Interview with PAJAM

PAJAM, the talented production trio, has changed Gospel and Urban Gospel in many ways. Walter Kearney and Paul Allen of PAJAM spent some time with GOSPELflava.com talking about their new Praise and Worship release on Integrity Gospel, titled Sing to The Lord, and also about praise and worship in the Black church in general. And of course, about the upcoming J. Moss project...

PAJAMGOSPELflava.com: Fred Hammond did something that no one else was doing when he worked on Integrity’s "In The House" series in the 1990s. How important is it to bring the songs popular in CCM circles and adapt them for a more urban and black audience?

Paul Allen: The Black church has started to venture into the praise and worship realm. Those songs are praise and worship classics. It's important because there has been a move with Fred, Israel and New Breed, Martha Munizzi, Joann Rosario and Stephen Hurd. It's just time. Praise and worship has become prominent in the Black church. It's great that they are being exposed to that because it takes us into the presence of God.

GOSPELflava.com: How did you hook up with Integrity?

Walter Kearney: We had a relationship with Integrity since the Ramiyah album came out, because Integrity handled the CCM market for the project. [Integrity Gospel executive] Jackie Patillo knew that we did great music production and she knew how we did business. So it was just kind of a natural thing to let us do the next record for them. That's what it was, and Jackie being so cool said, "You guys gotta do the next record". It went from there.

GOSPELflava.com: There was obviously a great deal of thought put into picking the songs for the release. Was there a process?

Paul Allen: We sat down with Jackie and we had a panel full of songs. We were like "Let's narrow it down to some of the big Christian Praise and Worship heats. Let's use the ones that have already been tested and sung in churches. Let's narrow it down to about 25 songs." We just started to go through those songs and we were saying that "the Gospel church needs to hear this. Oh they need to hear that." So we narrowed it down to the ones that are on the record. We went with the ones that have been tested, the ones with words that grab you. We just put our Black church spin on it.

Sing To The Lord
CD "Open the Eyes of My Heart" gets a little reworking with Darrell Dixon's wah-wah guitar work serving as the icing on the cake. Look to Jared Anderson's "Rescue" for an example of PAJAM's excellence in balladry work....

Read full album review.

GOSPELflava.com: "Father" is such a hot song and it has that appeal to be a good song for Praise and Worship. What inspired you to write that song?

Paul Allen: I'll be honest with you. My wife and I are always talking about different things; kicking stuff around. One day, I heard her say "Father I Love You". I said "Oh wow. I love God too". Some kind of way, a melody hit me and I was singing those words over and over. All of a sudden the words and the melody started to come together.

GOSPELflava.com: Monique Lee and Leya Dickerson are prominent singers on Sing To The Lord. Where did you discover these two singers?

Paul Allen: As a production company, we keep our ear to the street. We are always looking for new talent. We are always auditioning. We have to have musicians ready to go. We have to have singers ready to go. Leya and Monique have been faithful and loyal to PAJAM. We're just trying to implement them on certain things. We have a host of other singers that are going to be coming out. That's what we do.

GOSPELflava.com: For the last 5 or 6 years, it seems like everyone is doing a praise and worship album. Do you think that some are doing it just because it is the trend?

Walter Kearney: Absolutely. That's just a part of the music industry. Some artists see what sells and see what people are getting into. Some artists just adapt to it and make it their own, but there are some true praise and worship leaders that have put together some tremendous records. We just learn from them. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It depends if the person puts their heart to it and adapts to it. That can be a wonderful record.

Paul Allen: Then there are many artists that don't have control over it and the record labels will dictate to them. They’ll say, "You know what? The new move in the industry is praise and worship. We need to do that." Like Walt said, there are some true praise and worship artists like Kurt Carr, Stephen Hurd and Byron Cage. They have always been doing it. There are some that are made to do it. It is what it is.

GOSPELflava.com: There are rumblings about an album from PDA (Paul Allen). What is going on with that?

Walter Kearney: The PDA album is coming!!!

PAJAMPaul Allen: It is an album from a producer's perspective. Timbaland did one. Pharell did one. So did Babyface. The list goes on. It's my turn. It's going to be bangin'. It's going to be uptempo.

Walter Kearney: Nothing but uptempo tracks.

Paul Allen: Walt wants it to be uptempo. We are going to make it happen. We're in the midst of it now.

Walter Kearney: You're talking about the dude that did the "Holla" track by Trin-I-tee 5:7. He did J Moss' "I Wanna Be" track. I go down the line of the uptempos that are PDA specials that people are not aware. He has the ballads, but he definitely has the uptempo tracks. The record is going to be versatile, but it will have the headbangers that PDA is known to put down.

Paul Allen: The A&R of the project is obviously Walter Kearney (laughing).

Walter Kearney: Well, PDA has always been in the background on the production side. It's time for him to come out and into the forefront. He has put his heart into our artists: Ramiyah and 21:03. He is going to display, from his own perspective, himself.

GOSPELflava.com: OK, we cannot end this interview without asking about the new J Moss project. What is going on with it? People want to know!

Paul Allen: We're finishing up that record right now. Remember when Michael Jackson went solo and came out with the Off the Wall record? It let people know that "Michael Jackson is solo. The album is hot". It went on to be a big record. Then he released "Thriller" and it blew up beyond the imagination. That's the J Moss...V2 record. We’re putting our heart, soul, mind and energy into this record. We put so much into this project in terms of our sound and creativity. We have Thriller-type expectations. We originally named it J Moss...Thriller, but we didn't want to bite, so we called it J Moss...V2. It comes out on April 3, 2007, and it's ridiculous. We got Marvin Winans, Donnie McClurkin and Kirk Franklin. It's crazy! We got Karen Clark and Kim Burrell.

Walter Kearney: It might even have PDA on the record.

Paul Allen: PDA is on there. 21:03 is on there also. The record is really incredible. We have live strings and horns on there. We even have a song called "I'm Not Perfect" featuring a big named secular artist whose name cannot be disclosed right now. It's going to be shipped to urban radio.

Walter Kearney: We go the extra mile with issues that the church has issues with. We just speak on them in our own way.

Email This To A Friend

interview by Dwayne Lacy

  All content in GOSPELflava.com © copyright 2007. No information to be reprinted or re-broadcast from this site without the expressed written consent of GOSPELflava.com. All rights reserved.

New Releases
Message Board
Search Engine
Mailing List
About Us

Stellar Awards