Category Archives: UKGospel.com

Stuff about UKGospel.com…

UKGospel.com version 3: We’re Live!

After about 5 or 6 years of:

  • Starting and stopping
  • Copying and pasting
  • Writing and editing
  • Doubting and being confident
  • HTMLing and Adobe Flashing

Today, the BRAND NEW UKGospel.com version 3 website is LIVE!!!! YAAAAAAAY!!!

So, what next..?

Well, the UKGospel.com project has been going for almost 2 decades. As you can imagine so many things have changed in that space of time:

  • We’ve gone from static HTML pages to community forums embedded in websites
  • Forum conversations migrated from the websites to social networking (RIP MySpace)
  • Then everything again morphed into what they called Web 2.0,
  • All of a sudden not only could we read about the UK Gospel music scene, we could actually watch and listen to the music we were all getting excited about
  • I went CRAZY on Soundclick and did over ONE HUNDRED mixes to promote singles, EPs and albums on the store, UKGShop (RIP).
  • The mixes are still there – have a listen

The Beginning of the End – Flash

In 2010 Steve Jobs wrote his infamous Thoughts on Flash open letter, spelling the beginning of end for the technology that had allowed people like me with no HTML programming knowledge to design websites.

The two early versions of UKGospel.com, version 1 and 1.5 (don’t ask) had been designed in Moonfruit – it’s drag and drop interface was perfect for visual designers like me

UKGospel.com version 1

While it’s taken the better part of 10 years for Flash to fully die (Adobe announced in 2017 that it will stop supporting Flash by 2020, and Google’s Chrome browser officially stopped supporting it on January 2021), I still have so many great stories in Moonfruit that I’ll be transferring over here.

UKGospel Legacy project

A New Dawn

  • The scene has had an incredible run over the last 5-6 years: recording technology has never been cheaper, release cycles have never been more frequent, the diversity has never been this varied or vibrant.
  • There’s still so much to say, but this was supposed to be a very short post on the UKGospel Instagram feed that’s somehow ended up being a stream of consciousness piece
  • I’ll end by saying this: it’s a sparkling new dawn for UKGospel.com, but there’s even more good news: there are more platforms than ever before supporting this incredible, diverse, pulsating, creative and passionate scene. I list some of them in another post (see below)

Rebrand Journey

Who remembers that Nokia phone??? ūüôā

I’ll be using this series to share the journey: everything from transferring some of those classic stories from the scene to the evolution of the UKGospel.com visual identity (I suppose you can call it a rebrand)

Video

We’re living in the age of video so keep an eye out for the occasional behind-the-scenes video update (like this one)

So much more to say, but I’d better stop now. I still have to write this ‘Ladies of UKGospel’ post and I have less than 6 hours to do it – and I haven’t even started it yet!

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UK Gospel Forward-Look: Exciting Trends for 2016

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The UK Gospel scene frequently has to endure unhelpful comments about the state of its health, typically in the shape of (mainly uninformed) comparisons between it and the more mature US market: nothing ever happens here. Apparently.

Yinka Awojobi makes the case for exciting developments and continued optimism in 2016.

Good Thing

I haven’t done one of these annual forward-looks in so long it’s actually taking serious effort to get back into the swing of things.

The main reason? I hadn’t felt much of a need.  And that’s a good thing, trust me.

Let me explain: these days, getting your UK Gospel music industry news is nowhere near as challenging as it used to be. There are lots of good places to get it from.

Continue reading UK Gospel Forward-Look: Exciting Trends for 2016

A Day in the Life: Selfies and Screenshots

17. Waterloo

It’s one of the questions most frequently asked of me:

‘How Do You Do It..?’

And almost two decades in, I still don’t have a clear answer beyond ‘I just do’.

The Day Job – And Then Some…

cropped-ukg_logo.jpgMy name is Yinka.

About 14 years ago I set up UKGospel.com, dedicated to supporting the amazing job that an incredible amount of people continue to deliver in this vibrant industry.

In addition to UKGospel.com, there’s the UKGospel.com blog (a completely separate entity), as well as the UKGospel social feeds (of which there are a fair few, but I’m most often on the platforms du jour Twitter and/or Facebook).

Like so many people with a highly specialist passion, I do it outside of – but in addition to – the day job.

Continue reading A Day in the Life: Selfies and Screenshots

Hello 2014, Goodbye UKGospel.com..?

In 2013 I seriously considered shutting down UKGospel.com

It was an easy enough conclusion for me to reach: when I started the project back in 2000 it was one of quite literally only a handful of sites dedicated to featuring news, reviews, opinion and analysis on the UK Gospel music scene.

UKGospel.com logo and Stop SignExciting

But now, almost 14 years down the line, UKGospel.com is just one of many platforms serving the incredible efforts of what – in my view at least – is still one of the most exciting gospel music industries on the planet.

To put that statement into some kind of context: this is a scene that produces great (even world-class) music and live content at a fraction of what the world’s leading market, the USA, does.

Diverse Musical Pallette

I’ve said this many times before: in some respects, not having a fully evolved industry framework has worked in our favour.

It’s meant that comparatively speaking we enjoy a more diverse musical palette in our Gospel mainstream as compared to the American setup which is dominated primarily by the three main flavours of the Gospel sound: ‘Traditional’ and ‘Urban Contemporary’ (read: ‘Choir songs ancient and modern’), and RnB.

‘…comparatively speaking we enjoy a more diverse musical palette in our Gospel mainstream when compared to the American setup…’

Risk-Adverse

You can also make a strong case for another catch-22 argument: larger players (artists, labels, broadcasters, etc.) are likely to be more risk-averse, sticking to what they do best.

And this is almost always at the expense of pushing the creative envelope, as concern about the cost of failure (more likely financial than creative) engenders an industry output that leaves little significant bandwidth for anything outside well-established parameters.

Infrastructure

Building BlocksDon’t get me wrong.  I’d *love* a bit of that US infrastructure action right here in the UK, and I know many people are working hard on finally (and firmly) establishing those building blocks (so hopefully: soon, Lord…)

In the meantime: what the scene currently lacks in broader industry investment and infrastructure it more than makes up for with a truly varied scene and sound.

This is almost certain to include music that – in addition to the expected ‘Gospel’ output – also offers everything from Hip-Hop to RnB to Reggae to Soul to Singer-Songwriter to Latin to African and more.

‘…In the meantime: what the scene currently lacks in broader industry investment and infrastructure we make up for with a truly varied scene and sound that…offers everything from Hip-Hop to RnB to Reggae to Soul to Singer-Songwriter to Latin to African..’

Crucially though, much of this content will almost certainly find its way into our ‘mainstream’ with comparative ease: you’re likely to read about, hear or see this diversity at play on a wide range of platforms from blogs to radio, TV and websites.

Never Been Stronger

And with the happy confluence of the incredible power of search (thanks to the likes of Google and Bing), cheap and even free, easy-to-use publishing tools, audio and video streaming, full-service and micro-blogging websites and platforms, support for UK Gospel music has never been stronger.

Promotion

Social Network ConceptWebsites and social feeds like London’s A Step FWD and Birmingham’s recently relaunched GL Records, plus other sites like Snowdrop Online, M-Brio Music, BeeSuareZ Blog (which – somewhat ironically given the context of this piece – was offline for refurbishment at the time of my writing), and even American websites like Rapzilla and Gospel Innovation all play a part in the promotion of the UK scene.

And in spite of all our inevitable annual complaints about its choices, even the MOBOs has been resolute in retaining the Gospel category in their events of recent years, boldly serving up 100% UK gospel nominees in lieu of the arguably easier American option for the past 3 or so years.

‘…in spite of all our inevitable annual complaints about its choices, even the MOBOs has been resolute in retaining the Gospel category in their events of recent years..’

Radio

Unsurprisingly, online radio is also very robust at the moment with two of the strongest brands in this space being the London-based, Dave P-owned UGN Jamz, and Nottingham’s DJ Proclaima‘s SoulCure Radio.

Globe and Headphones

And outside the Gospel scene things are beginning to look up again: after a few years of vicious culls of Gospel shows across a whole range of broadcasters, gospel programming is returning to mainstream radio…

Just last month respected RnB and Soul station Mi-Soul (pronounced ‘my soul’) announced Tony Tomlin‘s ‘The Soul Feeder Show’ (Mi-Soul founder Gordon Mac was happy to be persuaded by Tony about the need for Gospel) and Wayne Marshall is on Colourful Radio in London, specialising in Gospel House Music.

‘…as important as London is to UK Gospel, radio is in rude health right across the country…’

And – as important as London is to UK Gospel, radio is in rude health right across the country: shout out to DJ Mello holding it down on community station Peace FM in Manchester, Mel & Carmen Carrol‘s Soul2Sole on Ujima FM in Bristol and Ibe Giantkiller on Jamrock Radio in Luton for representing gospel music on shows on mainstream platforms.

Things are healthy offline as well: radio continues to grow apace with the excellent work that UCB and Premier Christian Media do (in UCB Gospel and Premier Gospel respectively).

And we’ve seen the launch of the relatively new ‘church-branded’ radio format, typified by Ruach Radio and Jesus House radio in London.

It’s a fairly safe bet that there are others around, and no doubt there will be more to spring up in the coming months and years.

Television

It could be much better, but UK Gospel Music TV is arguably in something of a good place too, with the best example by far being the resilient Uprise.

TV - colourful graphic

It was very encouraging to see Uprise‘s strong resurgence in 2012/2013, not just with entertainment programming but social issue initiatives (see the Uprise Sleep Out).

We no doubt need significantly more content and platforms in this space, but I’ll take what we have at the moment, thank you  ūüôā

Of all the emerging Christian media platforms television arguably has the  biggest challenge to deliver Christian programmes that aren’t cringe-worthy. We’re on the way, but there’s a way to go yet.

‘It could be much better, but UK Gospel Music TV is arguably in something of a good place too’

Here’s to hoping more brave souls bring more TV production companies to a sector that deeply needs not only hugely passionate individuals but people who really do have a long-term vision and dedication to the medium.

And speaking of passion, OHTV also deserve a huge hat-tip as a TV channel still going strong in the incredibly expensive, free-to-air satellite TV space, supporting Uprise and other UK Gospel programming.

Shutting Up Shop

Closed SignSo this all means I’m increasingly having to seriously consider the word ‘no’ to the question I frequently ask myself:

‘Do I still need to keep doing this..?’

‘…I’m having to seriously consider the word ‘no’ to the question I frequently ask myself:

“Do I still need to keep doing this..?”‘

More and more, people can get their UK Gospel news from more places and across more platforms than ever before.

When I’d speak to friends about shutting up shop, many would (very kindly, to my mind) point out that there is still nothing like UKGospel.com out there.

I’m not sure I agree with that. This piece hopefully goes some way to not only show, but prove otherwise.

The platforms strongly supporting UK Gospel do exist, and if you haven’t heard of them yet, you soon will.

Trust me on that one.

Too Much Passion

How can I be sure? Well, there’s way too much going on in this industry.

Way too much passion, way too much music, way too much vision, way too much belief, a whole lot of negativity (yeah, I said it),  counterbalanced by an infinitely larger number of folks working hard to prove the naysayers wrong.

‘There’s a whole lot of negativity counterbalanced by an infinitely larger number of folks working hard to prove the naysayers wrong…’

Ultimately there’s way too much power in the Gospel for platforms in this industry not to grow and prosper.

I’m convinced that over time we’ll also witness the birth of new trends and platforms.

No Vacuum

cropped-ukg_logo.jpgI’m still not sure how much longer I’ll continue running UKGospel.com in its current form, but that’s a good thing.

To my mind the simple truth of the matter is this: if this site disappears tomorrow I believe there won’t be much of a vacuum to fill. I’ve already stated my reasons why.

And I strongly believe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. This thing has always been bigger than any one platform.

‘…This thing has always been bigger than any one platform…’

In the meantime: onwards and upwards

[Exclusive!] First-ever look at stills from Four Kornerz’s new video ‘Lean on My Shoulders’

This looks very interesting…

I’ve just been sent the first-ever, first-look, frame-by-frame sequence of images from Four Kornerz‘s brand new video ‘Lean on My Shoulders

Video still: Four Kornerz  power vocals
Video still: Four Kornerz power vocals

‘Lean on My Shoulders‘ is released very shortly.

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Listen to ‘Behind The Beat – The Full Story of ‘Soulectric’

[Free Download] ‘Riddim Culture Presents Ram 1’

Riddim Culture Presents - Ram1

As a subgenre UK Gospel Reggae has never really got the props it truly deserves.

It has as many¬†(arguably more) players active on the international scene as the more high-profile Hip-Hop and ‘traditional’ gospel artists. ¬†But – like much of the wider contemporary Gospel music scene – it’s consistently under the shadow of its mainstream equivalent.

Still, the Reggae Gospel lot are a hardy breed, consistently putting out the music, regardless (perhaps that should be ‘in spite of’) the scant attention it gets in the UK gospel mainstream.

Ram 1‘s newest release, his first mixtape, put together by his label Riddim Culture (itself a creation of the unstoppable¬†producer¬†Edward Holland Junior)¬†is a feast of the diverse subgenres Reggae offers: Roots, Dub, Dancehall and some of the more difficult-to-define styles.

Bob Marley fans will adore Ram 1‘s interpretation of the classic One Drop among the other delights on offer.

This 30-track free download set (17 music tracks, and 13 feature/shoutouts from personalities as diverse as genre-hopping acts like sammy.,¬†¬†Jahaziel and Manchester’s Panache,¬†as well as UK Gospel Reggae veterans like Birmingham’s¬†Spanna,¬†London’s¬†Gyamma to Malta’s Living Waters) comes very highly recommended.

If you’re not a huge Reggae fan – or are in the market for a decent introduction to the genre – this a superb place to start!

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Free 2013 New Year Song from Da Sargeant

One of the more memorable releases from last year came from 20-year-old British-Asian Sam Daniel, aka ‘Da Sargeant‘.

His Bhangra song, ‘Yeshuve’ (a remix of his acoustic original, included four Indian languages as well as an international collaborative effort) brought a rare breadth to the scene.

Da Sargeant - Grace Anthem Cover

He’s back with a free 2013 New Year Electro-Pop track¬†called ‘Grace Anthem’, released on New Year’s Day

Listen and download below:

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Music update – ‘The Essential UK Gospel Tracklist’

The UKGospel.com Essential UK Gospel Tracklist – March 2011

2011: third month in, and things have been off to a cracking start right here in the UK.

I can barely keep up with the pace of new music announcements.¬†¬†Under many other¬†circumstances, that could be a bad thing.¬†¬† In this case, it’s¬†the¬†rather delicious, delightful opposite.

If you’re after up-to-the-second news updates, links and reports then you have to follow me on Twitter.

That’s where I publish all the hot news as soon as I get it – long before it makes the main site or this blog (that is¬†if it even ever gets here…)

On With the Music

Anyway, main reason for writing this:¬† I’m putting – in one place – some of the serious musical stuff that you need to be checking out. ¬†I’ll be updating this post a lot so check back often.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in¬† Continue reading Music update – ‘The Essential UK Gospel Tracklist’

News: Triple O launches new site

Today, (10th November 2010) Triple O launches his brand new website: www.tripleouk.com.
Central Point

The new site will act the central point for Triple’s activity, including the now-obligatory social networking links, music updates as well as being his primary means of contact.

“I am so glad to have this site up and running. It is great to now have one place to direct people to when they simply want to know more about me and¬†the music.

Fully open Spring 2011

A full site will created and open to the public around Spring 2011 – and I plan for it to be massive cyber-world in itself.”

The launch of the website coincides with the scheduled release of his long-awaited (that in itself being something of an understatement) debut single “Come Home” featuring London‚Äôs Mighty, is out on Monday 20th of December 2010.

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Do NOT listen: Pass Out Freestyle – Ejiro, Guvna B and Triple O

The plan was to sit in my local coffee shop and update UKGospel.com.

I hadn’t done a proper update since starting my breakfast radio show at Premier Gospel three weeks ago (early start, late back home, shock to the system ūüôā ).

So, I’m in the coffee shop, and I’m editing features by Karl Nova and Henry Yanney.

So far so good.

Minor Distraction

By way of some minor distraction and background music to my editing session I pull out my in-ear headphones and decide to check out my Facebook profile and listen to the ‘Pass Out’ Freestyle, posted on my wall (all at different times and with different versions) by Ejiro, Guvna B and Triple O.

The track was originally done by mainstream UK artist Tinie Tempah, and the beat is *awesome*.  Now I know not everyone is happy with Christian artists jumping on mainstream music.

If that’s you, I respect your view.

Least Productive

Anyway, it’s turned out to be the least productive thing I could do. ¬†I’ve been replaying all three back to back, and my site update has suffered…

So whatever you do, DO NOT LISTEN to:

Ejiro on Pass Out

Guvna B on Pass Out

Triple O on Pass Out

That’s all I’m saying.

Now, back to work…

UKGospel.com is not gonna update itself…