Fans call him a modern Gospel messenger. He is informed and sophisticated in thought, continually inspiring humanity while keeping an eye on eternity. That’s the complexity of Brian Courtney Wilson, who continues to climb the charts with his latest endeavors, “Still” and “Be Real Black For Me,” a duet with singer, Ledisi.
A Chicago-area native and Missouri City resident, the Grammy-nominated Wilson is a NAACP Image Award, Billboard Award, multiple Stellar Award, GMA Dove Award, ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Award winner. Since his debut release (2009’s “Just Love”), Wilson has delivered some of the most beloved songs of the past decade and has established himself as one of our time’s premier male inspirational voices.
His signature and impassioned vocals are an homage to the myriad of his musical influences, which include Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Marvin L. Winans, and Fred Hammond, to name a few. A graduate of the University of Illinois, and a former corporate pharmaceutical representative, Wilson is a critical thinker whose approach and presentation of Gospel ministry is equal parts anointed and erudite.
He talked with the Defender about his latest projects, staying busy and helping spread the gospel through music.
Defender: You had the Donnie Hathaway/Roberta Flack remake with Ledisi, “Be Real Black For Me” just come out. Prior to that, you had the project, “Still.” How were you able to continue to make music in the midst of a pandemic?
Brian Courtney Wilson: God has been faithful. So we have to be focused and resolute about what God has called us to do and how you should respond in these moments in ways to build a better future. And it also links to my faith in that regard as reasons why we can be focused.
Defender: With all of the music you’ve made, some would say it would not come as a surprise that it begins to feel like work. But that’s not the case for you, right?
Wilson: It feels like a calling. And that’s beyond actually creating the music and seeing how it resonates with people. For me, it’s really about it’s really about encouraging and keeping people’s heads lifted and continuing to make the type of music type of music where I get the response where people were like, “Man, I was really trying to press my way through and your music got me through.” So yes, it doesn’t feel like a job, but it is work. It’s just work that I love.
Defender: How can people support you?
Wilson: Downloads are better than streams, so definitely download the music. And then share if you see some value in it. Let people know about it. And if you have events, we want to be a part of those, too.
Defender: Have you been singing all your life?
Wilson: I came up in the church and I never really saw gospel music as a career because I didn’t know anything about that as an industry. It was just something we did as a community. I encountered my calling once I got to Houston and I met people who helped me record my first record. And that just kind of showed like, ‘Man, you got something that can help from a ministry standpoint.’
Defender: What’s next for you?
Wilson: We want to continue to keep making music that prayerfully helps people along the way to keep taking the next step forward toward a future that they want to see, toward a future that God intended for them, in ways that help them to know that they are loved. We’ve been doing this thing on Thursday nights called Breathe Again, and the Lord won’t let me let it go. We started it during the quarantine, just conversations with people that can help serve as a reminder that the breath that we have is a gift from the Lord. And even with things that we may be losing around us, you can still hold on to that breath and know that God is still voting on you to manifest something beautiful on this earth.