JO caught up with the iconic Tina Campbell backstage after her performance at the I Hear Music in the Air Conference over the weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio. From music off of her new album to her own self-image and struggles, Campbell explains it all.
“I think too much of myself to let somebody’s thoughts of me become my thoughts of me.”
Despite her recent marital problems and disagreements with her sister on their popular reality show Mary Mary Campbell was buzzing with positive energy backstage as she spoke with us about her newly released book and even gave us a taste of a new song from her upcoming album. Check out the full interview here.
Sorry for the low quality audio, but we figured you would want the scoop on the gospel superstar.
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Let me preface this interview by saying Pastor and Mrs. Wade provided so much valuable information regarding life as a Pastor and First Lady for 45 years. Their belief in the power of prayer, their love, dedication and commitment to one another, for family and church, etc. As well as tips about being happy after retirement, that there is not enough space on these pages to capture it all in this article. The good news is this couple is in the process of writing a book on retirement and you can get it all in the very near future.
Rita: This question is for both of you, how would you complete this statement?
My wife is… My husband is…
Rev. Wade: First of all, thank you, for this privilege to be able to share today some of the blessings that God has shared with us. My wife and I are grateful and we are humbled by it.
Mrs. Wade: I also would like to thank you for this interview with Pastor Wade and myself. I thank God, for over 50 years ago; I met Pastor Wade at Bishop College in Marshall, Texas. I knew right away that I loved him. He is my friend, he is dear to me, we have fun together, and we pray together all the time. I know without God we could not have made it. I love God first and I put Him first in everything that we do, but my husband is just special to me and I love him dearly.
Rita: Rev. Wade, first of all, congratulations on your 45 years of service at Zion Church in East Chicago, IN. Give us a little bit of history. What does that feel like?
Rev. Wade: First of all, I thank God for the privilege of being able to serve on His program. We are humbled by it. There were some challenging moments, but in the midst of those challenging moments, I’m grateful to God that I had a supportive wife. God gave us peace. He gave us calm in the home and I’m so grateful.
There were two things that I always shared with our church, that was to be a Word church, a Bible believing, Bible practicing church and secondly, to be a praying church. As a result whenever we would face challenges or tests we would always refer to the Bible. An illustration is that God would never set up His church without giving us a pattern on how to follow. The pattern is the Bible, that’s our guide. The first article of faith in the Missionary Baptist church says, ‘We believe that the Bible is our guide.’ So, if we believe that the Bible is our guide, then we who are people of God must be Bible believing, Bible practicing people of the Bible. We thank and praise God for these 45 years. It has been a blessing in my life; it has served to promote me too many areas in life that I probably never would have accomplished, had it not been for the fact of being the Pastor of Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
Rita: Sister how many children and grandchildren do you have?
Sister Wade: We have 3 children; James Commodore Wade III, Camellia Patrice Wade McKinley, and LaShonta Jenene’ Wade Thompson. We have 4 grandchildren Brishonda Dortrice Wade, Sabrina Ella McKinley and Charles Lee Thompson III and Cameron James Thompson. (Proudly, she adds) We have one great-grandson Braylen Brian Cornell Chafen.
Rita: Sister, I do know that one of your daughters is now the First Lady of Zion and her husband is Pastor Charles Thompson Jr. Are things going well for them?
Sister Wade: Extremely well – We are so grateful to God, during the transition, there was no confusion, and there was nothing but blessings from the Lord. Pastor Thompson is a preaching machine. He’s our son; He’s a Bible believing Pastor. He preaches every Sunday and he gives it his all. His wife, our daughter, First Lady LaShonta Wade Thompson is a gift from God. She is musically inclined and the Minister of Music. She handles four choirs. They are doing extremely well, in fact if you go on Facebook™ and see them. We are extremely proud of them, the church is proud of them. The vision is being fulfilled. Young people are so full of energy, great ideas. God did this.
Pastor Wade inserts; God has given us a Pastor and wife who help to give us instant energy, it’s physical as well a spiritual. He’s a young man but a young man of wisdom. He has a heart that is so big, first of all for God, for His people, for us, for his family, his parents live with them and that’s a blessing from God. That shows the kind of Pastor he is. God has gifted our daughter. Our son is a Preacher, our daughter in Texas is a Principal at one of the schools, even our grandchildren are gifted and we are thankful to God.
Rita: Rev. Wade, was there ever a time in your 45 years as a Pastor that your faith was tested? And how did you get through it?
Rev. Wade: Oh yes! Plenty of times. You cannot lead people with all types of backgrounds and different temperaments without being tested. But I have learned a secret and the secret is – do not try to do it yourself. God said in His Word; ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart lean not to your own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him, He will direct thy path.” He says again, ‘Call unto Me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thy knowest not.’ I have learned how to call on God and when the testing times come even to the point you feel like giving up and giving in, but God will not let you give over. When you pray God has promised to answer. There are two things that God has promised to support and fulfill and stand by and that is His Word and Prayer; when those testing times come, go to your Word then go to your knees.
Sister Wade: Yes, I’ve had some testing times, that’s true. But my faith is so strong in the Lord that when I’m faced with difficulties I know where to go. The test comes to give you a testimony. I’ve been through some tests but it made me stronger because I kept reading my Word of God and hid it in my heart so on the days when I couldn’t get to my Bible, it was already there. So I just talked to the Lord through His Word because I put it in me. I read it enough so I could recite it even if somebody was talking to me. Saying something to me that I did not receive; I didn’t have to say anything. I just started quoting my scripture. ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear, the Lord is the strength of my life of whom shall I be afraid’ – ‘Call upon Him He will answer me.’
I didn’t really hear what they were saying so therefore it protected me from doing some things or saying some things I probably wanted to say. I can’t tell you that I did not want to say some things sometimes, but God held me. In this home we knew that when testing times came, we couldn’t solve them so we took the problem to the solver, we took it to Jesus. I told the Lord one morning, ‘I don’t want to get up from my knees until this problem has been solved. I want you to take it before I get up.’ and just like I gave it to the Lord, He fixed it. He delivered me, I’m free and the situations you go through in life you don’t have to go through anymore because you’re ‘covered by the Blood.’ We never get out of the bed without praying, we know we can depend on Him. I had to learn how to take it to Him and stop messing with it, had to learn to leave it there.
Rita: Sister Wade what advice would you give to the young First Ladies of this generation to help them run this race by their husband’s side?
Sister Wade: I tell any young Pastors’ wife, first of all, have your priorities straight and that is its Jesus first of all, it’s not just the two of them. There’s a third person in fact and He’s number one, Jesus, then you and your husband. Ladies you have to be supportive, totally committed, patient and understanding. Do not question what God has told him to do. He does not need your approval, it’s between him and God and if it’s a mistake he made it and you didn’t contribute to it. Being ‘First Lady’ is an honor and a blessing but don’t get too carried away. You still should be able to mix and mingle with other women socially and spiritually and give them good advice. Set a good example as a first lady and if they don’t call you First Lady, its okay, you can make it, that’s really not your name. It’s a title, it’s an honor and it’s a wonderful thing for a church to honor their First Lady and accept that with thanks, be happy about it, don’t get upset or angry about every little thing that you see or hear. Depend on God to lead you the way, you set the example. In most churches a lot of the ladies are watching the First Lady just like they watch the Pastor. Your first impression might be your last impression, so set a good example for women to follow. Participate, don’t just sit on the second row and wear a hat, looking good is important now; I tell every First Lady look your best when you come out. Look like who you say you are, if you’re a child of the King, if you’re going to see the King you ought to look your best. Whatever your talent is use that. It has blessed me.
Pastor Wade adds: Sister Wade did not just come and sit, she used her gift of music to be a blessing to the ministry, she becomes a model for a ‘First Lady’ and to every First Lady, young or old; Use your gift that God has given you to be a blessing. God has given your husband! This is kind of a delicate statement I’m making, when your wife is gifted it takes away insecurities because it gives your wife an opportunity not to be a good woman behind the man, but it gives your wife an opportunity to walk side by side the man. You can stand with a sense of independence; you don’t have to depend on your husband to make a name for you. I never wanted my wife to live in my shadow.
Rita: Retirement? I know you did not just sit down, so what does a day or week in the life of the former Pastor and First Lady look like these days?
Mrs. Wade: It’s tremendous. It has given me energy, and it’s given me new life. The ministry is different for us at this time. I’m doing workshops with children to be with him and for us to travel together and for him to still be able to preach the word of God for which God has anointed him is great. It’s not over when you retire. You make it over if you don’t have something else to do. You need to have something else to do because there is so much work to be done. I enjoy being a Pastors’ wife. When you have served as the ‘First Lady’ and God in the transition moves you out of that position, do it gracefully; you’re not the ‘First Lady’ anymore. When it’s time for you to come out, ‘come out HAPPY’ and don’t get in the way of the new ‘First Lady.’ It does not take anything away from you; In fact, it blesses you to be a blessing to the new ‘First Lady.’
Rev. Wade: It’s important to realize in retirement you have moved from one area of ministry to another, it does not mean that you go home and sit down. It does not mean that you go and try to dictate what the new incoming Pastor is supposed to do. I want to reiterate re-tire, that’s crystal clear and if you understand that you can be happy. As a retired Pastor you have to understand: What is it that you are trying to accomplish now that God has given you a new routine, never retire from preaching because that’s what God has commissioned me to do for life. I’ve been sentenced for life to be a Preacher. One of the things that I’m saying is; as you get older you cannot maintain the schedule, the energy, and the wear and tear that is called upon you to be a Pastor you cannot do that. This is an old word but you do as the old folks say ‘you make do’ and make do is not good enough for 2013. You cannot just go along and get along. You have to be able to give back and it’s unfair to people whom you have served across the years to just make do. I thank God for this retirement time. Just as a little humor, my wife and I. Our morning schedule when we first retired began at 10 a.m., it went to 11 a.m., and then it went to noon and sometimes 1 p.m. So that lets you know where we are with retirement.
Rita: I recall that on the back page of your retirement service it says, “Faithful to the Finish” I Corinthians 4:2.
What does that mean to you?
Rev. Wade: It means that you have been faithful to the very end. I did not falter, did not fail, but we tried to stay true to our commitment to God, and to the ministry that God has given to Zion Church. I did not want the church to go through all kinds of transitions. Zion church is a very great church. It’s a church that lives by prayer, word and fasting. The enemy, he could see there was no shepherd and because there would be no shepherd it would be very easy for the enemy to come in. So God told me to stay faithful and stay to the finish until we got another Pastor. God did it in a unique way, at Wednesday night (usually for Bible Study) I asked Pastor to come to the altar after our devotional period. I said God has commissioned as He did to Moses and Joshua that this is to be our next Pastor and if you can believe for 45 years I have led you by faith – can you trust me that God is still leading us by faith – and the church stood in support of what ‘God has said’ and the rest is history. Now what was so unique is my tenure was not up until the 31st October of the same year and on November 1st. we had our Pastor. It began in February and thee fulfillment in November. God has never let His people go without a leader.
Rita: I thank you both dearly for allowing JO Magazine readers an opportunity to meet Rev. J. C. Wade Jr. and First Lady Mrs. Ella Wade. It’s been an insight for me and it has been my pleasure.
The Wades: We wish blessings upon this magazine and your endeavor and if there is anything we can do to be a help, we want to do that. We appreciate you.
Rita: Let me add. “I know you two have a big date coming up, you are going to be celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary and I just want to say congratulations to you from me, and JO magazine. I wish you both many, many more years together”
Rev. and Mrs. Wade: Thank You.
The beautiful and talented singer, songwriter, Nicois (pronounced Neh’-quois ) admits to being born in
Arlington, VA, but eagerly responded that she had been in Washington, D.C. most of her life… “I sure have.”
Rita: And how long is all of your life? Are you still telling your age?
Nicois: I don’t have a problem telling my age at all. I am 34 years old, sometimes I forget, but I’m still telling it.
Rita: How long have you been in the business – the gospel singing (business) ministry?
Nicois: I have been singing ever since I can remember, but I would say as far as making it a career choice, it would be about 6-7 years. My daughter is nine years old and my first CD release was before she was born, so I’m thinking more like nine years.
Rita: So your first CD release was just before she was born, you said?
Nicois: Just before she was born in 2002.
Rita: One of the things I’d like to ask…I think I see Vicki Winans, Karen Clark Sheard as some of the gospel singers you looked up to or that you listen to for inspiration?
Nicois: They are, actually all of the above. But my style is not just with the gospel. You know I listen to Christian Reggae, Christian Neo Soul, and Christian Jazz and like right now emphasis is on Contemporary Gospel and as you listen you will kinda’ get a feel for all of those flavors within my particular project. So I listen to Chris Thomas. I listen to all kinds of people across the board. I’ll mix a little Chris Tomlin in there; I’ll also mix a little ‘Mercy Me’ in there as well.
Rita: In the ‘Testify’ section of JO Magazine, I like to ask artists, “What would you want people to most know about you in terms of your faith and how that has promoted you in the field that you are in now.”
Nicois: What I would like for people to most know about me is that I am patient in my faith, very steadfast. I am very patient when it comes to my faith. It hasn’t always been that way, but it’s been a very, very rewarding process for me just to know that I am covered, by way of health and strength and joy, you know the things that you can’t pay for; so that’s pretty much where I rest. And again I wasn’t always like that, but God has been really, really faithful in working out His patience and His promises within me.
Rita: God is Good. In that same vein, would you have any advice or suggestions/ recommendations for young people or anyone who is attempting to get into your field or any field really, where you have to use those attributes that you just named, like patience and faith.
Nicois: My advice is for anybody who is up and coming and/or interested in having this type of platform which is literally being God’s mouthpiece is that Number One, ‘have a covering.’ You can’t just be out here on your own, you have to ’ have a pastor’ or someone(s) who is willing to surround you and tell you the truth at all times. You need to make sure you are faithful in stirring up your gifts and perfecting your craft that the Holy Spirit has chosen to operate within you. Just be faithful; be faithful to your local ministry and do all that you can do to develop your gift. It’s not always about skill; it’s about knowing what you are singing about. You know anybody can get up on a platform and sing a secular song, but when you are singing and declaring things in reference to God you have to have an intimacy with Him that is authentic. So I just suggest that you be faithful where you are, be covered and just make sure you are doing all that you can do and learn to develop an intimacy with God.
Rita: Great, great and where did you learn all of that, Ms. Nicois?
Nicois: I have been attending a church named Agape Embassy Ministry for approximately 12 years now and I have been a faithful praise and worship leader for about 10 of those years. I kind of sat for about two years. I went there when I got married to my husband and I just kinda’ sat to get a feel for it because when I first went there, I went kickin’ and screamin.’ You know when you grow up in a traditional church you don’t want to leave your family church. Even though I went kicking and screaming I have learned so much from my Pastor; just sitting and having him develop the word that’s in me; that’s really what separates you from anybody else. So that is pretty much where I received my salvation. (Note: Agape Embassy Ministry is pastored by Pastor Joseph A. Mills Jr.)
One of the great things Nicois has previously put emphasis on is that the Holy Spirit has been her teacher and guide during her career as a gospel singer. She is married and the mother of three children, her parents are Pastor Jeremiah and First Lady Shelia Carter of Bethel Tabernacle Church in Buffalo, New York.
Rita: It’s Mother’s Day, how would you like to honor your mom right now through JO Magazine?
Nicois: I, of course would like to say that I am biased and have the best mother ever. She was very instrumental in developing the person that you see today. I will be the first to say that our relationship was not always good. In my teenage years, of course, I knew everything. I kinda’ veered away and was out there on my own. She was very patient with me, really faithful of course, because she is my Mom. She’s always been there for me no matter what. I just appreciate her developing the person you see today.
Rita: Do you accept engagements and what types of venues do you perform at to get your ministry message in song out there?
Nicois: I participate at all types of venues except for clubs and bars. I am very selective of what types of engagements I accept. It cannot collide with my responsibilities at church because I am a praise and worship leader. Sundays are pretty much not an option for me because I’m at my home church. I have a CD release scheduled at my home church tomorrow, so to answer your question I do concerts and all types of venues . . . I was just in Virginia Beach (on the water) and sung at the gospel fest. Last October, I was in Ghana for the international clergy conference. (She also informed us that she is scheduled to be in London soon) I am looking for my ministry to become international not just in my own back door, ‘so to speak’. I literally plan to go across the water and minister.
Rita: I believe Andrea, your publicist told me that your husband was your Manager. Can you give me a bit of advice that he has given you? (With a little laughter, but matter of fact, she said…)
Nicois: Yes, he is. One of the solid pieces of advice that he has given me is “to be me.” Because I grew up in a traditional church, it was expected of me and my progress to be traditional and for awhile I just could not get it together. I wasn’t comfortable with that feel, although I can do it all day long. You know when you grow up in a traditional Baptist Church you can just sing (traditional) all day long. Yes, it was a little difficult for both of us to step outside of our comfort zones, but with him as my Manager and my husband; he was saying. ’I know you are not comfortable, you need to kind of take a step back and find you.’ He was very instrumental in helping me find me. My husband is very vocal and he inspires me.
Rita: What is your husband’s name? Proudly and lovingly she answered…
Nicois: My husband/Managers’ name is Jackie C. Harris.
There was much more that the beautiful, edgy, soulful young gospel singer shared with this interviewer, but the last thing for this session that I want to definitely share with the JO Magazine readers is that her brand new project, UN-DI-NI-A-BEL, will be released May 2012. When asked where the inspiration for this title came from, she replied with much enthusiasm, gratitude and sense of accomplishment filled with grace; “It is very, very important to me, it is where I found me. This is the third song on the CD I recorded, with the producer, Curtis Parks. While I was producing my project, I had a marketing plan; I would be ministering at different churches and at the same time I would literally be challenged with doing the contemporary sound. The venues that I would go into I would think; if they were not prepared or they wouldn’t receive it because of its style or because of my experience and my traditional background and the fact that everybody knows me, like at my church, it’s pretty traditional, the sound per se. So I was challenged with doing this music. At some events I would begin to sing UN-DI-NI-A-BEL and it was so well received, it was almost like, God said “I know what I put in you and I know that you are being challenged by the venues you are in, you’re thinking that that particular sound is not going to be received… Long story short, I ministered that song AFTER I GOT MYSELF TOGETHER; that song was so well received, it just stuck with me to say, this is what the song is going to be and this is the name of the project. UN-DI-NI-A-BEL.”
No doubt her style is not pigeon-holed. Nicois Harris… Contemporary Christian, Praise & Worship, Gospel and so much more. Hear Ye Her!