Nehemiah rides the waves
Hope in God is real when people hold on to their faith is the message in gospel artist Nehemiah Hield’s latest single “Waves”, a song that encourages, uplifts and pushes the Christian and believers from all denominations in how they face adversity and challenges.
“So many things have happened over the last two years and, as a writer/gospel artist, I feel this song really encapsulates the experiences of a people living through a pandemic, the rise in divorce, domestic abuse and poverty,” said Hield. “If you trust in God, you will know He will show you grace … you will win your race, if you lift your hands and praise.”
“Waves” was released on April 29.
“God is real when you hold on to your faith in him,” said Hield. “We’re alive, but so many are dead and gone. Why did God allow us to go through this experience – and at this time and season in our lives? I believe those of us that call Him God get an opportunity to show unbelievers around us why we serve Him and won’t lose our faith – no matter what.”
Hield said the key is for people to realize that they have come through and are still here. And that there is no need to remain stuck in the process once they’ve already come through it.
“We can still have hope, once we believe that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him,” said the Mount Tabor Church minister of music with responsibility for musicians’ affairs.
“Over the last two years, we all experienced a pandemic that hadn’t happened in over 100 years. It was like a wow moment for many of us, because never in our wildest dreams did we think we would have that kind of life-changing interruption. And that is just what most of us said it was – an interruption. Coronavirus will be etched in the minds of all of us for years to come. We lost loved ones, family and close friends.”
One thing he said most people did not focus on during the pandemic was the heartaches in the family, relationships that went through major hard times, changes that will be permanent and the divorce rates, domestic violence, physical abuse, loss of jobs, and poverty that all went through the roof.
An excerpt from “Waves” says: “Like waves, God will show you grace/Like waves, you will win your race/Like waves, lift your hands and praise/Like waves, like waves.”
Hield received a text message from Latoya Basden-Maddox, who wanted him to create a song with the message. He came to the conclusion that the message could be about the waves of life. It took him a few months, but Hield eventually returned to the words and said the musical ideas just flowed.
“The melody comes first for me – then the words; but the chorus comes first in the arrangement. Once I create a chorus, I can go on and create a verse melody because I now know what I’m writing about,” he said.
In the process, Hield sent his ideas to Winston Thompson, a musician colleague of his at his church, who then took the ideas and played chords to what Hield was singing, which is now “Waves”.
It wasn’t until later that Hield learned that Basden-Maddox, who had sent the original message, had recently lost her husband and he thought he could use the theme “waves” of the words she wrote as inspiration to create a song that would encourage her and her family, as well as other families that experience loss or other unforeseen hardship during the pandemic.
He describes the music as a Bahamian feel with an international beat.
“If you listen closely, you hear the sweet spanking goatskin drums. The pulsation of the drum creates an energy that gives the song our distinct musical identity from The Bahamas,” he said.
On the single, Hield is backed by Thompson, who he said played most of the instrumentation, as well as Isaiah Taylor, band leader and bass player for Baha Men; and Patrick Carey, Sr., guitar player for Baha Men.
“I guess people may call this a Baha Men reunion, but I’m grateful for their openness to play on this song,” said Hield. Sherrill Poitier, a member of Mount Tabor Church’s praise team, sings backing vocals.
Hield, who is best known for having been the original lead vocalist for Baha Men, has been singing for more than four decades.
Since professing his Christianity, Hield has released seven solo gospel singles, outside of what he has done with Mount Tabor Praise and Worship Ministries.
He released his first solo gospel single “One More Hallelujah” which featured fellow Bahamian artist Stevie S in 2014; the single won a Marlin Award for Junkanoo Gospel Recording of the Year. The single also won a Cacique Award in 2015 for Gospel Song of the Year.
Hield released “Overflow” in 2016, featuring Bahamian gospel music greats like Apostle Rodney Roberts, Rachel Mackey, Prophet Lawrence Rolle and Demetrius Stubbs.
He released a remake of “A Change is Gonna Come” in 2017, originally performed by the legendary Sam Cooke, commemorating Majority Rule Day. Later that year, he recorded and released a remake of “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired”, originally recorded by Reverend James Cleveland. Hield’s version features Bahamian legend Marvin Henfield.
“Tropical Heaven” was released in 2018; “Lord Amma Serve You Forever”, co-produced and co-written with legendary music producer, songwriter and musician Ira Storr, was released in 2019. In 2020, “My Shepherd” was released and “God is Good” released in 2021.
This year marks 14 years since Hield became a full-time employee of Mount Tabor Church. He started as managing director of Kingdom Glory Records, a subsidiary of Mount Tabor Church. He has worked in multiple positions as minister of music with responsibility for musicians’ affairs, assistant director for praise and worship, video editor for the church’s daily 60-second radio clips and is also responsible for audio recordings.
He believes the first verse of the hymn “Through All the Changing Scenes of Life” best describes his journey in ministry.
“I still ask myself how I got here, but I still can’t come up with a reasonable or believable answer. I thought I’d be in entertainment until I died as did so many others before me, but over the past 14 years, I have changed in my mind, my spirit and my approach to living my life. I’ve learned to trust the preached word of God for my life, and the studying of the Bible for myself. And I try to live by them faithfully. I truly believe God’s word as it says to me that He knows the plans He has for me – and I trust them [because] He remains faithful.”