“To maintain a competitive edge I took years of private lessons with vocal coaches under the tutelage of Thomasine Hassell, Chantel Hollacheck, the late Wynona Daves, and Martha Mainor” said Bonita Simmons.
“The Independent Gospel Artist Radio Alliance (IGARA) is everything the indie artist needs, in one place.” said Keithron Powell CEO & Co-Founder of IGARA.
The Independent Gospel Artist Radio Alliance (IGARA), is comprised of radio stations, shows, music producers, record labels and other industry executives, who have come together to form a network that supports and promotes Independent Gospel Artists worldwide.
We recognize that the only way the Independent Gospel Music industry can grow and thrive is by coming together and networking with one shared goal. In sharing this goal, we help the artist by introducing them to more outlets that will play their music, venues that will give them a platform for public exposure and businesses that support independent artists, thereby strengthening the Independent Gospel Music Industry on all sides.
About Bonita Simmons
After spending her early years with her parents in Hartford,CT, her family relocated to Kinston, NC in 1974. Bonita would hone her skills while participating in music programs offered in Lenoir County Public Schools. She joined the chorus and in 5th grade, she was chosen to sing “The Way We Were” by Barbara Streisand. When she sang that song, there was not a dry eye in the room. During her 8th & 9th grade years, she was always active in the community, performing at events like NAACP banquets or weddings. She is a graduate of Kinston High School, Class of 1989, an alumni of Craven Community College with an Associates of Arts, and and alumni of the UAFWB Bible College where she graduated as valedictorian of the 2015 class with a Bachelor of Biblical Studies.
At age 12, she started her own gospel singing group, a trio called “Tried by Fire.” Determined and focused, Bonita thrived in her role as band leader and demonstrated her entrepreneurial skills at a very young age. Bonita would open up for all the national recording gospel artists who came to town like Shirley Caesar, John P. Kee, Luther Barnes, The Winans, The Williams Brothers and many others. Bonitahas appeared and won first place on numerous occasions at the world famous Apollo Theatre in New York City. By the time she reached high school, she was already considered a professional singer!
Today, Bonita is enjoying the flexibility of being an independent recording artist. Her talent is in high demand, as she is frequently requested to sing at venues and events throughout Eastern North Carolina! Although she’s experienced many tribulations, Bonita’s life lessons are part of her unique tapestry that enables her to relate to people who are hurting. One of her biggest accomplishments is her outreach work with those who are incarcerated, sharing God’s love through song. Indeed, Bonita has defined her own success, choosing to embrace an obedient lifestyle according to God’s will for her life and career. She simply allows God to do the navigation and depends solely on Him to direct her career path- living by her motto, “If I make the way, then I’ll have to pay the way. But if I allow HIM to make the way, he’ll pay the way!”
Bonita married her husband/manager, Eric B. Simmons in 1994. They have three wonderful children- Mykeva, E.J. and Landon. In October of 2000, Bonita was ordained into the Ministry as “Elder” by national Bishop Andrew Mcrorey Jr. of the Joy Mission Church of Deliverance, Hartford, CT.
She also continues to serve Family Worship Center, “Ministry of Restoration” where the Pastor is George E. Fields Jr.
Because serving and outreach is a part of the tapestry for Bonita’s unique song ministry, being a part of the legacy of her father, the late, Bishop Landon O. Burney and the ministry that he founded is the reason she serves with great tenacity.
Bonita and her family became members of Without Limits Christian Center in 2016 where the Pastors are James and Le’Conte McIver.