Tag Archives: Billboard

Christon Gray Wants to Clear the Air with “Interim” Album

By Bob Marovich After the release of his Billboard-charting School of Roses in 2014, Christon Gray had no idea what was coming. “I didn’t know that I would be going through a separation and then a divorce,” Gray told the Journal of Gospel Music. “I didn’t know that I would be moving. I didn’t know that I’d be in a new relationship. I didn’t know that I’d be leaving a record label. All of that happened and more.” On his latest release, Clear the Heir (Fo Yo Soul Recordings / RCA Inspiration), Gray uses lyric poetry and music to describe ...

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New Evelyn Turrentine-Agee Single Declares “God Gave His Best”

By Bob Marovich Written and produced by her son, Curtis Turrentine Jr., Evelyn Turrentine-Agee’s “God Gave His Best” will be released Friday, October 5. It’s the latest single from the Queen of Quartet, whose gospel music career spans several decades. Evelyn told the Journal of Gospel Music that her singing ministry began at the tender age of two. “At two years old, I was singing so much that my dad would take me to church. He’d hold me up in his arms and say, ‘Sing baby!’ My favorite song to sing was ‘Thank You, Jesus.’ People would just shout! At first I thought, ‘What’s the matter with ...

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Christafari – Original Love

Christafari Original Love Lion of Zion Entertainment (release date: April 13, 2018) www.christafari.com By Bob Marovich Toward the end of Original Love, Christafari’s seventh consecutive album to debut at #1 on the Billboard reggae charts, we hear the gospel reggae band’s founder and lead vocalist, Pastor Mark Mohr, offer his testimony. Although he grew up in a religious household, the teenaged Mohr turned to drugs and alcohol, started to sell marijuana, and eventually ended up living on the street. At rock bottom and nowhere to go but up, he had an encounter with God. It turned his life around. Since ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 8, 2018

“Blessing Me” Dr. F. James Clark Presents NextGeneration Choir From the City of Peace CD Sure. Focused. Centered (2017) By Bob Marovich Despite the jaunty piano intro and thunderous singing of the NextGeneration Choir, “Blessing Me” belongs to its fiery lead vocalist, Meaghan Williams-McNeal. Her feisty shouts and squalls lead the group on this churchy offering of thanksgiving for blessings bestowed. It is one of those songs that seems to anticipate a praise break.  Not surprisingly, Williams-McNeal is pursuing a solo career. Dr. F. James Clark and the NextGeneration Choir hail from the Shalom Church (City of Peace) of Florissant, Missouri. Their debut album, 2015’s Simply Amazing, ...

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Genesis of a Gospel Song: “You Deserve It”

By Bob Marovich This year’s Stellar Awards Song of the Year went to “You Deserve It.” Written by David Bloom and co-authored by Bishop Cortez Vaughn, Demond Reed, and JJ Hairston, the song also received a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance/Song. Bloom explained to the Journal of Gospel Music how the song was birthed. *      *      * I was first exposed to gospel music as a child. My parents were pastors, so as soon as I was born and we left the hospital, we went straight to church! My mom was a musician and a praise and worship singer. ...

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Damon Williams: “If the Chart Could Become a CD, It Would Be WOW Gospel.”

By Bob Marovich In 1998, Damon Williams eagerly purchased a copy of the first-ever WOW Gospel two-CD compilation. “It was a big moment in gospel music,” Williams, who was recently named Vice President of Marketing for RCA Inspiration, shared with the Journal of Gospel Music. “To find something that had the year’s best gospel songs all in one place, by the top artists, was extremely appealing to me as a consumer and a burgeoning industry executive.” On the 20th anniversary of the best-selling franchise, the 2-CD WOW Gospel 2018 hits stores today. While it will be Williams’ first time working ...

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Edwin Hawkins’ “Oh Happy Day” Back on Billboard Charts, Hits #1

From a press release: A week after the death of four-time Grammy® Award-winning recording artist, Edwin Hawkins, The Edwin Hawkins Singers’ 1969 million-seller, “Oh Happy Day,” has charted at #1 on Billboard Magazine’s Gospel Digital Song Sales chart for the issue week ending January 27, 2018. The classic song had a 999% sales increase following worldwide news coverage of the celebrated artist’s passing from cancer last week and it also amassed over 173,000 streams during the same period. In recent months, Hawkins and his management team had begun to plan activities surrounding the 50th anniversary of “Oh Happy Day” which was ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 22, 2018

“Church Medley II” Syreeta Thompson Trumpetlady From the CD Evolution of a Winner (release date: September 15, 2017) www.trumpetlady.com By Bob Marovich At one time, brass instruments in the service of God were found only in Pentecostal and Spiritual churches and, of course, in the famed shout bands of the United House of Prayer for All People. But times have changed and trumpets, saxophones, and all sorts of instruments are welcome at nearly every type of church. Still, there are few female brass players in gospel music. Syreeta Thompson is one. The Grammy Award-winning, Billboard-charting and Stellar Award-nominated Thompson pays homage to ...

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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 ...

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Devin Williams – We Are Forever Yours (EP)

Devin Williams We Are Forever Yours (EP) Independent: (release date: August 4, 2017) www.devinw.com By Bob Marovich The power of love, both given and received, is at the center of We Are Forever Yours, the latest release by worship leader and six-time Billboard Top 30-charting Christian artist Devin Williams. Nowhere is this negotiation more explicit than on the current single, “Hear Our Hearts Sing.” Interceding on behalf of an inferred congregation on this vibrant song of corporate worship, Williams offers God the congregation’s (and his) collective hearts. But this is not a one-way proposition; in return, God will bestow peace, ...

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