It’ll be pretty obvious to anyone who cares to look that we’re in the middle of an amazing run of great new music in the UK at the moment

And that’s helped in no small part both by the mixtape culture of giving away free music, and the seemingly dwindling resistance to Christian artists writing songs to mainstream instrumental tracks.

Still, this frenetic activity only really seems to cover the ‘Street Music’ end of the musical spectrum, (think Hip-hop, Grime/Electronic music) with some spillage into RnB and Soul.

Here’s to hoping we’ll be seeing an increased number of Praise & Worship and Choir tunes coming through soon, although the kind of the resources needed to create music in those genres suggest much of it probably won’t be free.

In the meantime, on with June’s Essential UK Gospel Tracklist.  I’ll update this as I find more tunes.

So – in no particular order – if you haven’t already, you need to check these out:

Name: Four Kornerz
Track: Superstar
Release date: Summer 2011

Availability: www.fourkornerz.com

Comments: Possibly UK gospel’s favourite sibling set, Four Kornerz have always blazed their own trail.  ‘Superstar’ is the first single since their massive debut Soulectric a few years ago, and marks a typical return of 4K’s high-grade but typically-difficult-to-qualify music.

Superstar is an infectious, inspirational pop ditty aimed directly at the sisters, and it’s already ticking the right boxes in building anticipation for their new album, scheduled for release later this year.

In short: it’s Four Kornerz. Quality is built in.

Name: Aaron T Aaron
Track: Double Double
Release date: January 2011

Availability: www.UKGShop.com

Comments: African Praise & Worship music arrived rather quietly in the past few years, but there’s no doubting how firmly it’s taken root and is spreading in Black majority churches in the UK.

Aaron T Aaron’s take on this popular Nigerian chorus, lifted from his album Awesome God, typifies all that’s excellent about African music: urgent, insistent, singable and – above all – highly infectious.

In short: this is going to bring some African sunshine into your life 365 days of the year.

Name: The Jesus Freakz
Track: You Got Me
Release date: June, 2011

Availability: www.jesusfreakzworld.com

Comments: simple, cool and hooky little song that’ll probably have you singing along after the first listen.

In short: you know those catchy songs you hear for the first time but they kind of feel immediately familiar?  This is one of them.

Name: Pass Da Mic (find him on Facebook)
Track: Christians feat. Victoriess.
Release date: Summer 2011

Availability: to be confirmed

Comments: Easily the biggest summer tune to come out of the UK in a very long time.  One of the most requested tunes on Premier Gospel’s ‘Gospel Breakfast Show‘ with Nage and I.  We’d never had a response like it on the show.

Been playing it pretty much every day for the past 2 weeks or so, and I’m still not tired of it.  If you like Soca and/or Caribbean Island music, you need this in your life. Like NOW.

In short: this is going to be a classic…  Trust me.

Name: Riccardo Mitchell
Track: Warrior
Release date: May 2011

Availability: http://www.riccardomitchell.com

Comments: interesting mix of RnB and Rock.  Might take a few plays to get under your skin, but you definitely need to give it room to breathe.

It’s always good to see artists trying to musically push the envelope and try interesting things in their musical lab.

There are remixes on the way, so keep an eye on the site for updates…

In short: Get ready to rock!

Name: J Williams
Track: There Is Power
Release date: January 2011

Availabilityhttp://jwilliamsofficial.com

Comments: it was always going to be difficult to pick one track from J Williams because his ‘The Starting Line‘ EP is one of the strongest RnB releases to come out of the UK scene in the past 6 months or so.

The music and forthright lyrics are matched by an amazing testimony of healing that this young man has.  I like the edge and urgency in ‘There Is Power’, but I think the entire EP is going to appeal to smooth RnB fans.

In short: well worth exploring.  That’s why it’s on this list.

Name: Ram 1
Track: One and Only
Release date: May 2011

Availability: free download from www.ram1online.com

Comments: Reggae fans rejoice! At the risk of counting the Reggae chickens before they actually hatch, it seems a UK Reggae revival is on the cards.

Nottingham-based Ram 1 is one of a number of Reggae artists coming out with rather tasty material over the summer.

His debut album is produced by Edward Holland Jnr, who is fast becoming both a personal and production hub for the upcoming explosion – and one to definitely watch.

In short: if this is what the rest of the new Reggae tunes coming out of the UK are gonna sound like, we’re in for a treat!

Name: S.O.
Track: Sure Thing
Release date: Summer 2011

Availability:  www.lampmode.com

Comments: in international terms 2011 is already a vintage year for UK gospel – and we’re only halfway through.

In addition to the multiple major award nominations (Zoe Records ‘The British Are Coming’ and Kingsway/Survivor Records’ ‘One Voice’ album – see the full details here), there was also Lola Godheld’s historic ‘Best Urban Song’ win at the Dove Awards.

S.O. continues the Stateside trajectory by being US based Lampmode Recordings’ first international signing, and within days of the announcement, Lampmode released the video to this GP-produced summertime gem.

See the video by clicking here.  Watch out for Serene and S.O.’s dance in the video.  Sure to bring a smile to your face…

In short: G.P. on production; S.O.’s always-dependable, solid delivery and discourse: this was always going to be a big tune…

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