Who is Natalie Rolfe & Uplift (Passion in Praise)
The highly anticipated debut release from Natalie Rolfe & Uplift (Passion in Praise), has literally something for everyone. Singer, songwriter, producer Natalie Rolfe has created a gospel music fest, featuring diverse, rich sounds of traditional, contemporary and praise & worship styles. This debut release is a rousing body of work sure to be hailed one of the top releases from the Midwest. The second single is entitled “I’ll Let Nothing.”
A native of Wichita, KS, Natalie Rolfe is a rising writer, producer, and artist spreading her passion for authentic music in song with the newly released album, “Uplift: United Passion in Praise.” Featuring live horns, moving lyrics, and smooth vocals, the listener is able to sway to the groove, reminiscent of a heartfelt ballad. Growing up as a “church girl,” Rolfe was exposed to gospel music early on.
She was reared at Greater Pentecostal Church of God in Christ, and similar to other COGIC churches, music was a staple. She’d watch her mother direct the choir, her father lead songs, and other relatives play instruments weekly. Music didn’t stop at church. Her father, one of the top promoters in the region, counted it necessary to get newly released music and play the records blasting on Saturday mornings in the Rolfe home. From the Winans, to John P. Kee, the Hawkins family, and many more.
The Rolfe house on Erie Street was full of gospel music which developed into a breeding ground for musicians, singers and writers. Rolfe traveled with her family to conventions like the Gospel Music Workshop of America, exposing her to various levels, from the most “skilled,” to the newest talent in the business. She recounts seeing many gospel greats at these conventions right before their big breaks. This exposure led to a greater desire toward music for the Rolfe children.
Natalie’s passion was intensified as her father promoted the top gospel artists to the city. She would attend concerts and feel motivation toward writing. One of her fondest memories is meeting John P. Kee and the New Life Choir back in the 90’s at her father’s concert. It made the music so real to be able to touch and see them face to face. She began penning songs in the living room as a child. Often times, young musicians would be over and play melodies and she would have the opportunity to create words. She’d often record the songs to a tape recorder her parents purchased as a Christmas gift.
In 2007, Rolfe began performing with her group, NuLyric, and began writing the music to match their edgy style of Contemporary Christian music. NuLyric’s style came off edgy and contemporary but many of the songs they performed didn’t fit the mainstream gospel genre nor did they match the style of new songs she had written.
Out of this birthed the Uplift: United Passion in Praise project – a collaboration of top singers and musicians from the Wichita, KS area – while allowing Rolfe’s writing abilities to be displayed. Of all the joys in singing, writing, and producing music, Rolfe counts the listener’s report of being ministered to as the greatest joy – when the words that God gives her reaches someone’s heart to cause a change, comfort a broken heart, or ease a troubled mind. With so much trendiness in music, her point in the Uplift project was to tie the word of God back to the lyrics – bring the Bible to life through music. She describes gospel music as the rhythm to life, a sort of soundtrack of life which leads her to believe the heritage and authenticity of gospel music must be kept alive.
Through generations, the gospel songs, hymns, and words have been passed down to keep hope, in the most hopeless situations. With so much change in the nation and uneasiness about the future, Sovereign God serves as a reminder that God IS! No matter what the world says, God is still sovereign. Rolfe hopes to spread the message of Christ’s love to the nations, while highlighting the talent in the Midwest that is often overlooked. Kansas doesn’t serve as a major market for gospel music, but they have big voices that need to be heard. Some of Rolfe’s greatest musical influences for both writing and singing include India Arie, PJ Morton, Kim Burrell, Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, Donald Lawrence, Whitney Houston, Richard Smallwood and many others.
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