GOSPEL SINGER MÉLINA ONDJANI SHARES HOW SHE DISCOVERED HER CALLING AND EXPERIENCES AS A TEENAGER.
Melina Ondjani is a gospel singer/songwriter who was born and raised in Gabon, Africa but now resides in France. From being awarded a Balafon Music Award for the song/music video ‘‘Que serais-je’’ (Who will I be), to integrating several Gospel choirs and singing back-up for different artists such as Celine Dion – Melina has done it all. Her debut album was released in 2011 with 12 songs of which she wrote 10. On the 14th of January 2015, Melina released her cover/music video to Anita Wilson’s ‘All About You’ in French – a cover which has now fired up to 22,678+ views on YouTube.
Watch and listen to it here:
Listen to the original song in English by Anita Wilson herself below:
We caught up Melina to find out more about her music and the development of her career:
What made you want to cover ‘All About You’ by Anita Wilson? What was so special about that song?
“I have a great admiration for Anita Wilson. She brings something very unique to gospel music – she’s the right mixture between the simplicity of a worshiper and an artist full of originality. I really wanted this song to be the first single to set the tone for my upcoming album, and at the same time introduce the new direction I’m taking in terms of my career, new album and my relationship with God.”
When Anita Wilson heard Melina Ondjani’s cover to her song, she took to Instagram in her excitement to share her admiration:
What was your reaction when you saw Anita Wilson support the song?
“I felt very humbled, I was in disbelief when I had received an email from her. I realized how God can create connections when we put Him first in everything we do. I was so excited and thankful that she decided to support my cover of her song.”
When did you start singing? How did it all begin?
“As a child and a teenager, I was shy so I didn’t share my passion but for as long as I can remember, I always liked singing. I always sang when no one was around or in places no one could hear me, like my bedroom.
It was when I turned 17 that my cousin – Mike Jocktane; who is now an ordained Bishop and leader of a group of churches discovered that I could sing, and asked me to lead praise and worship in his cell group, and I said yes. At that point I realised that God’s call on my life was for worship and the rest is history.”
As a young girl growing up in Gabon, what were some of the things you struggled with? And how did you overcome them?
“I grew up in a much protected environment, where it seemed as if my family and I weren’t connected with the outside world, (you know, kinda like living in a bubble.) So because of this, we were not really prepared to face anything out of our environment. I wanted to do the things people my age were doing – listen to the music they liked and dance like they did but I couldn’t.
Things were different from how it is now where we have access to a variety of Christian music. I soon realised that in the contexts of music, the most important thing is the message and I didn’t want to listen to things that could have a negative impact on my mind.”
Why did you decide to sing gospel music and not other genres?
“In terms of my belief, it just didn’t make sense that I could receive a gift from God and not serve Him with it, with passion and commitment. James 1:17 says «Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights » My life is dedicated to Him and I am a vessel in His hands.”
Why do you feel it is important for young people to serve God whilst they are young?
“I think it’s important because their lives will be shaped by the word of God, so they will be able to make choices that will positively impact their future.”
What would be your advice to young people today?
“My advice to young people would be the need for them to understand the importance of having a real and intimate relationship with God. To help face the pressures of this world, join a church and a youth group where you are meeting up with young people going through the same challenges as you; and have a weekly inspiration to do better. This will help you grow in your faith and your relationship with God.”
On the 2nd of July 2015, Melina Ondjani released her second single/video ‘‘Mon Cœur T’adore’’ – “My heart loves (to worship) you.” The single is off her next album which is set to be released at the beginning of 2016. For more on Melina Ondjani click here, to listen to her new single and connect, please check below:
Melina Ondjani | ‘‘Mon Cœur T’adore’’