Urban AC Gospel

JGM Pick of the Week: August 8, 2016

“He Chose Me” Chadwick (released March 4, 2016) www.therealchadwick.com Chadwick Johnson, known simply as Chadwick, is an indie gospel artist from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His single, “He Chose Me,” is a balladic declaration of gratitude for forgiveness. Speaking as a former Prodigal Son, Chadwick sings in his high tenor that “out of everyone in the world” and after “all the wrong I’ve done. . . .He chose me.” The song’s pop melody and intense beat, which forever increases the tension, give “He Chose Me” a Top 40 feel. An EP is expected this summer.

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Kierra Sheard’s Bridges Tour Closes Gap between “Faith and Real Life”

By Bob Marovich The intimate Mayne Stage theater on Chicago’s North Side reverberated with blasts of EDM, raucous drums, snarling electric guitar, thumping bass, chiming keyboards, and an Apple computer churning out beats like a jukebox. The vocalists had the standing room only crowd on its feet, hands waving, dancing, and offering exuberant applause after each song. I’m not describing a rock or R&B concert but the Bridges Tour, starring contemporary gospel artists Kierra Sheard, Jojo Martin, and Jor’Dan Armstrong. Singer-songwriter, recording artist, actor, fashion designer, and media presence Sheard, whose mother is Karen Clark Sheard and grandmother the late ...

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Livre’ – Jericho: The Tribe of Joshua

Livre’ Jericho: The Tribe of Joshua Glory 2 Glory Records / MBK Records / Sony RED Association Labels (release date: May 20, 2016) By Bob Marovich If part of today’s political rhetoric is about building walls, Livre’ is about knocking them down. Eliminating life’s barriers is the premise of the group’s sonically delightful Jericho: The Tribe of Joshua. At times, the five-member power vocal group from the Bronx (their name is pronounced LIVE-ray and means “free” in Latin) delivers its message in bright, optimistic tones, and at other times, it speaks from a relatable vulnerability. Regardless, the group argues that ...

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Domonique Mitchell Presents Inspiration Music for the Soul, Vol. 1

Various Artists Domonique Mitchell Presents Inspiration Music for the Soul, Vol. 1 Gospel Rhythm (release date: April 29, 2016) Available from digital media stores By Bob Marovich Presented in the guise of a gospel radio program hosted by the smooth-voiced DJ Mac Cummings, Domonique Mitchell Presents Inspiration Music for the Soul, Vol. 1 is a mixtape that surveys independent artists working in several subgenres—from contemporary gospel and urban contemporary to Christian hip hop and traditional. Mitchell has a fascinating background. His career includes A&R work for Coastal Records and Sounds of Atlanta /Universal Records, project coordinator and co-producer of BET’s ...

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“Zion Praise” – Clareta Haddon

“Zion Praise” Clareta Haddon From the album Contagious www.claretamusic.com Introduced with a “Sing, ReRe” by brother Deitrick, Clareta Haddon-Jackson drops into a rock steady rhythm for “Zion Praise.” Emulating the clipped lyrical patter of reggae artists one moment and lofting gospel shouts heavenward the next, Clareta reminds Zion (i.e., the church) that “everything you do is about God’s glory.” Coming from the Haddon Family, it’s not surprising that Clareta pushes the envelope in music and fashion—she is recognizable by her blue-tinged rocker ‘do and slate blue lipstick. It’s also not surprising that she can sing. The whole Haddon Family, all the ...

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WDF – What the World Needs Now

WDF What the World Needs Now Studio Cloud 30 (release date: November 10, 2015) Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich I rarely award an EP or mini-album five stars because that puts extraordinary pressure on the full-length CD that inevitably follows to be as good, if not better, than the more diminutive project.  It’s akin to giving a new artist a lifetime achievement award.  Where do you go from there? But in the case of WDF’s What the World Needs Now, however, I am making an exception. Canadian gospel artist Warren Dean Flandez, known as WDF, has created a mini album that deservedly ...

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Virtue – Fearless

Virtue Fearless Mixed Bag/eOne New York (release date: February 26, 2016) www.virtuegirls3.com By Bob Marovich Norma Desmond declared in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard: “I hate that word [comeback]. It’s a return.” With Trin-i-tee 5:7 in suspend mode and Mary Mary doing solo projects, it’s a good time for the sister trio Virtue to return (thanks, Norma). After an extended hiatus, the Dove Award-winning and GRAMMY Award- and Stellar Award-nominated group released their seventh studio album, Fearless, on Friday. Karima Kibble, Ebony Holland, and Heather Martin augment their characteristically sunny, breezy and optimistic outlook with assertive Urban Contemporary licks, electrified harmonies, and ...

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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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Jor’Dan Armstrong – Confident EP

Jor’Dan Armstrong Confident SeaQ/Good Guys (release date: January 1, 2016) www.jordanarmstrongmusic.com By Bob Marovich Almost immediately after the clock signaled the start of 2016, Jor’Dan Armstrong dropped his six-track EP, Confident, possibly making it the first gospel release of the new year. The timing is not coincidental. Armstrong has deemed this EP somewhat of a new direction for him. Indeed, while the messaging is just as positive and encouraging as his other releases, such as last year’s lively 25 Days of Summer, the music—from the opening siren strains of “All I Know” to the concluding tones of the evangelistic “So For ...

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Deon Kipping – A Place Called Victory (EP)

Deon Kipping A Place Called Victory EP RCA Inspiration (January 8, 2016) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Connecticut’s Deon Kipping stepped into the gospel music spotlight first as a songwriter (with JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise’s “Incredible God, Incredible Praise”) and as a featured vocalist almost immediately thereafter (on “Incredible God, Incredible Praise”). From there, his music and singing took him to the Billboard charts. A Place Called Victory is Kipping’s latest release and as an EP, it is a foretaste of a full album soon to follow. The four selections are well chosen because they are all effervescently sung by ...

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