Delandria Mills

Delandria Mills

BandJazzGospel

Flutist/Singer/Songwriter Delandria mills is carving a place in the music industry with her unique combination of jazz, classical, and gospel. She is a member of “Soundcheck”, the critically acclaimed band behind gospel pioneer Tye Tribbett, and she has collaborated with Judith Christie McAllister.

Biography

Flutist, singer and songwriter Delandria Mills is carving a place in the music industry with her unique combination of jazz, classical, and gospel. A native of Houston, Texas, Delandria holds music degrees from Prairie View A&M University (BA), and from the Peabody Conservatory of Music (MM, Flute Performance and GPD, Jazz Studies). As a classical flutist, she has served as Principal of the Baytown Symphony and Assistant/Associate Principal while at Peabody. Her former teachers include Dr. Wendy Isaac Bergin, Emily Skala, Paula “Boots” Hatcher and Marina Piccinini. Her training and exceptional talent have positioned her as one of the brightest lights in world of Jazz Flute evidenced by her latest release, Manifestation.

Delandria seemed destined for music from the start. She says, “I believe I was to end up playing music no matter what; my household was always full of music. We watched musicals as a family, went to outdoor operas, and quite often, my father had classical music playing loudly late at night as we fell asleep,” shares Mills. Although she tried the cello, guitar and clarinet (while breaking and chewing a few reeds), she found herself interested in the flute.

“At first glance did not want to play it - at all,” recounts the artist. “I remember looking at the picture as my teacher placed it in front of me, and frowning my face up-thinking, ‘I don't wanna play that!’” she exclaims, “but once I carried it home and opened the case, I even liked the smell which was that of the band room at school!” But most of all, she thought it was “beautiful.” While being attracted to the flute, she found herself also drawn to Jazz at the age of 14. Hearing her high school big band play, she began playing the musical style “unofficially”. She attended The High School for Performing and Visual Arts in Houston. She chose to study Classical Music because as a flute player, she felt she had no place in Jazz. She expressed to a friend how much she enjoyed a Jazz concert and how she wished she could play Jazz. The friend recommended that she buy recordings of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, which she did. Weeks later, she told the big band director about her desire to play and that she had also become an avid listener. He invited her to take his improvisational class and allowed her to play flute in the big band.

That was the beginning of her love affair with Jazz. It was a little later that she merged the improvisational genre with a Christian message. For her, it definitely wasn’t an intentional collaboration. “I didn’t decide to play Christian Jazz Music,” says Delandria, “but rather it’s that I love God and I love jazz; for me, they go together like beans and rice. I am a Christian Jazz Musician. I am a Jazz Musician who is Christian.” She continues by saying, “God gave me Himself and He gave me the desire to play jazz- so I have chosen to give it back to Him.”

Delandria’s musical approach combines her beautifully velvet style, soulful interpretation, and extensive musical training to add dimension to her work, with the influences of Hubert Laws, Freddie Hubbard, Kim Burrell, and many other Classical, Jazz, and Gospel artists, to produce a distinct sound for the Kingdom of God.

Her impeccable skills earned her the top prize at the National Flute Association’s Jazz Flute Competition in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2003 and led to her being selected as one of six international young women to win the International Association of Jazz Educators’ Sisters in Jazz Collegiate Competition in 2005, which resulted in a European tour. She is the founder and leader of the Delandria Mills Collection, member of “Soundcheck”, the critically acclaimed band behind gospel pioneer Tye Tribbett and Greater Anointing, and she has collaborated with some of the industry’s finest gospel artists, including Judith Christie McAllister.

As a recording artist, Delandria has been featured on recordings by Fertile Ground (“Black Is”, 2004), The Kevin Robinson Ensemble (“The GOD Factor”, 2004), Adidam (“Adidam,” 2004), Tye Tribbett (“Ideas and Concepts, 2004, “Life- DVD”, 2004, “Victory”, 2005, and “Standout”, 2007), and Judith Christie McAllister (“Sound the Trumpet”, 2008).

But one of her proudest accomplishments is her latest release, Manifestation. It’s a 13-track CD, with Mills as principal songwriter, consisting of strains of straight ahead and contemporary jazz. For the true jazz aficionado, it’s a celebration of a style that it’s at the root of much of today’s music. The toe-tapping “Jesus Loves Me”, the pensive “3:21AM” and the mellow “Rauha (Peace)”, all show the diversity of Mills’ gift. “Love Is” is the flutist’s version of the Jazz standard entitled "You Don't Know What Love Is". She says, “But being that I do know what love is, I rewrote the song, changed the melody, and gave it a new name.”

Bringing in great musicians on the record, Mills taps Greg Tardy on saxophone, Keyon Harrold on trumpet, All

Discography

2004 Kevin Robinson “The GOD Factor”

2004 Fertile Ground “Black Is”

2004 Delandria Mills “Delandria Mills”

2005 ADIDAM “All Day I Dream About Music”

2005 Tye Tribbett “Life”

2006 Tye Tribbett “Victory- Live Concert”, CD/DVD

2007 ADIDAM “Violinistik”

2007 Tye Tribbett “StandOUT- Live Concert”, CD/DVD

2008 Delandria Mills “Manifestation”

2008 Judith Christie McAlister “Sound the Trumpet-Live”

2009 Delandria Mills “Ephatha”

2009 Micah Smith “New Beginning”

2009 Delandria Mills “Mediation Music”

2009 Delandria Mills “Praise HIM with the Flute and Strings”