Behind the Song
BIBLE BELT BLUES
Updated: Jan 11, 2021
Harold and Paula Vega Vondenstein are BibleBeltBlues, award winning husband and wife music ministry team from Gulfport, Mississippi. Their music is reminiscent of early Mississippi Bentonia blues with its gritty guitar picking and hauntingly beautiful D & E minor chords; the perfect backdrop for their full-fledged repentance and church revival songs for which they are known. Add to that their signature weeping harmonica and a bit of 70’s retro mixed in for good measure and you’ve got a style that is uniquely their own. 2019 was an amazing year for BibleBeltBlues with the release of their two Christian albums, “I’m Not Ashamed to Be a Christian” and “My God, My God” to winning the coveted Josie Music Award for Gospel/ Christian Duo.
Two years ago would you have ever imagined that Bible Belt Blues would be where you are today winning numerous awards and accolades, receiving extensive media coverage and excellent song reviews, and having 25 songs of your songs having already received radio airplay?
Not in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined this! God is in control and we are just going along for the ride and what an amazing ride it has been!
Did you set out with any concrete plans when you and your husband, Harold, started creating, recording, and producing your own music in your own home recording studio?
All I knew is that if we wanted to be taken seriously at our ages (we’re both in our sixties) we would have to do something extraordinary so we decided to produce two Christian albums in an eighth month period while we were still working for other people! I set deadlines for the release of both albums (“I’m Not Ashamed to Be a Christian and “My God, My God”) and we met both deadlines! Little did we know that exactly a year after we started creating music together as a couple that we would take home the coveted 2019 Josie Music Award for Gospel/Christian Duo! Only God!
Did you write down your goals in detail on paper?
I remember going to a business luncheon in January of 2019 where we created vision boards by cutting words out of magazines. My vision board had our very first business card, and the words “Unstoppable” and “Get Moving.” This was right after the release of our very first album, “I’m Not Ashamed to Be a Christian.” After this the Holy Spirit of God guided me every step I needed to take to move us forward with our Bible Belt Blues music ministry.
What advice would you give to an aspiring musician who is serious about their music career?
First and foremost, find a way to set yourself apart from everyone else with your style of music, your lyrics, your vocals, and your methods of marketing. Don’t be a copycat of someone else; find your own unique style. Secondly, learn how to write a basic press release so you can take control of your own media and marketing. If you have a gift for writing, learn how to write your own feature articles and interview questions; and last but not least, actively develop contacts with radio stations to pursue the possibility of getting your music on the radio.
Is there any additional advice you would give?
Yes! If you are serious about building credibility for your music you really should pursue entering various music award competitions and songwriting competitions. There is nothing that will open up doors quicker than winning a competition! It is like having a degree follow your name! For us it was Bible Belt Blues, 2019 Josie Music Award Winner! We have now won numerous awards so we can take our pick and use the one that best fits the door we are trying to open!
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians on how to handle rejection?
Rejection is a part of the journey of moving forward towards any goal. Learn to accept the fact that not all doors open; some will shut in your face while others will open wide. Also, not all people will be happy for you when doors open wide. You will lose friends who are jealous and make new friends who are genuinely happy for you.
Do you envision yourself moving to be closer to the music scene?
My husband, Harold, and I are drawn to either Memphis or the outskirts of Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee. Memphis is a great hub for the blues while Franklin is a great hub for Christian music and Christian film. Living in either place would open great opportunities for us to collaborate our creative energies with other musicians, pursue Christian film as either songwriters or as actors, or perhaps expand our Bible Belt Blues duo to a band.
Where can we find your Bible Belt Blues music? On Spotify or on our website.