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Photo by Joe Montague
Aileen Lombardo

Aileen Lombardo and her funky pop / R&B style music continue to capture the hearts of fans everywhere. The Toronto born singer/songwriter, who incorporates a bit of reggae flair with her music, is a fan favorite in major centers like Montreal and Toronto and just returned from a successful appearance at Hosanna 2005 held on the island of St Kitts. In the past she has appeared in Barbados and Trinidad and will be appearing as a guest soloist with the Toronto Mass Choir during this summer’s tour of Hungary, Romania and the UK.
In 2004, Lombardo was the recipient of four Covenant Awards (equivalent to the Doves). She was awarded Canada’s top prize in Christian music as the female vocalist of the year in 2004. The song “I Believe,” penned by her friend Kerroy Williams, received the nod for Song of the Year as well as Inspirational and Gospel Song of the Year.  The song “Under His Wings,” a song she co-wrote, received the award for Contemporary Gospel Song of the Year. In addition, she was nominated for an Urban Music Award. 
Greg Sczebel, who has his own treasure trove of music awards, speaks about Lombardo, “I saw her perform at the Shai Awards last year and I was blown away by her performance.” In April, her CD was runner up for Christian Album of the Year at the Juno Awards (Canada’s Grammy) to none other than Sczebel.
Lombardo’s “If I Believe” is receiving consideration for Song of the Year, at the Shai Awards, to be announced in May, while her album Living Water is nominated in the Urban Music category. While the later category seems to be a bit of an odd selection, it does, however, point out the wide demographic she appeals to. While she doesn’t have a lock on the two awards, one would be surprised if she doesn’t return home with more hardware. The public votes on those nominated and Lombardo has endeared herself to many a fan not only with her energetic and upbeat performances but her trademark humility and compassion.
Internationally acclaimed recording artist Marlene O’Neill says, "Aileen is an artist that has a true desire to worship and use her talents to glorify God.  Her sweet, gentle and humble spirit speaks volumes when in conversation and yet her vocal ability is so powerful you wonder where it came from!  Aileen will be around for a long, long while and I look forward to sharing the stage with her again."
Aileen Lombardo does not take her success for granted because it has been a long time coming.  During her teen years she had drifted away from the Lord and in her words was, “Doing my own thing.” She was also part of a mainstream band that produced a CD. When she rededicated her life to the Lord, she vowed she would sing for God.
She says, “I told the producer if he could record gospel music I would love to do it and if he couldn’t, I didn’t know what else or if we could go any further. He actually said, There is no market for gospel music and we don’t know what to do with it.' That was a mistake because at the time there wasn’t, but as time went on, the market grew and now there is a big market and so now I am thankful for that I stood my ground and just waited because since the dream occurred the first time it has been about ten years that I waited for the opportunity to record.”
After a concert earlier in the evening, Lombardo took time to talk about how she has evolved as an artist and grown as and individual during the past year. “I would say spiritually it has really humbled me in a sense that I am just so thankful and I don’t understand how God has chosen to use me in this way but I am so grateful and I just want to be faithful in that.”
When asked what was going through her mind earlier in the evening when she was performing she replied, “There were some moments I was thinking, I just can’t believe I am doing this right now. It is really amazing to see all the faces of so many people praising the Lord. As I looked out I saw people raising their hands and worshipping God. The worship segment was the best moment for me. It’s just amazing that we can come together to use our gifts and just worship God in one place.”
The album Living Water was made possible by a lot of people who donated their time and services for free and for that she is very grateful. “People were just catching the excitement and they were willing to give” and she adds, “They gave more than 100% and that’s what makes the album so great.” The album was produced by Carmon Barry (Sarah McLachlan) at Toronto’s Emmanuel Recording Studios.
Songs like “Under His Wings” developed from a writing session and the collaborative efforts of Lombardo and friends Kerroy Williams and Joy Brown.  Inspiration for the song came from the hymn of the same name first penned by William Cushing and Ira Sankey in 1896. She says she loves the creativity that comes from co-writing songs.  
The song “Trust Him” was born during her quiet time before the Lord. She describes this period as a difficult time in her life when she was experiencing heartache.  During the midst of her devotional the melody and words came together in a matter of minutes. She says, “Even to this day when I am going through a difficult time I remember the words and I feel as though God is always encouraging me to trust him.”
Why does Aileen Lombardo sing? For her, the answer is easy. “It’s a big part of how I praise and worship God and give back what he’s given to me.”
By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague.

Joe Montague is a  freelance Christian journalist / photographer who has been published in a variety of community, daily and Christian newspapers coast to coast in Canada and the United States.  Joe Montague's ministry of journalism is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven far too early at the age of 18. 



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