Weehawken anti-bullying advocate Theresa Borrelli has released a new Christian rap album titled “One Search.” Also an author, singer-songwriter, poet, and motivational speaker, Borrelli departs from her usual spoken word, embracing her faith to inspire and encourage amid the pandemic.
Finding her faith
Borrelli said she grew up in West New York “in the projects” and “had a great childhood.” She was the youngest of five children, with one brother and three sisters who supported her throughout her life. Borrelli said that at a young age, she knew she was going to “get out of the projects and go to college,” becoming a student athlete.
“I was born to a Catholic, religious family,” Borrelli said. “We always went to church.”
Later in life, she said her mother didn’t mind if she didn’t go to church as long as she believed in something. Borrelli attended many churches and services of different faiths, in search of what she truly believed.
“I always had faith,” Borrelli said. “I prayed, but it still wasn’t clear to me where I was praying.”
Around seven years ago, Borrelli ended where she’d started: Christianity. However, it was not the Catholicism of her youth, but United Methodist.
Borrelli still has books filled with her first writings from when she was around 10. She wrote her first song at age 12.
Around age 20, she discovered rap music after finishing college in the early ’80s.
“For some reason, I always said, ‘I should do this too,’” Borrelli said. “I could write raps. And I could perform it.”
Borrelli said she started writing rap and performing in clubs, bars, places, she spoke, and for her children.
“I will just freestyle and write my own lines, and I would just do it. I was only into rap.”
Soon, her interest in rap music and faith would collide. In her 30s, she decided to write Christian songs.
“My faith was getting stronger at that time,” Borrelli said.
She was studying the Bible with her friend and decided that she would not only write a Christian song, but a Christian rap song.
“So we sit down, and I tried to rap but the words would not flow,” Borrelli said.
For the next two decades, she worked to find her sound as a Christian rap artist. She had trouble finding a producer, but she persisted.
“I never allowed anyone to discourage me from anything I wanted to do,” Borrelli said. “So I took those songs and made them into a prayer book.”
The book, titled Prayers of Inspiration, was translated into Spanish. Eight years ago, she was introduced to a band led by a former student of hers. She agreed to write and perform with the band. The group recorded the song “Summer Sweet,” which she said has been a hit around the world.
Coming to fruition
She then started working on a Christian rap album. Her bandmate wasn’t too keen on the idea because he was not a believer, leaving Borrelli on her own.
Four years ago, Borrelli began penning her lyrics. She wrote ten songs, but no producers were interested. The UK’s Birmingham University Orchestra finally helped her record the album.
Last October, Borrelli recorded the vocals to her tracks with two guest vocalists, Lissette Difeo and Edgar Natal.
Now, the album is available on CD. To get a copy, go to theresaborrelli.com or her Facebook page.
Borrelli’s first album, “One Life, One Will,” was musical spoken word. She is currently working on more projects.
During the pandemic, Borrelli sought to help others through her music. She pushed for the album to be released in December of last year around Christmas because “I wanted to be inspirational and encourage people to keep going,” Borrelli said. The album is for “anybody, of any religion.”
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