Interviews

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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Freestyling for the Father: “The Anointed Bible Spitta” Voorhies Hanniboheez

By Bob Marovich In July, Voorhies Hanniboheez of Detroit received the 2015 Rhythm of Gospel Award for Best Performance by a Christian Hip Hop Artist. It was his first public honor and confirmation of a journey that has taken a decade to crystallize. “[This award] means everything to me,” Voorhies told JGM. “I never really saw myself as a performer. I knew I would end up with a beautiful album, because I truly did it for God. No connections, no help. But this tells me that God wants me to perform in front of His people.” Voorhies—“my first name is ...

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Finding a Way: Pastor Robert McCloud of Detroit

By Bob Marovich Ask today’s Christian hip hop artists about their inspirations, and they will talk about artists such as Lecrae, Trip Lee, and Sho Baraka. But Pastor Robert McCloud is old school.  Coming of age during rap’s emergence as a popular entertainment form, his inspirations include Run DMC and LL Cool J.  Nevertheless, he is primed to join today’s Christian rap community. The path between the rapper’s early days in Detroit and the present has taken many angular turns. Anticipating the forthcoming release of his full-length debut, The McCloud Project, on his own label (Concrete Records), Pastor McCloud spoke with ...

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The Gospel Music of Jonathan McReynolds: “Different Sound, Same Heart”

By Bob Marovich “I always did love music,” Jonathan McReynolds told the Journal of Gospel Music, “but I don’t think I ever envisioned a music career to come out of it.” Nevertheless, McReynolds, a rising star on the gospel music circuit, is poised to release his sophomore album, Life Music: Stage Two (eOne, Tehillah Music Group), on September 18, 2015. Raised on Chicago’s South Side, McReynolds attended the New Original Church of God in Christ on East 78th Street, where Thomas Jackson Jr. is Pastor. Coming from a musical family, McReynolds began playing drums, keyboards, and organ around the age of five ...

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Tasha Cobbs On Recording “One Place Live”

Last week, Motown Gospel artist Tasha Cobbs released her second album, One Place Live. Recorded at Redemption Church in Greenville, South Carolina, the album received five of five stars from the Journal of Gospel Music. JGM’s Bob Marovich caught up with the award-winning vocalist last Friday, the day of the album release. JGM: How do you prepare for a recording like this? TC: I’m truly blessed to have an amazing band, amazing singers, and throughout the year we travel together. So it’s almost like us doing what we do on a weekly basis, just with a recording truck. That was ...

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Dr. Feranda Williamson: Chicago Mass Choir is “Unapologetically Gospel.”

By Bob Marovich Its fifteenth album, Live XV, is still impacting gospel radio, but the Chicago Mass Choir is preparing for the future by re-signing with its former label home, New Haven Records. “We were with New Haven before,” Chicago Mass Choir President and CEO Dr. Feranda Williamson told the Journal of Gospel Music. “We had a hiatus after our last project, Live XV, four years ago, and we decided to continue our partnership.” The first order of business for the renewed partnership was to release a new Chicago Mass Choir single, “Thank You, Thank You Jesus,” to radio. “A ...

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