You may know Michelle Williams as one third of the chart topping trio, Destiny’s Child. But this child of destiny is out on her own and doing her own thing from her new show, Fix My Choir on Oxygen, to her latest NAACP award-nominated gospel album, Journey to Freedom.
Williams spoke with ESSENCE.com about how her relationship with God has helped her discover who she truly is.
When are you happiest?
I’m trying to get to a place where I can be just consistently happy regardless of the elements around me. I was watching a performance and someone was like, ‘You look really happy! You look happier and more authentic in these days that I’ve seen you before.’ I counted that as a compliment because I think if people think you’re being really authentic in what you do or they’re saying that I’m getting to see your personality and all of that, then that really makes me kind of happy.
Is faith a deal-breaker for your relationships?
I want them to believe, I want them to believe in God. I believe in Jesus. Do you believe John 3:16? We believe in that, cool. Then we can talk.
Who has been your greatest teacher?
Certain spiritual moments have been my teachers. One of my greatest lessons was to pay attention. I remember I was dating someone and on our first date, I knew that wasn’t my husband. I knew that. But I kept it going. I learned from that experience to pay attention to that thing that says “No.” Your greatest teacher is your spirit, your instincts.
Do you have a proverb or a scripture that gets you through tough times?
Proverbs 3: 5 and 6. The latter part is: “In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He will guide your path” That’s when I’m feeling confused or which way to go, I always have to remember that. To ask God about it. He’ll tell you, He’ll show you, He’ll give you signs.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
One of my greatest accomplishments is finally accepting my purpose and owning it. Some of my greatest accomplishments are people letting me know, ‘I found faith again because of you.’ A grown man tweeted me yesterday and was like, ‘I go to church again because of you.’ Things like that that also let me know, I believe right. I guess I’m on the right path doing what I’m supposed to do.
How do you manage criticism about being both a gospel and R&B artist?
I have come to embrace all aspects of the arts. My thing is, why do we only equate secular to music? No one complained when I did Aida or Chicago the musical or when I did the Color Purple and played Shug Avery and kissed Celie in the mouth! How come it’s only when we talk about music, do we say because I’m singing about love and God, I’m flip-flopping? God told me to work with people in the R&B world but still have a relationship with Him. So I worked with people who understand balance, who understand that God plants us in certain places to be an example to people.
Tune-in to Williams’ show Fix My Choir, Wednesdays on Oxygen at 10 p.m. ET, and pick up her new album Journey to Freedom!