Erica Reed

Determined, strong, faithful, and victorious are just a few of the words that describe gospel music’s next sensation, singer and songwriter, Erica Reed. The soprano with fire will release her new single, the R&B flavored, urban inspirational “Time” from her forthcoming third album TIME on the EDP/SRT Entertainment label.

Growing Up

The eldest of six children, Reed is the product of a strong, strict, two-parent household from Charleston, Missouri, a small town in Southeast Missouri two hours from of St. Louis. She got her start singing and writing gospel songs as a child at Mercy Seat Baptist Church.

Reed said, “Growing up, my siblings, cousins and I performed at churches and community events throughout what is known as the “Boothill” region: Charleston, Sikeston, Cape Girardeau, Caruthersville and New Madrid, Missouri, all the way down to Blytheville, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee. We would rehearse on Saturday evenings at home and people would line up in front of our house just to listen to us sing as we prepared what we’d sing at Sunday service.”

The Lemoyne Owen College graduate with a Masters Degree from Christian Brothers University-Memphis, was fed a steady diet of traditional gospel music at home. Family favorites were The Williams Brothers, Aretha Franklin, The Clark Sisters, Mighty Clouds of Joy and Shirley Caesar. Her mom would clean house to Aretha’s tunes while her dad would play an entire album by The Williams Brothers as they dressed for church on Sunday mornings. Reed recalls, “By the time that album ended we had better be dressed and in the car ready to go to service.”

Although she loved singing traditional gospel songs, Reed had a musical desire inside that longed to be set free to sing her own style of music, which is a mix of gospel, R&B and urban, a style more in line with her current musical influences, which includes Kirk Franklin, Erica Campbell and Toby Mac.

However, her father was not a fan of contemporary or urban gospel music. “I remember singing a song one Saturday at the house and my dad pulled up in the driveway. He could hear me and he was not pleased. The song was all my style, all “Erica.” He said, ‘I know you’re not going to sing that song tomorrow in church!’ He wanted me to sing traditional gospel, but that just isn’t who I am,” said Reed.

Despite the difference in opinion of what style of gospel music the high-spirited soprano should sing, Reed continued to minister in song as a youth, but she bottled up aspects of her gift. “I was the kid who was revved up vocally raring to go. They’d have to tell me to calm down. I was told, ‘You can’t sing it like that!’ Really, I could have if I had been allowed to. But I had be more composed, more reserved,” said Reed.

She was offered music scholarships upon graduating high school. However, since Reed wasn’t allowed to sing what she wanted to, she opted instead to study business in college, putting her true passion on the back burner. “It was going to be all about Erica, making money, and not gospel music anymore,” said Reed.

Although she didn’t realize it at the time, it was that solid upbringing in the church, singing and writing gospel music, studying the Bible and learning how to pray that would sustain Reed in college, throughout her career in corporate America and throughout life.

Sharing God’s Word Through Gospel Music

The now married mother of two began her business career in Memphis after college. While facing life adversities, she held down side gigs singing to bring in extra cash. Reed sang in a church choir to keep her gospel passion alive as she climbed the corporate ladder. In 2004 after years of a successful career in finance, the passion to share God’s word through gospel music could no longer be suppressed.

“I woke up one morning and I felt like I owed God something…I started praying. I was driving when a voice spoke to me saying, ‘Why aren’t you singing? Why aren’t you using that passion? You know I’m here. Release me!’ I went home and said Lord I’m sorry.”

Finally, Reed, who had moved to St. Louis by this time, answered God’s call. She left corporate America on a faith-focused, God-centered journey. She did not know how to put an actual album together. However, she did know how to write and sing music.  Reed wrapped herself up in music. She spent her days and nights writing and singing songs. That experience led to her first two independent gospel albums, The Time Is Now and Sold Out.

 

Connect with Erica Reed on:

Instagram: @ericareedmusic

Facebook: @ericareedmusic

Website: www.ericareedmusic.com

Visit the website and download the Erica Reed app