About Natalie Wilson and S.O.P. (Sounds of Praise)
Natalie and her siblings grew up as children of
a Pastor, Bishop Nathaniel Simmons and learned about the Lord
in a Christian home and supportive church family. The musical
talents of Natalie and her brothers were helped in their development
by participating in the church choir.
As a young adult, Natalie Wilson received formal
training at Church of Christ Bible School. She then made plans
to begin a profession in cosmetology, treating her musical ability
as a sideline for church performances, etc. Little did she know
at the time what the Lord had planned for her life.
The 19 member S.O.P. Chorale was formed at the St.
Paul Church in South Orange, New Jersey, which was pastored by
Natalie's late father, Bishop Nathaniel Simmons, under the direction
of Natalie's brother, Glenn. In 1992, Glenn died in an accident,
leaving the S.O.P. Chorale without a director. Natalie, who had
been preparing for a career in cosmetology, found the very course
of her life changed when her father asked her to take over as
the S.O.P Chorale director.
While she had never thought of becoming a choir
director, and had a lot of doubt about her ability, she agreed
to take over this new responsibility to keep the choir together
as a group, until a "real" director could be found to
take over. Natalie shares how she felt at the time. "I didn't
know how to direct. The only skill I knowingly brought to the
job was how to teach three-part harmony!"
However, the Lord had other plans for her musical
and spiritual gifts, and led her to develop her skills in singing,
arranging music, and directing that He knew she had, to direct
the S.O.P. Chorale, for His purpose and glory.. When the Lord
calls human beings into a ministry, He is right there to help
and enable them to grow in His ministry.
Natalie comments, "God filled in the blanks,
which gave me confirmation that it was meant to be. From the first
day, the anointing was there, as if my brother's mantle had just
fallen on me. Everyone was amazed, no one more so than me! The
Holy Spirit just gave it to me, and still is helping me."
With her doubts and reservations laid quickly to
rest, Natalie stepped out in faith and took on her new role with
"unrestrained joy and enthusiasm." She went back to
school and became an ordained minister in the national Sounds
of Praise ministry, while leading the S.O.P. Chorale, putting
what she was learning to good use as she progressed in her studies.
Natalie Wilson has had personal experience in receiving
the Lord's peace, and healing, and joy during some rough trials
of the heart, where she found herself in a mighty personal battle,
on and off throughout the 1990s. During this challenging time
in her life, when she was called into a music ministry with S.O.P,
Natalie Wilson also had her own personal struggles as well with
grief and turmoil. Within a few short years of each other, not
only did her brother Glenn die, but also both her parents. On
top of all this, her marriage fell apart, which pushed her into
a battle with depression which she came through holding onto the
Lord. Natalie reached a place in her being where she can truly
say her pain and suffering has only made her stronger in her faith
and her walk with Christ, inspiring many of the lyrics found in
her songs which are so inspiring and uplifting to the listener.
Wilson shares about her struggles. "I know
the Lord has done far more than simply orchestrate my pain. These
trials have all been monumental events in my life. They've been
final tests before promotion from God. And He has brought me out
in a big and amazing way!"
Natalie shares her future goals in ministry: "No
matter where my life goes from here, I would hope that people
would always be able to say that I had been encouraging and uplifting
to everyone I met and encountered, and that they felt the genuineness
and sincerity of my spirit and heart."
The Lord's Promotional Plan for Natalie Wilson &
Natalie Wilson & S.O.P's first CD effort, GIRL
DIRECTOR, a collection of Urban Gospel, with a street, edgy urban
beat - Hip Hop style, touched many people, especially two songs,
CALVARY and ACT LIKE YOU KNOW, which are called by some knowlegeable
sources as being "modern Gospel staples."
Interestingly, the independent record label which
produced GIRL DIRECTOR went out of business in 1998 before the
CD could be released by this company, but this didn't stop this
group's music ministry for the Lord, because Natalie Wilson and
S.O.P found their reputation growing and that their fan base kept
getting bigger and bigger, encouraging them in their music ministry.
Another phenomenon occurred, which had the Lord's
hand on it. Despite having no marketing or promotion whatso ever
for their debut CD, Deejays on local area Gospel music stations
began to seek the CD out and bought it themselves. The single
from GIRL DIRECTOR, "Your Heart," became a great regional
success, and enjoyed a #1 spot for three months in Baltimore,
Natalie Wilson and S.O.P. again stepped out in faith
and entered the touring circuit, performing in a steady stream
of gigs around the United States and Canada. Their big break happened
when they performed on a high profile, nationally syndicated show,
"Bobby Jones Gospel Hour," and when they took part and
performed with a full heart for the Lord during the yearly convention
of Rev. James Cleveland's Gospel Music Workshop of America.
When Natalie Wilson and S.O.P joined the Gospo Centric
Records family, their debut CD was finally released in a full
scale way, to the joy of their clamoring fans and admirers.
As the Lord continued to guide them, as they depended
on Him, it is not surprising then that Natalie and S.O.P. both
grew and transformed together into a Gospel music entity with
its own unique style and sound, which reflects the Lord's molding
of their hearts and character, through His encouragement, leadership,
and empowerment through the Holy Spirit.
Because of this personal growth of both Natalie
and the members of the S.O.P. Chorale, the music and lyrics on
THE GOOD LIFE reflect a "deeper level of Praise and Worship
and a ministering of healing and wholeness."
Natalie shares how she has changed inside. "I've
gone through several major transitional changes in my life in
the last few years. It's as if another whole world has been opened
up inside of me-- knowing who I am, being more confident in what
God has called me to do, and just getting more comfortable in
the skin that I'm in."
Natalie also comments on the musical and character
growth of the group, since their first Cd release, GIRL DIRECTOR.
"I can see the Lord giving the group more discipline and
focus, and a very clear direction since the first album of who
we are, where we're going, and what we are to do. He has definitely
refined us in that time, and we've become more polished in the
sharing of the gifts He's given us."
Besides having a large loving fan base, Natalie
Wilson and S.O.P. Chorale have also been noticed and greatly appreciated
by the Gospel music community as well. For their first CD release,
GIRL DIERCTOR, the group received three 2002 Stellar Award nominations.
Recently, Natalie Wilson joined the lineup of Gospo
Centric artists slated to perform on "The Tonight Show with Jay
Leno" on December 23rd, 2003. The show featured Kirk Franklin
and friends, including Byron Cage, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Percy
Bady as well as new B-Rite Music recording artist and "American
Idol" Wild Card RJ Helton.
At the 2004 Stellar Awards in Houston, Texas, in
honor of Kirk Franklin's induction into Stellar's Hall of Fame,
Natalie Wilson and S.O.P. Chorale performed their song, "Free"and
an ensemble group of 6 S.O.P. members sang "The Reason Why
Information about Natalie Wilson & SOP was
Lynn McCain / McCain & Company // firstname.lastname@example.org