A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet with a new up and coming Gospel Artist named Donjia (don-ya) Wilson. I got to chat with her about her music, ministry, and her campaign against suicide. Check out her music and the #KillingSuicide mission on Facebook/YouTube @DonjiaWilson, and on Instagram/Twitter @drmlyfe.
Tell Me about your Jesus Love Story, what is your testimony?
Mine is common but uncommon. Orthodox but unorthodox. I grew up in church, I’ve been in church all of my life. My grandmother is a pastor. Moms is a God fearing woman and grandfather was in church; the whole family. I knew of God and what I would like to say my awakening happened when I was about 15-16 is when I really really wanted a deeper relationship with God. I wanted more than what my grandmother taught me and what my mother instilled in me. So I began to dig I was involved with youth ministry and that accountability pushed me to want to be a better believer. It made me want to, I don’t know – be like really sold out. To give them something to model after. Growing up we didn’t have that many dope believers. So I took on that mantle as an ambassador for Christ – as I started calling myself. So that age range and that love story went as far as being depressed. Dealing with suicide and he saved me. He redeemed me. And that’s after wanting a deeper relationship with Christ. You know people would think that this is something that happened prior to. No, no- I was a church girl, I was singing worship, I was ministering to people and I was depressed. I was in a dark state all the time. I went through a period where I heard Satan more than I hear God. And that is because that’s what I was feeding more- I was feeding that emotion more. And yea, [God] really showed me the tools to combat it. Cause it’s not that it doesn’t try to creep back up. Now I know how to fight it so that it doesn’t overtake me.
So tell me about the tools, How did you go about hearing him more than you heard the devil? Was it like you studying or you just decided, you just decided you were done with Satan?
That period was a very very tough time. But what caused me to have that “ I can’t do this no more. I gotta believe God” was a moment in my grandmother’s house on the bathroom floor and I was fed up with life. I had a knife in my hand and my arm was out. And I was just through with it all. I wasn’t thinking about anything or anyone. And I tell people all the time suicide and depression are real things. And it’s a great thing, but God is greater. Um, because of the purpose that he had for me; I remember being on that floor and just literally slicing my arm, leaning my head back and just picturing myself bleeding out and my grandmother coming in screaming, the whole scenario was in my head. And I cut myself and I remember looking down and not seeing anything- no blood or anything. And I heard God, this was probably the clearest I have ever heard him in years. And he said I will not allow you to bleed because I’ve already bled for you. And those were literally the words that I had heard. Then I knew that the love God had for me went way beyond any depression, went way beyond anything and I’m like alright. At that moment, I made a decision- like now I wanna fight for my life. Now I realize there is something that needs to be heard and told. From then I said I would fight but I just need you to help me. I started getting into my word and he began to show me in his word, scriptures that literally combat suicide. He knew that these things would happen and that they are real. So I not only became an advocate for Gods love but an advocate for suicide awareness. Which I run a campaign that my brother and I (who also dealt with depression) started with the #Killingsuicide. And I tell people, it’s not that those emotions [thoughts] don’t try to come up but now I am able to fight. The jest is just getting into my Word and praying more. Fasting and being intentional and not just doing things. There was intent behind it; like okay I’m fighting for my mind. I need to renew my mind. There is something that happened that interrupted my thought process in the way I felt about God that allowed depression to come inside so now I’m renewing it. It’s been a journey.
In your fight against depression and campaign against suicide, how does that filter into your singing ministry?
It’s actually THE ministry. The EP that I released last year on March 7th, EVOLUTION OF REDEMPTION, that EP was birthed out of those places. I was able to take the pain, take the midnight, daylights and all of those and comprise an EP. There is a song on the EP called Dying and it literally took me three years to complete because of the transition that God had to take me through. All of the campaigns and things I’ve overcome are my ministry. They are the music. It’s all one entity.
Hymns or Contemporary Gospel music?
Something that I prayed and asked God for was to be that generational bridge. So live, before I sing Your Love, I would sing [sings lyrics] “Love lifted me, love lifted me”. Or before I sing my song Redeemed I would sing a hymn by the same title. I think that an amazing blend of both is necessary because you don’t want to push to the side the older generation. Because their foundation is what we need. Those Hymns mean so much. My grandfather would walk around the house singing It is well and I never understood it until one day I’m in my car crying…lol. So I can’t choose. I love both of them. one on of my favorite artist Jermaine Dolly does an interpretation of hymn and blending them with contemporary gospel.
Who is your top 5 Gospel Artist?
Because of my raspy voice, I relate so much to Jessica Reedy. I love her and she is so transparent. The Walls Group, William McDowell, Todd Dulaney [ aww man this is so hard to choose only 5] and Kari Jobe. She is CCM (Christian Contemporary Music) but that is still in the gospel world. And the list could go on but you said Top five.
What advice would you give someone on taking the leap of faith into purpose?
I would say, for me it was that accountability. It’s thinking, if I don’t do it, it wont get done and someone needs to hear this. I do it to be an example. From being a fulltime student, full time employee and full time artist. I balance all of that because I know If they see me do it, then they may do it too. I mean, the worse that can happen is someone not like it. But just be fearless. Ask God to instill a boldness inside of you. Just tell him, I wanna be bold for you. And also, understanding what your lane is. Once you’ve accepted that God is God and that he has called you for something. You pray and ask him what specifically that something is and to be bold in it.
Have you always been a worshipper in music?
Yea, and I think that is because that is where I found him. It’s almost like when you get into a relationship with someone you remember where your first date was and where you first met. You remember those things. So for God and I, it was in worship and he branded me as a worshipper. I never want to leave that place.
Tell me about your next project.
Ahhhh! There is so much. I am working on a new album but I won’t release the name just yet..lol. However, God has definitely given me a concept. Great thing is, he deals with me in the way that I learn. I love when things are relatable and I can relate them to real life. He’s given me direction and scripture because its important to me to bring everything back to the Word of God. Outside of that, I am working on some interesting covers. [God] has been dealing with me about the gap between secular music and reclaiming them, so there are a lot of covers and remakes that I’ve done. I rewrote the lyrics to certain songs like XO by Beyoncé, Marvin’s Room by Drake and even Crazy by CeeLo Green. I’m currently building them on SoundCloud because that is where they will be released. I am also working on Worship: The Redemptive-Movement as part of the #KillingSuicide campaign which is a concert with multiple Gospel Artist that we will be launching, hopefully in July of this year. It’s a lot going on but I am so excited.