Contemporary Christian artist and Worship Leader, Yonette Odessa, has channeled her gigantuan gift for singing and conspicuous calling to record her latest release called The Climb, a collection of inspirational songs that soar both in spirit and sound.
With the release of her sophomore project, Odessa overwhelms the listener with catchy lyrics and a calming melody that testifies to her personal experience. It’s an album that surely connect with Christians of all ages, denominations and cultures.
Born in Guyana, raised in New York City, Yonette brings her unique upbringing and outlook of the world to both her music and ministry, in an effort to impact lives towards Christ. In an exclusive with BlackGospel.com, Yonette shares her story, her journey and her concept behind the catchphrase – “The Climb”.
Christopher Heron: Let’s start off with a few fun questions. For instance, you’re a New Yorker. What are a couple of places every visitor to NYC should check out?
Yonette Odessa: New York City is one of the most beautiful yet hectic cities. The top places I believe every visitor should check out are Times Square and the Empire State Building.
Christopher Heron: You’re originally from Guyana in South America. Do you speak any of the other popular languages, like Creole, Spanish, Portuguese or Hindu?
Yonette Odessa: Yes I was born and raised in South America Guyana, but unfortunately I do not speak any of my countries other dialects.
Christopher Heron: You have two very unique names – Yonette Odessa – is there a story behind the names?
Yonetta Odessa: I’ve always been curious about this very question. However I’ve never been told any stories behind my name. All I know is my Daddy named me.
Christopher Heron: Your latest release, The Climb, is a huge evolution / progression from your debut project, Free. In your words, tell me about the journey and maturity as an artist over the last four years that prepared you for the release of The Climb.
Yonetta Odessa: The journey to “The Climb” had to be one of being intentional about every move. I knew it was going to be a challenging process but I was ready to embrace it. Everything about this new album had to show growth on every front. So, I began the process by hiring some of the best producers, vocal arrangers, and musicians to help me get the job done. The thing that was challenging about that was, it put me in a position to face all of my fears and weaknesses.
There were days when I wanted to quit because I felt like I just wasn’t good enough to pull off the very high standard I had set this time around. Looking back on the concept of this project, it’s clear to me that God Literally had me experience was it means to “CLIMB”. I was stretched in ways I never thought possible, I grew vocally, matured lyrically and I am no longer afraid of people’s opinion of me.
Christopher Heron: Your album features a number of guest artists. Why did you spotlight these talented artists on The Climb and tell us a little about them and what they bring to the songs.
Yonette Odessa: I was so privileged to have some amazing Artist featured of this album. Some of which are my longtime friends. , while others came highly recommended by my producer. Each of them brought something special to the songs they were featured on. I wanted each feature to deliver something I didn’t have. Which added so much more color to the music.
Christopher Heron: Your music is a rich blend of very well produced Urban grooves, Contemporary Christian and Praise & Worship music. Who is your amazing team of musicians and songwriters?
Yonette Odessa: The BEST had to be delivered on this project. So God opened the doors for me to work with an amazing team…. It all started with David hunter on the title track “The Climb” and “Wind Of Grace” both of which was written by Yours truly. That ultimately lead to me being introduced to Christopher Thompson… together we worked on “Changes”( Written By: Yours Truly), “Never Let Go”( written by Him), “Sweet Love”( Written By: Yours Truly, “Alright” (Written By: Yours Truly & JP Squad AKA my Kids), “Save Me”( Written By: Yours Truly), “Breathe Into Me”( Written By: Yours Truly), “End Of Me”( Written By: Yours Truly & CHRIS), “All You” (written by: Naomi Raines), and the Intro (Written By: Nellah)
I was also super blessed to have my Musical Director and Friend Ray keys produce work on “Run to You”( written by: Yours Truly & Eddie Neblett) And “Yours” ( Written By: Yours Truly) Musicians like, Marcos Music (Guitar), Kadeem Nichols (Background vocalist arranger), Stephanie Fisher (vocal arranger), Drummer Hall aka Romell Hall (Drums) also did some live instrumentations on the album as well as Andre Forestall my brother-law; remarkable bass player and mentor.
Christopher Heron: The title of your album and one of your songs is The Climb. Why was this the appropriate title for this album?
Yonette Odessa: The title of the album “The Climb” was literally given to me by God about 2 years prior to me even knowing what it was given to me for. So when God said it was time for a sophomore project, I immediately knew he was taking me on a journey with this record. My mom said it best “When you’re FREE that’s when you can begin to Climb”.
Christopher Heron: Do you have a favorite song on the album that ministers to you?
Yonette Odessa: Honestly it’s really hard to pick one song as a favorite….why? Because, every song on this record is part of my life story being told. So, they all are my favorites.
Christopher Heron: You’re a member of the worship team at your church. Does serving in the ministry of worship impact your artistry?
Yonette Odessa: My Dad who is my Bishop has entrusted me to lead the worship department at our church Glory Light Tabernacle. Serving in the ministry is so important to me…it keeps me grounded and accountable. It also translate into my career as an artist in that wherever I go I’m a servant of God just doing what he’s called and ask me to do.
Christopher Heron: Who is this album for? And what is the message you hope to leave with the listener?
Yonette Odessa: This album is for ANYONE who comes into contact with it. Why? Because it’s an uplifting, encouraging collection of songs that will help the listener to keep moving forward no matter what life throws at them. It is my prayer that every listener walks away hearing directly from God through these songs as he reminds them of his unfailing love that’s covering their lives.
For more information on Yonette Odessa and the new album, The Climb, visit her official website at www.yonetteodessa.com.