This series celebrates a sometimes contentious area of Christian music: the ‘non-evangelical’ output.
Over the years we’ve sadly lost far too many hugely talented creatives to the wrong side of the unwritten (but oddly pervasive) law that suggests every sphere of Christian creative activity has to have an evangelical aspect to it.
I’m sure you know the one: it postulates all Christian songs need ‘Jesus in every line’.
‘Over the years we’ve sadly lost far too many hugely talented creatives to the wrong side of the unwritten (but oddly pervasive) law that suggests every sphere of Christian creative activity has to have an evangelical aspect to it…’
Read part 1 to catch up with the series introduction.
Another 5 Inspirational Songs
For the second instalment here are 5 more inspirational songs that don’t quite fit the traditional ‘Christian’ mould – but you need to check out anyway.
1. Christina Matovu
Track: Love Through It
Find at: Facebook.com/ChristinaMatovuMusic
This Mr DaMention-produced track balances self-assurance with leaving room for God to work without being overly preachy.
Lyrically it’s straight out of the ‘inspire and motivate’ book of songwriting, which of course means there’s lots for everyone (not just Christians) to immediately identify with…
Find your pot of Gold in the rain/Hold your head up high/Let nothing stand in your way/Just know you’re gonna get there/Don’t worry, don’t you be scared/Love can conquer all your fears/Just believe it
2. Artist: Guvna B
Track: New Legends ft Ari Pen Smith
Find at: GuvnaB.com
Chances are you know Guvna B enough that I really don’t need to tell you too much about him.
What makes his journey an interesting one to observe is the way he’s handling the ‘difficult questions’ phase of life.
Over the years several young (and older) artists have come off worse for wear navigating some of life’s more complex and challenging questions, as well as their faith in God. Often it’s Christianity that loses out in this collision with many simply deciding to walk away from the faith.
Guvna B is proof that it’s possible to embrace the fuzzy as well as the clear cut, and still have your faith steer you as a rudder – and not just prop you up like a crutch.
Anyway, side note done. On to ‘New Legends‘:
It’s a call to action for a new generation of young people to create brand new heroes, who in turn build a new legacy to inspire those coming behind them.
It’s also a mark of growing wisdom in Guvna B’s writing: in the hands of a less mature writer, achievements of early heroes could have easily been played down but ‘New Legends’ acknowledges the successes of the past, using that as a catalyst to create an inspirational new future.
We need a new legend/Now rest in peace MJ/But when my kids are born/They’ll need some new legends/I’m trying to let them see a template/Cause MJ moonwalked out/We need a new presence/And that’s what I’m trying to embrace/Who’s gonna start the revolution/I’ll give you two guesses – we are/But I know we gotta plan better
3. Samm Henshaw
Track: Only Wanna Be With You (Unplugged version for Mahogany)
Find at: SammHenshaw.com
Here’s a question: where are all our romantic songs? After all, Christians fall in love too, right..?
And no, I’m not talking about some faith-infused, doctrinally sound ode to love (valid as that is), but the rose-tinted, butterflies-in-your-tummy, Hollywood-ised, happily-ever-after, feel-good music that (go on, it’s OK to admit it) we all know and love.
Some very popular love songs in the UK Pop charts have been written by people from the UK Gospel scene (go research the Escoffreys, and Mark Beswick, to mention just two) so it’s not like we’re strangers at this game.
Currently signed to Colombia Records multi instrumentalist Samm (yes, that’s with two ‘Ms’) Henshaw is not just one of the latest in a line of tremendously talented artists coming through, but one that genuinely has the potential to be an international crossover mainstream star. Watch that space.
This acoustic piano version of ‘Only Wanna Be With You‘ showcases the power of Samm’s singular talent and excellent writing, perfectly capturing the early the giddiness of the first flush of falling in love.
If there’s ever a love song you’d want to fall in love to, it could quite easily be this…
Said you and I we’ve been together for a minute/Oh no, Said I only wanna be with you/Said this thing we’ve been doing girl, I know you’re winning/Oh no no, Said I only wanna be with you
4. Artist: David B
Track: Iwo Nikan
Find at: Facebook.com/DavidBOnline
Speaking of love and romance, here’s a quick detour via what’s now being defined as ‘Afrobeats’.
David B has been fairly public about the perception challenges (and criticism) he faces doing both Gospel and ‘mainstream’ music, but he’s (thankfully) becoming more comfortable appearing across both circuits.
Iwo Nikan (translated ‘Only You’ in the Nigerian Yoruba language) makes this list as a nod to the African sound settling in as a staple of UK Gospel output.
Its heavy RnB influence and bilingual vibe also make it the perfect introduction to anyone new to the genre.
And – crucially – it has that thing we could do with a bit more of in Gospel music generally: a sense of humour.
You are the sugar in my tea/So cliché but it’s real…
5. Liz Lubega
Track: Can’t Stop Me Now
Find at: Facebook
A few years back singer/songwriter/arranger and erstwhile model Liz was the go-to girl for hooks and vocals on many of the strong Hip-Hop tunes on the London Gospel scene.
Since then she’s graduated to doing more of her own material – and we’re all better off for it. ‘Can’t Stop Me Now‘ is written by Liz (and co-written by producers Feranmi ‘Oguns’ and Chucks Chiejine), a lush, rhythmic Soft-Rock song of self-determination and drive.
If you haven’t heard this or heard of Liz she’s definitely a good one to check out.
Yes, my heart comes alive/Passion burns like a fire/Lighting up in the dark/You can’t stop me now/Through the rain and the storm/Flame remains in my bones/Cause only heaven knows/You can’t stop me now
So, there you have it: your five for this instalment. Back soon with another set.
LIKE THIS? EXPLORE MORE
- 5 Inspirational UK ‘Gospel’ Tracks You Have to Check Out (Part 1)
- The Essential UK Gospel Tracklist Series