Delilah. Few people are instantly recognizable by just their first name. The 57-year-old radio personality keeps her eight to 10 million weekly listeners tuning in night after night because of her natural gift for pairing long distance therapy sessions with sappy love songs. Sappy alright. In fact, the radio personality nicknamed herself the “Queen of Sappy Love Songs.” She owns it. She also owns her own past, which she shares with her audience night after night. Being so open and honest about her own struggles is part of what makes her incredibly popular. Here, she opens up.
SL: Is your real name Delilah?
Delilah: Yes, Delilah Rene
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SL: Where did you get your passion for music?
Delilah: Everyone in my family got the musical gene–except for me! My dad played lead guitar in a country Western band, "Country Velvet." His band played gigs up and down the West coast. My mom had a beautiful voice, and a few years ago I saw a newspaper clipping of my dad singing in a quartet when he was a teenager! They both had lovely singing voices. My older brother Matt played several instruments, and my younger two siblings can sing as well. I write lyrics and music, I just can't sing the songs I write. Unless it’s to my kids!
SL: Why do you call yourself the Queen of Sappy Songs?
Delilah: It's a silly term that pokes fun at the sappy or cheesy nature of a lot of the songs we play. But what I do is real, the wisdom or encouragement I share is from my heart, even if it is a bit sappy at times, it is who I am and what I feel.
SL: How many times have you been in love?
Deliliah: Too many! But thank the Lord I am in love for the last time with my husband Paul.
SL: How many children do you have?
Delilah: 13; my son Sammy is in heaven.
SL: What are the names and ages of your children?
Delilah: Lonika, 37; Isaiah, 32.; Emmanuelle, 31; Tanginique, 30; Trey Jerome, 28; Shaylah, 22; Angel, 22; Bridget, 19; Zachariah, 17; Thomas Karlton, 16; Blessing, 12; Delilah Jr., 8; Sammy, eternal. I also have five stepchildren, 18 grandkids, and a few dozen foster kids that have lived with me.
SL: How did you choose this career?
Delilah: This career chose me. I won a speech contest in junior high, and the two judges owned a local radio station, KDUN. They offered me a chance to do an internship at the station when I was only a teen, and I have been in radio ever since.
SL: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about love?
Delilah: On romantic love: That disrespect and contempt destroy any chance of love lasting.
On love between family and friends: That you should never say or do anything in anger without resolving it quickly because none of us are promised a tomorrow.
SL: What’s the best advice you’ve ever given? Why?
Delilah: That you need to forgive those who have wounded you, no matter what. Too many people think that carrying a grudge or being unforgiving gives them some sort of justice, but it doesn't. It just hurts you even more than the person who wounded you in the first place. Forgive, move on, and let it go.
SL: How do you decide on the song to play?
Delilah: I listen to what someone is sharing. Sometimes I listen to what they are not saying. Sometimes it’s what we don't say that really speaks volumes. Then once I hear their story, really hear their story, I try to find a song that has lyrics that speak to the heart of the matter.
SL: How did you become so good at listening to other people’s struggles and problems?
Delilah: I love people. I love people with all of their unique character traits, their past history, and their dreams. I especially am fascinated with young people who are just starting down the winding road of life. So I ask questions and then I listen, really listen, to hear what their heart is longing to express.
SL: What’s the best marriage advice you’ve ever heard?
Delilah: Good marriages require 100/100 giving to each other, not 50/50