Q&A: Cincinnati-based band celebrates 25th anniversary of No. 1 hit

The No. 1 hit by Cincinnati-based, multi-platinum band Blessid Union of Souls, “I Believe,” topped the charts 25 years ago in July.

To celebrate, the band is hosting a contest to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the song’s release. The contest will run through July 31. To enter, fans can create a video of themselves singing and playing their version of “I Believe.”

Submissions can be in any genre - pop, contemporary Christian, country, rap, or a DJ mix. To enter, fans should post a video of “I Believe” on Instagram or Facebook and use the hashtag #ibelieveBUOS25. Those who enter should make the video sharable and use the hashtag #ibelieveBUOS25. On Instagram, tag ‘officialblessidunionofsouls’. And, on Facebook tag www.facebook.com/blessidunion (@blessidunion).

Videos will be judged by the band based on creativity, likes, shares as well as “sheer heart and soul.” The grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift card from Best Buy, a Blessid Union of Souls tank top or t-shirt, a personal Zoom chat with lead singer, Eliot Sloan, and an autographed CD of “The Singles,” Blessid Union of Souls’ greatest hits. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, August 5.

We recently spoke with Eliot Sloan, frontman and founding member of Blessid Union of Souls to find out more about the song, “I Believe” and how fans can enter the contest.

Q: It is nearing the 25th anniversary of the release of the song, "I Believe." It's also timely right now with everything that's going on. Can you reflect on what the song means to you and how it's still meaningful today?

Eliot Sloan: That song has become a part of me. It was written in the summer of 1992, and it came out in 1995. You were there when it came out. We never expected it to have the type of impact that it has had, and to last this long. We definitely didn't write it so that it would be relevant 25 years later, in the sense that we're still going to need messages like this. I guess, knowing in the back of my mind, that we are humans and we're flawed, there's always a potential of things happening, but the fact that it is still super-relevant now is really humbling to me. Part of me wishes we didn't need a song like that, or other songs about love, unity and coming together, but I've always been proud to be a part of this song, to have written it, to have sang it, and I have been singing it for the past 25 years. It never gets old. I never get tired of singing it. It is made fresh and new, every time. And that is because of the spirit of the message…It has been a privilege to be the guy that sang that song…It is still relevant, and we do need messages like that. The ultimate message of the song is that love will find a way, and the Bible says, God is love and that is the truest, and that is where that song came from. I am proud to be a part of it and that it has lasted this long.

Q: In light of COVID-19 and the protests, when people hear the words to the song, how can they apply them to their own lives? What would you hope they walk away with?

A: I mean, just to stop and reflect, and stop and go, "Okay, at the end of the day, it's about the decisions we make. The good ones and the bad ones.' And I am praying that we start making good decisions on a daily, hour by hour, moment by moment, basis. We're all faced with making a good decision or a bad decision, you know, and I hope that people decide to start making good decisions. That is really what it comes down to, myself included…We just need to start making better decisions.

Q: The song became No. 1 and it has become an anthem for many of your fans. Take us back to what the song was written about. You talked about the fact that every time you perform it, there's still that magic there.

A: Yeah, there is because of the message, and because of its theme, which is love, hope and us coming together. It was written from just observing the racism that I grew up seeing and being a part of, and being affected by, and not really understanding - from both sides. Call me naïve, I was like, why are these people angry at these people because of the color of their skin? It just seemed so dumb to me. Obviously, there's been a history of racism for hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of years, and I just don't understand it. I don't understand how (someone can) look at somebody and not like them for something that none of us have any control over, and that's the color of skin that we're born (into), the era we're born, the parents that we're born to, the city, the state or the country. It just seems silly not to like somebody because of how they look, and that's where it originally came from, and to see that firsthand in my life. I didn't understand it then, and I don't understand it now.

Q: If you were to share a message of hope, what would you tell people based on your own experience?

A: Follow God. Follow Jesus. He set the example of how to live, how not to live, and he set the ultimate example of love - that he would give his life for us. To give your life for your brother, to care for people, and to not fall into the trap of temptation of not liking somebody because of what color their skin is. Again, I'll never understand that. There are trigonometry problems that I would have a better chance of figuring out than racism.

Q: You are doing a contest that ties into the song, "I Believe." Tell us about that.

A: I thought it would be a good idea to get as many people as we can singing this song…I'm still trying to spread this message 25 years later. Ultimately, we want to spread the message with as many voices as we can. It's also a fun way to help celebrate the anniversary of "I Believe."

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