Interviews

Vernell Payton Jr. – Former Sunday Best Contestant Steps Out on Faith

By Bob Marovich In Mark 6:4, Jesus advises that “a prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown.” This is true, almost to the point of becoming cliché.  It rings true for Vernell Payton Jr. “It took a man from Chicago, who did not know me, who I never met, to see something in me that my own hometown did not invest time in,” the independent gospel artist told the Journal of Gospel Music while in Chicago last week, visiting his record label, 4Parks Entertainment. Payton’s hometown is New Orleans, and more specifically, the Gentilly area, which abuts Lake Ponchartrain. ...

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“That Dude Deon” Kipping Finds a Place Called Victory

By Bob Marovich The stage curtains opened on JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise as the group was about to introduce its new song and soon-to-become-hit, “Incredible God, Incredible Praise.” Holding the microphone was the song’s creator, Deon Kipping. That wasn’t the way it was supposed to go down. “I didn’t want to lead the song,” Kipping told JGM. “I wanted to give it to somebody else to lead, but the curtain was opening and I had the microphone in my hand. So I had to walk out and sing it.” That moment, and that song, became Kipping’s inadvertent introduction into ...

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For William McDowell, “Sounds of Revival” Goes Beyond Worship

By Bob Marovich Not two weeks after its January 22 release, celebrated worship leader William McDowell’s fourth album, Sounds of Revival: Live (Delivery Room Music / eOne Music), entered Billboard Magazine’s Top Gospel Album charts.  It knocked Kirk Franklin’s Losing My Religion from the number one position. Recorded live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, before an audience of 3,000 people, Sounds of Revival is McDowell’s third number one album. It is also the latest chapter of the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter-worship leader’s journey, one that began in Cincinnati, Ohio, and soared when his 2009 “I Give Myself Away” garnered more than one million views on YouTube. ...

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“Oh Come Emmanuel” by Jason Nelson and LIVV: An Interview

By Marianne Richard, Special Contributor to the Journal of Gospel Music Jason Nelson just released his Christmas song, “Oh Come Emmanuel,” featuring LIVV, a new gospel singer with a unique voice and a beautiful spirit. When LIVV shared details on the “behind the scenes” of the making of the track, we realized that this Christmas single is more than it presents.  It is a heavy collaboration between Jason Nelson and LIVV. Now, in full confidence, we can say that the song truly exemplifies all that Christmas stands for. Of course, we were not going to keep what we learned from LIVV ...

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Bill Moss Jr. Rearranges CCM Classics for Forthcoming Album

By Bob Marovich When the chime struck five last Sunday afternoon, December 20, Third New Hope Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, was filled with eager anticipation. Members and music enthusiasts were on hand to support the church’s Worship Pastor, Bill Moss Jr., as he prepared to record his first live CD since his Billboard-charting Manifested Favor in 2008. “My church is a corporate-style worship church,” Moss told JGM by telephone just prior to the event. “I’ve been doing a bit of CCM [Contemporary Christian Music] and rearranging it to fit our culture. The response has been amazing. People have really ...

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Evangelist Myrna Summers: God Gave Her a Song and Now a Ministry

By Bob Marovich In 1970, Evangelist Myrna Summers burst on the gospel music scene on the strength of “God Gave Me a Song,” a composition she wrote and performed with the Interdenominational Youth Choir of Washington, DC and Maryland. It was so popular, Atlantic Records handed her a recording contract. The song earned a Grammy nomination. Summers is now parlaying her more than forty years of success as a music minister to help fellow church musicians and singers understand that music ministry is “More than a Song.” “Music people, that’s where my heart is,” Summers told the Journal of Gospel ...

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Deitrick Haddon: “We Are All God’s Masterpieces”

Last week, Deitrick Haddon spoke with Bob Marovich of the Journal of Gospel Music about his new album, Masterpiece, which Entertainment One will release this Friday, November 6. JGM: Masterpiece, the album, is being described as sort of a musical maturation on your part. Is that a fair assumption? DH: Absolutely. It definitely reflects where I am in my life right now. That’s how I create records: I’m inspired by my life. What I have experienced in my life tends to show up in my music. JGM: On Preachers of LA and in performance, you come across as very real, ...

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The Voice’s Regina Love: Waking Up Dead Dreams

By Bob Marovich When tragedy struck Regina Love, it hit hard. She lost her son, father, and mother back to back. In 2014, a nephew committed suicide. That’s when a “still, small voice” within her—“I knew it was God,” she told the Journal of Gospel Music—persuaded her to renew her passionate pursuit of the performing arts. Love was a fan of NBC’s Emmy-winning television program, The Voice, but had not auditioned. She had instead quit her job and put her singing career on hold to care for her ailing mother. Love’s husband sealed the deal, telling her: “God gave me ...

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Janice Gaines on Living the Greatest Life Ever

By Bob Marovich Not that she would have called it her bucket list, but a young Janice Gaines had three childhood aspirations. “As a little kid,” she told the Journal of Gospel Music, I would play like was a teacher, and I would play like I was a singer, and I would play like I was on [the television game show] ‘Wheel of Fortune!’” She laughed. “I’ve done everything but be on ‘Wheel of Fortune!’” Born in St. Louis but reared in Memphis, Janice had a front row seat for performances by her “unofficial music mentor,” her mother, Jackie Reddick. Singer, ...

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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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