About The Artist William N. Heard

William Nemon Heard is a native Texan. The eldest son of a Baptist pastor, Heard grew up in the life and work of the church. His musical journey followed a dual path, singing the sacred songs of the Black church as a lad while singing sundry musical idioms in school choirs and programs beginning in elementary school. In his secular career he earned a seat in the Texas all state choir, traveled America as soloist with the historic Bishop College concert choir, and performed in off-Broadway productions of Little Shop of Horrors, Pearlie Victorious, and A Raisin In the Sun. Through his work in sacred music he served as director of music at Mt Zion Baptist church, choral director of the city wide crusade choirs, and founder of the city wide interdenominational youth choir in his home town of Corpus Christi, Texas; Precentor, choral conductor, and musical voice of the historic Bethany Baptist church’s international radio and television ministry, Brooklyn New York, and performed in New York Reach Productions’ “Mamma I Want To Sing” series along side gospel divas Pastor Shirley Caesar, Ce Ce Winans, Tramaine Hawkins, Vanessa Bell Armstrong,  Sissy Houston, and Take 6’s Mark Kibble.

Willie graduated with honors from the College of New Rochelle in Brooklyn, New York with an emphasis in Psychology. He is a 2004 Master of Divinity graduate from Princeton Theological Seminary and a 2005 Master of Theology graduate in Pastoral Theology and Congregations Ministry (PTS).  He is a recipient of the PTS David Hugh Jones award for music contributions to the seminary community (2002, 2003, and 2005), the David Allen Weadon prize for excellence in sacred music (2004), the Jaggow prize in preaching, and the Thomas A. and Alma Neale World Mission and Evangelism Prize in Speech Communications and Ministry, (PTS 2005). He was a member of Cantate Domino choir (PTS), and co-director of the PTS gospel choir. He also serves as Minister of Liturgy & Family Life at the historic Kaighn Avenue Baptist church, Camden, New Jersey, and psalmist/musician for the “Hour of Power” worship service sponsored weekly by the Princeton University Office of Religious Life. Heard is founding director of Friends of Jesus (John 15:15), an ensemble that performs various genres of sacred music. He has been a choral director for three decades, a licensed minister of the gospel since 1994, and was ordained in 2006 in the Progressive National Baptist Denomination by the Bethany Baptist church of Brooklyn, New York at the invitation of his father in ministry the late Reverend Dr. William Augustus Jones Jr.

 Reverend Heard has a wealth of musical knowledge and experience in a variety of genres of sacred music, experience in various aspects of worship, church leadership, Christian education, family life ministries, and media ministry, gained in a life time of work in the church, as well as training in pastoral care and counseling and congregations ministries. He began composing his own sacred songs in the early eighties and has produced three CD’s “Songs from the Sanctuary: Hymns, Spirituals, & Classic Gospels” on the HeardSong Productions label, work towards an urban album “Love Like This!”, and is featured on a historical collaborative project, “A Meditation on the Spirituals” produced by Princeton theological Seminary as part of its Bicentennial celebrations. Heard has vision for systems of counseling for Black pastor/preachers as well as trained counselors within churches to minister to the various pain predicaments that attend parishioners. He began his international ministry in 2010 with trips to various regions of India, preaching, lecturing, and presenting workshops and performances on worship and music, particularly of the African American church tradition.

Heard has been married to Tamara Lynn Steele for twenty seven years and is proud father of Jessicah (23) a 2012 graduate from Rider University, and Matthew (18) a Freshman at St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY. To God be the glory for the things God has done!


He currently serves as Pastor Elect at the Kaighn Avenue Baptist Church.