Category Archives: Mainstream Songs from Christian artists

One of the most powerful songs to come out of the UK – ever…

On this day, the last day of #BlackHistoryMonth in the UK

It’s only fair to draw your attention to one of the most powerful and profound songs to come out of the United Kingdom.

A song that – to my mind – will remain relevant and moving for all time.

Gavin Holligan: ‘More Than One’

Official Video

Piano Acoustic featuring Riccy Mitchell

Stream on Spotify

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Great ‘Mainstream’ Songs from Christian Artists (Part 4)

This is the fourth instalment in the series looking at UK Gospel artists and their exploration of the world of ‘mainstream’ music.

You already know the back story: we’re still navigating the long-running discussion around how best to respond to Christian artists creating music that isn’t evangelical by default.

It’s an interesting, if somewhat ironic, state of affairs because – given the chance – the same highly critical audience might grow to appreciate what’s on offer.  But hey, that’s another blog for another day.

Meantime here are another 3 artists to check out: The Kingdom Choir, Gavin Holligan and Riccy Mitchell

The Kingdom Choir

Before that one song at Harry and Meghan’s wedding changed everything (the couple reportedly rejected 10 versions of ‘Stand by Me’ before we got the one we heard), The Kingdom Choir had been consistently doing what many exemplar UK choirs do: hit the road, do the rounds and make good music.

2018 brought them global attention (they returned from accompanying Harry and Meghan on their tour for this year’s Invictus Games in Australia barely 24 hours ago).

Anyway, long story short: The Kingdom Choir’s  album, ‘Stand By Me’ is out now.

Showcase: Stand By Me

Gavin Holligan

After signing a lucrative deal with premiership team West Ham FC, shortly followed by a debut appearance at Anfield against Liverpool FC, no one would ever imagine that a professional footballer would ever turn his back on the world of sport and find his way onto the big stage performing with Stevie Wonder, Jocelyn Brown, Aswad and Floetry, but that’s what Gavin Holligan did!

(Text taken from Gavin Holligan’s website)

Showcase: More Than One

For my money Gavin Holligan has written one of the best, racially and culturally relevant songs to come out of the UK this year.

Riccy Mitchell

Ricardo Mitchell is one of the many, many, many underrated artists that deserves wayyyy more exposure than he currently has.

I’m sure there are a whole bucketload of reasons why that is, but I’m playing my part to help rectify the situation. 🙂

According to his Facebook page he’s an artist ‘Having a bunch of fun telling stories on songs…’

Showcase: As Time Moves Along

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Great ‘Mainstream’ Songs from Christian Artists (Part 3)

This is the third in a series that looks at UK Gospel artists and their exploration of the world of ‘mainstream’ music.

You know the one: songs that don’t necessarily fall into the evangelical bracket (and we all know the long-running discussion we’ll be forever having about that).

Meantime here are another 3 artists to check out – this time it’s the ladies edition

Michelle John

Michelle John was born to sing!

Whether it was singing as a child in her local Gospel Choir or recording and touring with stars such as George Michael, Annie Lennox, Mariah Carey and Eric Clapton, the diversity of her musical background and the wide range of Artists she has worked with have given Michelle a great vision for her musical destiny.

Michelle has worked with Eric Clapton for the last 9 years during this time she has extensively toured North and South America, Japan, Asia, Australia and Europe

She’s toured with Will Young on his last 3 U.K Tours, and perform with Herbie Hancock and Sheryl Crow and recorded with the Phenomenal Lenny Kravitz. She also recently performed at a concert for President Barak Obama.

Michelle has also been Rita Ora’s vocal coach.

(Text taken from the Michelle John Facebook page)

Showcase: Doing Me

Michelle John Spotify profile

Sharlene Monique

Sharlene-Monique is a multi award-winning singer-songwriter, who began singing in church aged 4.

Her debut EP Destiny was released in April 2018 and combines emotive, soulful vocals with inspiring songs of empowerment, love and self-acceptance. It has been streamed over 300,000 times internationally on Spotify including Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines.

(Text taken from Sharlene Monique’s Spotify profile)

Showcase: You

EP: Destiny

Rachel Kerr

Rachel Charmaine Kerr professionally known as Rachel Kerr is a British singer/songwriter, celebrity vocal coach and entrepreneur born in Walsall, United Kingdom.

She is also the CEO and founder of international performing arts academy Singercise™.

She is a member of the Grammy Award Association and a BET Music Matters endorsed artist.

Her debut EP release Back To Music, was released in 2012 and went on to win the singer her first MOBO Music Award and a 2012 Urban Music Award nomination.

Kerr has toured the US, UK and Africa opening for the likes of Lauryn Hill, Brandy, Musiq Soulchild, K. Michelle, Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond.

(Text taken from Rachel Kerr’s website)

Showcase: All for You

Spotlight album: Unboxed

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Great ‘Mainstream’ Songs from Christian Artists (Part 2)

This is the second in a series that looks at UK Gospel artists’ foray in to the world of ‘mainstream’ music.

You know the one: songs that don’t necessarily fall into the ‘evangelical’ bracket (and you know there’s still a long-running debate about that).

Be that as it may, I thought it’ll be interesting to see what happens when people who profess the Christian faith put out music that’s not overtly ‘Christian’.

Here are another 3 artists to check out:

Joshua Luke Smith

From his Spotify profile:

Joshua Luke Smith is a wordsmith packed with ammo. As a poet, rapper, and producer he creates from the mandate to ‘Speak Into The Chaos’

Joshua has a unique perspective on the world from both education and experience. After being Born in London, and raised in Pakistan, he ultimately settled in Bath, UK near where he graduated from Bath Spa University.

His childhood of consuming Nas, The Roots and Fugees meshes with current sounds of Stormzy and Bon Iver to inform the songs coming out of the studio in Joshua’s attic.

He’s been lauded in Complex and featured on BBC Radio 1. Spring 2018 will include his TED Talk being released, a US and EU tour and his first US label release on Residence Music

Showcase: Heart of Man

Joshua Luke Smith Spotify profile

Four Kornerz

From their Facebook page:

Four Brothers. Music like a Gumbo of Funky goodness.

The Music is Alive so Play it Loud wearing a neon halo and Sing like you’re winning! We are Four Kornerz.

Showcase: ‘Superstar’

Four Corners Spotify profile

Midé

From his Facebook page:

Midé is a London-based singer/songwriter with a uniquely soulful voice who has a real passion for live music.

Midé has an amazing way of connecting with a listener. There is always a welcome ease about the way he delivers any note, from originals to a cover. You only need to hear him cover “Bob Marley – Is this love” to enjoy all the subtle nuances from Blues to Smooth soul to soft rock.

If you’re a fan of John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Emeli Sande, Ed Sheeran or even Bob Dylan; you will absolutely enjoy watching and listening to Midé

Showcase: ‘With You’

Mide’s Spotify Profile

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Great ‘Mainstream’ Songs from Christian Artists

The debate around whether Christian artists should create exclusively evangelical (or at least overtly Christian) content is unlikely to be resolved this side of heaven.

In the meantime I thought it’ll be interesting to launch this new series examining what actually happens when people who profess the Christian faith actually record music that – to coin a phrase – doesn’t ‘have Jesus in every line…’

No Answers

I don’t claim to have any answers – if anything I find I’ve ended up with more questions as I ponder this issue.

But one thought I keep returning to is this:

If we Christians were a bit more accommodating of our creatives who – by the very nature of what they do – bare more of their thoughts and souls than the rest of us are naturally inclined to, then perhaps many of them won’t opt to ‘go secular’.

If we’re being honest it’s fair to say we’re constantly pushing (perhaps the word should be ‘stifling’) our artists by being tacitly prescriptive and cornering them into a ‘either/or’ choice regarding the flavour of their art.

Quite often – arguably more often than we’d probably care to admit – life is grey.

Surely it makes more sense to let the gifted use their gift to articulate this experience…?

Just a thought.

Anyway: on with the series.

This time: Samm Henshaw, Jake Isaac and Happi

Samm Henshaw

From Samm’s wikipedia page:

Samm essentially found his love for music and learned to play instruments in his church pastored by his father, where he developed his abilities further.

Alongside gospel artists Helen Baylor, Fred Hammond, Israel Houghton and Alvin Slaughter, Henshaw is said to have spent his childhood devouring mainstream pop music, from Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson to Usher and N*Sync.

Henshaw pinpoints his biggest vocal inspirations as D’Angelo, Paolo Nutini, Lauryn Hill as well finding songwriting inspiration in Grammy award winner Frank Ocean.

Showcase: ‘These Hands’

Samm Henshaw Spotify profile

Happi

From Happi’s website:

Happi is one of the new and vibrant talents emerging out of the UK scene.

Hailing from the heart of North London, Happi has successfully merged his afro/urban background, trendy pop sounds and a positive message to create his own musical identity.

Showcase:The Introduction

Happi Spotify Profile

Jake Isaac

From Jake’s Facebook ‘About’ page

Born and raised in south London, UK, Jake began playing drums at the age of 3 and during his school years taught himself to play piano and bass guitar.

By the age of 16 he had completed his grade 8 drums at Trinity College London, and had begun teaching the instrument.

At 19, whilst studying marketing at university, Jake had begun to make a living as a part-time session musician playing drums and bass on various jazz and rock records for a variety of international artists, including the Grammy-award winning Duffy.

Marketing manager by day, songwriter and session musician by night, Jake began working with artists such as Cynthia Erivo, Gabrielle, and boy band Blue.

Showcase: ‘Carry You Home ft J.P. Cooper’

Jake Isaac Spotify profile

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