Category Archives: Celebrating UKGospel

Celebrating #UKGospel: Brits Abroad (Part 1)

I knew I was on to a good thing when I launched the ‘Celebrating UKGospel’ series…

I get excited when I can come up with different and interesting ways to honour the great work so many people continue to put in across the UK Gospel scene.

Most-shared feature

It’s also especially rewarding when many other people share that same excitement: the ‘Celebrating the Ladies of UKGospel (Part 1)‘ article was by far and away the most shared feature in the history of all versions of UKGospel.com.

Shutting down UKGospel.com

  • That was particularly encouraging because I’ve seriously considered shutting UKGospel.com down once or twice in recent years, mainly as I feel there are now some great players in this space.
  • I’ll put a link to a few excellent websites for you to check out (as well as my reasons for wanting to shut down UKGospel.com) at the end of this feature.

Stories you didn’t know you wanted

  • Anyway, on to the matter at hand: the intention of this series is to make it ‘part showcase, all celebration’, while ‘making it atypical’
  • In other words: how can I bring you stories you want – but you didn’t even know you did…? 

Over the moon 

  • I’m over the moon about this instalment: the story of amazing people who – even when they moved abroad – continued their craft. In fact, they now ply their trade professionally
  • If you’ve new to the series: welcome – I hope you enjoy it
  • If you’re already familiar with the way this goes: have fun – it’s another good one
  • As with the Ladies edition, this is also part 1 of what will probably be a 2-part run, not least because there are so many other Brits across the globe also worth celebrating
  • I’m truly grateful to every one of the people that’s given their time to contribute to this instalment – you guys are amazing!

Before I start: huge shout out to my girl Angel Sonshine (UKGospel.com day 1 family) for the Harmony Samuels hook-up.

It wouldn’t have happened without you… ❤️

Yinka Awojobi
Content Development
UKGospel.com

Celebrating Brits Abroad (Part 1)

Hello, my name is: Ruth Waldron

  • I am a: vocal tutor, choir director, singer songwriter, event organiser
  • I’m a Brit in: Norway
  • You might know me from: directing and singing with Dave Daniel & The PCF Choir or singing with V9 Collective

  • Find me at: YouTube: Ruth Waldron or Instagram: Real Express Art to follow my art journey

  • I started doing this because: as a child I loved singing and attended choir rehearsal with my parents. I joined the church youth choir (The PCF Choir) which was started by Donna & Dave Daniel
  • Donna directed the choir for a number of years but when I was around 14 years old she said God had called me to take over as director
  • I really didn’t want to direct the choir and resisted for a good while. Donna never gave up and kept persisting that I take over, so finally I did
  • I haven’t looked back since then and continue directing choirs 28 years later
  • In 2009 my big brother Sam Lynch ran with a dream he had, which was to form a family group, V9 Collective and share original material
  • It has been wonderful working and singing with my family. We released our first album World To Me in 2010 and are excited that our second album will be released later this year!!
  • Here’s a random fact about me: for many years, I secretly wished I studied psychology
  • Favourite thing I did: it was a huge challenge, but directing the amazing choirs/singers for the first Gospel Proms was massive for me
  • Favourite thing I wish I did: I wish I wrote the song Nessun Dorma, the song Pavarotti made famous
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you’re an open, genuine person who likes to eat food and talk honestly about life and recipes… We could be besties
  • Everyone thinks I’m a: confident person who likes the spotlight
  • But in actual fact I’m a: person who shies away from the spotlight
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: the beautiful scenery and open natural space
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: there are a few things, but if I can only give one answer, it has to be my family
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: I’d love to open an eatery, with live music and displaying art. Yeah, ok…let’s talk about my art!

You can publish a story on any ONE topic that’s close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What would it be about? Performers/artists who are Christians who are or have been involved in the secular music world in some form. 

The book would give them the opportunity to share their experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Discussing the positives, the negatives, their wins and temptations whilst being involved in the industry and how it impacted their relationship with God.

Hello, my name is: Dami Adeoye

  • I am a: record producer, audio engineer & studio owner
  • I’m a Brit in: Dallas, Texas
  • You might know me from: being a drummer or producing songs for Faith Child, Triple O, Rachel Kerr, Christina Matovu or Guvna B
  • I started doing this because: initially my love for production stemmed from curiosity as young as 11 years old. I would record sounds on a tape machine because I was always intrigued with the different elements it took to make a song
  • 2008 (when I was 18) would be my first time getting my hands on software and equipment. It was a time when pro-audio consumer products were increasingly being released at an affordable cost. I indulged. With my student loan. This marked the start of my producer/audio engineer journey
  • So in hindsight I started doing this because of my love for music and the various stages it take to make a song
  • Here’s a random fact about me: in school you would have found me both in musical theatre clubs but also the various sports teams like the football/basketball teams. I was pretty good
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you buy me a new studio furniture or gear
  • Everyone thinks I’m an: extrovert
  • But in actual fact I’m an: ambivert
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: the weather 😍
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: friends and family

The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: my idea of success is a happy and healthy home for my wife and children. They are my motivation for everything I do.

Hello, My Name is: Harmony ‘H-Money’ Samuels

  • I am a: British Nigerian in Los Angeles
  • You might know me as: the producer that produced ‘Champion’ for Chipmunk ft Chris Brown. I started producing at the age of 14. my love for music and playing instruments at 4 years old is the reason I pursued music in the first place

    BUT being able to create my own ideas in my head and write my own songs that would affect the world is why I fell in love with producing
  • Here is a random fact about me: I almost had a professional running career (100 meter hurdles) I ran for Blackheath Harriers
  • Favorite thing I did: produced and wrote the song ‘Say Yes’ for Michelle Williams ft Kelly and Beyoncé

    Not only did I have the opportunity to work with one of the biggest female groups in the world, I got to use my Nigerian roots and culture and connect both pop culture and African culture together. 

    BUT the main thing is that we got to give God Glory across the world and nation

  • A song I wish I produced‘Crazy in Love’ by Beyoncé!! It was produced by Rich Harrison and literally changed the world with its sound
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you follow us on our social platforms
  • Everyone thinks I’m a: New Yorker
  • But in actual fact I am: British Nigerian
  • The one thing I like about where I am is:  I get to open doors for others. Change my family’s life and inspire the younger Generation to be all they can be and more
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: Summers (as short as they are) I love UK carnival
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: I want the world to know God saved me from death, when I was hit by a car at 13 years old.

    This is when I first heard God’s voice saying it’s not yet time. And I knew I had a mission and an assignment in my life.

One topic I would love to publish is called
The Key to success is Obedience. There is a lot to this title but it’s the key that has kept me staying successful in my life today.

Hello, my name is… Bobby Bobbart The Fourteenth… or Will

  • I am a: commercial and advertising photographer
  • I’m a Brit in: Jamaica
  • You might know me from: CATFORD, South London… New Wine Church… Kings Church… Calvary Chapel South London… Like every single gospel event ever at one point at least – lol!
  • I started doing this because: I think it is the perfect profession to get to know and interact with all kinds of people and have conversations about all kinds of things
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I farted
  • Favourite thing I did: I’m not so hot with these kind of questions but maybe taking the step to move to Jamaica in 2014
  • Favourite thing I wish I did: again that is a weird one for me. Invent sliced bread
  • You’ll be my new best friend: if I can’t find the old one! JOKING… Well, I don’t know about best friends but if you introduce me to a bunch of music that I DIDN’T already know that I really love… that’s a good move.
  • Everyone thinks I’m a: very silly man
  • But in actual fact I’m an: outstandingly silly man. But I am actually very keen on serious conversations… which might not be the impression you get if you see me working, but it is true 
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: Jamaica is beautiful. As a photographer this makes a HUGE difference to the creative mind… mine at least
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: the weather. JOKE
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: ‘do you think you will be ok?’ answer to the world… ‘It may get better but it may not, so when I pray God, I pray that I’ll trust you whether or not the rain stops’ to quote Trip Lee

You can publish a story on any ONE  topic that’s close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What would it be about..?
Intrusive thoughts, the church and our attempts to save ourselves from something only Jesus can save us from.

Hello, my name is: Naomi Parchment

  • I am a: singer-songwriter/producer/vocal producer/ arranger/ vocal pedagogue
  • I’m a Brit in: Huntsville, Alabama
  • You might know me from: can’t say anyone knows me from anything in England, lol or anywhere. Maybe social media?
  • I started doing this because: music is something that is in my DNA. Music is my innate release and freedom. Music is my way of communication with the divine
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I have a huge fear of peacocks after being chased by one as a child (lol)
  • Favourite thing I did: One of my favorite moments so far in life has been being able to travel to South Africa. I never thought I’d be able to travel and perform globally.

    It was a very humbling moment to connect with people who support me all around the world
  • Favourite thing I wish I did: I wish I wrote the song ‘No Air’ by Jordin Sparks, amazingly penned
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you make me home cooked meal. Food is the way to my heart for sure
  • Everyone thinks I’m an: extreme extrovert because that’s who I have to be for work. I love people, I love to meet new people and connect with them
  • But I’m: most comfortable when I’m mellow and with small groups of friends
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: beautiful weather, beautiful sunsets, very quiet and calm living
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: THE FOOD! My family, catching public transport, city centres, baked beans, scrambled egg, toast… Yes most definitely THE FOOD!!
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: I am definitely very empathetic. I enjoy everything art. Recently picked up painting which has become a great release for me during the pandemic times

You can publish a story on any ONE  topic that’s close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What would it be about..?
The process behind the art and the artist.

A lot of people only see/hear the final products, but not many people consider the very delicate and intricate lives a lot of people who have the courage to be an artist have to deal with

Hello, my name is: Jalil Saheeb aka Jay Ess

  • I am an: artist, teacher and film director
  • I’m a Brit in: North Carolina
  • You might know me from: Intoxicated, Questions & Answers and Live It Up
  • I started doing this because: I wanted to make a long lasting impression on my generation. I also wanted to have a direct impact on young people so I started working in schools to do a lot more ground work
  • Favourite thing I did: writing and directing my Live It Up movie (here’s Part 1 and here’s Part 2). It has always been a dream of mine to produce and star in a film so I’m glad I was able to accomplish that
  • Favourite thing I wish I did: Well, I’ve still got time to do it God willing
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you’re a Michael Jackson fan
  • Everyone thinks I’m: a serious and no nonsense person
  • But in actual fact I’m: really easy going
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: happiness
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: my family

Hello, my name is:  Lain Gray

  • I am a: Singer/songwriter, producer, label owner, real estate investor and online entrepreneur
  • I’m a Brit in: Houston, Texas, USA
  • You might know me from: the Wookie UK Garage hit song Battle or if you’re not into that kind of thing, UK premier gospel/RnB vocal group Nu Colours
  • I started doing this because: it seemed like the natural order of things, from my home made shoe box and rubber band guitar as a 4 year old, to writing my first song aged 11 or 12.

    If God gives a talent and if we recognize it and nurture it, it will blossom at some point
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I am a huge Liverpool fan (from the age of 5, so I’ve known initially from their glory days, right through to the painful premiership era. Long may Klopp reign!)
  • Favourite thing I wish I did: Songwriter envy is a real thing, but meant as a compliment really

    There are so many songs I wish I’d written. Anything from early Fred Hammond or early Coldplay to name but two
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: You get me tickets to a Liverpool game. Ha!
  • Everyone thinks I’m a: Comedian (which really doesn’t speak much volumes for my music, but hey, what can you do)
  • But in actual fact I’m a: bit of a grump until my first tea (or coffee since moving out here) “Dem cyaa mek tea”, so I gave up ordering it. WHO BRINGS [WARM] WATER IN A CUP WITH A TEABAG NEXT TO IT IN THE SAUCER??

    WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT??
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: It’s nearly always sunny with blue skies, even when it’s a bit chilly
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: Well, tea obviously for starters, ha! Might sound strange but, the people.

    We Brits are special and I’m not sure I realized it until I left

You can publish a story on any ONE  topic that’s close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What would it be about..? As a black brit who was raised in the UK countryside, racism was actually very low in the pecking order of my life.

It was there and I had to deal with it when it came up, but since moving to the states, it’s SO glaringly out there, that I have to speak on it at every opportunity.

There’s the blatant side everyone sees: [police related] shot while: sleeping, jogging, playing with a TOY gun, running AWAY from police, oh and kneeling, in plain sight, on a man’s neck for the whole world to see.

And then…. there’s the church racism that is so deeply ingrained in the fibre of society at large, it seamlessly flows into church hierarchy without missing a beat.

I saw an artist (Lurine Cato’s entry in Celebrating the Ladies of UKGospel – link below) mention “why the divide of christian and gospel music?”, well it goes deep into the racism issues and not all are ready (or willing) to start that discussion.

Some may ask for specifics, so for me, seeing a new church grow its multi-racial congregation to need 4 services and then 4 additional locations is phenomenal, but if the congregation is mixed across the locations with no diversity in leadership, that’s a problem.

The thought process that black pastors are not good enough to lead white or mixed congregations is where that comes from.

Let’s start more of these hard conversations please!!!

Hello, my name is: George Mhondera/Jorge Mhondera

  • My nickname is: Jorgyjacket
  • You probably know me from: singing and writing with Matt Redman /Chris Tomlin / Passion / LZ7 /The Tribe & M.I.C / WHISTLEJACKET back in the day and maybe some of you from working in Mainstream Music Industry writing and placing songs in the (U.K /U.S /EUROPE / KPOP /JPOP / music scene).
  • I’m a Brit in: Nashville, Tennessee
  • I started doing this because: I felt I had a calling to do Music and just had a passion for Music from a very young age. Also had a desire to see the world and get to experience and engage different cultures.

    I knew Jesus was calling me to serve him through Music. (Serve him within the Church as well as beyond the walls of the Church in the Mainstream). Love getting to do both.
  • Here’s a random fact about me: if I hadn’t done music, I wanted to be a Professional Rugby Player.  I love Rugby especially the ALL BLACKS!!!!!
  • Everyone thinks I’m: An extreme extrovert
  • But in many ways I’m: Also an Introvert ……I do love large gatherings, but I also love being by myself 🙂 or with family.
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: Well 2 things: I never get asked about is my heritage and where i’m originally from; Yes I have lived on 3 continents, but I was born in Zimbabwe and so I am Zimbabwean and African to the Core.
  • The other thing: yes, I love getting to perform and sing on stage, but my heart is into pouring into others behind the scenes and see them grow in their calling, musical giftings and see them hopefully achieve their dreams.
  • You can publish a story on any ONE  topic that’s close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What is it? One story I would have to post is on Racial Injustice & Reconciliation.

    The greatest Commanded is to Love your God with all your heart and with your soul and with all your mind.

    The second is love your neighbour as you love yourself… If we as people did truly did this we would never have racism for this kind of love doesn’t allow prejudice to grow and where there has been injustice this love fights fearlessly for equality and for all despite our difference.

    A lot has happened in the past historically and there is a lot to heal, there is a lot to learn, there is a lot to forgive, there is a lot undo and make right and this Love, Jesus, is the answer

    If WE  TRULY KNOW HIM, TURN TO HIM things will change!

Hello, my name is: David Oluwaferanmi Balogun popularly known as DavidB

  • I am a: singer, Songwriter, Vocal Producer and Coach, Content Creator
  • I’m a Brit in: Lagos, Nigeria
  • I started doing this because: I absolutely love creating music and I recently discovered that I love teaching people how to sing just as much.
  • Here’s a random fact about me: my nostrils flare up involuntarily when I do riffs/runs… So embarrassing.
  • Favourite thing I did: In December I released “Fall In Line” which has 5 key changes, and in February “Special” where I held a note for 17 seconds.

    Favourite things because when you’re not mainstream there are all these rules people impose and I enjoy breaking said rules and just going with what I feel and want. Freedom!
  • Favourite thing I wish I did: perform at Coachella with a Beyoncé budget and then release the documentary on Netflix.
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you’re a confident independent thinker with sound values and principles while knowing and appreciating most of Brandy’s unreleased songs.
  • Everyone thinks I’m: super quiet and shy
  • But in actual fact I’m: a talkative especially when I’m passionate about the subject matter. When I’m quiet it’s not because I’m timid, I just don’t know you like that and I’m observing.
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: the fact that anything can happen, even though that’s equally what I hate about it.
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: being able to get in my car at 2:30am and go get a double cheese burger (no onions) and a banana milkshake from McDonald’s.
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is that: I don’t care what or who it is, I will not trade authenticity for approval.
  • You can publish a story on any ONE topic that’s close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What would it be about..? Hmmm… “UK Gospel” 🙂

Explore More

Other UK Gospel websites

Celebrating #UKGospel: launching the Ladies Edition (Part 1)

I cannot tell you how SO, SO, SO PROUD I am of every single lady on this list!!!!

Story time: like many of the exciting ideas I get, this one came completely out of the blue and hit me like a ton of bricks

It went like this: last week as I was planning the relaunch UKGospel.com version 3, I thought I’d create a section dedicated to showcasing diverse UK Gospel talent in a very simple but effective way: make it part showcase, part profile, all celebration.

Atypical

It’ll be wide-ranging and slightly atypical, expanding the type of recipient we’re used to seeing in editorials of this kind.

How about we showcase producers? Or song writers? What about the graphic designers that have given us distinctive visual branding over the years, on everything from websites to flyers to CD covers.

No props

Anyway, you get the idea: the concept has legs. And scope. I decided to start the series with ‘Celebrating the Ladies of UKGospel’

  • There were quite a few reasons for that, not least because I think ladies in Gospel still don’t get the props they deserve
  • All this happened last weekend. I went ahead and made arrangements for the feature’s special edition graphic to be created
  • Deciding who should feature in the first ladies one was always going to be a difficult, as there are so many great ladies doing amazing things
  • However: it also made my decision to have multiple Ladies Edition entries a simple one – there was no way I could do just the one.

Showcase talent

With that settled I decided on the format:

  • Showcase the range of talent we have across a number of categories: from fresh, just-out-of-the-gate artists to those who’ve been incredibly steadfast with an unbelievable track record.
  • I wanted to represent the broad spectrum of the UK Gospel sound, too: from RnB to Praise & Worship, Afrobeats to Soul and Pop and everything in-between.

Pressure: International Women’s Day

  • Then on Thursday I found out it was International Women’s Day on the 8th March 2021. What better way to launch this series than to publish it on International Women’s Day..?
  • Except that gave me only 24 hours to contact all the ladies, explain the concept, send them the questions, get their answers back and then spend the weekend putting it all together.
  • The pressure was on!

Here come the ladies…

This brings me full circle back to why I’m so proud of these women: every last one of them dug deep, went out of their way and honoured me with a very quick reply.

This went from a feature with a 2-week deadline to something that had to be turned around in 24 hours! Ladies: thank you again.

You’re going to see them all in a second, but I have to give a special shout out to the following intermediaries who made things happen: Teelow (for Rebkah), Uncle Charles (for Diana), and Chibuzo (for Rae Rae).

It’s past 3 am: welcome to International Women’s Day…

‘Celebrating UKGospel: the Ladies Edition – Part 1’

Hello, my name is: Lurine Cato

  • I am a: Gospel recording artist, multi-award winner, MBE recipient, a vocal coach and producer and singer-songwriter

  • I started doing this because: it was my calling. I’ve sang all my life from the age of 3 – I always sang in church

    It’s my calling from God to do this – I could have gone the other way, as I’ve had major record labels approach me many times to do other types of music, but I felt the call of God to do this more

  • Find me at: Lurine Cato on Instagram and check out my music on Spotify

  • Here’s a random fact about me: I’ll give you two – most Gospel singers sing for charity, that’s standard, but in June 2012 I jumped 15,000 feet out of a plane for charity – and I only had 15 minutes to prepare when everyone had months!!!

    Secondly, I’m the first female Gospel artist since 1922 to receive an MBE
  • Favourite song I wrote: I truly don’t have a favourite. I get moments when my songs get played constantly in my ears at home, but if I were to mention one, I’ll say ‘You Revive Me’, because of how that song came together – I wrote and co-produced it

    That song gave me a MOBO Award – most people have to have an album to be nominated; I had one song!
  • Favourite song I wish wrote: this is so not fair! There are so many songs I wish I wrote!

    The first one that comes to my head is Sinach’s ‘Way Maker’: I thought to myself “I could have written that – God, why didn’t you give me that song?! Why didn’t I hear it through the frequency? Did I miss it?” No, he gave it to Sinach! 😀

    And trust me, she did a great job with that song!
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you think I’m funny! I could have been a stand-up comedienne!! 🤣🤣
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: I get extremely shy, but then I know how to pretend I’m not shy because I’ll make my face look like ‘I’m enjoying myself and this is great, and I don’t feel awkward….’

    But inside I’m in a corner, screaming ‘get me out! Get me out!!!’ 😂
  • You can publish a story on any ONE topic very close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What is it? It’ll be a story about why Contemporary Christian (CCM) artists are separate from Gospel artists – why there’s such a separation and why don’t we ever come together in unity, and the reasons why it happens, and what we need to do to stop it from happening…

Hello, my name is: Michelle John

  • I am: an artist, vocal coach, mother, I’m a woman
  • I started doing this because: from when I was a baby, God gave me the gift of singing – it was not something I asked for, and through the journey of my life, doors and platforms opened up for me to sing, so I just don’t fight it

    And I use my gift as best as I can to encourage others, and to make people happy and to minister to people and give them some sense of hope and healing through the songs I sing
  • Favourite song I wrote: ‘Labels’. It talks about labels we all have. Some of them are labels people have put on us, some are labels we’ve earned, some are from how society sees us
  • Favourite song I wish wrote: ‘Indescribable’ by Chris Tomlin/Kierra Sheard, etc. I just love that. I wish I’d come up with that
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you just pray for me. Just support me with your prayers. You might not understand what I’m doing or the direction that God is taking me

    You might not tick like on my post, yada yada yada, but if you just pray for me that God is guiding me, that I’m hearing from the Lord, then you’ll be my best friend
  • Everyone thinks I’m a… I guess the first word that comes to mind is ‘Diva’
  • But in actual fact I’m a… really lovely Diva – I’m like the girl next door Diva 🤣🤣

    I’m just a lovely girl with Diva sensibilities 🤣
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: as a strong independent, confident woman in myself, I’m what’s known as ‘the strong friend’. So often, people don’t ask you if you’re okay

    That’s the one thing: people don’t often ask if you’re okay because they’re so used to you being strong, and being there for everyone else

    But what I want the world to know is that sometimes I need a hug, too!
  • You can publish a story on any ONE topic very close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What is it? I think the story for me would be about self-worth and self-value, especially where women are concerned in understanding who you are, and who God says you are

    We’re not what’s happened to us or the experiences that we’ve endured or come through, or escaped or survived.

    Even with the scars and the pain and the memories and the experiences, we are who God says we are, and we should model that, which is very close to my own heart and my own message.

Hello, my name is: Naffymar

  • I am an: Urban Gospel Musician
  • I started doing this because: I realised God gave me the gift of music to reach out to the lost and express his thoughts through me
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I love trying out new things. Hair, fashion and food
  • Favourite song I wrote: Walk With Me ft Aude-Carla
  • Favourite song I wish wrote: God like you by Calledoutmusic 
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you’re full wisdom and have a great sense of humour
  • Everyone thinks I’m a…very outspoken person who doesn’t care about people’s opinions 
  • But in actual fact I… get quite shy sometimes, I just push it aside to do the Lord’s work
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: I’d rather stay in my room than go out to be with friends. I love being in my own space!
  • You can publish a story on any ONE very important topic on UKGospel.com. What is it? “Jesus: The expert at turning a Nobody into somebody great”

Hello, my name is: Niiella

  • I am a: Gospel Musician, singer, vocal coach – to be honest, I wear different hats on different days, but those are the two main things that I do
  • I started doing this because: I felt like it was the least that I could do in return for God saving my life – saving me from being suicidal, from depression, saving me from myself

    I was so grateful when I saw how far I had come that the least I could do was give this back to God so that other people can be blessed
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I am 3/4 Ghanaian and 1/4 Nigerian. My grandmother on my father’s side is from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria. Most people think I’m completely Ghanaian, but no, actually: I have something else in there… 😀
  • Favourite song I wrote: I have a lot of favourites, but my current one is ‘Stand with Me’, which is quite close to my heart. It says ‘when I’m alone, stand with me’ – that’s the long and short of the song, and I absolutely love it
  • Favourite song I wish wrote: It’s a song called ‘Out of Hiding’ by Steffany Gretzinger – there’s a version by Tye Tribbett. I love that song so much that I’m like ‘Oh – I wish I wrote that song…’. It’s still beautiful, though
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you love to eat smoked salmon as much as I do. I am obsessed: smoked salmon with cream cheese and crackers and just a slither of avocado is… the bomb! 🤣
  • Everyone thinks I’m a… tough nut. Like I’m a tough person
  • But in actual fact I’m a… big softie on the inside. It just takes a while to get there sometimes, depending on who, and what, and where and how… But I really am a big softie
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: well, it’s not that it never comes up, but I definitely think we can talk more about healing from trauma or things that have happened in our past that have made indentations on us that we may not necessarily be aware of

    It might not even be something drastic. Sometimes it just might be a moment in time that was very traumatic to us and to our experience of life, and everybody is able to heal from that, and it’s important for us to lean into pain and vulnerability to allow God to heal us and work on us – and I feel like that’s a subject a lot of us run away from a lot of the time.

    I’ve been though the process (and still going through the process in some ways) but it’s necessary, and you will love yourself for allowing yourself to go through the hard places…
  • You can publish a story on any ONE topic very close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What is it? A series of mini-stories from creatives:

    Musicians talking about a memory in time preferably from earlier in life/in their teens, that they believe impacted them or shaped them for the better and influenced their creativity

    It’ll be really interesting to get an insight into a creative’s life in a different way than we usually do…

Hello, my name is: Anu Omideyi

  • I am a: Singer Songwriter, Choir Director, Vocal Coach, Worship Leader
  • I started doing this because: I love God, music and ministry
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I love swimming and being in water
  • Favourite song I wrote: ‘Back To You’
  • Favourite song I wish wrote: This changes every month. At the moment it’s ‘Nothing Else’ by Cody Carnes
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you take the time to try to get to know me rather than assuming you know who I am

    Also, if you buy me chocolate
  • Everyone thinks I’m: an extrovert
  • But in actual fact I’m: an introvert in the true sense of the word
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: lol – I can’t answer this question as I’m actually a very private person
  • You can publish a story on any ONE very important topic on UKGospel.com. What is it? The use of gospel music to advocate for social justice, marginalised groups and victims/survivors of any kind

Hello, my name is: Asha Elia

  • I started doing this because: I saw there was a need for more kingdom music and I got tired of complaining to God about the lack. Eventually He just said ‘Hey, you’re right here, you can do it’.
  • Find me at: Asha Elia on Instagram and Twitter
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I’ve always loved to sketch
  • Favourite song I wrote: I change my mind about this every other month, but right now my favourite song is ‘Nights Like This’
  • Favourite song I wish wrote: ‘Monica’ by ItsTaylorMade – that one is a banger!
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you’re passionate about healing and psychology, and just understanding ourselves better
  • Everyone thinks I’m a… confident person
  • But in actual fact I’m… Really shy
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: more about my personal life further than just the music, just because I’d love to be a lot more transparent, but God’s definitely helping me in that area
  • You can publish a story on any ONE topic very close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What is it? It would be about healthy relationships – healing.

Hello, my name is: Becca Folkes

  • I am a: singer-songwriter and content creator from the UK
  • I started doing this because: God called me to it. Plain and simple. I wanted to be an actress or athlete, but God led me in this direction
  • Find me at: @Becca_FolkesUK on Instagram and Twitter)
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I love spicy food, to the point where I add spice to almost every dish I eat if it’s accessible
  • Favourite song I wrote: I loved writing ‘Rhythm’. I think it was definitely outside the box in terms of how I approached the topic and it was my first attempt at a house record, so I 100% enjoyed it
  • Favourite song I wish wrote: I definitely wish I was in the room while ‘Loved By You’ was being written by Mali Music. I love that song so much and it’s one of a large list of songs I wish I took part it
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you buy me a large black coconut Yankee Candle!!
  • Everyone thinks I’m a… super bubbly/loud person all the time
  • But in actual fact I’m… pretty reserved most of the time
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: I love Bali… But I’d need them to ask me how much their tickets cost so they can buy it for me so I can go! LOL
  • You can publish a story on any ONE topic very close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What is it?: The story I would post would be on the culture of silence in the Black Church.

    Through ministry and sharing my testimony of surviving childhood molestation, I’ve been blessed to meet so many people

    But the heartbreaking part is that so many can relate to or share my testimony and that grieves my heart. I’d like to have open and honest dialogues with leaders and survivors for all UKGospel.com subscribers to read and be educated by.

Hello, my name is: Diana Hamilton

  • I am a: Worship Leader, songwriter, recording artiste
  • I started doing this because: at an early age I saw and watched my dad who was a pastor and worship leader lead the congregation and eventually found that this brought me Joy and fulfilment too
  • Favourite song I wrote: Adom
  • Favourite song I wish wrote: How Sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you love to worship and follow on my insta or watch my video on YouTube
  • Everyone thinks I’m an… Extrovert
  • But in actual fact… sometimes I want to be on my own
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: I am veeery good cook
  • You can publish a story on any ONE very important topic on UKGospel.com. What is it? How African Gospel musicians can make an impact with their ministries in the UK and beyond

Hello, my name is: Rae Rae

  • I am a: Christian Music Artist
  • I started doing this because: I’ve always loved singing. I’ve been part of choirs, and I just really feel like God wants me to use my voice for Him

    I’ve come to know that music is such a powerful tool and I’ve always wanted to be able to create songs that will impact people in such a positive way
  • Find me at: Miss Rae Official on Instagram and Facebook
  • Here’s a random fact about me: when nobody’s looking, I like to dance in front of the mirror.

    When I was younger I used to watch a lot of dance films, so sometimes I just go back to that place where I feel I’m such a great dancer. I can dance, but I feel like I’ve got all the moves like in the movies! 🤣
  • Favourite song I wrote: that will be ‘Lay it Down’. I feel like it’s such an honest song that talks about being worried about the future and being open about how one feels, especially when things are uncertain

    It’s a song I relly love – when I got feedback from it, people would say it was very relatable

  • Favourite song I wish wrote: at the moment it’ll be ‘People’ by Jonathan McReynolds.

    I feel like it’s a song that could have been written 10 years ago, because it’s a topic that’s so relevant.

    There are topics you talk about in conversation, but you wouldn’t think it could be put so well in a song and Jonathan McReynolds does such a great job, but doesn’t exempt himself in the storyline.
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you’re happy for me, and you want to see me succeed. You’re fun and can make me egusi soup (it’s a Nigerian dish) – surprise me and bring it to my house! 🤣
  • Everyone thinks I’m… very confident when I’m on stage and performing
  • But in actual fact… just before I go on stage, I always need to go to the toilet because of nerves! 🤣
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: one day I’d love to sing the national anthem, whether that’s in the UK or Nigeria – I think that’ll be amazing! I’ve never been asked that but I want the world to know that. That’s one of the things I’d like to do in my lifetime

Hello, my name is: Sadé Eboné

  • I am a: Singer-Songwriter
  • I started doing this because: I know that it is God-given, he could of given these songs to anyone else but instead he gave them to me. For that reason, I will serve the gift giver with the gifts He gave to me
  • Here’s a random fact about me: According to some of my family members, I have a tendency to sing in my sleep!
  • Favourite song I wrote: ‘Love Don’t Mark Skin’, a song about domestic abuse
  • Favourite song I wish I wrote: ‘More Than a Woman’ – Gregory Porter. One of the best singers and writers, there has ever been!!!
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you are a Nottingham Forest fan hahaha
  • Everyone thinks I’m… of Nigerian heritage
  • But in actual fact I’m… of Jamaican and Kittian heritage
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: That I’m a big fan of Karaoke!!!! I Love singing louddddd, it’s the best thing!!
  • You can publish a story on any ONE topic very close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What is it? My story would be about people that have experienced church hurt and how they find their way back to God

Hello, my name is: Sarah Teibo

  • I am a: Worship leader singer songwriter and recording Artist
  • I started doing this because: I felt strongly that I had something to share with the world and there is no better time than now to do it
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I wrote a book called ‘Sex Interrupted’
  • Favourite song I wrote: ‘Make You Smile’
  • Favourite song I wish wrote: ‘Holy Ghost’ by Kim Burrell
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: You understood the complexities of dealing with an extroverted introvert
  • Everyone thinks I’m a… workaholic
  • But in actual fact I’m a… Productivity-holic
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: Can I ride a bike? No, I can’t ride a bike to save my life. And I’m ashamed of it
  • You can publish a story on any ONE very important topic on UKGospel.com. What is it?
  • Breaking barriers as a female gospel/Christian artist

Hello, my name is: Rebekah Young

  • I am a: Singer
  • I started doing this because: I love singing and I truly truly believe God has gifted me to share the message of Jesus and to enjoy music in all of its fullness
  • Find me at: ‘Rebekah Young’ Spotify/Apple Music and @rbkhyng on Instagram
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I am 1 of 7 children in my family and I have an identical twin sister
  • Favourite song I wrote: Has to be ‘Tender’, I remember I was on the bus in Manchester when the words came to mind
  • Favourite song I wish wrote: So many to pick from! But at the moment ‘Cranes In The Sky’, Solange
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you vibe with Lauryn Hill/Amy Winehouse/Erykah Badu, only the best
  • Everyone thinks I’m a… Geordie
  • But in actual fact I’m a… Boro lass
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: alongside my music I’m currently working as a youth worker and really believe God has put the next generation on my heart since I moved to the capital!
  • You can publish a story on any ONE topic that’s important to you on UKGospel.com. What is it? How important it is that Jesus is the centre of all our outworks; music, breathing, work, social life and everything in between

Hello, my name is: Sharyn (Pronounced Sh-reen)

  • I am a: Gospel R&B Singer-songwriter
  • I started doing this because: I felt that there was a gap in the market here in the U.K, so I decided to create the sound I wanted to hear.
  • Find me at: @SharynOfficial on Twitter and Sharyn on Apple Music (my favourite music platform)
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I released my first single when I was 9 years old, but you won’t find it anywhere on the internet.
  • Favourite song I wrote: Such a difficult question, but ‘Broken Hearts’. It’s a song that was made for the noughties and makes me want to get up and dance.

    At the same time, it’s a very vulnerable and honest track, that asks an honest question that many people have, where and who do we turn to amidst our heartbreak and disappointment.

    I wrote this song in a pitch black room in Uganda and I just poured my heart out to God.
  • Favourite song I wish wrote: ‘New Creation’ by Junior Garr. One of my favourite songs of all time, simple lyrics filled with so much truth.
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: You love to eat. Brunch is my favourite meal of the day and so you must be ready to meet at 12pm sharp!
  • Everyone thinks I’m… an extrovert
  • But in actual fact I’m an extrovert… LOL. I enjoy love spending time with people.
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: I make some mean chicken wings! Fried, grilled, barbecue’d. Fantastic stuff.

Hello, my name is: Victoria Tunde

  • I am a: singer/songwriter and Gospel artist. As you can tell from my name, I’m of Nigerian heritage
  • I started doing this because: I’ve always had a passion for music – from a very young age I used to sing and be in plays, so when I found Christ it felt natural (especially as I have always written) that I would write and minister Gospel music
  • Favourite song I wrote: ‘Change Me’, that came out in December 2018.
    I just love that song because it really tells the story about my life and where God has brought me from
  • Favourite song I wish wrote: ‘So Will I’ – me and I’m sure a billion other people wish they wrote that.
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you are kind, considerate, loving, not self-centred and a God-fearing human being.
  • Everyone thinks I’m a… snob. I’ve had really good friends that have given me feedback and they say I’m a snob
  • But in actual fact I’m a… I’m just really shy. I’m an introvert – an extreme introvert.

    I might be in the room with a thousand people and I’ll just sit there on my own, not because I’m snobbing everyone but because I don’t know where to begin the first conversation
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: I love to beatbox 🤣

    I make really weird percussion noises and I’ve done it a few times and people are thinking ‘is there any instrument playing?’ and I tell them it’s me.

    I sometimes do it if I’m daydreaming about something…
  • You can publish a story on any ONE topic very close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What is it?

    I think it’ll be about money, especially in this pandemic season.

    Talking about money can sometimes be seen as dirty by people or something that falls out of the sky.

    I’d love to publish a story about becoming financially free, financially savvy and a good steward, because the bible talks about the talents, so becoming a good steward of the talents and therefore the money that comes with the talents that have been bestowed on to every single one of us.

    So, who’s hiding it and burying it, and hoping that no one gets to judge them about it, and who’s investing it, and building on it and therefore is a good steward of the gift of funds placed in our hands

    That’ll be a great subject for me, especially with my financial services background.

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Celebrating #UKGospel – Introduction

Part showcase, part profile, all celebration.

Wide-ranging and slightly atypical, this series expands the type of recipient we’re used to celebrating in profile editorials of this kind.

How about the producers and the song writers?

  • What about the graphic designers that have given us distinctive visual branding over the years, on everything from websites to flyers to CD covers.
  • What about the venues?
  • And the unsung heroes in the managers that have quietly and intelligently steered the careers of many of the artists that have impacted our lives?
  • What about the recording studios? The broadcasters? And the publishers of printed and online magazines that have kept us informed over the years…?
  • And what about those artists that don’t record anymore?
  • Why don’t we showcase them again, if just to demonstrate the fact that we still appreciate the impact their recordings from way back when still have on us?
  • And there are the session musicians that help create many new and timeless songs…

Hidden heroes and heroines

  • We’ll be looking to celebrate the diverse threads that make up the entire fabric of the UK Gospel scene
  • Hopefully we’ll discover many familiar names but – more importantly – uncover many, many hidden heroes and heroines

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