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AWOE INTERVIEWS LEETHAL
AWOE: Now before you became a Christian you said you wrote songs that you weren't comfortable sharing. How did you get over that roadblock?
LEETHAL: Well I really just kind of threw myself out there, the main part that helped was when I was in basic training (Army Reserves) it was like hey they don't know me so it was like I could be more open.
AWOE: Who were some of the groups you listened to before Christ?
LEETHAL: I listened to artist like - De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC, Black Sheep, Fu Shnickens, The Pharcyde, Arrested Development Hi Five, Silk Mint Condition Tony Toni Tone Stevie Wonder ... there are so many..
AWOE: How did they influence your way of thinking?
LEETHAL: Definitely negatively as far as glorifying sex, and drugs, however on some sides though some of the artists were bringing light to more positive things or society issues, so in a way I would say that some of it may have been the start of my interest in turning my life around. A stepping stone so to speak.
AWOE: Does it influence your music now?
LEETHAL: None on my thinking, maybe my sound a little cause I do get people telling me I have an old school sound.
AWOE: I find it cool that you became a Christian at your cousin's. What caused you to make that decision?
LEETHAL: Well I had already been exposed to it growing up, my dad would have us pray before bed(The old now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep) and for some reason in High school (You know God had his hand on it) I always ended up dating the girls whose momma's would make me go to church with them on Sunday I even carried a bible in my back pack everyday (even though I didn't read it)
AWOE: Did it ever cross your mind that you wouldn't be 'cool' any more or even do a lot of the old stuff you use to?
LEETHAL: Yeah it did, matter of fact I remember when one of my homies started doing songs talking about God, my first thought was but your music is so good why would you? to me at the time it just wasn't cool to do Gospel music.
AWOE: You said that you ended up with a church home, which is something a lot of people have a problem with. Finding a place where they can grow and call their church home. Why did you choose to stay there?
LEETHAL: The main reason was because of the feeling of being at home, I had visited alot of churches but I always felt out of place and even at my wife's church it was something that just didn't feel right. But I know that if God ever wants me to go somewhere else then that is what I'll do.
AWOE: Okay, how did you start singing in the Army Reserves?
LEETHAL: This actually was to get out of work because on Sunday's we had to do chores and clean up around the barracks, and I discovered that if I went to church on Sunday I didn't have to do the chores... and then of course because all of us missed home and being able to listen to music we would sing R&B songs and what not...
AWOE: Did you learn anything about yourself character wise while being involved in the Army reserves?
LEETHAL: I would say it definitely built up my confidence. before I went in I was the shy and quiet guy. But it helped me be more sure of myself.
AWOE: When you started attending church you said you weren't down with the gospel music. Why weren't you feeling it?
LEETHAL: I just didn't like the sound of it to me at the time it was too much moaning and crying and what not... and I was like how long are they going to sing this song for...
AWOE: Do you think that it is the music sometimes that turns youth away from the church?
LEETHAL: Sometimes, but I also feel that it's the church that turns youth away from the church, as far as not being open to new things, and allowing them to express themselves. Some churches are too tied up in the doctrine of the previous generations that they feel that if it isn't in the doctrines it's not of GOD. I personally had an experience where I was ministering at a church and mid song a deacon didn't like the sound of my music so he cut me off.
AWOE: Backing up a little bit, how did you meet your wife?
LEETHAL: Well we had mutual friends in high school but we didn't really know each other. But then I started going to Junior college and we ended up in a reading class together. and the rest is history...
AWOE: How did being involved with her influence your relationship with God and music as a whole then and now?
LEETHAL: Well she said to me at one point that we as a couple need to be in church, and I listened, I also already enjoyed singing so when I seen they had a choir I joined that too. And got hooked.
AWOE: What would you say to anyone, but young people who are jumping in and out of relationships.
LEETHAL:It's not worth it to be jumping in and out. When the right one comes along you'll know and it won't be on your schedule but it will be on God's time.
AWOE: What are some of the things you wish you would have watched out for as a teenager with your friends and girl friends?
LEETHAL: I wish I would have watched out for not trying to be part of the in crowd, and doing things just to get people to like me. I mean I wasn't the constant in the office kid or anything but I will say I did do some dumb stuff to try and fit it.
AWOE: Now your EP Can't Be Denied…you have a lot of great songs!
I really enjoyed Ready or Not, It's Wrong, and 4Ever Praise. Who wrote the songs?
LEETHAL: Well I wrote everything except for the features. Praise God for the inspiration!
AWOE: And how did you choose everyone you collaborated with?
LEETHAL: I chose people that I had interacted with many times either on myspace or in person, people whose ministries had blessed me in one way or another, speaking of which my next CD will be less features I know I got a little feature happy on this first one, but what Can I say God kept blessing me with such awesome ministers I couldn't resist.
AWOE: How did your wife get in on 4Ever Praise?
LEETHAL: It actually happened when I was recording it, My friend Tredale aka Jacob Izrael was like you need another voice on here, so I was like let me ask my wife, at first she was hesitant, but then she went ahead and sang on it...
AWOE: What would you say to young people who love Christ, but aren't feeling the local church they've attended? And to the parents?
LEETHAL: I would say don't give up, There is a place for everyone, first and foremost seek HIM earnestly and whole heartedly, and when you do He'll fit you in. For parents (and this is for me too) pay attention to your child let them express themselves (within in certain limits of course... lol), one thing I have been learning with my 7 year old is they look up to us so much and we have to encourage them so much. And it's not always what we say that effects them our actions too are so profound to them. especially in their (and our) walk with Christ.