Tag Archives: Music Industry

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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B Positive Choir’s Debut Single – a Call to Rise Up and Give Blood

B POSITIVE CHOIR releases their debut single to encourage blood donation and support sickle-cell sufferers

Following their TV debut at MOBO’s 2017 AwardsB Positive Choir today (11 December 2017) announced the release of their first single “Rise Up”, a commendable cover of the Andra Day original (which itself already has 19 million views on YouTube).

With lead vocals by the MOBO Gospel category winner, Lurine Cato, the release aims to encourage more people to be counted as blood donors.

B Positive, a 60-strong choir of individuals from across England, who live with Sickle Cell disease, their families, friends and supporters, are harnessing the power of music to motivate a new generation to become blood donors.

The choir was formed in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant with the mission to highlight the urgent need for new donors in order to help those who require frequent blood transfusions, including those with Sickle Cell disease.

B Positive’s performance of “Rise Up” will be shown as part of a MOBO Awards 2017 special on BET (Black Entertainment Television) tonight at 10pm.  Proceeds from the single will go to NHS Sickle Cell wards, so by downloading “Rise Up”, you are also helping to support their life changing work.

Choir MasterColin Anderson says: Over the last year 900,000 people have given up their time to help patients in need.  But we need more new donors. Every day, we need 6,000 donations to continue saving lives.

We need life-saving blood from new donors of all backgrounds to provide the closest matches for all communities. We are particularly looking for younger people and black communities to come forward”

Following on from last year’s award winning “Represent” campaign, MOBO and NHS Blood Transplant are proud to continue their partnership and help spread the message to a wider audience.

MOBO CEO and Founder, Kanya King MBE says “We are proud to work with NHS Blood and Transplant on the “B Positive” campaign and use our platform to help recruit new donors. We were honoured to be able to provide B Positive Choir with their television debut, and it’s amazing to see the response they’ve received. We have had so many positive messages of support and love for the song – and consequently have made it available for download”

NHS Blood and Transplant urgently need 200,000 new blood donors each year in order to help provide those who need it with the best care possible. One donation takes an hour and can save up to three lives.

Rise Up and Be Counted: Give Blood, Save Lives

For B Positive updates and to follow their journey, including behind the scenes footage, case studies, performances and to download “Rise Up” please go to www.blood.co.uk/bpositive

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(Adapted from the supplied press release)

 

Why You (Still) Need Radio in Your Life – By Radio Presenters (Part 1)

Pure Evoke_F3_Lifestyle Radio

In an age where you completely control every aspect of your audio consumption experience, why do you still need music radio..?

I’ll be honest: before I started working in radio I had very little time for the medium.

These days we’re spoilt for choice, with options for free and paid download services, or audio streaming via any number of platforms, most of which are (for the moment at least), free.  So why in the world would anyone need radio? Continue reading Why You (Still) Need Radio in Your Life – By Radio Presenters (Part 1)

Why You (Still) Need Radio in Your Life (By the People Who Should Know…)

Radio (Blue)

Think about it – in this age where you completely control every aspect of your audio consumption experience, why do you still need music radio..?

I’ll be honest: before I started working in radio I had very little time for the medium.

There was a perfectly valid reason for that, too: these days we’ve potentially got all the music we’ll ever need on demand. And chances are we’re not getting the vast majority of that selection via radio.

We’re completely spoilt for choice, with easy access to free (and paid) download services, and to media streaming via any number of platforms, most of which are (for the moment at least), also free.

Continue reading Why You (Still) Need Radio in Your Life (By the People Who Should Know…)

#MOBOGospel – Time To Move On..?

wpid-mobo_gospel_vertical.pngI decided to not say much on the MOBOs for 2015.  That was deliberate.

To be honest, the UKGospel.com team’s excellent 2014 #MOBOGospel specials had pretty much said much of what was needed, articulating a whole range of issues around the complexities of the UK Gospel scene’s relationship with the country’s biggest Black Music awards platform.

In my view a new opinion piece would have been extraneous.  Besides, the fundamentals remain unchanged: MOBO announce awards.  MOBO announce nominees. Consternation ensues. Lots of navel gazing, meaning-of-life-ing and hand-wringing follow.  Furore dies down.  Rinse. Repeat following year.

Curveball

MOBO Pre Awards Show 2015Then last week – and completely out of the blue (for me anyway) – MOBO threw a curveball and announced a new format: a Pre-Awards Show, celebrating Jazz, RnB/Soul and Gospel, uncoupled from the showcase TV broadcast. and now reinvented as a dedicated standalone event.

The press release pitches it as a red carpet gala, and despite the inevitable second-guessing around the reasons MOBO made this move, the genuine intention to make this new strand something of a serious thing can’t be denied.

To wit: performances scheduled from some of the UK’s best-known and credible Black talent (Courtney Pine, Mica Paris and Omar to mention just three) plus Gospel’s own Faith Child and Annastasia Baker is – in my book at least – a serious statement of intent.

Shaky Ground

We start to get on slightly shaky ground when MOBO feel the need to have an American host the event (in this case Marvin Winans Jr, who – to those in the know – comes from American Gospel royalty).

Brand Extension

However, with my brand extension hat on I can see why MOBO would make this kind of play: for one, this could be the beginning of a new, strong spin-off, a separate but complementary awards strand.

It’s also built (at least with this prototype version) around legacy music genres which traditionally have a deeply passionate follower base, but don’t pull in the mass audience that TV channels like ITV2 or BBC 3 will need to justify the airtime bill.  Besides: everyone loves the Americans, right?

Without putting too fine a point on it, I’m happy to wait to see how this all plays out.

Amazing Opportunity

For me the crux of the matter is this: UK Gospel once again stands on the cusp of an amazing opportunity: the chance to fully engage with the process, participate in the conversation, and at the very least have an input, and ultimately, influence.

Credible

When all is said and done it’s in MOBO’s best interest to make sure the category is credible.  And – with all due respect to many of the nominees we’ve had in the Gospel category over the years – that hasn’t always been the case.  I think we’re all agreed on that.  I’m sure even MOBO knows this.

MOBO’s Credit

Where I disagree with much of what I suspect is conventional thinking in the Gospel industry is the amount of blame that needs to be laid at MOBO’s door: from where I stand (and to their eternal credit), MOBO is consistently reaching out, looking for ways to engage the community.

I live in eternal hope that – at the very least the UK’s official industry body, the Gospel Music Industry Alliance (GMIA), will play some role in this new dawn.  I made this same point back in 2012.

Good Omens

MOBO Pre Awards Show 2015 - Faith Child Performing LiveIn the meantime the omens are once again good: the lovely PR people at Outside (who, in conjunction with Black Grape) have created significant buzz in the Gospel media community: I don’t think I’ve seen this much anticipation from a wide range of bloggers, radio folk and website publishers in, well… Ever.

So I along with a few the UKGospel.com team will be breaking out the glad rags and heading out to Under The Bridge in Chelsea London, on Tuesday 27 October 2015.

Voting for Best Jazz, Best Gospel & Best R&B/Soul closed yesterday (Friday 23rd October) so we’ll find out who picks up the Gospel gong for 2015: CHOS3N (Birmingham/Midlands), Olaedo (London), Leroy Johnson (Leeds), Ni-Cola (Manchester) or Faith Child (London).

For me, the real work begins now.  Regardless of who picks up the Gospel 2015 award, the UK Gospel scene has another chance to become real winners by actively engaging with the MOBO process…

It looks like I’ve just signed myself up for writing #MOBOGospel 2016, God spare life…

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#MOBOGospel Part 4 – Lady T’s Thoughts on The MOBO Gospel 2014 Nominees (Podcast)

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MOBO 2014 – The UKGospel.com Specials

So, it’s that time of the year again. The MOBOs roll back into town for 2014, returning to the Big Smoke for the first time in years, with the event taking place on October 22nd.

And you can bet your house (or rented accommodation) that the ‘whos’, ‘hows’, and ‘whys’ in response to the announced nominations will – pretty much inevitably – not be that far behind.

What is it about the UK’s biggest Black music awards that completely polarises opinion across the board..?

In the fourth instalment of our special #MOBOGospel series Yinka Awojobi catches up team member Lady T for her take on the 2014 nominees

It got a bit heated.

Continue reading #MOBOGospel Part 4 – Lady T’s Thoughts on The MOBO Gospel 2014 Nominees (Podcast)

What’s The Point Of The MOBOs..?

image

MOBO 2014 – The UKGospel.com Specials

So, it’s that time of the year again.  The MOBOs roll back into town for 2014,  returning to the Big Smoke for the first time in years, with the event taking place on October 22nd.

And you can bet your house (or rented accommodation) that the ‘whos’, ‘hows’, and ‘whys’ in response to the announced nominations will – pretty much inevitably – not be that far behind.

What is it about the UK’s biggest Black music awards that completely polarises opinion across the board..?

Continue reading What’s The Point Of The MOBOs..?

How I Ended Up Creating an Amazing Music Video – For Free! (ish)

Dancing Man

Ever thought it was impossible to create a music video because you didn’t have much cash…?

This may help…

You may know that in addition to publishing UKGospel.com, I currently present a weekday breakfast radio show on Premier Gospel.  A couple of weekends ago I was looking for ways to create a short video to promote the show.

I’ve done lots of audio promos – that’s standard procedure for radio.  But I wanted to do more video, as the challenges around using video to promote radio are interesting on multiple levels.

Continue reading How I Ended Up Creating an Amazing Music Video – For Free! (ish)

UKGospel.com Podcast 10 – You Have the Power: What Would You Do For UK Gospel…?

UKGospel.com Podcast 10 – You Have the Power: What Would You Do For UKGospel…?

UKGospel Podcast 10 picture

The first 2013 podcast release from the UKGospel.com team and guests…

And (in case you can’t see the photo above for some reason) arguments break out once again over diverse issues including:

  • What the team would do if they were the CEO of the UK Gospel music industry
  • Following the Pope’s lead and resigning…
  • Is it ever okay to swear..?
  • Is it okay to make money from gospel music…?
  • The ‘missing’ young generation of UK gospel music artists…
  • Sex toys and gospel artists
  • And a few more other bits and pieces…

And in case you missed the last one: the ‘Sex Toys’ bit suggests listener discretion advised.

There’s nothing too serious going on, but you’ve been advised anyway…

Representing this time around (again in alphabetical order):

and Yinka Awojobi

Listen to #UKGospelPodcast 10 – Enjoy!

Thoughts on what you’ve heard? 

  • Leave your comments below!

Want People to Keep Returning to Your Site? Ditch Autoplay

Does the audio or video media auto-play on your site..?

Angry Baby

You know the story: you’re on your lunch break at work. You decide to check out that website someone recommended.

You type in the www dot whatever and press ‘Enter’…

  • Total, embarrassing chaos erupts.
  • You’re on an unfamiliar work PC.
  • The sound fills the entire room, and everyone in the office stares disapprovingly.
  • …and the speaker volume is on maximum.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a great big hole nearby that you need right now to swallow you up…

Let Your Site Visitors Control Their Own Experience

Chances are a huge percentage of people arriving on your page will have something already playing: more than likely that will be music, but it could also be some other media activity like watching a video, or just reading web pages (yes, people need to concentrate on reading too).

And sure, you’re keen for the whole world to watch your amazing video or listen to your amazing music, but try to see it from your visitors’ point of view, and give them option to play your content in *their own* time, not yours…

Their visiting experience to your site will be all the better for it – and that means they might even come back for more.

Simple as that

Photo: Flikr user Abdul “B.as.it” IM