Sunday, 25 October 2020

I Interviews

Interview: Antonio Neal

Multiple Dove Award recipient, as well asGrammy and Stellar Award-nominated recording artist, Antonio Neal releases his new project, Welcome Home,on Madison Line Records, the label where he serves as chief operating officer. Madison Line Records is the affiliated label of Visible Music College, a music and worship college in Memphis, Tennessee. Neal, formerly an EMI Gospel recording artist (now Motown Gospel), has recorded three albums during his career as a singer and songwriter. As an artist, writer and producer, he has sold more than five million albums and has worked with Stacie Orrico, Kierra "Kiki" Sheard, and Tyler Perry on his Diary of a Mad Black Womansoundtrack. Neal won two Dove Awards as a songwriter on "There Is Nothing Greater Than Grace" by Point of Grace and a Dove Award as the producer on This Is Me by Kierra "Kiki" Sheard. Welcome Homewill be Neal's first release since taking the helm in2013 to oversee the marketing, publishing and day-to-day operations at Madison Line Records.
"How can I say 'This is a place that is on the rise,' if I don't put my own music here?" Neal says. "It would be like a chef who won't eat in his own restaurant. I believe in this label and the direction it's headed, so I wanted to become a part of it."
Neal says in each song--from the inspiring piano pop of "Things Will Get Better" to the jazz-infused pop of the title track--he tried to focus on telling his own story rather than projecting a heavy-handed message. "I'd rather take the same medicine and put it in something sweet," he says. "But really, this is about my life, my experience. That's what I'm sharing. It's looking inward rather than pointing a finger out and saying, 'this is about you, this is what you need to do.'"
Throughout the multi-genre format, the album contains one theme at the core: reconciliation.
MN-Your new project, Welcome Home, bears the Madison Line Records label. This label is pretty important to you. Tell me about your involvement in the company.

AN-I am the CEO of Madison Line Records, and oversee the day to day operations of the label. It is affiliated with Visible Music College, an awesome worship college in Memphis, Tennessee.  It matters to me, because I am involved with the students everyday.

MN-Madison Line Records represents some amazing talent. For our readers who are unfamiliar with the label, can you drop a few names?

AN-Most of the talent would be unknown since Madison Line represents the students of Visible Music College. But the label does have a few names such as the hard rock super group King James, which includes Rex Carroll from Whitecross and Jimi Bennet  from Sacred Fire.  Also, the CD from our group Visible Worship hit #5 on iTunes within 48 hours of its release.

MN-Regarding Welcome Home, you have said that it “is about my life, my experience. That’s what I’m sharing.” What are some of those highlights that you consider important enough to share?

AN-The highlights of my life have been the low times. The valleys.  My wife and I were separated for a season and I knew that Jesus was right there with me in my valley. He didn’t leave me. At times like that, we realize how deep and how wide the love of God really is.

MN-You have said, and it is very evident, that Welcome Home is based on the prodigal son, and relationships in general. I think it is relevant to say that our spiritual experience isn’t comprised by how many times we go to church, or read our Bible or witness to others, but instead on where our relationship with our Heavenly Father stands. If you were to describe your relationship with Him, what are some of the words you would use?

AN-It would have to be love, faithfulness, and yes- understanding… He is understanding, because He knows what it is like to be here. He is all knowing, but also understanding, because He lived this life like us, He knows what it is like, so He is able to be our High Priest and Intercessor.

MN-With it being the holiday season, are there any extra projects or organizations that you get involved with to further inspire others to “create change, connect culture”?

AN-I try to live my life in an even manner, so I really don’t do anything differently during the Holidays that I wouldn’t be doing the rest of the year.

MN-Who is on your current playlist?

AN-Right on I am listening to Tommy Sims, “Peace and Love”, and a young indie artist, Ternae Jordan.

MN-Just for fun, you have been awarded your fantasy project. Who are you working with and what kind of CD are you releasing?

AN-I would love to work with Tommy Sims. That would be my dream team. Some people say I remind them of him a little. Yeah, it would be Tommy Sims.

Welcome Homewill be available at all digital retailers, including Amazon, iTunes, and at Madison Line Records.
For more information about Welcome Homeand Neal, you can visit his website, like on Facebook or follow on Twitter (@AntonioNeal).

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