Bee Ardoin Finds Her Strength in ‘The Truth About Walking’ EP
Sunday mornings at church are just like the holidays and family vacations; it’s all about tradition. Whether it’s your grandma’s favorite hat, or when the pastor’s sermon is at its peak and the C-sharp chord backs him up, church is familiar, comforting and where the spirit of God roams freely.
Gospel music is a big part of this tradition, and some of the classics have been heard for generations. Many of us have clapped to the beat of “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus.” And if the choir is feeling really good, a rendition of “Near the Cross” can be a soul-stirring experience. But just like any other musical genre, gospel music is being re-imagined with a modern flair by a variety of new artists.
Bee Ardoin is an urban contemporary gospel artist who is on the move. As a Houston native, the singer-songwriter has written songs about her pain and life experiences that young adults can relate to. In her latest single “Surrender,” Ardoin uses her vibrato to express with deep emotion her relationship with the man above. It’s an R&B-inspired song with a smooth appeal that’s reminiscent of a Michelle Williams or Mary Mary production.
Ardoin’s first EP, The Truth About Walking, recently debuted on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart at No. 3 and on the Christian Albums chart at No. 43. Ardoin takes listeners on a journey as she sings about her past, her future and understanding her purpose.
Last month, Ardoin performed at the Urban Soul Café showcase during the Stellar Awards in Las Vegas. But right before her trip to Nevada, Ardoin hosted a showcase in Houston at Cactus Music on March 10, where she performed songs from her EP. It was an opportunity for her growing fan base to see the singer perform live. After her performance, I spoke with Ardoin about her burgeoning career.
JMG: When did you start singing?
Bee Ardoin: When I grew up everybody in my family was either a singer or a preacher. So those were my options – singing or preaching, so I sang. I was about eight or nine years old when I first started singing all around town with my sisters and my brother. I was too afraid to sing by myself. I didn’t sing by myself until I was 19. I had a show in downtown Houston. It was a jazz show and one of my friends heard me sing in the group and was like, “You can really sing, why don’t you come do this show.” I was so nervous.
I know you probably sang at home or at church, right?
Yeah, at church, but always in the choir. My mom was a choir director, so she would make me sing, but I would always cry.
Why would you cry?
When did you decide to become an urban contemporary gospel artist?
After I did that one show when I was 19, I thought I wanted to sing pop and R&B. I was doing a lot of gigs here in Houston, all over town. But it just really wasn’t fulfilling. It didn’t give me that feeling like singing to God did. I felt like I was going through the motions, and it didn’t really mean anything. All the songs that I would write were Christian songs. So I said, “God, I’m just going to surrender to you if this is what you’re calling me to do. Who am I to stop this process and what you’re telling me to do.” So I just followed God and here I am. It took me a really long time to come out as a solo artist. I was nervous about what other people would think, if they were to critique my songs. That was me thinking about myself instead of the fact that this is what God was calling me to do. He’s calling me to give his Gospel to the world through the form that he gave me.
How did it feel to know that your EP had done so well on Billboard?
I was shocked. My manager had already said, “You know we’re going to hit Billboard.” And I was like, “Oh ok.” I was in shock. I was in D.C. when I found out. I looked at my phone and I stared at it for five minutes. I showed it to my fiancé and he said, “Bless God, look at what the Lord has done. People are responding to your work, which is a blessing.”
How did you decide which songs would make the cut on the EP?
I feel like it was ages ago, but it was really two years ago. So the songs that were chosen were all from a place of depression. I was really down. I was asking God, why am I going through this. I was going through a divorce, and I had two babies. Both of them were under two, and I really had no idea why my life was on a downward spiral. So the songs I was writing were really prayers that turned into lyrics. My best friend at the time, he’s my fiancé now, is a producer. He was already working on his project, and so I was singing some of the songs I had, and he said, “This is a project; this is an album.” So one song turned into three, (that) turned into eight, (that) turned into 12. So we had to whittle it down. I just wanted to tell a story of redemption and how you can go from being down and depressed, to trust in God to get you to the other side. If you listen to all of the songs, they always point back to God.
Do you have a full album in the works?
In the near future. We’re going from the EP into a full album.
Watch Bee Ardoin in the “Surrender” Music Video