An all-new episode of The World’s Best is coming to CBS tonight at 8:00 PM ET/PT and this week audiences will be introduced the supremely talented Vonnie Lopez. Lopez was born tone deaf to a family of musicians and all she wanted to do as a girl was to sing alongside them in her church choir. Today Lopez is a phenomenal vocalist who will try her hand at being named “The Worlds Best.”
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to Lopez about her upbringing, acquiring her gift and what’s next for this Pastor’s daughter from Louisiana.
MW- Hi Vonnie, how are you today?
VL- I’m great, how are you?
MW- I’m doing well, happy I’m getting a chance to talk to you today! I’ve heard a lot of great thing about you coming up on The World’s Best.
VL- Oh thank you! What an exciting time this is!
MW- Now, I want to start at the beginning with your story. You were born tone deaf into a family with strong ties to the Church and it was you dream when you were little to be able to sing in the choir. Can you talk about your early days and what happened that lead to you being where you now today?
VL- Yes, I was born tone deaf but not just that I was born into a family that had an entire lineage and heritage of music. Everybody on both sides of my family could play instruments, could sing, could harmonize. I literally was the only one in the family who didn’t fit in and I have a big country family! I don’t know if I can use the word traumatizing, that might be a bit dramatic but I definitely felt left out.
There’s this cassette my family has and – my father was a Pastor before he passed and was also a recording artist, my mother was a song writer and a classically trained pianist, my brother is a producer and bass player plus a singer. I’m probably about five or six years old and they are practicing their trio and you can hear me in the background on this cassette just singing monotone trying to chime in. You hear my sweet father telling me the nicest way he can to hold on just a minute so they could practice [laughs].
But he would always tell me that God has something for me. He would always encourage me that there was something for me it just probably wasn’t singing [laughs]. But I wanted to sing so badly, music was my first love. Literally even though I was tone deaf I was always listening to music, I always had an affinity for it.
I just started praying, every single day I would pray to God to be able to sing with my family. I was about 14 years old and the youth Pastor at our Church asked me to sing at a youth service. Now, if you know anything about being tone deaf, everyone knows you are but you kind of don’t know you are [laughs].
But I said yes and my dad was very concerned about it. He used to love telling the testimony when he would preach how I picked out a song and my mother and I went into our music room to practice. My mom was on the piano and I started practicing my song. He was in the back of the house and he thought I had turned on the album. But it didn’t sound exactly the same so he came down the hall and he saw me there…I’m sorry I get emotional every time I tell this story…he saw me standing there next to my mom at the piano singing and that I was signing on key.
He walked in and fell on his knees and started giving God the glory for what he recognized to be miraculous healing, even though I didn’t realize it until a few years later that that’s exactly what had happened. My prayers had been answered and that was it for me. That was where it all started and I haven’t stopped singing since. I don’t care if there’s 30 people or 100,000 people – I love it. I know that it’s a gift, I didn’t get it naturally and so it means that much more to me.
MW- Wow, that’s amazing.
VL- It is!
MW- So you’ve been given this gift and now you get to show it millions of people on The World’s Best. How did you get linked up with the show and what went into the process of getting you to where you are today?
VL- You know I try really hard not to over spiritualize things because I’m really not that deep of a person. I’m kind of just country and normal but it really was another miraculous kind of thing because I have friends in the industry. I’ve been in Gospel and Christian music my whole life and nothing about it was my personality I guess you could say, I’m not a very competitive person, I don’t know it’s hard to explain but when I got the call I thought it was a joke from one of my friends.
But then Pamela was the woman’s name and she kept calling. Honestly Matt, my first instinct was no. It’s so funny because I said no and I hadn’t even prayed about it. I kind of got a little conflicted though and I figured if I give a final no on this I better at least pray on it first. When I prayed the Holy Spirit made me search my heart to see why I was saying no.
The bottom line was really fear, fear of rejection. I think that’s what everybody faces and it is common to all of us who are trying to venture out of our little comfort zone. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of what people might think and honestly I was so afraid of my friends thinking I thought I was somebody [laughs]. What a brazen thing to do you know to audition for The World’s Best.
But then I just got this inner peace about it and I realized that this was a door that God had opened for me and so I called Pamela back and I said I would do it. It has been the journey of a lifetime. I hope one day I can write a book about it because it’s the same journey everyone takes in life. It may be a different venture but it’s always that journey and that next step, that open door.
We pray for open doors but then the door opens our first instinct is fear. I think so many people miss out on opportunities like this and other life changing moments. I’ll never forget this, it’s one of the great highlights of my life, all the people I’ve been able to meet. The show itself, what it represents, the inclusion, I get so excited about this show – I love it.
This show celebrates such global inclusion, everybody is involved and is welcomed and is a part of it. Everybody can fill a part and you can find yourself in any character or performer on the show. Man, it’s awesome! I just get excited talking about it I could go on all day!
MW- That’s fantastic, it’s so refreshing to hear so much genuine excitement from someone – it’s really great. I do want to ask you now that you’re on the show and we’ll see how the season unfolds but where do you see yourself in the future, what are some of your goals?
VL- You know, what this journey has done is it has opened my entire vision and perception. It’s opened my heart to whatever is next. That’s the other unknown about something like this. I have friends who have gone on show’s like this and their careers really took off and they’re traveling all the time. Then I have other friends who did great on their show but nothing really followed it.
Do I want to go all the way, yes of course! I loved the people, I love the producers, everybody is amazing and we’ve kind of made a family now. But I’m really at peace! I’ve traveled a lot in my years of doing this and now we Pastor a church. I’m actually at the church today and I’m a mess covered in paint and dust doing flooring sampling [laughs]. We had a fire and lost pretty much everything in the Church so now we’re in the process of rebuilding so that’s exciting!
Honestly, whatever is next – I’m open to it and I’m here for it. One of my friends asked me what it feels like and I say – we have hurricanes down here in Louisiana and I remember one time in college we had to do the hurricane drill. The teachers would tell us the reason we didn’t hear anything was because we were in the eye of the storm. There’s peace in the eye but it’s also kind of eerie because you know something is going on around you but you don’t really know what. You know that the eye is going to move and you’ll be right into the stream of it.
I kind of feel like that’s where I’m at, in that eye of the storm. I’m not sure if it’s going to be a category 5 or not [laughs], but I’m totally open to it, I’m excited about it. Obviously my faith tells me that God orders my steps but unfortunately he doesn’t order my weeks or my months or my years, I would love to know what’s ahead, but I’m okay with that!
I’m just so excited Matt. It’s just an open door of possibilities for what comes next. I think that’s the other great thing about this show is that it opens so many possibilities for these people that come and give their best. I really can’t say enough good things about it!
MW- Well on a personal level I just want to say how inspiring it is for me to hear you speak so openly and honestly about all of this getting the message out their and I wish you nothing but the best! I’ll certainly be cheering you on every week through the TV and I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me today!
VL- Thank you so much Matt, I’m really happy I got to meet you and speak with you today. I appreciate it so much!
MW- God bless and take care!
VL- God Bless!
Catch Vonnie Lopez performing tonight on The World’s Best at 8:00 PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.