Gospel Music

Artist spotlight: His Will

FullSizeRender.jpg

Hey guys, it's been a while! Today we're back with our latest Artist Spotlight and this time we're featuring a very exciting group of young people from the West Midlands area. They are called "His Will" and God willing you will be seeing them on our youtube channel soon! 

 

Hey guys, lovely to have you on the blog today! Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

 

We feel we are a friendly group of friends that sing contemporary style music. We mainly sing our songs acapella but we wouldn’t necessarily say that we are an acappella group. At the moment we have a group of 5 members. We say at the moment because over the years the number has fluctuated between 3 and 7 and with members at uni not being able to be as active as they would like we find it hard to pinpoint the actual number.

 

Why did you choose your name? What does it mean?

So our name is pretty self explanatory we are mainly here to do the will of God. His Will. And disclaimer we actually didn’t choose the name ourselves it was chosen by a woman from one of our churches. We went around for a while without a name funny enough because we just didn’t know what to call ourselves and she just laid it on us. It’s all explained in our song “His Will” where it pretty much explains us doing the work of God.

 

Wow, that is great. How long have you guys been making music?

We have been doing music for quite a while. All of us have been singing since a very young age but as a group we have been together about 4 years.

 

4 years is actually a long time! How did you get started? 

 

For some reason Adrian tells this story a lot differently than everyone else. He would say that we evolved from being the “Adrian’s group” but it really didn’t. Ok so Danielle wanted to sing the song “Potter’s hand” with Alvin and after they sung it they thought it would have been even better with a 3rd harmony. So they brought Delainie in to make a trio. Adrian thought he would be a really good addition to the group after that so he became the bass singer. This is how the group was first born really in about 2013.

 

Wow, I love hearing group origin stories, they're always so cool and yours is no exception! It actually reminds me a bit of the story of my all time favourite Acapella group Take 6. They have influenced me and my music in so many ways! So talking about influences, who would you say is your favourite Christian/gospel influencer/artist?

 

At the moment we all have DEFINITE differing opinions but our artists are as follows: Joyous celebration, Isaac Cates, Todd Dulaney, J Moss and Bill Gaither.

 

You've listed some real powerhouses of gospel singing and songwriting there! Who would you say is your biggest influence?

 

Our styles are all so different its actually mad to try and pinpoint 1 influence. So we won’t. That’s our rebellious side shining through here haha but we will only name a couple. Resound are a big influence on us. Their blend is crazy!  We would also have to say SCRIPTURE SAYS!!!!! Well they’re just……they’re just! We just love them! They’re almost as weird and crazy as us to be honest and their harmonies are just……..(speechless there’s no words at the moment). They’re our sister group. But we admire and appreciate their acappella vibe its so refreshing and different.

 

Aww I love that! They're were equally gushing about you so it's great to see the mutual respect and admiration. Speaking of Scripture Says, they are phenomenal songwriters as well. Are you guys into that as well? How many songs have you written? 

 

We actually have quite a few songs written to be honest. Our problem mainly is that we don’t get anything down recorded or even sing them all. We would say that we officially have 4 songs though because they’re the ones we have actually sung.

 

I see, so you have loads in the bag/pipeline but only 4 you've performed. Great stuff! What about instrumentation, do you play any instruments? If so which ones? If not, which would you choose?

 

We're all at different stages with this! 

Richard – doesn’t play an instrument but would like to learn the bass. Adrian – Plays saxophone and violin and would like to learn the guitar. Serene – Plays violin and would like to learn piano or guitar.

Danielle - Plays piano and would like to learn the bass and the ukulele. Alvin -  Plays saxophone and piano and would like to learn the musical saw and trumpet.

 

Well that's a lot of talent there! It's got me longing for the day His Will lay down their voices and pickup those instruments and blow us away! I notice Adrian and Serene want to learn the guitar, it's the best instrument - go for it! (Not that I'm biased or anything!) 

Ok so moving on, if there was 1 artist you could work with, who would it be and why?

 

That’s so tough because there are so many artists that we would love to work with both as a group and individually but the main ones would need to be: Lalah Hathaway, Fred Hammond, Jason Nelson, Jonathan McReynolds.

 

You just named my favourite male vocalist and favourite female vocalist, can we just take a minute :D Good choices there indeed, I'd love to work with any of them but especially Lalah and Jonathan! Tell us 1 quirky thing about you guys as a group?

1 quirky thing about us is that we are actually quite weird and we admit it lol. But we think that being weird is part of our personalities. We are all definitely different weird and funny in completely different ways but we all work together.

 

Most of the year is gone now lol, but I'll ask anyway. What does 2017 hold for you?

 

2017 is a very steady year for us we are planning to do some recording to actually try and get some of our original music down somewhere. But that’s mainly our plan.

 

That's great, we really need more of a recording culture in the UK gospel scene ESPECIALLY in the SDA church which has so much talent. Good to see you're doing your bit for the culture! Aside from music, what would you say is your biggest passion?

 

Food! Say no more. We know that might sound so weird but we all really love food. We love cooking, we love going out to eat. We love dessert. Omdz dessert yaaasss heavenly desserts makes us very thankful. If we are ever in a bad mood all we need is either a waffle or a really good burger.

 

LOL! Where do you guys put the food? Y'all do a good job of hiding it away! Ok so let's move on to some questions about you as a group. Quickfire, ready, fire, aim! Numero uno: Who's the loudest in the group?

 

Serene. Without a shadow of a doubt. If you know her you know her.

 

LOL! I thought she was pretty quiet myself tbh #justsayin (ok maybe I'm trying too hard?) Anyway, who's the biggest joker?

 

We are all funny we like to think anyway but Alvin is really funny. We’re undecided about whether we say this in a good or bad way though. There are some days that we question and wonder about him.

 

Lol! Who is the deepest thinker?

The deepest thinker is definitely Alvin he questions everything. He’s just different.

 

Wow don't have it Alvin! Who is the most creative?

The most creative of the group are definitely Danielle and Alvin. It’s like they’ll say they want to show us something they’re working on or a mess about and then all of a sudden its like bam! You’re actually floored.

 

What's your proudest moment as a group been so far?

 

We would have to say our proudest moment was opening for the group Committed. We opened with the song 'The Lord’s prayer' by Isaac Cates and it’s one of the hardest songs we have sung as a group. Adrian hates starting songs but he did really well. It was the first time that we have done a full set instead of just 1 or 2 songs. It was such hard work and the feedback that we got after the concert was so encouraging and positive.

 

Yeah we were at that concert and y'all were off the chain! Amazing (glory up) Where do you see your ministry in 5 years time?

 

We would want to be on our 2nd world tour. No that’s a joke aha we aren’t ready for that sort of thing any time soon. We would want to have released an album, maybe 2 hopefully. At the moment God has been leading and a lot of people have been asking when certain things are going to happen with us but we are still following God’s direction.

 

You know what, that's a great place to end this. Your name is His Will and it's great to see that in your ministry you're serious about following His will and His direction. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

 

Really we just want to share our music. We have instagram and facebook under "hiswill music". These are our main sources. But watch this space for updates of our material we do have plans.

 

Thanks for joining us today and sharing your journey His Will. You can check them out on Facebook by following their page here: His Will or on Instagram page here: His Will. Till next time, blessings!

(L to R) Danielle, Serene, Alvin, Adrian and Richard. 

IMG_2205.JPG

(L to R) Richard, Danielle, Adrian and Serene

IMG_2428.JPG

(L to R) Richard and Danielle

IMG_2510.JPG

(L to R) Adrian and Serene

IMG_2511.JPG

Richard

IMG_2512.JPG

Danielle

IMG_2513.JPG

Serene

IMG_2514.JPG

Adrian

IMG_2515.JPG

The "Kirk Franklin" double-standard

IMG_2135.PNG

I grew up in a place called Lagos in Nigeria to a Christian family. Nevertheless, I didn't grow up listening to a lot of gospel music. In fact, I grew up listening to mostly hip-hop, some R&B and a bit of pop (I especially loved the King of Pop's dancing!). However despite my limited experience of gospel music, even back then, I knew (from observation) that there were a few certainties in life: 

 

1. Drums are evil/inappropriate for church use

2. Loud music is evil/soft music is holy

3.  Classical music is a foretaste of the angelic song in Heaven

4. Secular (or circular as some people call it) music is evil.  

5. Kirk Franklin and his music should be avoided by all good Christians. 

 

Looking back I find it funny that such an attitude was so prevalent in my experience in Nigeria. When I came to the UK and got baptised, I gave up the hip-hop, R&B & pop music, and I began to sample the delights of gospel music, primarily through the youth choir I was in. Interestingly I found a lot of the same attitudes, especially with regards to Kirk Franklin.  Although we often sang some Kirk Franklin songs, there was always a reluctance and an air of uncertainty when it came to mentioning his name in relationship to the songs we did.

 

IMG_2137.PNG

Why did Kirk Franklin prove to be such a controversial figure? People said his music was "worldly" and "secular". Perhaps it's because he sang songs calling for Revolutions, and songs which had hip-hop artists (Left-Eye), or because he said "booyakah". Or perhaps it was because his music videos looked like the hip-hop music videos, or because he did crossover songs with R Kelly, Mary J Blige and Bono? These things were often cited as evidence for why we should avoid his music, however the primary rationale given for this was the claim that his music was "worldly" and did not sound like gospel. 

This left me in a bit of a conundrum because the more I listened to Kirk's work, the more inspired I was and the more I loved his songwriting and his songs. I didn't love everything, but enough for him to quickly become and remain one of my favourite gospel artists. However I always felt a tinge of guilt or a bit of apprehension when I mentioned it because you could feel the judgment stirring up from people whenever his name came up. 

The more I listened to gospel and became involved in it, the more I became aware of a strange phenomenon. I'd meet or sometimes visit people who were very anti-Kirk and they'd play some of their favourite gospel music. To my absolute amazement, a lot of what I heard sounded surprisingly similar to the R&B I'd heard when growing up. The instruments used, the sound of the drums and the beats, the "wah-wah" and "muted guitar", the bassIines and the grooves, they were all used in ways similar to what I'd heard growing up. Time and time again, with artist after artist; from 'The Winans' to 'Commissioned' to 'Fred Hammond', my experience was replicated again and again: they all sounded like 90's R&B. Yet to my amazement, those who were quick to denounce Kirk for his alleged "worldliness" would be very content with bopping and singing along to these songs. Worldliness then was not the absolute standard I had been led to believe, except when it came to Kirk! That is the double standard. 

 

IMG_2139.JPG

It is very obvious to me that Kirk Franklin is definitely not perfect. How can he be, he's just a man! He still gets embroiled in different controversies (think of the recent 'I smile' lipstick-gate, his breakfast club interviews and his work with Kanye West). Nevertheless, we cannot write him off for any of the reasons I was given growing up. In many ways he has proved to be a positive role model to the next generation of gospel artists and uses his platform to mentor, encourage and speak some powerful words (see his blogs here: Great Divorce and here: Good is the enemy of great and check out his championing for other gospel musicians). On a personal level, he is one of the few gospel musicians of his era who is still happily married to the same woman which simply can't be taken for granted. You can tell that the older he has gotten, the wiser he has become and perhaps he would even regret some of his earlier antics in his youth.  Our ultimate role model is Christ and not man. 

Finally being able to see this double standard taught me much. It made it clear that using "worldliness" of the sound as a standard is very problematic. It's incredibly subjective, and consequently very inconsistent in it's application. If sounding worldly is the standard for judging music, then it needs to be consistently applied. If it falls down when applied consistently, we need a better standard.

This begs the obvious question, what is that standard? This is a really great question, and it's one we can talk about in one of the future blogs. Till then, stay blessed :)

Artist Spotlight: Destiny Malcolm

We recently caught up with one of our artists Destiny Malcolm. She has been working with One Sound Music for just over 2 and a half years now and we had a good ole' chinwag. Check it out...

 

Tell us about yourself Destiny...

 

Hey, so i'm 23 years old, currently about to graduate from uni (finally!), I have 1 younger sister aged 15 and she's always always right (so far). We live in the small unique city of Wolverhampton, though my dreams are beyond it's walls!

 

That sounds great. How long have you been doing music?

 

I'd say, 7 years. When I was 16 I wrote my first official song and performed it live for a fairly huge audience, since then i've been in and out of writing and performing, until recently, where I now do it full force. 

 

Wow! 7 years is a long time! How did you get started? What made you start?

 

I remember clearly, I was in year 8 and we were given the opportunity to play the clarinet. I didn't like it very much, I couldn't seem to make it sound nice, and after around 4 or 5 lessons, I told my music teacher Mr Edwards (shout out to him) and my parents, on parents evening, that I wanted to play and sing at the same time. We had been using the guitars in music class and I was picking it up quite fast, and so Mr Edwards kindly allowed me to take one of the many guitars home to use, I was dead chuffed! That's how it began, I instantly started writing my own songs about teddy bears, gold fish, little girls with rainbow hair, and it slowly matured when my parents agreed to buy me my first electro acoustic Yamaha with the rainbow strap. Shout out to them and One Way Music in Wolves for the hook ups over the years. 

 

One Way Music??? For a moment I thought you forgot our name, One Sound Lol! We do thank God for people like Mr Edwards who create opportunities to nurture talent. Their influence is timeless! Speaking of influence,  who is your favourite Christian/gospel artist at this time?

 

There are so many to choose from, but the first that comes to mind has to be..... Hillsong United! I love them, I love the worship experience they facilitate, I love their lyrical content, I love their vibes, I love how they write and how they share it all with us! I wish we could be friends tbh. 

 

Ah that could yet happen. What would you say is your favourite music album and why?

 

'Of Dirt & Grace (Live From The Land)' - Okay so, they went to the land! They went to Israel and spotted various significant places where Jesus walked, and recorded live versions of their album EMPIRES, plus some amazing bonus songs. I think that is a genius idea and if you have some time, watch the videos on YouTube, they're awesome. Also, the actual songs themselves are so fresh and new, I love it when musicians take songs and change them, giving us a different sound but still the same song, its wonderful. I recently did a review of the album in my Friday Top 5 music chart, so check it out on my FB music page.  

 

That sounds intriguing! We'll have to check out the post and also that album, it really does sound like an amazing project! Moving on to the subject of songwriting, how many songs have you written?

 

Umm, in total, i've actually written about 20-23, which seems kinda crazy to me! That's since I started writing at 16 up until the song I recently wrote. 

 

Wowzers! 7 years of songwriting under your belt is pretty impressive! You're pretty handy with the guitar too! Aside from guitar, do you play any other instruments?

 

You know what, I can play the harmonica, I actually have 2 at home, they are kinda loud so I don't play as much as I want to but, you heard it here first - It is my goal to play the guitar and harmonica together in a song, this year ! I saw Priscilla Ahn do it many years ago in her video Dream and It's been in my heart ever since. 

 

I've also seen videos of people doing both, so it's definitely possible. Don't worry though, I'm sure we'll be there to capture your debut on guitar & harmonica soon! Moving on to collaborations, if there was 1 artist you could work with, who would it be and why?

 

This is hard. Of late, i've been loving Jaimie Woods, and she would be cool to work with im sure. I see some of her creation videos and think "oh i want to be there with you!!" She has nice harmonies and cool melodies, and I just know we would be able to vibes musically. 

 

I'll have to check Jaimie Woods out indeed. I've definitely got homework to do from this interview :) On a more personal note, can you tell us 1 quirky thing about yourself?

 

In my spare time, I watch Arthur (I learn from it) & take online courses- currently taking massage course!

 

That sounds pretty chilled. Who would you say is your biggest influence?

 

I don't know, I'd probably say Hillsong, because I watch them daily, I listen to them often and I read their content- It's all helping me to kind of understand my own music ministry and specifically think about what my purpose is as an artist. Others like Philippa Hanna influence me in different ways, and following her on Instagram helps me to see what she's doing, which will always give me ideas and a push to keep going. Plus she's a local gal from Sheffield which speaks volumes in terms of achievement and reaching goals etc. 

 

Apart from music, what would you say is your biggest passion?

 

Wellness. I'm passionate about the promotion of health & wellbeing. That stretches from, emotional wellbeing, to physical health. God intends us to live life abundantly, and so holistic health and wellness is essential. 

 

Amen to that, people need to hear that more and more especially in these times we're living in! What does 2017 hold for you?

 

In one word, 'Accomplishment'. I've been planning and curating some fab content ideas for a while now, and i really believe that  2017 is the time to get the plans lifted. Look out world, i'm coming :)

 

The world is waiting :) Do you have any upcoming gigs/dates to share?

 

Look out for a brand new YouTube music video early March on my channel- https://www.youtube.com/user/destinyJoeliva/ 

I don't have any gig dates to share at the moment, but summer will hold a lot so stay tuned!

 

For our final question, is there anything else you'd like to share?

 

I just want to encourage people out there. If you are struggling to find your gift, your calling, your purpose, just keep seeking God - His Kingdom, and His Righteousness, and you will be inspired to work for Him in your own unique and cool way. I hope soon, to share some really cool content on my Channel around the topic of purposeful living, so if you are interested, subscribe and await the goodies!

Thanks so much for joining us today and sharing Destiny. You can connect with Destiny and her music via on our One Sound Music page and also through her various social media: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/destinyjoelivia/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/destinyjoelivia/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/destinyJoeliva/

Bandpage: https://destinymalcolm.bandpage.com 

 

 

 

Performing

"Alive In South Africa" for Praise & Worship Teams, Part 1

Israel Houghton is a prolific songwriter, and in my opinion, the 2005 album "Alive In South Africa" was one of his best, if not the best. A two-disc live album with hits from top to bottom - and of course, lots of ideas for praise and worship leaders. We're going to try a different tactic on this blog post, and pick out all the songs that we think would be beneficial for you guys to use as praise and worship leaders (if you aren't using some already). Edit: We realised there are so many gems on this album, that this will only be part 1 - part 2 will come next week! Let us know what you think in the comments below - have you tried any of the below? How did it go?

 

Intro Idea #2: Surely - Israel & New Breed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRiAWbfa2Zk

If you want to keep it mellow, just use the first 2 minutes of the track, keep it at that inversion and sing the chorus round twice.

If you want it to end it on a high, do the chorus once, then build it from the word 'place' and tag on the 'oh-oh-oh' at 2:55 and then sing the rest of the track from then on out.

Of course, you can do the whole thing, with the verse, but that's a very long intro - the track runs for nearly 5 minutes!

Lyrics:

Chorus:

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place
Surely You won't forsake the ones who seek Your face
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place

Chorus:

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place
Surely You won't forsake the ones who seek Your face
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place

Verse:

In Your presence there is fullness of joy and laughter

He rejoices over us with singing and we are changed
As we welcome the heart of the Master
And the heavenlies are ringing out with praise in one accord
Praise to the Lord

Chorus:

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place
Surely You won't forsake the ones who seek Your face
Surely the presence of the Lord is

Chords for musicians: http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0052542

 

Offering Idea #1: Turn It Around - Israel & New Breed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia5Qe_iEnFc

Malachi 3:10 - "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and put Me to the proof now herewith,” saith the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open to you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

This one may be a bit complex - so to simplify, you can run the verse in unison both times, and then the chorus once in unison (and once in parts if you're feeling adventurous). The vamp can be run from 3:05 to 3:49, or again, if you feel like pushing the boat out, the whole thing - this may be difficult for a congregation to follow!

 

Verse:

All things are possible for you all things are possible
nothing's too difficult for you nothing's too difficult
I'm ready for change ready for rain ready for favor I know you able to

Chorus:
Turn it around open the windows of Heaven
pour out a blessing overflow
turn it around open the windows of Heaven
pour out a blessing we cannot contain let it rain let it rain

Vamp:
You have turned my mourning to dancing
you've turned my sorrow to joy
you have turned my whole life around
thank you thank you Lord

Chords for musicians: 

https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/i/israel_houghton/turn_it_around_crd.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVM-D_lnnCo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4At0JU1nCkg

 

Praise and Worship Idea #1: It's Raining - Israel & New Breed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGDY1tJxftw

 

Isaiah 54:8 -  "Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it."

Zechariah 10:1 - "Ask rain from the LORD at the time of the spring rain-- The LORD who makes the storm clouds; And He will give them showers of rain, vegetation in the field to each man." (spiritual application of rain being the outpouring of the Spirit)

Beautiful song about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This can be used as a worship ballad towards the end of a set - this song definitely needs a lead though!

Suggested running order if you're teaching to the congregation: 1) Verse in unison twice, 2) Chorus in unison (mellow), 3) Verse in unison (do the parts towards the end), 4) Chorus in parts (build - repeat twice) 5) Vamp (unison first, then parts) 6) Vamp up a semitone 7) End on Overflow (similar to 5:31)

 

Lyrics:

Verse:

It's raining, it's pouring, the spirit is flowing
I feel the anointing for healing and miracles

It's raining and pouring over me

Verse:

It's raining, it's pouring, the spirit is flowing
I feel the anointing for healing and miracles

It's raining and pouring over me

Chorus:

Let it rain, let it rain

Let it rain, let it rain

Verse:

It's raining, it's pouring, the spirit is flowing
I feel the anointing for healing and miracles

It's raining and pouring over me

Chorus:

Let it rain, let it rain

Let it rain, let it rain

Vamp:

Healing water flow over my soul
Healing water overflow, overflow, overflow

Healing water flow over my soul

Healing water overflow, over

Healing water flow over my soul
Healing water overflow, over
Healing water flow over my soul

Healing water overflow, overflow

Overflow, overflow, overflow, overflow, overflow

Overflow, overflow, overflow, overflow, overflow

Chorus:

Let it rain, let it rain

Let it rain, let it rain

 

Praise and Worship Idea #2: To Worship You I Live - Israel & New Breed

Original Track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWENUK96aBM - unless you're going to get a lead to do this (and even then, seems a bit long to do that whole intro before everyone joins in), you should probably do the last part (i.e. from 3:00)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ol9WHSUUq0 - idea of how to do it- should probably twin it with another song so it doesn't become too repetitive.

Lyrics:

Verse 1:

Away away from the noise

alone with you
away away to hear your voice
and meet with you
nothing else matters my one desire is

Chorus:

To worship you I live

to worship you I live I live to worship you
To worship you I live
to worship you I live I live to worship you

Vamp:

oh oh oh oh (Repeat)

Verse 2:

Away away, away away from the noise alone with you

Away away to hear your voice and meet with you
It's been a while but hear my heart cry again

Chorus:

To worship you I live

to worship you I live I live to worship you
To worship you I live

to worship you I live I live to worship you

 

Vamp:

oh oh oh oh (Repeat)