Category Archives: Essential UK Gospel Tracklist

4 Retro UK Gospel Vibes to Mellow You Out (Part 2)

Sometimes kicking back is absolutely the right thing to do…

Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.com

It might be just a tad too cold outside (don’t worry, summer’s on its way) or – in case you’re one of those really weird people that prefers the cold weather – I’ve got you covered (see what I did there..?)

Whatever your story is, here are four classic UK Gospel tunes to mellow you out. You’ll find links to other great songs in the series at the end of this entry.

You’re welcome.

New Direction Crew – ‘Young Girl’

To those in the know the album this was taken from, ‘In the Saviour’s Shadow’, is arguably one of the most underrated albums of its time (circa 2008).

Featuring several early gems from Stephen GP Abramsamadu (who has gone on to produce several modern classics for S.O.) ‘Young Girl’ was an excellent vehicle for Elizabeth’s voice riding over GP’s carefully arranged RnB/Hip-Hop hybrid.

Jahaziel – That’s What Friends Are For

Jahaziel’s ‘ready To Live’ album is regualrly cited as an #UKGospel classic for good reason.

The title was an antithetical reply to Biggie Smalls’ ‘Ready to Die’, and ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ is one of several popular hits from the project (others include ‘Power’ [another GP production] ‘In My Neigbourhood’ and ‘Ready to Live’)

The bilingual, collaborative ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ remains one of my favourites with its cool vibe, clear message and classic Jahaziel lyricism

London Community Gospel Choir – Sun in the Rain

I say this to anyone that’s willing to hear – this is one of my all-time favourite LCGC songs. It’s a pure feel-good, uplifting song that falls squarely in the ‘inspirational’ category and the world is all the better for its completely relatable lyrics.

This is top drawer, musical class.

Marsha Garrick – Hello

This was a big radio hit on London Gospel radio back in the day: four and a half minutes of perfect Gospel Pop like we rarely get in the scene.

It was (and arguably still is) a very usual sound for its time but a very welcome one at that – it’s songs like this that make the UK Gospel music scene one of the most interesting and diverse in the world.

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5 UK Gospel AfroPop Songs to Soundtrack Your Day

‘Summertime and the livin’ is easy…’

Today is a perfect UK summer’s day: the maximum temperature is a cinderella-optimum, entirely agreeable 15 degrees: not too hot and not too cold.

So here are a few AfroPop tunes to turn up the heat just a little more and soundtrack a hopefully already perfect day.

Sarah Teibo – Blessed

  • This G Kid-produced track almost certainly needs no introduction
  • Ever since it came out in 2018 it’s been a radio, playlist and video staple everywhere
  • A true international hit for Sarah Teibo, one of the UK’s favorite female artists
  • Follow Sarah Teibo on Spotify

Andrew Bello Ft Victizzle – Never Be The Same

  • It’s always going to be difficult to pick an Andrew Bello song – his catalogue is extensive and his release cycle is impressively frequent
  • I’ve gone with this because it’s his biggest Spotify hit with just under 200,000 streams (as at the time of writing of this)
  • Follow Andrew Bello on Spotify

CalledOut Music – I Am Free

  • Another artist with a breathtaking selection of songs that so many people around the world have taken to heart
  • ‘I Am Free’ has now had just under 2 million YouTube streams
  • Not much more to be said apart from: enjoy
  • Follow CalledOut Music on Spotify

Qyubi – Odo

  • I only discovered Qyubi about a month (or maybe 6 weeks) ago
  • Since then I’ve been listening to as much of his back catalogue as possible
  • He’s got some GREAT songs, and if this is your first time hearing about him (and you like this kind of vibe), go check out the rest – you’re in for a treat!
  • Follow Qyubi on Spotify

24Eldaz – OMI ft Henrisoul

  • 24 Eldaz is one of those artists that makes me both happy and sad for the current season in the UK Gospel scene
  • Sad because there’s so much coming out these days that it’s becoming difficult to find and – more importantly – support brilliant artists
  • On the flip side I’m also happy that digital technology has made recording so cheap, meaning more artists are entering the scene
  • Plus: social media has (kind of) made discovery easy(ier)
  • If you like this one (made in collaboration with Nigeria’s Henrisoul), you know what to do:
  • Follow 24Eldaz on Spotify

BONUS 1: Stevie Valentine – Fall On Me

  • What can I say about Stevie Valentine?
  • If you know about him then you know he gets 40 thousand-plus listens on Spotify every month, and many of his songs on the platform have between 200,000 and 400,000 streams
  • ‘Fall On Me’ is one of his biggest AfroPop songs with over 400,000 streams (his biggest is the Neyo-sampled ‘Stay Strong’ with over 600,000 as at the time of writing)
  • Follow Stevie Valentine on Spotify

BONUS 2: Becca Folkes – Control ft CalledOut Music

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4 Retro UK Gospel Vibes to Mellow You Out

Sometimes kicking back is absolutely the right thing to do…

Perhaps you’re in the middle of a particularly stressful life moment – or maybe you’re badly in need of some time out from a decidedly knotty Rubik’s cube of a problem currently getting the better of you.

Maybe you want to chill out just because (and: why not..?)

Whatever your story, here are four classic UK Gospel tunes to mellow your troubled soul.

You’re welcome.

Earmark Collective ‘Bear the Mark’

Five years ago almost to the month (the video was uploaded to YouTube in June 2014) Earmark Collective dropped this solid, solid, solid block of a song.

Bear the Mark‘ landed with an infectious, jazzy breakbeat that perfectly complemented its hooky, smooth vocals.

The formula perfectly underpinned Triple O‘s inspired flow, while (bless the Lord for this one) the video completely did the song justice.

Talk about great vibes to soothe the troubled soul…

Raymond & Co – Crazy Faith

Taken from 2003’s seminal ‘Playing Games‘ album, this Linslee Campbell-produced gem is all sorts of flawless: from Chris Gordon‘s heartfelt lead to the tight arrangement of the deft backing vocals from Gillan Nembhard, Janine Dyer and Lisa Allen, this has ‘cool summer breeze’ all over it.

Lots of songs have been called instant classics. This is one of the few that actually deserves the definition.

Rio Young – Music featuring Da Fellowship

I first came across this song as part of Da Fellowship‘s debut (and, as far as I know, only) single. In the intervening years (this was uploaded to YouTube in January 2010) it’s been re-presented to the world as a Rio Young song.

Its superlative mellow groove belies Rio‘s stories of the harsh realities of life and living, told both observationally and in the first person.

It’s one of my all-time favourite UK Gospel non-Gospel ‘Gospel’ songs, and – once again – a great video for its time.

Nathan Prime – Knowing You

I only discovered the video to this awesome RnB classic exactly 20 days ago. I’m sure that’s partly  because even though it was released around 2002, the video was only uploaded to YouTube in 2016.

Anyway, regardless of how or why it took so long, it’s another one of those songs that’s almost universally considered a genuine UK gospel classic, and for good reason: lush musicianship, best-in-class arrangement, Nathan’s sweet, undeniable vocals and lyrics that will please even the most ardent of Gospel music purists.

So, there you go: four great songs to lower the blood pressure, calm the spirit and send you – hopefully perfectly refreshed and renewed – back on your merry way.

Go back out into the world and conquer.  You’ve got this.

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5 Inspirational UK ‘Gospel’ Tracks You Have to Hear (Part 3)

when-life-gets-blurry

This series celebrates a 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 – the one that suggests every sphere of Christian creative activity has to have an evangelical aspect to it.

I’m sure you know it: it postulates all Christian songs need ‘Jesus in every line’.

Life is nuanced – and we need our creatives to fully articulate all the variables of life and living

But life is nuanced, and if there’s one thing we need from our creatives it’s their ability to fully articulate all the variables of life and living; from the blatantly obvious to the subtleties that lie within the shades of grey.

Catch up with the series so far:

Another 5 Inspirational Songs

For instalment three I’ve trawled recent releases to find some new music gems.  2016 has been fantastic for UK Gospel music, with great tunes catering to practically every music taste.

Here are five 2016 songs that deserve a few minutes of your time.

1. Bobby Bovell
Track: Love, Love (Kriswontwo Remix) ft Dennis Bovell
Find at: BobbyBovell.com


The big winner at the 2016 Jump Music Video awards (Caribbean/Reggae, Inspirational Video and Music Video of the Year), Denmark-based Brit Bobby Bovell has always plied his trade on the more intellectual side of the writing spectrum.  And – I say this pretty much every time I mention Bobby – if you haven’t already, you absolutely need to check out his fantastic debut album ‘The Emergent EcleKtic’.

Bobby’s newest release for a while offers a song on a subject that permeates 90% of popular music: love.

Love Love‘s simile-laden ode to affection and devotion is a family-blended thing as UK Dub Reggae and production legend (and Bobby’s dad) Dennis Bovell, also features.

Things are presented excellently in a fantastic 360 degree video, and the one piece of advice you need to heed is this: watch this on the biggest screen you can find – it’s well worth it.

NOTABLE LYRIC/LINE

Paternal pride from Dennis:

‘Come in Bobby ah tell dem/(Ah my youth dat yuh know)’

2. Leke
Track: Unstoppable
Find at: JustLeke.com


From the very first second my senses were assaulted by the rapid fire, technicolour flickering of Leke’s Unstoppable lyric video, I was hooked.

I love the simple, multi-layered storytelling elements of this song.  Leke has pitched Unstoppable beyond church walls, lyrically designing it to possess as little friction as possible in an attempt to have it resonate with as many people as possible.

The language is universal, but the scriptural references are there for those that can spot it – but it really doesn’t matter if you don’t: you can’t miss the message.

Unstoppable is a song for these hyper sensitised racial, social and religious times, with its essential message of tolerance and acceptance. That message, coupled with Alex E’s synth-pop production sensibilities have the makings of a near-perfect Pop song.

There’s a good chance you’ll find yourself singing along as you watch the words unfold before you.

NOTABLE LYRIC/LINE

I surrender my hands are up officer don’t shoot/I live to protect you but you kill me so what’s the use/Retaliate and run this crooked race/But either way love has the final say

3. Rachel Kerr
Track: One Chance
Find at: RachelKerrMusic.com

https://soundcloud.com/rachelkerrmusic/one-chance?in=rachelkerrmusic/sets/unboxed
Even if you don’t listen to much mainstream music, chances are you’ll recognise the instrumental version of Rachel’s One Chance.  It’s a derivative of Drake’s One Dance, and if you knew that you probably also know there are a staggering amount of cover versions floating about.

It’s taken from her Unboxed mixtape, a 15-track set of covers (or perhaps more accurately: a series of ‘reinterpretations’) of popular and recent RnB hits.

Unboxed is Rachel’s way of pushing back against being typecast: is she an RnB singer, Gospel artist, singer-songwriter or something entirely different?

One Chance itself is a song of self-determination, of seizing opportunity in the face of overwhelming doubt and its Gospel message bubbles just beneath the surface.  If you like this you’ll definitely want to check out the rest of the album.

NOTABLE LYRIC/LINE

Am I just dreamer in too deep/Maybe this is too big for little old me/Who knows, who knows, what’s next for me/I know, I know, I know, He said/You got one chance and you got the key in your hand/Opportunity waits for no one/You got to hit hard, or go home: one blow

4. K Collective
Track: Downside Up ft Faith Child and A Star
Find at: KCollective.uk

K Collective’s debut EP, Volume One is one of my favourite releases for 2016.

It’s also got one of the best engineered productions of the year (not a great surprise given the team’s background: all three of K Collective in Jonathan Owusu-Yianomah, Enoch John and George Mandizha are all producers in their own right)

It also highlights one of the very best things about the UK Gospel scene: our ability to continue to expand the definition of ‘Gospel Music’.

Volume One draws from diverse music influences and you’re going to be hard pressed to come up with a simple genre definition for this one.

As with Rachel Kerr’s Unboxed there’s much to like in the release, but I’ve gone with ‘Downside Up’ because it’s got such a strong rhythm arrangement, with two of the scene’s best (in Faith Child and A Star) bringing that lyrical sparkle to things.

Downside Up isn’t as subtle in its declaration of faith as some of the other songs in this series.  Faith Child’s inspirational ‘party starter’ rallying call on the first verse sets up A Star’s proudly Christian sucker punch on verse 2.  This is excellent, positively proactive stuff.

NOTABLE LYRIC/LINE

Change the topic/Not everyone that grew up on the streets had a rough background/Change the topic/That was your story then but I’m changing it now

(Faith Child, quoting a lyric originally performed by ICIE)

5. Isatta Sheriff
Track: City
Find at: Facebook.com/isattasheriffmusic

Isatta Sherrif (you might remember her as Tor Cesay) has always been one of the best female writers, rappers and storytellers we have in the UK.

City is replete with slice-of-life, documentary-style observations served up as a series of mini narratives about the highs, lows and baffling contradictions of life and living in London, told over its 3 minute and 52 second duration.

There’s a lot to enjoy here: the stories are visual, the canvas is wide yet intimate, and Isatta’s voice both as a writer and performer is completely assured: she knows what she wants to say, and exactly how to say it.

If you’re looking for music that’s both visceral and intelligent you definitely need to check this out.

NOTABLE LYRIC/LINE

These youngers are precious about the streets that they live in/But they’ll smash it up the first chance that you give them/This demonstrates how confused we are socially/Is this really how paradise is supposed to be

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The Essential UK Gospel Tracklist – October 2013

The Essential UK Gospel Tracklist – October 2013

Man listening to music on headphones

I won’t lie.  I could blame a whole host of things for not posting an ‘Essential Tracklist’ in a while, but the truth is that I haven’t found much to excite me in 2013.

Some good stuff has come out this year but nothing grabbed me by the scruff of my neck, demanded my attention, forced me to drop everything I’m doing and get excited about UK Gospel music again.

Until now.

If I subscribed to conspiracy theories, my take would be that a whole bunch of UK artists decided to leave a whole lot of us UK gospel music fans waiting until the final third of the year before bringing it.

…And bring it they have.  Even more exciting is the fact that – in addition to the (pretty much inevitable) stream of Street music that continues to bring a spark to the scene, there’s some intensely delicious Soul, RnB and Singer/Songwriter stuff surfacing.

Anyway here is, in no particular order, some of the music that’s getting me majorly excited at the moment Continue reading The Essential UK Gospel Tracklist – October 2013

Top UK Gospel Sunshine Tunes to Warm Your Winter (Part 1)

So: it’s that time of the year again…

3-4 layers of insulated clothing is the norm (my default is 4).  The dark days are longer, and my wearing a hoodie to bed isn’t a strange sight to my family.

The warm orange glow around the country (not to mention the heady, feel-good summer vibe of the Olympics) is a distant, taunting memory as we go about cold life in winter-grey UK.

‘Afrobeats’ 

2011 had already threatened what has now become known as the ‘Afrobeats’ movement, but 2012 was when the music actually broke into the mainstream.  Inevitably, a lot of that is represented here.

For one last time before 2012 is over, break out your (real or imagined) sunglasses, winter barbecue, ice cream and sunscreen and enjoy some of the best UK Gospel Tropical tunes to bring the heat back into your life…

Continue reading Top UK Gospel Sunshine Tunes to Warm Your Winter (Part 1)

The Essential UK Gospel Tracklist – March 2012

Happy New Year!  First ‘Essential’ post of 2012.  Sorry it took so long.

The short version: through the ‘Essential UK Gospel Tracklist’ series I’ll point you in the direction of UK gospel tracks I think are worth further exploration.  Read the full background here.

In the meantime, the music for 2012 is looking rather good.  Here – in no particular order – are a few you definitely need to check out.

Continue reading The Essential UK Gospel Tracklist – March 2012

The Best 2011 UK Gospel Tracks You Probably Never Heard

(Picture: FreshFiber.com – Red iPhone 4 case)

Last Updated: 26 December 2011

I know we die-hard fans say this pretty much every year, but: 2011 was awesome for UK gospel music.

However, you don’t need a batch of rocket scientists to tell you that the very same thing considered the greatest asset of a predominantly independent scene – it’s very independence – is also usually its primary weakness.

Creativity in Major Vacuum

Somewhat ironically, that’s also a good thing because creative variety thrives in the selfsame vacuum created by the lack of major music companies promoting whatever they consider to be the latest music trend to bring in the big bucks – which in turn spawns countless bland clones looking to hit the big time.

The upshot is a scene that’s as varied as it has potential to be interesting, although there’s no getting away from the fact that it also makes some of the really good stuff hard to find.

Hopefully that’s where I come in.

Continue reading The Best 2011 UK Gospel Tracks You Probably Never Heard

The Essential UK Gospel Tracklist – June 2011

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. Continue reading The Essential UK Gospel Tracklist – June 2011

Want some *awesome* UK Gospel Music..? Start here!

The recent holiday season was amazing.

If you were shrewd enough in your planning, you might even have been one of those people with an 11-day holiday stretch.  I’m not jealous.

No, really…  I’m not.

Over the same period we’ve been plied with some great new music, so I’ve been a very happy bunny.

Here’s a quick round-up of the music you definitely need in your life.  If you went away you certainly missed the release of an amazing selection of strong music.

There’s still time to get them, though: Continue reading Want some *awesome* UK Gospel Music..? Start here!