Interviews

Jonathan Nelson Wants Listeners to be “Inspired, Encouraged, and Empowered” by New Album

By Bob Marovich In 1776, the Declaration of Independence freed American people from the oppression of the Royal Crown. In 2018, Jonathan Nelson’s seventh studio album, Declarations, is intended to free all people for salvation under the Holy Crown. The Stellar Award-winning singer and songwriter releases Declarations (Entertainment One) nationwide and through digital outlets today, Friday, September 14. “I want the album to leave listeners inspired, encouraged, and empowered,” Nelson told the Journal of Gospel Music. “If they sing these songs of themselves, they can see the results of what they say. If they say ‘I’m healed,’ they can be free ...

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Jerrell Golden: J Rocks the Mic…for Jesus

By Bob Marovich Anyone who witnessed Tappahannock, Virginia, rapper J Rock during freestyle battles heard a young, hungry, and confident artist who didn’t just want to emulate Jay-Z: he wanted to be better than Jay-Z. But behind the scenes, the story looked different. “I was hooked on drugs and did a lot of bad stuff,” Christian hip hop artist Jerrell Golden told the Journal of Gospel Music. “Me and my mom, we weren’t seeing eye to eye, so she kicked me out,” he said. “And honestly, I deserved it. I went through a spell of being homeless, going from friend ...

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Hip Hop Artist Steven Malcolm Turns Earthly Loss into Heavenly Gain

By Bob Marovich Once upon a time in Grand Rapids, Michigan, life was looking pretty good for Steven Malcolm. He and his family lived in a middle-class home. Their father, Winston, a Jamaican by birth, had a decent job at General Motors. Then when Steven was about ten years old, Winston was arrested. He had been caught selling drugs. Since Winston was not a U.S. citizen, officials deported him to Jamaica. That was the last time Steven ever saw his father. “He was a great guy, a great dad, but he decided to sell drugs,” Steven told the Journal of Gospel ...

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Jabari Johnson: “A Raphael Saddiq Who Sings Gospel”

By Bob Marovich It’s not unusual to hear how a gospel song touched someone’s life. Every now and then, you even hear about how a gospel song saved someone’s life. But what about when a song saves the life of its own creator? That is the story behind “Have Your Way,” the new single from singer, songwriter, and musician Jabari Johnson. “Two years ago, I was getting ready to commit suicide,” Jabari said. “But God gave me the lyrics [to ‘Have Your Way’]. I sang the song at an event in Houston that night, and my breakthrough happened. Ever since ...

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For Patrick Lundy, It’s About the “Whole Gamut of Sacred Music”

By Bob Marovich Patrick Lundy and the Ministers of Music mix traditional and classically-infused contemporary gospel into their repertory. While their current single, the unapologetically traditional “Enter His Gates,” continues to impact radio, the group has also recorded an entire album of spirituals and hymns.  This reflects Patrick Lundy’s admiration for, and experience with, the full palette of sacred music. Lundy visited with the Journal of Gospel Music while in Chicago for the annual Chorus America conference. It was almost a foregone conclusion that Patrick Lundy would go into music as a profession. First Missionary Baptist, the church he attended as a child, was blessed with ...

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Jason Nelson Provides The Answer May 18

By Bob Marovich May 18 marks the day Bishop Jason Nelson will release his fifth album, The Answer (RCA Inspiration). Recorded live at Greater Bethlehem Temple Church in Randallstown, Maryland, the album marks Nelson’s tenth anniversary as pastor of Greater Bethlehem Temple, the church his father, Bishop James D. Nelson Sr., once shepherded. JGM asked the Stellar Award-winning singer and songwriter about a few of the songs on The Answer. Though the hymnbook-like “Jesus Is the Answer (For the World Today)” opens the album, it was not intended to be the lead-off song. “Originally, the song fell [in sequence] after ...

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At 20, Jekalyn Carr Is In Her Winning Season

By Bob Marovich Jekalyn Carr frequently listened to her mother, Jennifer Selvy Carr, as she sang with the award-winning family gospel group the Selvy Singers. But this time it was different. The preteen was watching the Selvys sing from the set of Don McGlynn’s 2010 gospel music documentary, Rejoice and Shout. “We were on the set of [Rejoice and Shout] and they found out I could sing,” Jekalyn told JGM during her recent visit to Chicago. “They wanted me to sing ‘Amazing Grace.’” Jekalyn’s “Amazing Grace” stole the show. But for all the buzz about the young girl’s performance, it was ...

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Damon Williams: “If the Chart Could Become a CD, It Would Be WOW Gospel.”

By Bob Marovich In 1998, Damon Williams eagerly purchased a copy of the first-ever WOW Gospel two-CD compilation. “It was a big moment in gospel music,” Williams, who was recently named Vice President of Marketing for RCA Inspiration, shared with the Journal of Gospel Music. “To find something that had the year’s best gospel songs all in one place, by the top artists, was extremely appealing to me as a consumer and a burgeoning industry executive.” On the 20th anniversary of the best-selling franchise, the 2-CD WOW Gospel 2018 hits stores today. While it will be Williams’ first time working ...

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Darnell Davis: “I Have A Second Chance, A Second Wind”

By Bob Marovich From the outside, it appeared as if Darnell Davis was on top of the world. He and his gospel group, Remnant, had signed with a major label, RCA Inspiration. They earned Dove Award and Stellar Award nominations for their 2014 release, Moving Forward. The CD cover photo depicted a smiling, confident Davis, mid-stride into a promising future. But in the midst of this, Davis was going through a divorce. It felt “like a physical death,” he told JGM. “Two people being literally ripped apart.” Those he thought were his friends stopped speaking to him. “I had to minister to people,” Davis explained, ...

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Dana Fields: “All I Had Were Songs and a Dream”

By Bob Marovich In her kitchen washing dishes one day, Dana Fields began to sing a line in unscripted devotion to God: “I will praise you, simply because of who you are. / In worship I adore you, I will lay my life before you. / At the altar of your throne, I bow to you and you alone.” The lyric and accompanying melody became the anchor for “Simply Because,” one of the ten songs on A Personal Experience. Released last September, the album entered the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart for one week in June 2017. The album’s charting took Fields by surprise: “I had ...

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