BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Ayiesha Woods: 'It's So Not About Me'
By Heidi Krumenauer
CBN.com There is no greater thrill than receiving a Grammy nomination for your major label debut. However, newcomer Ayiesha Woods sings for more than just the accolades.
Heidi Krumenauer: I’ve been reading about you. Your critics are saying: “She has rich vocals and thought-provoking lyrics…” “She is hands-down the best new artist in Christian music this year.” MTV.com’s new URGE service picked you in their Top 10 year-end list for inspirational music.
Ayiesha Woods: MTV? Wow! That’s exciting!
Krumenauer: With comments like those, what do you do to center yourself spiritually?
Woods: I just remember that, at the end of the day, it’s so not about me. Christ says in His Word: “If I be lifted up, that I’ll draw a man unto myself.” A young man told me a while back, “I’m just the donkey’s He’s riding on.” It’s so all about Him, what He’s doing and how He’s choosing to reach His people. I’m just honored to be a part of whatever God is doing.
Krumenauer: Introducing Ayiesha Woods is your debut album, but it’s not your entry into the music business. How long has this album been in the works?
Woods: I had an independent record released in 2002. I worked on that project until my current record was released last year. That’s how I got started…
Krumenauer: What was your inspiration for this album?
Woods: With my independent record, it wasn’t very different in the aspect of diversity. It had a lot of the same things going on -- rock, reggae, worship, and soulful music. We had kind of an eclectic brand on that. We thought we’d maintain some consistency on this album, but God is a God of diversity. As it turned out, it became more of a diverse project on purpose. And well, shucks, if we’re going to do it, then let’s just do it the way God wants it. So we moved in that direction. There’s diversity for sure and something fresh and something new for people to be open to and embrace a little bit of change.
Krumenauer: Have you found that people have done just that?
Woods: Absolutely! I think that people have an appreciation for diversity, and they appreciate it when we as artists are transparent in our music. We can relate to them and connect with them no matter who they are or what their background is. They like it when we have something that can appeal to them and reach them where they are.
Krumenauer: So we’re talking about this album, and it’s made you a Grammy nominee! Congratulations!
Woods: Thank you so much!
Krumenauer: How did you find out about the nomination?
Woods: I was in Nashville on the Winter Wonder Slam Tour. We had a few days off, and I was with our management team. My manager came running, trying to get my attention, but he didn’t know that the record label was on the phone with me at the same time. He said: “Ayiesha, have you ever heard of those calls that come in from a record label or management that say you’ve been nominated for a Grammy?” I was like, “I guess I know what you’re talking about.” “WELL YOU’VE BEEN NOMINATED!” I was like, “No way! You’ve gotta be kidding!”
Krumenauer: Did you just fall into a pile of goo on the floor?
Woods: Oh yeah! All glory and praises to the King! I was in disbelief. It’s my first record. It’s been overwhelming, but it’s a great thing. I’m just honored to be on the roster with the other groups. Great golly! It’s a wonderful thing. I’m so excited!
Krumenauer: With regard to your spirituality, which is so important to you, how does something as big as a Grammy nod change your personal direction?
Woods: It doesn’t change who Ayiesha Woods is as an individual and a servant of the King. It’s definitely a very huge deal when considered by peers and people in or outside of Christian music. Again, I’m very much honored to even be mentioned, but at the end of the day, a Grammy cannot put me in Heaven or Hell. A Grammy nomination does nothing for my salvation. So the way I’ve been writing and the way God ministers to me in my quiet place helps me to remain closer to the cross. Again, it’s so not about me. If God’s name can get some glory and if people can recognize who Christ is, all it’s doing is providing me a greater platform to lift His Word up. Win, lose or whatever, it doesn’t change that Jesus is King and He’s the Lord of my life. There’s nothing that can shake or move me from how I feel about Him.
Krumenauer: Ayiesha, you just bleed your faith!
Woods: Thank you. Thank you.
Krumenauer: So if you were to come into my office for a job interview, I’d ask you where you want to be five years from now. Let’s reverse that. Looking back five years, are you where you thought you’d be?
Woods: I am definitely on the path to a lot of the things that I desired for myself. That’s one thing about being in a relationship with Him – He’ll speak to you and show you where you need to be. He’s constantly blowing my mind! Like the things that God has spoken into my life and showed me years ago – I’m just beginning to see those. Some of the things He’s promised me, I haven’t seen yet. I’ve got a ways to go, and if He doesn’t do another thing, He’s done plenty in my life.
Krumenauer: Gospel groups are really making their way into the secular world. Do you want to see that happen to your music as well?
Woods: I would hope that people outside of the Christian market would embrace what God has invested in me. The message of the gospel is outside the four walls of the church, and it’s our job to minister reconciliation to those who don’t know Him. If my music would be embraced outside of the Christian market, I would be elated!
Krumenauer: Tell me what’s coming up next.
Woods: I’m going to be in Europe in May with tobyMac. That’s going to be so fun! We’re just starting to work on an album that will be released in September of 2007. I’m so excited about that, too! Praise God for all He’s doing!
Introducing Ayiesha Woods (2005)
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