Interviews

Dr. E. Dewey Smith Launches Solo Singing Career

“If God gave me the gift to sing, why not use it?” By Robert M. Marovich There’s almost nothing that Dr. E. Dewey Smith hasn’t accomplished. A graduate of Morehouse College who went on to earn masters and doctorate degrees, Smith is an author, media and film producer, community leader, co-host of the first daytime faith-based panel talk show, and Senior Pastor of House of Hope Georgia, which touts no less than three locations. He is now adding vocal soloist to his resume. Released in March 2021, “Your Presence is a Gift” is Smith’s debut single. Late last month, JGM ...

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DeWayne Harvey Knows Firsthand “What the Lord Allows”

By Robert M. Marovich “He may not come when you want Him, but He’s always right on time.” This church aphorism could be Pastor DeWayne Harvey’s personal motto. The early 2010s were a busy time for the Tallahassee, Florida, minister, entrepreneur, singer, songwriter, and producer. His 2011 release, The Report of the Lord, featuring the praise team from his Greater Blessings Tabernacle of Faith Church, was doing well. The album’s singles, “Whose Report” and “Celebrate,” were burning up gospel radio. Harvey also wrote and produced Angela Spivey’s 2012 album, He Keeps His Promise, for his Innovative Records imprint. So by ...

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Jekalyn Carr on New Album: “I Wanted to Do Something Different”

By Bob Marovich “I wanted to do something different.” That’s how multi-GRAMMY Award nominee and Stellar and Dove Awardee Jekalyn Carr describes Changing Your Story Live. Her new album is scheduled for release this Friday, October 23, on Lunjeal Music Group / The Orchard. The main difference between Changing Your Story Live and her previous releases, Jekalyn told the Journal of Gospel Music, was that it was recorded at an outdoor festival. “We were at Atlanta’s Praise in the Park, but it felt like we were in church. People came ready for church! I wanted to capture as much of ...

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Speak Truth, Says Brian Courtney Wilson, But Also “Be Still and Know”

By Bob Marovich Like all of us, Brian Courtney Wilson is navigating the raging tempests of 2020 as best he can. He is also using his platform as a GRAMMY-nominated gospel singer, and specifically his new album, Still, to help others weather the storms of life. Wilson’s fifth studio album comes out this Friday, October 16, on Motown Gospel. “We are all in the same boat,” Wilson told the Journal of Gospel Music. “I pray that Still helps people deal with the challenges they are facing now and the challenges they’ve been dealing with.” Given that the title track (and current ...

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Chicagoan Lonnie Norwood Jr. Teaches “The Gospel Essentials” to Youth Nationwide

By Bob Marovich Earlier this year, the Chicago Children’s Choir was busy coordinating some 5,000 youth meeting in various in-school and after-school ensembles throughout the region. The sound of song was in the air everywhere. Then COVID-19 happened. Choirs became potential virus spreaders. Everything moved to virtual learning. CCC launched the online Arts Enrichment Sessions to keep its youth engaged during the pandemic and to impact young people ages 8 to 18 nationwide. “The Gospel Essentials” is among fourteen different arts enrichment courses from which students can choose. Taught by Chicago musician and educator Lonnie Norwood Jr., “The Gospel Essentials” ...

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My Tribute is Myron Butler’s Tribute to Andrae’ Crouch

By Bob Marovich Where are the musical tributes to the one who wrote “My Tribute?” Who is remembering the man who taught the world to “Always Remember” Jesus? Myron Butler wanted to know. Then he took matters into his own hands. Butler, a multiple Grammy and Stellar-Award winning gospel artist, is releasing a multi-artist collection called My Tribute (Fair Trade / Columbia / Red Alliance Media) to pay homage to Andrae’ Crouch, one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the past fifty years. This exploration of the Crouch songbook is scheduled for release on Friday, June 26, five days before ...

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Donald Lawrence Recreates the Clark Sisters Sound for Lifetime Biopic

By Bob Marovich Like Beatles and Bob Dylan purists, fans of gospel’s celebrated Clark Sisters know every harmony, every vocal ornamentation, and every nuance of every singer on every song by heart—almost better than the artists themselves. No pressure on Donald Lawrence, musical director of The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel. The biopic premieres Saturday, April 11, on Lifetime (8 p.m./7 p.m. Central). The film is directed by Detroit native Christine Swanson (a fellow Domer from the University of Notre Dame) and stars Aunjanue Ellis as the mercurial Dr. Mattie Moss Clark; Kierra Sheard plays her own mother, Karen ...

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Gloria Gaynor Sings Her Testimony

By Bob Marovich From time to time, such as on major holidays or when the young people’s choir was singing, young Gloria Fowles and her family accompanied their grandmother to Abyssinian Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. At Abyssinian, they would listen to sermons from its pastor, the Reverend Raphus P. Means, and gospel music from such leading lights as Professor Alex Bradford, the Gospel Clefs’ Leon Lumpkins, and young gospel singer Kenneth Glover. Gloria also enjoyed the music of another Newark native, Sarah Vaughan. In the 1970s, Gloria Fowles, better known as Gloria Gaynor, became an internationally-successful R&B and ...

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Sir the Baptist: Everyday Music from a Sunday Knight

By Bob Marovich The sacred-secular divide in music is a uniquely modern conception, and it misses the point. In West Africa, where most enslaved Africans came from, all music was sacred and all music was secular. There was no distinction…until the music came to America during the African Diaspora and distinctions based on intent were forced upon it. This Saturday night-Sunday morning dialogue about what makes gospel gospel arises whenever a new generation of music makers blurs the applied distinctions to communicate a modern message to a contemporary community of believers and non-believers. Perhaps no artist today better represents the ...

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Backstage with Motown Gospel Artist Gene Moore

By Bob Marovich Last December, gospel artist Gene Moore was on top of the world. He had recently gotten married to the love of his life, and things were looking up. He had released his debut album, The Future, on Motown Gospel in 2016. Then the trials started. “First, my wife’s car broke down and we were sharing a car for about six months,” Gene said. “Then I lost three of my jobs due to layoffs and changes in administration. I had to file for unemployment. I started to drive for Uber and Lyft. I told my wife I felt ...

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