Interviews

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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Detroit’s Karen Clark Sheard Reflects on Recording Her New Album in Chicago

By Bob Marovich In some ways, it was like attending a gospel music hall of fame event wrapped inside a live recording session. The Clark Sisters were seated in the front row. Richard Smallwood sat behind them. Rows of gospel announcers, gospel music producers, and popular singers were to their left and right. Chicago’s House of Hope was filled with expectation as Karen Clark Sheard, with Donald Lawrence and Company as the choir, began recording Destined to Win, her sixth solo album and second for her label, Karew Records. That was September 9, 2013. Since then, the album’s contemplative debut ...

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Richard Smallwood’s “Anthology Live” a Musical Autobiography

By Bob Marovich for the Journal of Gospel Music If Richard Smallwood had his druthers, the autobiography he is writing would have been released simultaneously with his new album, the two-CD Anthology Live. The album, recorded with his group, Vision, is essentially the “musical soundtrack” to his autobiography.  But the music came first, and Anthology Live (RCA Inspiration) hits stores June 29. The maestro, whose song canon is among the finest in modern sacred music, talked with the Journal of Gospel Music about the new release, his and Vision’s first CD in four years. The genesis of Anthology Live, Smallwood ...

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Anthony Faulkner: A Global Ambassador for Gospel Music

JGM‘s Bob Marovich speaks with gospel singer-songwriter Anthony Faulkner about his burgeoning world-wide music ministry that includes live performances, recordings, radio, television, and philanthropy — and how R&B star Angela Winbush (Rene’ and Angela) became his guardian angel. Check out Faulkner’s new single, “I Trust You,” during the interview.

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Tay Clemons: “Music Changes Everything”

By Bob Marovich “I like how singing makes people feel. I like the way it makes me feel when I sing. Music is a universal language. It changes everything.” With such a passion for singing burning deep inside her, it is not surprising that Shantavia “Tay” Clemons has gone on to become a solo gospel artist.  She released her debut project, Journey To Love, in December 2014. The artist spoke with the Journal of Gospel Music about her journey to gospel singing and how music is indeed changing everything in her life. Clemons, who was raised with her younger brother ...

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Kirk Whalum on Jazz: A Way to “Experience the Savior Who is Indescribable”

By Bob Marovich From Mary Lou Williams to John Coltrane, jazz musicians over the years have, as Kirk Whalum puts it, “made a spiritual offering through their music.” With his celebrated series, The Gospel According to Jazz, Whalum makes his own spiritual offering, using jazz to describe the indescribable Savior. The DVD version of Whalum’s latest installment, The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter IV, was released yesterday (May 19). JGM’s Bob Marovich spoke with the jazz legend about the new project and the link between jazz and spirituality. JGM: What encouraged you to do the first Gospel According to Jazz project? ...

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