Raised right here in Gonzales, Neva Ford Nation knew she could sing since she was 5 leading a youth choir. In junior high, when her friends continually asked to hear her sing, she knew that she had a gift. But it wasn’t until she was called upon later in life that she realized she can impact many with said gift. Now, Nation will use her talents, along with a group called the Collective Brand Society, to perform at the Gonzales Junior High auditorium on Saturday, Aug. 24.
Born in Houston, Nation would grow up in Gonzales where she was a member of the Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church. She sang in the choir and kept singing throughout her young days. In junior high is when she knew she could be great.
“I was like 14, in junior high, when I knew that oh my gosh, this is effective,” Nation said.
However, Nation’s path toward this career was “derailed,” as she describes it, due to early teen pregnancy.
“Afterward, I continued to engage with others as far as music and things like that,” she said. “But the spirit of the Lord came to me one day, He said ‘pursue what I called you to do. It wasn’t pop. It wasn’t hip hop. It was not rap. It was not R&B. The fulfillment of what I placed you on the earth to do is to fulfill through singing through the Word, not only preaching through the Word, but singing through the Word.’”
Her highest of highs in life is when she’s singing and making a difference.
“That’s the thing that God has called me to do, to reach the people,” Nation said. “For everyone to rise up, stand strong, be encouraged, be joyous, be happy, fulfill what you’re called here to do, besides just this earthly doing, but prepare, because we all have a ministry.
“God broke rock for Joshua and parted the sea for Moses,” she added. “There’s nothing he’s not able to do for no one.”
Nation wasn’t always this positive, this uplifting. When asked about her lowest of lows, Nation talked about her first marriage — an abusive one that she says she had to, and eventually did, overcome.
“If I overcame that abuse, physically, mentally, verbally, sexually, if I overcame that, there’s nothing I’m not able to overcome,” she said. “Nothing. Nothing. One of the songs was based on me raising my kids on my own. One song was called Holding On and that was my testimony, that’s actually what I endured, that’s actually what I went through. So I knew if I can overcome that, somebody else can overcome some situations in their lives. But I had to endure and God says you must endure in order for me to take you to the next level.”
Nation uses her life experiences as well as the Gospel in her songwriting and her performances, so that maybe she can help those who suffered, as she did years ago.
“Someone maybe wounded, heart maybe wounded,” Nation said. “They may need to be delivered from some things, that are not able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Ministry, as you sing the word, reaching the people where it penetrates the heart, you know, bringing joy, life.”
Once she gets into that mindset, “it’s a wrap.”
“When the Holy Spirit takes over, it’s a wrap,” Nation explained. “Those are my favorite words. ‘It’s a wrap.’ That’s it. When I get under that umbrella, I’m starting to pray, I’m starting to meditate and I got to go and sing for the Lord to reach the people because the Word says ‘if I be lifted up from the earth, I draw all men unto me.’ That means everybody.”
Nation will be performing as a part of the Collective Brand Society Tour, with their third city stop this year here in Gonzales on Saturday, Aug. 24. The group, consisting of Nation, Shelia-Moore Piper, Shanrae Price, James L. Patterson, Vernon Jai, Cassaundra Webb and Reggie Campbell, will be performing at the Gonzales Junior High School auditorium.
“Everyone has a different type of style, everyone’s voices are different,” Nation said. “But when you put them together, it makes something happen. It’s going to be a powerful day.”
The concert is at 3 p.m. hosted by Quincy Johnson, with general admission at $10. For more information, contact 830-263-0134 or 830-263-0164 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.