As she prepares to release her seventh album, Living My Life, gospel and R&B singer Ann Nesby joins ESSENCE.com in conversation about her spirituality, how losing her mother brought her closer to God, and the one gospel song she would sing over and over again.
Share a time when your faith has been tested, and what you learned from it?
That would be losing my mother in 2012. She was one of my strongest supporters. I was really in the air about losing her and I was like, ‘God, how could you do this? You know this is my best friend and I prayed and I've trusted you and you've never failed me, and then you took her from me.’ You know when you're in that moment and you feel like, ‘God, where are you in this?’ He quietly spoke to my heart and he said, ‘Do you trust me?’ I said, ‘You know I trust you.’ And he said, ‘Well, I trusted you with her for 57 years. I made her. So now, you trust me with her.’ I said, ‘Okay, God. Do your thing.’
Who has been the greatest teacher in your life?
I would say my mother. She was a great, great teacher and booster. But one of my other teachers was a mother who never had any children of her own, in the church that I grew up in. Her name was Ida May Richards. I was very young, but she was able to see God's anoint on me so she would always make it her business to set aside time to spend with me. I was part of a group called the Sunshine Band and she would rehearse me and rehearse me until I became the president of the Sunshine Band. At the age of five she had me singing and doing an annual address before the entire body of the National Baptist Convention. So I always relate to her as one of my best teachers, apart from my mother and father.
Now, let’s say one day it was said, ‘Ann, you can only sing one gospel song over and over.’ What is that song?
Oh, my. That's really a hard one. I love, love, love the song “Something About That Name Jesus.” I think it's a beautiful song and it says it all.
Do you have a scripture or a proverb that you always find yourself returning to?
One of my favorite scriptures is, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.’ Just to reflect on it. I have three sons, and being a mother, I could not see myself giving up not one. To die. In my face, me watching, for people that we don't even know. I couldn’t. He loved us so much that he gave his only son.
Finish the sentence, "I am happiest when ..."
When I know that God is pleased with me.
Ann Nesby's Living My Life is out June 3.