Sheena is a Christian singer, songwriter and actress from Queens, New York. She was raised in a musical family that values faith and the spiritual core of music. Her father, She is the daughter of WBLS 107.5 Personality “Doctor” Bob Lee & her mother, Vivian. As an early teen, Sheena found herself naturally drawn to singing and ministry. In 2002, her youth Pastor David Ham recruited her to become a member of a holy hip‐hop and R&B ministry known as T.R.U.C.E. (To Reach Urban Communities Everywhere), under the leadership of Nicky Cruz Outreach. As time went on, Sheena played the leading role in the off‐Broadway play "Run Baby Run", about the life of Nicky Cruz. Sheena also sang on three albums released by T.R.U.C.E. Ministries as one of the lead artist. Sheena has performed at the Martin Luther King Concert Series at Wingate Field in Brooklyn, the Harlem Summer Stage, Battle Cry's Relentless Pursuit at the IZOD Center in New Jersey, Flavor Fest at Crossover Church in Tampa, Rock The Block with Pastor Jimmy Jack and has toured with God Belongs In My City (GBIMC) throughout New York and Florida. She has shared the stage with various respected Christian recording artists, including the Rev. Hezekiah Walker, Shirley Ceaser, Marvin Sapp, Mary Mary, Tye Tribbett, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Wes Morgan, Vicki Winans, Cissy Houston, Israel Houghton and New Breed, Donnie McClurkin and Fred Hammond.
We got the chance to talk to Sheena, let's see what she had to say...
KingdomSoldNYC: So Sheena, We checked out your music. We’ve heard the “Ladies Anthem” and “I Win” you seem like, as a fresh artist, you have something to say. So our first question is, Who is Sheena, where are you from and how did you get into ministry?
Sheena: Ok Awesome, Well my name is sheena, I am a christian singer/songwriter. Most people know me for my big curly hair (laughs) and I just love Jesus and music. I am from Queens, NY - Born and raised. I've lived in NY all my life. I was raised going to church all through my childhood and in my teen years I joined the youth choir got involved in ministry from being in a youth choir. Shortly after, I got involved with a ministry named, "TRUCE” which stands for “To Reach Urban Communities Everywhere”. For over ten years I traveled with the team and I learned everything that had to do with missions and ministry through the performing arts. Being under the tutelage of David Ham and Nicky Cruz, it was the best and most rewarding experience I've ever had. It was my stepping stone to being out in the public, ministering in urban communities everywhere and sharing the message of Jesus Christ.
KingdomSoldNYC: Sidebar.. Is that The Cross and The Switchblade - Nicky Cruz?
Sheena: Yes he is
KingdomSoldNYC: Wow Ok Is he still alive?
Sheena: Of course!(Laughs)
KingdomSoldNYC: Ok. You know what? I grew up watching that movie. My family is came to NY from England and that video was one of my parents favorite films to encourage me and my siblings to watch. So when we came to the United States and we came to New York in particular, it was such a big thing for them, to you know, actually, watching something that actually took place in New York and they used to make me watch it like everyday. (Laughs) But it was a really inspiring story.. Like even now, as I reflect on, you know, growing up in ministry, being in ministry myself, and being part of a church that’s all about community outreach, I often even referenced back to that movie and be like I wonder how he did it, because it’s not like easy, and certainly, the times have, if I would say so to speak, they’ve somewhat worsened from back in whatever age that was when the story actually occurred. But it’s so awesome to, you know, to actually just talk to someone that actually has worked under him. (laughs) like it’s really cool.
Sheena: Yes it is
KingdomSoldNYC: It’s a great story.
Sheena: Well the thing is that now I can understand more or less your question, asking if he was still alive (laughs). You know, Pastor David Wilkerson passed away two years ago. He was the one that basically ministered to Nicky Cruz and that’s how Nicky Cruz got saved. It’s still possible to work with him
KingdomSoldNYC: That’s awesome. Wow! Pretty Cool
Sheena: (Laughs) Yeah
KingdomSoldNYC: Ok, Alright great. So what inspired the second project?
Sheena: Ugh .. What inspired my second project was that I needed to getting to a place of renewal. I felt like I needed to be spiritually, emotionally and physically renewed because of certain situations that I had gone through after the release of my first album. Uhm About two years ago, I felt a need to take a step back. I had gotten discouraged; I was like “you know what God, I’m gonna take this break because right now I’m not sure if this is what I’m still suppose to be doing. I felt like my confidence had dwindled, so to say… even though I knew from a very young age that singing for the Lord was supposed to be my calling, I kind of questioned it. During my wilderness experience, I felt like God was restoring me and giving me the passion to go back into the studio and working on this new project. And I want to share that overall, everything is very different. So if you listen to Destiny and you listen to Sheena , you will notice by listening to both, that they differ in context. You will hear the growth and maturity of where I am today through my story and testimony through my songs.
KingdomSoldNYC: That’s awesome. You mentioned being discouraged, what has been a strong influence for you to continue?
Sheena: Really I was! I felt like I was going through this storm where I had allowed my emotions to kind of creep in, and words and things had been said to break me. I felt like this brokenness had taken place while going through the storm. Once it got to that certain place at that certain time, in the midst of it, God revealed to me, that He was building up a new desire and a new passion in me. He was restoring that confidence in Him and I just needed to step out in faith and continue in ministry.
KingdomSoldNYC: He always reassures us when we least expect it. How has ministry and life been since you’ve released this latest project?
Sheena: You know what (laughs) it’s a real blessing. It's been a slow process but I believe in the phrase, “slow and steady wins the race”. As an independent artist it’s not as easy and it’s not the same as someone who is signed to a label so there’s a lot of grinding going on. In the meantime, I’ve seen God's hand do big things on my behalf. He has been putting people in position to invest their time and efforts to believe in this new project, people that will go above and beyond to make sure that everyone is able to get their hands on it. With my faith, I’m trusting and believing that God will finish what He started in me. He will do whatever He knows to do best with this project, in His time.
KingdomSoldNYC: Ok.. I’m sure He will. I listened to it and it’s dope. I would say there’s a new fresh sound that’s going around and you’re definitely in that mix. I truly believe it’s a great tool for reaching urban communities, reaching that group of people that love r&b, hip hop style and still want to listen to christian music. In a day and time where everybody’s attempting to put out music and have songs in rotation. What would you say distinguishes Sheena from a lot of these other artists that are out there?
Sheena: Honestly all I can share is my story, because I feel that everyone’s testimony and everyone’s journey is different. There may be similarities, but when people hear my music and hear the message in the songs- what they're getting is someone else’s view and experience in life that others can relate to. Other than that, you feel that as a musician or as an artist, if you believe that’s what God called you to do, He’s going to use it. I believe there is a time and a season when God will do as such, the people who hear it will get what they need and they will be encouraged and strengthened to keep moving forward. Then obviously I would have said my big curly hair, but you know there’s other females who have curly hair too, so can’t really use that.. (Laughs)
KingdomSoldNYC: (Laughs) That’s the fashion trend that’s going on, everyone’s natural with big curly hair..
Sheena: Yes (laughs)
KingdomSoldNYC: Who are some of your musical influences? Like, who do you listen to?
Sheena: Ok...growing up it was Lauren Hill and Mary J Blidge. Now it’s Mary, Mary, Mali Music, Veda Katen and others. Just because I enjoy the new sound of gospel, so to say, there’s other fusions with mixture of the traditional gospel in it. Because I grew up with both parents being dj’s, listened to oldies but goodies, r&b and all types of genres of music so.. I wasn’t raised listening to the traditional gospel sound. I do love all types of music, and I just want to express through my project an eclectic taste of different sounds. When you listen to the album it’s not all the same sounds or type of music; there’s different influences; there’s edm, hip hop, soulful, jazz and r&b, it’s basically everything that I love. I listen to other artist like Jill Scott, Marsha Ambrosius, Faith Evans - like there’s a different vibe and I just love fusions of different sounds and styles together.
KingdomSoldNYC: Yeah and I think we tend to narrow down christian music to either gospel music or contemporary. I was talking to, another artist I interviewed and he was saying that he’s the singer but he started to do some stuff that was like rap and like people where like your gospel r&b and it’s like if it’s gospel it can’t be r&b; it’s one or the other -and one of the persons said, is that uhm, basically he considers himself to be a minister of melody and he compared it to being a master of ceremony. When you are a master of ceremony you can conduct any sort of ceremony, so when you think about minister of melody, you know, you are ministering the gospel but through any type of genre, or any type of music and I think that’s what people are moving towards. You know, not just lowering the gospel down to, you know traditional, I call it, church music, or what you would sing on Sunday mornings. But branching out of that and just simply doing what the Bible says, singing to the Lord a new song.
Sheena: Yes. I love that!
KingdomSoldNYC: And so it’s very, it’s cool for me to talk to people that are just really doing what God has placed on their heart and creating this sound and there’s another generation that’s coming up and they want to listen to gospel music, but they want something that’s going to catch their attention. Sometimes traditional gospel doesn’t do that for them. It doesn’t give them everything they need. So again this sound, and this new kind of vibe that’s going out in the gospel music industry, like you said, with Mali Music, Deitrick Haddon, Mary Mary; it’s all great stuff, all great stuff
Sheena: Yeah. And we still pay homage to the traditional because I believe that we can learn from it, and besides the point it is worship music and we can see where it’s been birthed from
Sheena: But I still believe that back then the times were so different. The sounds differ because I feel that music ministry and genres are evolving constantly. We have to evolve and you know move with the times to basically grab the hearts of this new generation that is coming up!
KingdomSoldNYC: Yeah, Absolutely
Sheena: It doesn't matter what style or genre we sing in, as long as it's for His glory. It’s all in the words that we sing. As long as it points to Him, then we're using the gift He gave us in the right way.
KingdomSoldNYC: Yeah. Absolutely. Yes.. So a few more questions. My next question is earlier you spoke about being in a broken place, my question to you is, if there’s someone that comes across this interview who might be also feeling like what you felt, how you felt when you was in that broken place, what word of encouragement would you give them?
Sheena: Never give up! Keep moving forward because with every setback there’s a comeback. You must have faith to believe and trust that God knows what He’s doing! Prayer is key! We will go through the storms of life but we must always remember that God is for us and that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Whatever the lesson, He will bring us through victoriously. The sun will come out once again. While going through my storm I was distraught and felt many negative emotions. I cried all the time because it was a very uncomfortable place for me. In spite of it all, I knew that through the storm, God was going to bring me out stronger than ever before. Sometimes these things happen so that we can mature and put all of our trust in Him. I've learned and experienced that before we enter into a new season and a new place in our lives, God wants to mature and prepare us for greater. You kinda have to just bear it and pray and praise your way through it.
KingdomSoldNYC: The two go hand in hand, praise and prayer.
KingdomSoldNYC: Anything special that you hope to do within the next couple of months or any concerts or anything coming up?
Sheena: Well I’m an independent artist and I'm believing that greater is coming! I have a couple of things lined up for the near future. I'm praying for divine connections and a team of people that believe in my ministry who will reach out and come on board. I’m believing that God will finish what he started in me. He’s going to do it in this New Year. God is doing a new thing in my life. Big things are happening. I’m also engaged, so I’ll be getting married this September. So it’s gonna be an amazing year full of Gods blessings!
KingdomSoldNYC: What? Yay Congrats!!! (Laughs)
Sheena: Thank you. (laughs) It’s been an interesting journey so far just compared to what I was dealing with and going through 2 years ago. This is not anything that I would have expected and it’s exciting and at the same time because I'm learning how to balance everything. The Lord answered my prayers. I’m in a new season, a new place, I’m happy. I’m joyful and excited for what’s to come and the places God is taking me to in my life.
KingdomSoldNYC: That’s awesome. I’m happy for you and the work that God is doing in your life.
Sheena: Thank you
KingdomSoldNYC: You know everyone has their story and one of the benefits for me is interviewing people, It’s always encouraging to hear that what God is doing in their lives
Sheena: Praise God.
KingdomSoldNYC: Alright so, last couple. Let’s start here, where can we keep up with you? your social media, and you have a website, correct?
Sheena: Yes I do. My social media handle for Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, Linked In is “iamSheenaMusic” and my website is: www.iamsheenamusic.com
KingdomSoldNYC: Ok, awesome and.. anything you want to say could be promo a shout out or any parting words
Sheena: (laughs) The one thing I can say is to never be anxious for anything. You know just trust in God. Trust that despite whatever it is that you may be feeling or going through, He sees your heart. He sees you and He knows the right time to make a significant change in your life and bring you into that new season. Sometimes going through the wilderness stage and the shifting that takes place; you’re gonna be and feel uncomfortable but in the long run He’s doing something great it’s gonna be even greater than you expected. You never really know what God is about to do on your behalf. You can’t have limitations on Him. All you can do is trust and believe and know that everything is gonna be ok, just know in His time (laughs).
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