Urban AC Gospel

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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Alache’ – The Chronicles of the Mrs. (EP)

Alache’ The Chronicles of the Mrs. (EP) MADE, Inc. / Elevate Entertainment / Syntax Distribution Release date: November 27, 2015 www.alache.com By Bob Marovich The Nigerian-born Alache’ has learned to be a lot more comfortable about life in the five years that have passed since her last music project.  The petite singer-songwriter is now married, has two children, and is ready to jump back into the music business. She also wants to share her lessons with you on an EP of intimate personal reflection, titled The Chronicles of the Mrs. The feathery-voiced Alache’ traverses several stylistic platforms in the EP’s limited running time, ...

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Janice Gaines – Greatest Life Ever

Janice Gaines Greatest Life Ever Motown Gospel (release date: October 9, 2015) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich While listening to Janice Gaines sing “The Break-Up Song,” on her debut album, Greatest Life Ever, it struck me that she could have been a fourth member of Destiny’s Child.  She can ride a rhythm as effortlessly as Bey and them. At the same time, Gaines has a worship leader’s heart of joyful exuberance, meaning she could deliver a DC stinger, if warranted, but she would follow it up not with a snarky glance but with a smile and a wink. All this is to ...

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Deitrick Haddon – Masterpiece

Deitrick Haddon Masterpiece eOne/DH Visions/Releve’ Entertainment (release date: November 6, 2015) www.eonemusic.com By Bob Marovich We are blank canvasses that God, the ultimate artist, fashions into beautiful works of art, declares Deitrick Haddon on the title track of his new album, Masterpiece, released yesterday. But it’s the blank canvas or, more accurately, the damaged canvas, not the finished painting, which captures Haddon’s interest. Observing from the rarefied air of a man “who ain’t got nothing to prove or lose,” he warns humanity to clean its canvas by getting right with itself and with God. Why? Because this is his story, too, ...

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