In The Spotlight: Doneta Dawson

Hello everyone! Happy March! Starting the month off with a few spotlights today. As always, if you are or represent an upcoming artist, designer, producer, etc., and are interested in a feature onThe Spotlight, please read our Features/Submissions page for more details! 

Right now, we have gospel singer Doneta Dawson! Hailing from Cincinnati, Doneta grew up in a musical family.  She also grew up in the church and has been singing in the since she was four, singing solos in the choir. "I learned very, very young about singing, about performing, about harmony, all of that good stuff," Doneta said. "I always wanted to sing professionally and I always wanted to perform."

As a teenager, Doneta formed a female R&B group called Finesse with her best friend and cousin, getting her first taste of the music industry as they performed at different local shows in Cincinnati. "We were crazy about SWV," she laughed. "We did SWV covers and we thought we were SWV." At about 16, however, Doneta got turned away from the group because of bad management and problems within the group itself. "It didn't last, but I still had the singing in my heart," Doneta acknowledged. Having strayed away from her home church, at 22, she made the decision to go back and recommit herself to God. At that point, praise and worship was a new concept in the church, with a small group of singers leading the congregation in song at the start of service, and helping to draw everyone into praise and worship of God. The idea was new to Doneta, but she loved it, and church leaders quickly called on her to be a part of her home church's praise and worship team. "I learned the hard way that leading people in worship is not as easy as it seems," the singer admitted. "It wasn't just about singing."

The singer went to a different church a few years later, and joined with another praise and worship team there. The group had a great sound and chemistry, and they even eventually decided to create a CD.  Though Doneta had great love and respect for the group, problems with scheduling and Doneta's intimate talks with God eventually led her to start singing on her own.  "I was driven," the singer admitted. "It wasn't a hobby for me. It wasn't something to do on the side." Through prayer, Doneta made the decision to leave the group in 2011. About eight months later, after performing a song of her own, a man came up to her asking if she had a CD, which she didn't. "He lit into me! He was like, 'The Lord said, you know you're supposed to be singing for him," she said. "'You know that you're supposed to be recording. That song should be on the radio!'" That really got Doneta into gear, and she got serious about recording and distributing her music.

In 2013, she released her debut CD, "R&B: Repent and Believe," and the title and album tells Doneta's own journey of repenting and turning back to God and the church. Though she grew up in church, her struggle was forming a tight relationship with God. In her journey, Doneta states that God took her through some things to teach her what it meant truly meant to be a Christian and how to live for Him. "I knew everything about church protocol and nothing about the kingdom of God," Doneta admitted. "The key to all of it was to repent, which means to change. To change your thought process, to change who you are." Many see "repenting" as saying you're sorry for whatever you've done wrong, but it's truly to confess and then turn away from whatever wrongs you have committed. "Believe is just the second step of that," Doneta continued explaining. "If you confess with your mouth, and believe in your heart, you shall be saved." The CD details the entire journey of realizing also that God came to bring a kingdom of his believers. "Now that I'm a part of His kingdom, I'm a part of His family," she said. "I'm worth more than I thought I was worth."

R&B is also a play off the fact that Doneta's voice has an R&B, soulful feel to it. The singer is inspired by artists like Mali Music, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and other jazz R&B artists, and it reflects in her sound. It fit the album perfectly. One of her favorite tracks on the album is "You Get Me." Though not a song that she performs too often, Doneta admitted that the track is the most dearest to her. "The song is my personal journey. It's my heart song and I don't like to share it when I go out and sing live," she laughed. "But that was very close to my heart, and it really does tell my story."

Currently, the singer is in the process of writing a book called Worship Unprecedented. "It basically teaches about worship from a kingdom standpoint," Doneta said. She also conducts a prayer line, which has been picked up to become a radio show. Her next CD will be a live recording, projected for recording and release late 2015 or early 2016. "I want to do a series of live recordings, and then a compilation of that for the next project," Doneta said. In the future, she would love to be able to perform and work on her projects and ministry full-time. "Right now, I'm an independent artist," Doneta stated. "I don't have the machine backing me, so it's literally coming from me, my husband and my household, whatever resources I have as far as the support." She wants to travel farther and expand her brand. She also has a heart for worship for God, and it showed when I spoke with her. "My motto is 'Changing the world through worship,'" the singer said.  I believe that that's the avenue God's given me, and it can be unlimited and used in so many different ways." Talking with her was so inspiring and uplifting. For those of you who love gospel music, Doneta Dawson is definitely one to look out for. Regardless of if you blast gospel music regularly, take a listen anyway! Doneta is definitely a strong talent and a beautiful spirit that I know you all will enjoy!
You can learn more about Doneta on her official website, connect with her on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to more of her music on SoundCloud

1 comment:

  1. Great article and very inspiring - God Bless



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