A New Year’s Message to Gospel Artists

By Bob Marovich

(I posted this initially on Facebook but had an inquiry to place it on the Journal, so here it is, verbatim).

Based on what I read in the gospel section of the 2017 year-end Billboard issue, I believe the gospel music industry can be disrupted by an artist or artists who do the following:

Set excess to the side – tone it down – we know what the band sounds like. We want to hear more of YOU.

Focus more on the streets of gold than the red carpet. Humility and Integrity should be your motto. Never ever settle for second best.

Go back to the basics, seek out the best songwriters, focus on a real message you and your audience can sink your teeth into, and speak to the people, to where they are at in life. Sing songs with more than seven words in the lyric.

Don’t imitate – be YOU. The world needs YOU. What do you do best? Do it, not seven different styles of gospel music to appeal to everyone. Face it: you’re not likely to be effective in all styles. Focus on your groove. Remember the saying: when you try to please everyone, you please no one.

Sure you should make the music relevant to the times, but if you want to be a pop star, go be a pop star. Gospel has a legacy sound that should not ever be watered down with someone else’s style. Instead it should be built upon, as artists do in jazz, so that it is new yet grounded in the basics. I want to see more pop artists incorporating gospel sounds than the other way around.

When more youth find inspiration from Kendrick Lamar than a gospel artist, that’s a problem for gospel. And no disrespect to Kendrick Lamar, he absolutely deserves his accolades, but when gospel artists are on, they are ON, and can be the most effective messengers. So be an effective messenger in 2018…and we will be reading about you in the 2018 year-end Billboard magazine! Happy New Year!

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.

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