Interviews

Lisa Page-Brooks

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lisa page Every female group has at least one outstanding, sometimes two, lead vocalists that define and characterize the sound and style of a music group. For instance, the Pace Sisters could always rely on LaShun (and Duranice) Pace to take things on stage to another musical level, while the Clark Sisters...well, the Clark Sisters are clearly special, they can all kick but you get the point.

Whether it's mainstream artists like Destiny's Child (Beyonce Knowles), TLC (Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes) or sanctified saints like the legendary Caravans (well, they could all sing), female groups quickly become identified by their lead vocalists who will kick, holler and scream their group to a distinctive place in musical history.

Throw into the mix an aspiring young female quartet called Witness and you'll likely get a consensus that the sound and style began and ended with Lisa Page. It probably wasn't the plan but certainly became the preference for both the members of the group and the public who relished the polished vocals of Detroit's latest female sensation.

Fifteen years later, one voice continues to draw attention and accolades everywhere she sings. And with a new album and schools of experience under her belt, there's no telling how high Lisa Page-Brooks will soar this time around.

We shared a telling conversation with the First Lady of the Restoration Fellowship Church in Southfield, Michigan about music, ministry and going on the road with Commissioned. We're sure you'll find Mrs. Lisa Page-Brooks as engaging and Spirit-led as we did.

Christopher Heron: Are there any artists who would be surprised to know that they've influenced your music ministry and artistic style?

Lisa Page-Brooks: Yes. You see I would say that my greatest influence as far as Gospel music is concerned is from the city of Detroit - Pastor Marvin Winans. Yes, he's my favorite (laughs).

CH: You've developed such a special tone that everyone can identify with Lisa Page. Were there any female influences upon your style?

LP: That's a really tough question, especially being here in Detroit. But I must say that I do love Vanessa Bell Armstrong and I've always loved her ministry for years now.

CH: Tell me a little about Witness, Lisa. What started everything off for this group in Detroit?

LP: Back in 1986, Tina Brooks who is my husband Michael Brooks' sister, wanted to do a solo project. My husband is one of the founding members of Commissioned. And so, he encouraged Tina to pull together a female "Commissioned".

And that's exactly what she did. So back in 1986, I got a phone call to come to one of the rehearsals and we just started from there. Back then, in the very beginning, there was Tina Brooks, a young lady named Diane Campbell, Yolanda Harris and me. That was the original Witness.

CH: You've experienced a very nice and productive run as a group. Why did it come to a sudden end?

LP: Actually, Witness still ministers from time to time. What I'm doing now is focusing on my solo ministry for this year and maybe in spring of 2002 you might hear something from Witness, again.

CH: Your husband has always been a very influential person in the group - Witness - and upon your career. What has been the influence of Michael Brooks on the sound and style of both Witness and Lisa Page-Brooks.

LP: It was his baby from the beginning and he just molded the sound of the women. We'd come together and rehearse, while he wrote and produced all the music. Basically it stemmed from there, being his music and his vision for the group and the sound. As we began to jam over the years sometimes I would add a little bit in the background vocals, so to speak.

CH: Can you think back to those mid 80's when Witness was singing alongside Commissioned at different venues and church events?

How did that exposure to greatness and visibility affect or influence Witness, with Fred Hammond, Keith Staten, Carl Reid, Mitchell Jones and your husband - Michael Brooks - by your side, on the road?

LP: It was a very exciting time. Back then, you were excited about just having the opportunity to sing; it's a different thing now. Back in the 80's, we were just excited about it and our ears and eyes were opened to everything. We learned a lot and met a lot of people. Like I stated, a lot of doors were opened and we were just glad to be able to go out and minister.

CH: It must have been a little intimidating at times, coming from the city of Detroit where another female group has made a name for themselves...you know? I'm sure you know something about the Clark Sisters?

LP: Yes, definitely. I was always a big admirer especially of Twinkie Clark. I love her sound and tone. And they've always done special appearances and events here in Detroit.

Their mom, the late Mattie Moss-Clark - was overseeing one of the community choirs in town as well as playing an important role in the National Church of God In Christ. So there's definitely respect for them and always will be.

CH: You and your husband are now spearheading a very special church ministry called the Restoration Fellowship Church. Can you tell us a little more about your church?

LP: Oh yes. We're going into our fifth year and it's just awesome. God is sending us people - young people, middle-aged people, people that are very hungry for God, and it's a great experience to see people's lives change and to see people grow in the Lord...you know, just seeing people be blessed - this is a priority on our list. I love it, I really do.

CH: When did you and your husband experience this calling for the ministry?

LP: The Lord spoke to Michael before we were married. God put it in him and his spirit to pastor and gave him this church. I love people anyway. Being the first lady and being by his side has been an awesome experience.

CH: Lisa Page-Brooks (AIR Gospel) is your second solo project. Were you scared to launch your first album - More Than You'll Ever Know (CGI) or did you feel you were ready?

LP: It was difficult at first. I've always loved singing in a group. So back in 1997, when CGI presented the idea to my husband, I didn't feel ready but the label kept pushing the envelope, so we said O.K., we'll do it. It was an adjustment because I loved singing in a group, so I had to get used to just being out there by myself and that took some time to getting used to.

CH: Did the folding of your old record company - CGI - cause somewhat of a setback or any discouragement?

LP: It wasn't a surprise to us because it was clear that things were going downhill where CGI was concerned. Basically, I've always been the type of person that understands that this is a lifestyle for me. I know what God has placed inside of me.

Singing is something that I have to do. I believe that the record companies, radio programs, video shows, concerts - these are all vehicles for us to present what God has given to us. I never thought things would fold up for me because I believe God is my source.

It was disappointing to a certain extent but I didn't think it was over because I know what I'm here to do, I know my purpose.

lisa page CH: With that out of the way, tell me how you feel about your new project with AIR Gospel, simply entitled Lisa Page-Brooks?

LP: Oh yes, I'm really excited about the new project. I was really excited that they were interested in doing a solo project with me and I believe great things are going to come out of it.

CH: What is the biggest difference or style from your last solo project to this one?

LP: Well, this one I believe was a little more versatile and it gives you a little bit of everything. There's praise and worship, a little traditional with "Fully Persuaded", Praise and Worship with "More of You", then we have a love song that my husband wrote called "After All This Time". So it's very versatile, there's something there for everybody.

CH: It's hard to believe that you've been in this industry as long as it's been. You've worked with some incredible individuals and you've been up some mountains and seen some valleys.

What advice or counsel would you offer to other aspiring artists who will face all kinds of hardships and successes along the way?

LP: The first thing I would say to an aspiring artist is to be committed to God first. God has to be first, and then know your purpose. A lot of times we have talent but it's not purposed for us to travel worldwide, you know what I'm saying? Maybe you should be faithful on your praise team or in your choir.

A lot of times we get confused, we see other people doing things and then we want to do it. So the main thing is to get your relationship with God right where it should be and stay in God's word but know what your purpose and destiny is because it may not be purposed for you to travel.

The Bible says we walk by faith and not by sight, so there's going to be days that you don't get a phone call, there's going to be days when you don't do interviews, you don't have concerts on the books, and you still have to be encouraged and know that this is my purpose and God cannot fail. He's going to complete the work that He has begun in you, He's going to complete that and you just have to trust God.





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