Genesis of a Gospel Song

Genesis of a Gospel Song: “Amazing” – Tiff Joy

Tiff Joy, as told to Bob Marovich: I knew I wanted to do something ministry-wise, but I didn’t know if it was going to be preaching or music. It was probably during my late years at Rich South High School in Richton Park, Illinois, when I started to connect with music and knew that it was something that I would do. I was with a group called Tony Tidwell & Uncommon Favor for a couple of years. We were going to do a record—we didn’t actually go through with it—but I wrote a song for the record called “Thank You.” ...

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Genesis of a Gospel Song: “I Can Go to God in Prayer” – Calvin Bridges

Calvin Bridges as told to JGM’s Bob Marovich Looking back, I think God set me up to be in gospel music. In the neighborhood where I grew up, on the West Side of Chicago, there was the Holloway Community Choir. I lived around the corner from them. I would go to their monthly musicals and be in such awe. My mom was a member of Pilgrim Baptist Church, where Thomas Dorsey served as minister of music. Every first Sunday, she would take me to communion and to hear the choir. I watched all the pomp and circumstance, the procession, Professor ...

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Genesis of a Gospel Song: “Total Praise” by Richard Smallwood

Get the details behind the creation of some of gospel music’s most popular songs at JGM’s Genesis of a Gospel Song. “Total Praise” by Richard Smallwood Richard Smallwood, as told to JGM’s Bob Marovich: In October 1995, my mother was ill, my godbrother was terminally ill, and I was a caregiver, going from the hospital to my house, taking care of everything. Caregiving is a very difficult thing to do. It’s time consuming, and if you don’t watch out, you’ll end up in the hospital, too. I also began to feel that I wasn’t doing enough for my loved ones. I felt ...

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Genesis of a Gospel Song: “Revelation 19” (A. Jeffrey LaValley)

Get the details behind the creation of some of gospel music’s most popular songs at JGM’s Genesis of a Gospel Song. A. Jeffrey LaValley: “Revelation 19” (Hallelujah, Salvation and Glory) A. Jeffrey LaValley, as told to JGM’s Bob Marovich I was born in Milwaukee and brought up at the Emmanuel Church of God in Christ until age ten, when a new church was formed in our living room: New Hope Church of God in Christ. I began writing music at age thirteen. My first song was called “Consider Your Ways,” based on a scripture from Haggai. I couldn’t remember it now ...

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Genesis of a Gospel Song: “Every Praise” (J. David Bratton)

By Bob Marovich Ed. Note: This is the first of what the Journal of Gospel Music hopes will be a series of conversations with writers of some of today’s most popular gospel songs. It was inspired by articles in the Wall Street Journal about the origins of classic pop and rock recordings. “Every Praise” by J. David Bratton, on Hezekiah Walker’s Azusa: The Next Generation (RCA Inspiration, 2013) Minister J. David Bratton as told to JGM’s Bob Marovich I was born and raised in Vallejo, California. I wrote a couple of songs when I was in high school, but I ...

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