All Articles Tagged "Gospel Music"
Verizon is ready to make big noise with this year’s How Sweet the Sound gospel choir competition. According to the company, the competition will be bigger than ever.
Donald Lawrence and Yolanda Adams are back as hosts. The popular competition is now in its seventh year.
The winner will receive a How Sweet the Sound/eOne recording contract, up to $50,000 in cash and prizes, and the title, “Best Gospel Choir in America.”
The winners last year were the 90-member Dexter Walker & Zion Movement Choir. The Chicago-based choir received a recording contract, $25,000, smartphones and gift cards. They also got a chance to tour across the country in select cities, performing to sell-out crowds.
Know a great gospel choir? Maybe they should get in on this.
This could be a match made in heaven. Motown Records has been looking to expand its gospel music offering. EMI Gospel has been seeking a great music partner in the gospel arena. Now comes the announcement that Motown has entered into a joint venture partnership with EMI Gospel, creating a new label Motown Gospel.
It is a good time for both companies to boost its presence in Gospel music. While the overall sales of the genre dropped slightly from 2011 to 2012, according to Nielsen and Billboard figures, the digital sales of Gospel and Christian music rose 11.10 percent.
Barry Weiss, Chairman & CEO, UMG East Coast Label Group and Bill Hearn, President & CEO, Capitol Christian Music Group, made the joint announcement. Gospel music superstar CeCe Winans will be the first new signing to the Motown Gospel label. It will also mark her first new recording in more than five years and is planned for an early 2014 release.
“The new Motown Gospel label will offer broader Urban AC crossover potential and further opportunities and synergy between Motown Gospel artists and the Motown and Island Def Jam urban roster,” said Weiss.
Ken Pennell and the executive leadership of EMI Gospel, will head the new Nashville-based label. On the executive side, the first executive appointment for Motown Gospel is songwriter and producer Aaron Lindsey as VP of A&R. He has won four Grammy awards and multiple Stellar and Dove awards for his work in Gospel music.
With the launch came a mega celebration—a gala press reception and artist showcase at the Arc Theatre in Los Angeles. There were performances by Gospel bestsellers Smokie Norful and Tasha Cobbs as well as artists from the Motown Gospel roster, such as multiple Stellar Award winning artists VaShawn Mitchell, Pastor Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Chicago and Grammy nominee Anita Wilson.
If A Christian Rapper Is Delivering A Powerful Message In A Song, Can You Overlook His Use Of The N-Word?
I’m not really into gospel music. In fact, I only know a handful of gospel songs by heart; the two most prominent are “Oh Happy Day” (courtesy of Sister Act 2) and the jawn from The Color Purple when Shug Avery burst into the church and was like,“See daddy, sinners have souls too.”
Basically, I live a pretty secular life, but I can still appreciate Christian artists like Amisho “Sho Baraka” Lewis. From CNN:
“DuBois wrote in an essay titled “The Talented Tenth” the “best, or the talented tenth of the black community, must be elevated and cultivated, to in-turn guide the mass away from the contamination of the worst in their own race and other races.” Though DuBois used Christian principles in his calls to uplift the black community, he was widely considered to be either agnostic or an atheist at the time of his death, as Brian L. Johnson writes in his biography “W.E.B. Du Bois: Toward Agnosticism, 1868-1934.” Lewis makes it clear it’s the Christian principles DuBois championed and not his beliefs about God that inspired his album. Still, the DuBois connection isn’t what has ruffled feathers among some Christian listeners, but the subject matter of his song “Jim Crow” aka “N*gga Island.” On the song, Lewis addresses the negative effects of racism and ignorance. He uses the “N” word and profanity to get his point across, a move too close to secular hip-hop for some Christian rap enthusiasts.”
Yeah, I bet.
Based upon the few tracks I’ve listened to, Baraka’s stuff isn’t half bad. In fact, if you were in the car and this song (Chapter 6: Ali) came on, you would think you were listening to a song by Drake with John Legend on the chorus. And I’m not just talking about his flow, but also the emotion and introspection, which appears to be really big among the rappers today. At the same time, I can see how some of the more saintly fans of the genre might be a little put-off.
In addition to the “praise-Him” gospel, which tends to associate with the musical genre; Baraka clearly takes a more secular approach to Christian music. Think Kirk Franklin meets Kanye West, circa the “Jesus Walks” time. He might be too raw for some of the more truist fans of gospel music, who see the musical genre as an extension of the real biblical gospel. And the chorus to Jim Crow – “I guess I’m stuck here on N***a island/Where n***as be wildin’/And color is violence/Moment of silence...” — doesn’t exactly help the cause.
I am reminded of the time I had a college friend visit Philadelphia and I took her to one of the open mics we have in the city. She was (and probably still is) a gospel singer, so I figured she might enjoy being around some other artists. I was wrong. From the minute we sat down and heard the first poem, she was making faces and talking about how profane the lyrics were. In the midst of all that gesturing, she missed how the poet was making his own testimony to how dissatisfied he was with the condition of his community and what inspires him to change it. I found her instant dismissal of him odd, considering that she had been boasting to me earlier about how she saw her music as ministry to the everyday-folk. But, I guess some saints really are more comfortable only hanging out with the choir.
In the same song where Baraka drops the “n-word,” he also says this:
“’C’mon son why you always ruin the mood?
Race talks happen every time you enter the room.’”
Cuz there’s ignorance in the masses
Too many people think racism is past tense
We fight for blackness
But we don’t know what Black is
I know it ain’t the zero sum of white men
They wanna know how to reach the hood like there’s magic
Like we’re all the same
Like we’re not dynamic
Hollywood wants to pimp us to get dough
Exploit us, but give us money
Somebody say “Ho!”
Let’s thank them movies and them TV shows
Be a token or I’ll play an Uncle Tom role
Or be a magic negro until the day I’m gone
Help the white man reach his goal
But never reach my own
Or an oversexed male
Even a c**n
A young man who loves ignorance
Praising his doom
Then the chorus happens.
You know, context is everything. Who cares how he says it? I’m just glad someone is saying it, especially when many of our secular rappers are not saying very much. And if it is his Christian faith that is leading him to speak truth to power, well than, I say God bless him! I swear, some folks probably wish that Richard Allen, Absalom Jones and the African Methodist Episcopal Church had just stuck to worshiping and not been as involved in the often dirty work of merging theological beliefs with the social realities. But shouldn’t these things go hand and hand?
If you’re a gospel fan, chances are Yolanda Adams’ music has inspired you over the years. Well, this weekend Adams used her music and her story to inspire the 100 high school students at Disney Dreamers Academy this weekend. MadameNoire had the chance to speak to Yolanda about how she started singing professionally, though she never had an interest in doing so. She also talked about how the high school students ended up inspiring her as well.
In December 2012, the internet began buzzing that Mary Mary was breaking up. Since then, there’s been much speculation about their future and if they would be ending a 12-year career. ESSENCE.com caught up with the ladies to find out what their plans are.
“I will say this, we are not breaking up,” said Erica Atkins-Campbell. “But we’re taking a break. I’m going to do some solo music. Tina’s going to vacation and travel the world. We’ve been joined at the hip the last 12 years and I think in order for us both to be our healthiest selves, just as women, in the group, [we will] take some time to think and re-assess. We’ve been going constantly year after year, baby after baby, tour after tour and now season after season on TV.”
They will do more than rest during their time off — the ladies say they are also planning to reconnect with God. “We’re singing about Christ, we’re singing about God. I can’t sing about God and I’m not taking the time to talk to God,” said Erica.
Well, that’s that. Check out ESSENCE for more, including Tina’s point of view and what they will be doing together while on hiatus.
Do you think this the sugarcoated way of Mary Mary saying this is the end?
It’s a question that we’ve all asked ourselves on more than one occasion and during different phases in our lives. Even if we don’t use those same words or don’t verbalize the question out loud, our actions, choices and doubts are fueled by this quest to answer this broad question. We pretty much start wondering this from the time we awkwardly enter the school cafeteria and look for a table where we belong. Trying to figure this out can make us style our hair a certain way, date that boy, break that rule, join that club or pursue that degree. It can ultimately take us to the life we have now.
Even as grown women, we still ask it. We just swap the cafeteria for adult circles amongst our friends, colleagues, co-workers and society at large. No matter how many years go by, we still ask: “Who am I, really?” And until we can answer that question, it’s impossible to believe we’re amazing.
As women, we are moms, wives, sisters, friends and confidants, but we sometimes feel guilty for not knowing more about ourselves. As women we are expected to be selfless and to focus on others.
Read the rest of their inspiring piece on ESSENCE.
Do you ever feel selfish by taking a moment to give back to yourself?
(Eurweb) — Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain recorded a gospel album in 1996 that has just been released on the Internet courtesy of DraftCain.org, an independent group not affiliated with the campaign. According to Cain’s campaign, the CD was originally released by GLC Music, Selah Sound Production and Melodic Praise Records, according to Atlanta’s 11 Alive.
Herman Cain is a leader who is not afraid to wear many hats, no matter how contradictory. CEO? Check. Presidential candidate? You got it. Now he can officially add gospel singer to the mix, as his self-expressive devotional LP, “Sunday Morning,” has just been released. No, this is not an official debut sanctioned by Cain’s political campaign. The web site DraftCain.org is behind the release of the tracks, which are described as being “years old.” While Cain and his cohorts are not connected to the latest promotion of his album, this has not stopped his staffers from taking to Twitter to big it up. Talking Points Memo reports:
The Republican presidential candidate’s gospel album “Sunday Morning” went online today and according to Cain spokesman Ellen Carmichael on Twitter, his staff “may or may not be ‘testifying’ in the office right now, listening to boss’s music.” Carmichael told TPM that an independent pro-Cain website, DraftCain.org posted the years-old album and that the official campaign had nothing to do with its re-emergence.
Even if he is not officially involved, Cain can always use this event to kick up his campaign a notch. He can write and sing a new campaign song: “Cain is Abel.” Get it? Herman can scat vocalize his responses during future GOP debates. That would be hot, and help him reach new voting blocs. There are just too many possibilities for a man of Cain’s multifarious talents.
Plus, it’s good that he has a career to fall back on, if this whole being president thing does not work out. I don’t know about you, but I would buy another album from this man, especially if said album existed explicitly because Cain failed to become president. But don’t take my word for it. Please listen and judge Herman Cain, gospel singer, for yourself:
(AOL Black Voices) — Gays in the pulpit is a topic I shy away from in public for various reasons. However, gays in gospel music is an intriguing topic for me, in particular, because I so love Christian music of every genre and sub-genre. Sometimes, it’s one of these songs, as I’m driving down the road feeling low or cooking dinner with tears in my eyes, that comes to my mind and lips and revives my spirit, strength and resolve to persevere. First, let me provide you a brief background, lest you think I’m some new kid on the block with a shallow, skewed perspective and no knowledge of the Word of God. I was born and raised in the church. Because my father was chairman of the deacons and Sunday Sunday superintendent, all of us 11 children were quite active in church activities, from Sunday School to choir to Bible study to ushering to Vacation Bible School. We spent a considerable amount of time in church, and it remains an integral part of my life today. I proudly am a practicing Christian.
(Philadelphia Inquirer) — Rejoice & Shout, filmmaker Don McGlynn’s raucous new documentary about gospel music in America, reaches all the way back to 1902, when Virginia’s Dinwiddie Colored Quartet made the first African American religious recordings, almost two decades before the first jazz and blues records. Listening in on the music that came out of black Baptist and Pentecostal churches in the century since, Rejoice & Shout focuses attention on big-name and not-so-big-name gospel greats, from Mahalia Jackson and the Staple Singers to the Golden Gate Quartet and Swan Silvertones.