Kirk Franklin Releases New Single

Written by: Melanie Pratt

August 28th, 2015

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Overnight, Kirk Franklin broke his musical silence of nearly five years!  Premiering this morning on The Steve Harvey Morning Show, the lead single “Wanna Be Happy?” was available on ITunes as of midnight.  Franklin is also set to perform it this coming Sunday August 30, at the live season finale of BET’s Sunday Best.

A yet named full album is due for release some time in November 2015.

Tasha Cobbs Hits The Road For One Place Live

Written by: John Burton Jr.

August 25th, 2015

Cobbs1014Motown Gospel celebrated the release of One Place Live, the follow up CD from Grammy, Dove and Stellar Gospel Music Award winner Tasha Cobbs  on August 21st.  The new disc fulfills its duty picking up where Grace left off, delivering powerful praise and worship music to the masses. Just this past week, Cobbs was greeted with the news of a Dove Award nomination for Gospel Artist of the Year.

In support of the CD’s release, Cobbs made appearances at Tony Evans’ Oak Cliff Bible Church as well as sharing the stage during this year’s MegaFest Celebration in Dallas.  On Labor Day weekend, she will join CeCe Winans, Marvin Sapp and Tye Tribbet at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center as well as share in ministry at Greenville’s SpiritFest with Tamela Mann and Israel Houghton.

New Jerusalem Celebrates 50 Years

Written by: Gregory Gay

August 25th, 2015

New Jerusalem LightWhenever we get an opportunity to remember the heyday of Mass Choirs, we seize the opportunity.  Now, truth be told, we got a little misty eyed and waxed nostalgic with news of New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church celebrating its 50th anniversary on October 17th and 18th.  An anticipated part of the celebration is the reunion of the New Jerusalem Inspirational Choir.    Under the direction of Curtis Hayes and Jeffrey LaValley, New Jerusalem made its mark recording some 10 albums giving us a reason to go to Flint, Michigan to hear Sunday morning church music with  HITS that include Everything Will Be Alright (with James Cleveland), The Lord is My Light, I Can’t Feel At Home, His Eye is on the Sparrow, Show Me the Way (with the inimitable voice of the late Bishop Odis Floyd on lead) and the unforgettable Revelations 19 (Hallelujah, Salvation and Glory).

Here’s some throwback music for your listening enjoyment

Tiff Joy Releases Debut CD September 25th

Written by: Gregory Gay

August 25th, 2015

What an amazing experience it has been for Chicago native Tiffany Joy McGhee.  The singer songwriter penned the song Amazing and performeTiffJoyd it locally around the Chicagoland area.  The song caught the attention of Donald Lawrence who in turned mentioned it to Ricky Dillard, and the rest is history.  A performance on the Stellar Awards started the movement.  “Amazing” would go on to capture the title of  2014 “Song of the Year” in addition to holding the number one spot on Billboard’s Gospel singles chart for over 30 consecutive weeks.

Tiff Joy uses “Chicago power”connecting with award winning producer VaShawn Mitchell for her 12 track debut CD for Mitchell’s Walkway Music Group/ VMan Entertainment and Tyscot Records.  The CD hits stores and digital outlets on September 25th.

Dee-1 Releases Im Not Perfect Music Video

Written by: John Burton Jr.

August 25th, 2015

Dee 1Yahoo Music premieres I’m Not Perfect, the new video from RCA Inspiration artist Dee- 1 today.  I’m Not Perfect is the lead single from Dee-1’s EP released thi past February.  “There was a pivotal shift in my Christian walk around the time I wrote ‘I’m Not Perfect’,” said rapper Dee-1.  “I made the bold decision to declare my faith…I wanted to please God and not man.  In the video we use strong visuals to make this message clear.” 

Jeff Hargrove Takes New VP Post at Tyscot

Written by: John Burton Jr.

August 25th, 2015

Congrats to Jeff Hargove on his promotion to Vice President of Marketing and Promotions for Tyscot Music & Entertainment, Tyscot LOUD and Tyscot Films. Hargrove served for 12 years as  the chief radio promotions strategist for Tyscot before assuming the position of VP of Promotions in 2007.  “I am extJeffHargroveremely excited about my expanded role with Tyscot Music & Entertainment, Tyscot LOUD and Tyscot Films.  I’m humbled that Dr. Leonard Scott and Pastor Bryant Scott have chosen to afford me this tremendous opportunity to further contribute to a company that I strongly believe is positioned for even greater things to come,”  Hargrove shared.

President Bryant Scott spoke of Hargrove’s new post, “Jeff is a twenty-year industry veteran with the experience, proven skills and Christ-centered values of which I’m confident will aid him greatly in taking our artists and their projects, our films and our company brands to the next level; an even brighter future.”

Erica Campbell To Host Doves

Written by: Melanie Pratt

August 25th, 2015

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The Gospel Music Association has announced that Erica Campbell will host the 46th Annual Dove Awards along with Duck Dynasty’s Sadie Robertson. The awards are set for October 13 at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena.

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Dove Awards Nominees Announced

Written by: Gregory Gay

August 12th, 2015

30th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards090_israelNominees were announced today for the 46th Annual Dove Awards, which will return to the city of Nashville at the Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University on October 13th.  The show will air on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) on October 18th.

In the Gospel Artist of the Year category, nominations went to Erica Campbell, Fred Hammond, Israel & New Breed, Jonathan McReynolds, Tamela Mann and Tasha Cobbs.  For a full list of nominees, see the list here: 46th Annual Dove Award Nominees

Interview : Israel Houghton – “Covered: Alive In Asia” (2015)

Written by: Martin Williams

August 5th, 2015

CD100_outMulti Grammy, Stellar, and Dove award winning artist Israel Houghton returns with his new album “Covered: Alive in Asia” which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Gospel and Christian Charts. This was Houghton’s seventh album in his career to debut at the top of the charts. This live worship experience was recorded across the continent of Asia in stadiums in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Korea, Tokyo, and Manila. The album features new songs with Grammy Award Winners Yolanda Adams and Tye Tribett and Gospel rising sensation Jonathan McReynolds. Houghton teams up with longtime producing partner Aaron Lindsay to bring forth the groups legendary sound. Covered: Alive in Asia is the groups 10th album, as they celebrate 15 years of Ministry.

GOSPElflava’s Martin Williams recently caught up with Israel to discuss the new albums all the elements that went into making this project a chart topping success.

 

Martin: You’ve recorded albums all over the world, why did you decide to go to Asia?

Israel: We’ve been going there for seven or eight years as a team, and we have developed a good re pore in several countries there. When you go certain places and you realize there is a grace for you to be there and you like how you feel with those crowds and churches there, the thought about doing an album there begins to creep in. And it just so happen this particular Asian tour last fall worked out great to carry a film and audio crew to capture the energy of these six great places in Asia.

Martin: I listened to one of the tracks on the album and you said there was such a spirit of expectation and a hunger for GOD’s presence. What was it like being in those venues with all of those worshipers on one accord?

Israel: It was absolutely fantastic! No disrespect to us here in America but we have so many options. You can throw a rock and go have a great worship experience somewhere and go hear some of the greatest singers and musicians. In Asia that’s rare for them. It only happens every once in a while. So they come out in significant numbers to experience this and they don’t just stand around they engage. It’s incredibly refreshing especially when you are trying to teach brand new songs. Versus here in America where they may not get with you until you sing something that they like or something that’s familiar. Over there their attitude is BRING IT ON!

Martin: It’s been almost 15 years since your album “New Season” was released. Fast forward to now do you still feel the same excitement? Are you apprehensive? Are you concerned if the fans will like it? How do you feel?

Israel: I think it’s all of the above. I’m still very much excited about recording, writing, and releasing music. Certainly in 2000 and 2001 when “New Season” was released records were bought and sold differently than now. That album was released in the pre I- Tunes and streaming days. People had to actually have to go and buy the physical CD. Now it’s very different there are so many options and it’s harder to get the ground swell. When we did “Live From Another Level” it was our first album to sell 500,000 units and the album was certified “Gold” within a year. That blew our minds. And to sell that many units now is quite an undertaking. The beauty is that we don’t do what we do for the accolades, awards, or sales. Our rewards are ultimately found in the lives of people. The older I get the less panicked I am about a release. I don’t fret about how it’s going to do on the radio or will it go to the number 1 spot on Billboard. Most of our records end up selling for long periods of time. They are not just a quick release and you forget about them. Because we are out in front of people all the time our albums tend to have a longer life of sales. We’ve had Number 1’s, gold records and awards, so hopefully we are past having to prove ourselves and drive ourselves crazy. Ultimately it’s about people being blessed and connected to this music.

 

Martin: Does it still surprise you when you go out all over the world and the people know your music?

Israel: It’s such a true blessing and its speaks to the power of mediums like GOSPELflava and Gospel radio because people have the opportunity to connect with our sound and vision. You all get the word out and I’m grateful. It never gets old getting up and starting a song and hearing the crowd take it over, never gets old. I love when I can step back from the microphone and let the audience sing. I become a kid in those moments!

 

Martin: Out of all of your albums what’s the one song that you can’t go through a concert without singing?

Israel: It’s pretty much a tie between “You Are Good” and “Friend Of God”. If we ever leave the stage and don’t do “Friend of God” it’s going to be a problem. It’s like Marvin Sapp leaving the stage without singing “Never Would Have Made It’ or Kirk Franklin not doing “Stomp” or “Why We Sing”. I tell you the one song that’ gained momentum of the years and that’s “Moving Forward”. I’ve noticed we can’t get through a set without at least hitting the bridge of that song. I’m honored that I’ve been apart of writing some staples and putting those out. It never gets old to me.

Martin: With all the recent tragedies in the world, how important is it that believers continue to cultivate a life of worship?

Israel: It’s never been more important than the days we are living in now. Here we are in the most connective generations of all time through the way of social networking but we’ve also become extremely disconnected by the same reasons. I think the Gospel and the unity that comes from knowing who Jesus is best served and experienced together. What is tragic for me is that these horrible atrocities happen and that causes us to get off our phones for a second and come together as a community. I wish we didn’t need tragedy to do that. That’s one of the things I Love about church there is an hour and half in the week where we come together to say we are connected under one name and one faith. In this day and age we need that because we don’t have a lot of good news on Television. The definition of the Gospel is the good news.

Martin: On the album you collaborate with Tye Tribbett, Yolanda Adams, and Jonathan McReynolds, how was it working with those artists?

Israel: Well after so many years I think people have realized that I love doing collaborations. On “New Season” we had Keith Staten from Commissioned. The second album “Real”, I used a lot of Andrae Crouch’s crew, I didn’t do a lot of collaborations on “Live From Another Level”, but Michael Gunger worked with me on that. Of course the son of South Africa himself Jonathan Butler worked with me on “Alive In South Africa”. “ A Deeper Level” featured Chris Tomlin, YPJ. My Christmas album, “ A Timeless Christmas” has to be my favorite in terms of collaborations because it featured Marvin Winans, CeCe Winans, Lalah Hathaway and many others it was a dream come true. I’ve worked with Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin, Take 6, so for me it’s about how the song its best served with another voice and artist. I’ve never been super particular either about collaborations. An artist doesn’t’ have to be of a certain stature for them to be featured on one of my songs. It’s all about what’s going to enhance the song. In some cases I’ve been very fortunate that’ the collaboration does help boost the cache of the album as well as the song.

Martin: You take a classic contemporary Christian song, “Mighty to Save” and you give an upbeat island flair, what made you remix the song?

Israel: For us its something we’ve been doing for years, and just never recorded it. Initially we were going to put it on “Jesus At The Center”. The group and myself found ourselves doing a lot of festivals. And sometimes at these festivals people don’t know us very well so its important to have songs that people know in reserve so they can join in on the experience. It’s always good to have songs you can always add a New Breed twist to it.

Martin: At the end of the day what do you want the listeners to take away from “Covered: Alive In Asia”?

Israel: I want them to take away that hope is not relegated to just one community, skin tone, or preference. Gospel is good news and it needs to be global. There are people in Asia who love Gospel music and this message and you may never see them. We have brothers and sisters who don’t look or talk like us but they serve the same God. It’s a beautiful thing to know. I want people to know Israel and new breed  as ambassadors.

 

Israel’s Latest Release, “Covered: Alive In Asia” is available in stores and online.  The project features a 16 track digital deluxe version and limited edition CD/DVD combo pack that includes 13 tracks plus a documentary offering an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the recording process and footage of some of the most beautiful and exotic cities in Asia.  Additionally, later this year, Houghton will release a special 90 minute concert film with exclusive performances and interviews. 

Chicago Mass Choir Re-signs with New Haven Records

Written by: John Burton Jr.

August 4th, 2015

Chicago Mass ChoirNew Haven Records President Ken Harding announced the re-signing of the legendary Chicago Mass Choir as plans are being finalized for the release of the choir’s 16th recording celebrating 25 years of chart topping hits.

CMC President and CEO Dr. Feranda Williamson shared these sentiments, “God’s faithfulness has been poured out on Chicago Mass Choir for the past 25 years. His blessings and favor culminate in this new CD, which we pray will bless and encourage people around the world!”

Longtime producer Percy Gray was in agreement: “This project is filled with traditional worship and praise songs for the choir. Get it for your Sunday church service—it’ll really bless you!”