Making the Netherlands her home was never on the cards for South African born singer and songwriter, Laurene Bonsink. “The first 3 years for me was tough!” she shared in an interview regarding her debut studio album titled “Father”. Bonsink releases her CD on January 31 in the Netherlands, with the full album set to be available on iTunes soon.
The mom of two started singing at the tender age of 10 and writing songs at the age of 14. She later entered South African Pop Idols in 2002, making it to the top 50. Bonsink also entered and won the “On The Go Show” talent competition in Port Elizabeth. “I did loads of different things that never really involved worship,” she explained. “It was only when I moved to the Netherlands and started to sing a bit in church that I realised there was a calling on my life.” In 2005 Bonsink met her husband, Dutch businessman Wiebbe Bonsink, in Durban and knew that he was the one. “We knew it was a God thing as it happened very supernaturally!” The pair got married 5 months later and Bonsink moved to Holland with her husband in 2006.
Relocating to a foreign country proved to be a challenge for her and she soon became homesick, longing for South African soil and her friends and family back home. It was then that God spoke to her, telling her to trust Him and His plans. “I had to choose to look forward and not behind me,” she shared. God had brought her to the Netherlands for a reason. Music had always been a passion of Bonsink, who has shared that her influences include Jason Upton, Bethel, Hillsong and Matt Redman, but it was during worship that she understood what her calling was. “The Netherlands is a very religious country. A lot of churches are stilling singing with organs and people still follow the Old Testament laws of dressing,” she explained. She realised that free worship was not a norm in local churches and that the spirit of religion ran rife in many congregations. In 2011 an opportunity came for her to join the worship team of her home church, Doorbrekers, where she eventually started leading worship. The fast growing church is one of the few in the Netherlands on the forefront of radical Christianity and according to Bonsink can be compared to the likes of Hillsong and other mega churches on the rise.
While serving, she soon realised that releasing the song of the Lord came easily to her. “I could pick up a new melody in songs and could just sing out at any given moment. And when I did, God’s presence was so thick that people were moved by it. It’s nothing I do in my own strength!” she shared. The worship leader then began to minister more and more in prophetic flow and spontaneous song and through that new songs were birthed.
Working with top Holland Christian producer, Frank van Essen, Bonsink found that songwriting and arrangements were a natural process for her. “The song ‘Beautiful Saviour’ was simply me sitting behind the piano and recording what came out of my heart! In studio we just recorded it once and left it as is,” she explained. ‘Beautiful Saviour’ is now one of the featured tracks on her album and has an official music video. Musicians who have worked alongside her on the album include Jan-Peter Beijersbergen on guitar, well-known bassist Phil Barker as well as Dave Bainbridge – member of popular UK Christian band, IONA.
Bonsink will be travelling to Life Church, New Zealand in May and will be ministering songs from the album there. She plans to continue promoting the album amidst the duties of church leadership and balancing life as a wife and mom to her son and 5-year-old daughter. “Everything is happening so quickly and because I’m new on the Netherlands scene, I will have to see what exciting opportunities arise!”
The album can be purchased online by visiting her website.
More information regarding tour dates and upcoming events will be available on her Facebook page.
The CD will soon be made available on iTunes and can be purchased in South Africa from her father, Harry Chesling, who can be contacted at 082 320 2853, at the retail price of R120 with a percentage of the proceeds going to churches or organisations’ interested in distribution.
For a review of Laurene Bonsink’s debut album, “Father”, read the Gateway News review by Luchae Williams.