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Interview With Steven Ford
Engineering Faith In The House

Steven Ford has one of the longest resumés in Gospel, but you have to listen hard to hear it from him.

Gifted in production, songwriting, arranging, keyboards, humble in spirit and with an enormous talent, Ford has endeared himself to artists such as Shirley Caesar, Yvette Flunder, Beverly Crawford, Vickie Winans, Maurette Brown-Clark, Amy Grant, T.D. Jakes, Donnie McClurkin, Alvin Slaughter, Ron Winans, Richard Smallwood, The Williams Brothers and many many more who he has worked with.

GospelFlava.com spoke with him about his work on the Faith In The House project, an album which has his stamp all over it (see review). He offers a fascinating perspective of behind-the-scenes. Hear it straight from him:



"This project has a special place in my heart, for several reasons. I am the Minister of Music at the Straight Gate Church, as well as the producer for the project. That's kind of special. First, it is the first praise & worship project, of many, that will be birthed out of the music ministry at the Straight Gate Church in Detroit (pastored by Bishop Andrew Merritt with his wife Vivica Merritt). I was called by Bishop Merritt to come to Detroit and restructure his music department a few years ago. And what is unique about the setup is that I run the music department in Detroit, Michigan, but I live in Philadelphia."

Steven Ford"This is the first project as a result of the restructuring of the music ministry there and the vision of Bishop Merritt. With all the new urban sounding Gospel CD projects released on the market now that may only cater to selective listeners (and geared toward secular radio formats), this Faith In The House project is more for the church. Producing and arranging this project gave me the opportunity to use a bit of the flavor of the Philly sound, fused with Detroit overtones, with the worship style of Straight Gate Church all mixed in."

"Secondly, the project was recorded during a Sunday morning service, which is very different, because most live sessions are usually on Friday or Saturday night. By scheduling the recording right in the Sunday morning worship service, wewere sure to get the folk that come to church for worship, and not the audience that usually come to a session with a concert spirit, or just to be entertained. The true worshippers showed up for Sunday service, and to their surprise soon found out that we were recording a state of the art live session during the morning praise and worship experience."

"Last, but not least, this project afforded me the pleasure of finally working with some of the most anointed worshippers and psalmist of this time: Pastor Bruce Parham, Elder Dana Powell, and also the quiet but very talented Vanessa Williams of the Richard Smallwood group, Vision."

"Pastor Bruce Parham is a good friend, and a fellow Philadelphian, so our friendship has a long history. I used to play the organ for him when he sang at gospel programs around town in Philly. I think he was about 12 years old,and he used to wreck the house everytime he sang. He was anointed then, and he is even more powerful now. However, I felt that He had never been really captured on a worship project, so I wanted to feature Bruce as the male psalmist for the project."

"His contribution is so great on this project, words cannot adequately express. Bruce's ability to flow in the anointing took this project to such a place in worship. We were forced to edit some of the best moments from the recording, and after he sang the song penned by Bishop Merritt, "Cover Me Lord", the presence of the Lord was so heavy in the building, it took almost 30 minutes to get back to the recording. The power of God's presence in Bruce's ministry shines through."

Faith in the House"We wanted to have a balance with such a strong male psalmist. Dana Powell has been one the best kept secrets of the Strait Gate Church in Mamaroneck, NY. (the covenant church of the Straight Gate Church in Detroit.) When I think of praise & worship leader, I only think of Dana. Dana's ministry set the pace of the recording, her ability and anointing to usher the congregation to the feet of Jesus is demonstrated throughout the project. She vocally ad libs, singing scripture from the Bible unlike anyone I have heard before."

"In addition to her psalmist ministry on the project, she also wrote two songs, co-wrote, shared the choral directing duties with Debbie Williams, and helped with some of the vocal arrangements. I proclaim that Dana Powell's name will be on the lips of many, as a chief Levite called to the office of worship leader for the body of Christ."

"Vanessa Williams' meek and quiet spirit was a sweet contrast in the presentation of this live recording. Her pure and refreshing vocal tones added a wonderful contribution to this project. Bishop Merritt always spoke to me about how she blessed him with her vocal ministry on the Richard Smallwoods Adoration: Live in Atlanta, when she sang the lead vocals on the songs "Angels, Watching Over Me", and "Holy Thou Art God". So he made the call to Vanessa and she agreed to be a part of the project. When I starting writing the songs for Faith In The House, I knew that Vanessa's voice was tailor-made for the song, "I Was Created To Worship You". Vanessa was joy to work with, as were all the other soloists (Zetta Chapman, Robert Norwood, Yvette Jones)."

"What really amazed me is that, with only maybe one real rehearsal,Vanessa, Dana, and Bruce flowed and ministered like they had been singing together for years."


commentary by Steven Ford;
feature compiled by GospelFlava.com Staff






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