Interviews

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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“Duchess of Gospel” LaVarnga Hubbard Has Better Coming

By Bob Marovich Gospel music has had its share of fathers and mothers, kings and queens, princes, crown princes, princesses, godfathers, thunderbolts, wonder boys, and boy wonders, but as far as I know, only one duchess: Lady LaVarnga Hubbard. When Hubbard opens her mouth to sing, she channels the best of gospel’s traditional church-raised no-nonsense female shouters. Born in Chicago, LaVarnga (pron. luh-VARN-juh) Hubbard was nine years old when she began singing for Christian Doctrine Baptist Church, under the pastorate of Rev. Herman Billingsley. She joined Chicago Mass Choir when it was still called James C. Chambers and the Ecclesiastes ...

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Filmmaker Explores Women in Blues and their Gospel Roots

Filmmaker Lisa Eismen is seeking the help of the gospel and blues community. Time is running out with only 6 days left to help her fund this inspirational film about women artists. By Bob Marovich (Sponsored Post) Growing up in the Chicago suburb of Westmont, Lisa Eismen soaked in the impromptu jam sessions that her blues performer father orchestrated in the family’s living room. “Our living room was very small,” she reflected, “but we had a baby grand piano in it and my dad would bang out the blues.” Relatives stopped by and they would perform together as a family. ...

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Documentary of Detroit Choir Resounds with Hallelujahs

By Bob Marovich, Journal of Gospel Music “Good things can still come out of Detroit.” This comment, from Let’s Have Some Church Detroit Style, might as well serve as the documentary’s subtitle. Directed by Michigan filmmaker Andrew Sacks, Let’s Have Some Church Detroit Style tells the story of Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver II and The Hallelujah Singers, a 25-member community choir from Detroit nominated in 2014 for nine Rhythm of Gospel Awards, including the highest honor, CD of the Year. The film explores the personal lives of Weaver and his choristers while chronicling the group’s preparation to attend the awards ...

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Ann Nesby: Straight from the Heart…About the Heart

In an interview with JGM‘s Bob Marovich, two-time Grammy Award winner Ann Nesby (Sounds of Blackness) talks about her musical upbringing, her new album, a persistent rumor that needs cleaning up, and why she is a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. Essential listening for Ann Nesby and Sounds of Blackness fans, as well as for anyone who wants to get and stay healthy.

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