Why Lois Francois Is So #Thankful

The radiant, lovely Lois Francois.

The radiant, lovely Lois Francois.

by Kendolyn Walker

Meet this agent of change who is helping those in need, while continuing to use her voice to sing about her first love.

Guyana native Loiś François has been singing since the age of eight and while using her voice to bless many over the years, she also opened up a nonprofit organization, God’s Love Nest Foundation, with the aim of restoring families.  More recently, Ms. Francois has been working on her debut album, Miracle Working God (due Spring of 2019), a collection of songs God gave her while fighting Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. This holiday season we are thankful for this woman who follows her heart and seeks to make the lives of the people in her community better.

We recently spoke with Mrs. Francois about her music, daily routine and passions. Here’s what she had to say:

Where are you based?

Lois: I am based in Richmond, Virginia.

Are you married, single? Children? Pets?

Lois: I have been married for 34 years, have four children - ages 28, 25, 22 and 20 along with a grandson who recently turned 1. The family’s pet is a 6-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, named Robin.

Do you have a bucket list? If so, what are 2 of the items on it?:

Lois: 1. Visit Israel  

2. Build a retreat home to help families going through crises.

Are you a reader? If so, what was the last book you read?

Lois: I am a reader. The last book I read was God’s Creative Power by Charles Capps.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Lois: A singer or a nutritionist/dietitian.  

Why did you choose music and what do you hope to accomplish through it?

Lois: My mission, through my music, is to make listeners aware that God’s love for them is limitless and unconditional. He specializes in the impossible. He is their source, strength, provider, deliverer and healer, and desires that they live a productive, enjoyable life. Through my music, I hope to bring encouragement, joy and hope to the listeners. I also pray that their faith will be strengthened to believe God for their healing, deliverance and provision.

What has God revealed to you in writing and singing?

Lois: In writing and singing, God has revealed His unconditional, unfailingly love, His healing power, His provision, and His desire to give me His best at all times.

Do you have any projects coming out in the future?

Lois: In addition to working on this album, I am now working with individuals and groups as a certified independent, John Maxwell speaker, coach, and trainer. My purpose is not only to help propel individuals into their place of power and purpose, but to mobilize them to reach their realm of influence, and maximize their potential. 

I offer workshops, seminars, keynote speaking and coaching for both personal and professional development. I also work with organizations at large. In my workshops and coaching sessions, I provide the tools, training and support needed for individuals to successfully accomplish their goals and dreams. Please visit- http://johnmaxwellgroup.com/loisfrancois for more information.

I was reading about your nonprofit organization. How do you balance running such a powerful ministry with your passion for music?

Lois: In my nonprofit organization, I have been blessed with a wonderful group of individuals (board members) who volunteer their time in helping me accomplish our mission (which is to sow into the lives of families in crisis so that they may fulfill God’s purpose for their lives).

What current issue definitely needs to be addressed in this country?

Lois: Loving and respecting each other as God desires. Loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.

What artist do you dream of collaborating with?

Lois: Sinach

Where can our audience find your music?

Lois: CD Baby, Apple Music, Amazon, Deezer, www.godslovenestfoundation.org,

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS

Favorite Food:

Grilled salmon with baked sweet potatoes & spinach

Favorite Netflix Guilty Pleasure: 

The Blind Side, The Sound Of Music

Favorite singer now:

Sinach

Favorite Cereal:

Special K Nourish Coconut Cranberry 

Favorite cartoon when you were a child:

Mickey Mouse

Coffee or Tea?

Tea

Morning Person or Night Owl?

Night Owl

She’s an author too! Mrs. Francois enjoying a copy of her autobiography,  I Serve You The Back of Jesus .

She’s an author too! Mrs. Francois enjoying a copy of her autobiography, I Serve You The Back of Jesus.

Summer Music Happenings

Singer, songwriter and poet Dale Novella recently performed at City Love NYC on July 19th at Silvana in Harlem. Follow her for information on all of her upcoming events and performances on Instagram (@dalenovella) and Facebook (@LoveDaleNovella). Her single "Black Girl Magic" is available now on Spotify.    Photo credit: Danielle Carter

Singer, songwriter and poet Dale Novella recently performed at City Love NYC on July 19th at Silvana in Harlem. Follow her for information on all of her upcoming events and performances on Instagram (@dalenovella) and Facebook (@LoveDaleNovella). Her single "Black Girl Magic" is available now on Spotify.

Photo credit: Danielle Carter

New York City has a lot to offer in the summer when it comes to music events. There are many things to do from concerts to museum visits that everyone will enjoy! These free events are a great way to spend the remaining days of summer while discovering new experiences. Check out these links for details on happenings in the city with live music at every turn!

 

Summer Thursdays at MOMA! 

Take a trip to the MOMA and experience diverse music artists from New York City. Every Thursday in August from 5:30 - 8:00, with live music beginning at 6:30 p.m. This event celebrates musicians who are living and working in New York City. The genres range from hip-hop to lo-fi baroque pop even, so get your girls and meet after work!

Source: MoMA

Source: MoMA

 

Summerstage Is Still Going Strong!

If Central Park is on your radar, definitely plan to attend SummerStage for amazing concerts and performances. SummerStage is New York's largest free outdoor performing arts festival which utilizes neighborhood parks as gathering spaces to bring music from around the world to the boroughs.

Source: Harlem World Magazine

Source: Harlem World Magazine

The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

Come and celebrate saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker in this free celebration of jazz music and the next generation of jazz artists. The festival, which is held every August in lower Manhattan and Harlem, helps brings together veteran players along with young jazz musicians who continue to revitalize jazz. Friend of Wit + Grace, Alicia Olatuja, participated in this annual jazz event last year!

Source: World Street Photography

Source: World Street Photography

Outdoor Concerts at the Lincoln Center

The Outdoor Concerts at the Lincoln Center is the perfect way to enjoy music, film, and dance from all over the globe. There are multiple events throughout the summer that pique all interests.

Source: Time Out

Source: Time Out

#HarlemWorld Concerts

For an international and cultural experience, the #HarlemWorld Concerts are the place to be. International music and dance performances are featured the entire summer. Indeed there is something for everyone. 

 

A Concert Celebrating Women

NPR Music’s Turning the Tables Live: 21st-Century Edition is the perfect place to appreciate women achievements in music. Artists like Carly Rae Jepsen and Jamila Woods will be in concert marking the occasion with their talent.

Source: NPR

Source: NPR

 

City Love NYC!

City Love NYC is a free live music showcase held every 3rd Thursday of the month for independent artists wanting to share their talent with others. The artists are accompanied by a house band creating a quality music experience! View more artists here. 

 

City Love Picnic

The City Love Picnic on Labor Day at Central Park is a great way to relax under the sun and enjoy the present. Come to share and connect with others, stay to breathe and relax.

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Alicia's Intuition

In my opinion, Alicia Olatuja has the voice and range similar to the late Whitney Houston, Adele, CeCe Winans and Amy Winehouse. Yep, she is of their caliber. Call me biased if you wish, but I am quite confident you will agree when you listen to her songs. 

She recently took time, while on tour, to discuss her upcoming second project, her likes and dislikes, as well as her concert at Kumble Theater in Brooklyn on March 10. Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and join our conversation. 

1. Favorite Food? Ice Cream

2. Favorite Netflix Guilty Pleasure? "Supernatural"

3. What did you want to be when you grew up? A veterinarian

4. Embarrassing moment? When I was a little kid my mother used to make me put baby powder in my underwear. One day i used too much and after sitting on the floor during children's story at my church I got up and there was a baby powder butt print on the carpet. I had to stomp it out to get rid of it. Mortifying ... and hilarious.

5. Do you have a bucket list? If so, what are 3 of the items on it? Not really. I'm immortal. Lol! 

6. What is your dream venue to sing in? Wherever Oprah is.

7. Favorite Cereal? Does oatmeal count? If not, Lucky Charms.

8. How old is Puma? (Puma is Alicia's cat, whom I feel has watched me grow up)  13 going on ... Methuselah.

9. Favorite cartoon when you were a child? Muppet Babies.

10. Favorite singer now? Hmmm ... I don't know. Me? Lol!

11. What inspired you to begin writing a second album? I wanted to do an album that championed and celebrated women composers. What better time for such a project than now!

12. What has God revealed to you in this particular writing process? We have to give ourselves permission to be recognized and celebrated, to believe that we are worth being seen and heard as artists, as individuals, and as women.

13. How did you feel after you reached your goal with your crowdfunding campaign? I felt an overwhelming abundance of gratitude and a responsibility to make the most of the opportunity made possible for me by so many generous hearts and believers in my work.

14. Can you again explain the meaning of your album title, Intuition? The extended title of my upcoming album is Intuition - Songs from the Minds of Women.  When people think of the word intuition, they usually associate it with a women's internal awareness and emotional instinct. And yes, women are known to be equipped with emotional intelligence. But it is also equally important to recognize and celebrate the intellect and work that women do. This work expands and greatly impacts the artistic world and the world as a whole. We are both emotional and intellectual beings, creating work that is powerful and valid.  

15. What is different about this album, as opposed to your first? The subject matter is very different but also my first album Timeless represented where I was in my life then. So much has changed and I've grown a lot as an individual. I believe that growth is reflected in the song selections, arrangements, and compositions of Intuition

16. What are you enjoying most about your current tour? I love watching how powerful of a unifying force music is. When I travel from North to South, from overseas to across country people respond to the music relatively the same, because we all just want to be happy, feel loved and hopeful for the future. When the people surrender themselves over to the music,  to the moment, they leave all the divisive things in life at the door and just enjoy the music and one another. It's the same love everywhere we go and it's beautiful to watch. Kind of makes you wonder who's really the audience, who's watching who. Lol!

17. What is it that you hope to accomplish through your music? I hope to make people's lives more enriched. I want to pass on something positive to the listener that can grow and influence them and others in a positive way. 

18. What current issue definitely needs to be addressed in this country? Wow. So many. I think we need to find a way to remove the things that separate us and divide and classify us in order to find the unifying elements that makes us aware of our commonality,  our need for vulnerability and dependency on one another.

19. What were your thoughts on Black Panther? I loved it. It was very powerful to see such excellence and positive representation in the cast. I was especially blown away by being able to see in a sense what an African civilization would have looked like if it were not a victim of colonization.

20. Are you a reader? If so what was the last book you read? I love reading! Taltos.

21. What is your favorite restaurant in St. Louis? I don't have one.

22. What was it like singing background on Gregory Porter's "Take Me To The Alley"? What is the meaning of that song? Gregory is a gentle giant with a humble spirit and just a beautiful demeanor. It was such an honor working with him. We laughed a lot and the music was very organic so I didn't have to do much, just follow his lead. 

23. What artist do you dream of collaborating with? I dream of working with those who highlight the importance of tending to the lost, lowly, the downtrodden and ones in need as being exemplary of a great leader and individual, not the flaunting and abuse of riches and power. 

24. For your upcoming concert, what are you looking forward to most? I'm looking forward to sharing new tunes from the upcoming album with audience members who may never have heard of me or come to one of my shows before but especially with people who have supported me and my music since day one. For those people who have my first album and have stood by me through this musical journey, I want them to be the first people to hear the new tunes and continue on this journey with me. My New York family means so much to me!

Alicia Olatuja will be in concert at Kumble Theater in Brooklyn this Saturday, March 10th at 8pm on behalf of Brooklyn Center For The Performing Arts. Tickets are available at here

 

- by Kendolyn Walker, Wit + Grace Music Editor