Interviews

Christon Gray Wants to Clear the Air with “Interim” Album

By Bob Marovich After the release of his Billboard-charting School of Roses in 2014, Christon Gray had no idea what was coming. “I didn’t know that I would be going through a separation and then a divorce,” Gray told the Journal of Gospel Music. “I didn’t know that I would be moving. I didn’t know that I’d be in a new relationship. I didn’t know that I’d be leaving a record label. All of that happened and more.” On his latest release, Clear the Heir (Fo Yo Soul Recordings / RCA Inspiration), Gray uses lyric poetry and music to describe ...

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New Evelyn Turrentine-Agee Single Declares “God Gave His Best”

By Bob Marovich Written and produced by her son, Curtis Turrentine Jr., Evelyn Turrentine-Agee’s “God Gave His Best” will be released Friday, October 5. It’s the latest single from the Queen of Quartet, whose gospel music career spans several decades. Evelyn told the Journal of Gospel Music that her singing ministry began at the tender age of two. “At two years old, I was singing so much that my dad would take me to church. He’d hold me up in his arms and say, ‘Sing baby!’ My favorite song to sing was ‘Thank You, Jesus.’ People would just shout! At first I thought, ‘What’s the matter with ...

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New Devin Williams CD Comes with Strings Attached…A Whole Quartet, In Fact

By Bob Marovich With seven of his singles, including the latest, “Like a Fire,” becoming Top 30 Christian Rock charting songs, Devin Williams has done what, to my knowledge, no Christian rocker has done to date: set his searing singles to the soothing sounds of a string quartet. Released August 31, Devin Williams with String Quartet was produced by Grammy Award-winning engineer Brad Blackwood, (Maroon 5, Korn, Skillet, Sara Bareilles, Alison Krauss). What has been the initial reaction of Williams’ fan base to the new project? “It’s still early, but the fans are digging it,” Williams told the Journal of Gospel Music. ...

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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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