uses Blues music to ultimately take her audience to church, albeit one that's not stuck in the backbiting Gospel world. Marsha's able to sing songs like "Amazing Grace" after singing Etta James songs because the Blues audience is fine with that; in fact, they ask her to do inspirational songs.

Marsha is a church girl who has been somewhat rejected by the church and the Gospel music world. Rather than trying to win their approval, she has taken her talent to another audience, all the while bringing a little bit of church to them. In the end, Marsha can sing Gospel, jazz, Blues, or whatever. One thing's for sure: she will deliver a powerful performance you won't soon forget.

 

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