Everybody calls Sheila Wilson "Mama" because of her commanding presence, as well as, her nurturing personality. After years of quietly singing in churches and a brief stint with an R&B band, she has finally cut her first solo recording, "Just Fine" (Bryan's Songs/CE Music). The brassy, New Orleans-flavored track boasts an inspiring Good News message with a lot of heart and plenty of soul.
The Danville, IL native comes from a family of singers. Wilson's parents, Tommy and Clair Bell Davis, were both quartet gospel singers in the 1940s. At the age of 16, she began to pursue a music career. She began by directing a church choir. Then, she sang with an '80s era R&B funk band, WQBC. They released the LP, "Wanna' Quit But Can't" (Thunder Bay Records) in 1985. The song "Love Me Anyway" reached the Top Ten on various regional R&B charts but failed to chart nationally. However, the now-rare LP often sells for hundreds of dollars among vinyl record collectors.
By the early '90s, Wilson had rededicated her life to the church and her middle son - Bryan Wilson - had launched his career as a gospel artist singing "His Eye is on the Sparrow" with the Mississippi Children's Choir at the age of ten. He went on to record with Malaco Records before growing up and starting his label, Bryan's Songs, to release his own Billboard Top 25 hits such as "Overflow" and "Turning Away."
Bryan's Songs recently released Wilson's track, "Just Fine" and it debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard Top Singles chart. It's available at online music stores such as iTunes: http://smarturl.it/MamaSheilaJustFine .
"I was so excited to hear that the song had charted," Wilson says. It's a sweet victory for the singer who battled cancer a few years ago.
While undergoing treatment, Wilson's hours were cut with her job at a school. "It seemed like everything in the world was crashing down around me," she recalls. "My supervisor was unsympathetic to my health situation But God pushed me and wouldn't let me get bogged down in my circumstances."
Instead, Wilson decided to go to college. While recovering from her cancer surgery, she earned a bachelor's degree in social work at Spring Arbor University and now works as a social worker in Toledo, Ohio. In addition, her song is receiving airplay on radio stations stretching from the west coast (KPFA, San Francisco) to the east coast (WNAP, Philadelphia). One could say, Mama Sheila is doing, "Just Fine."