Welcome to a new GospelFlava.com segment. On "It's Your Flava!", we from time to time invite opinion and comments from visitors. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of GospelFlava.com
Our first guest flava is from Nathan Thomas, who will be well known to those who frequent the GospelFlava.com message boards. He's from Brooklyn, NY, and is a member of The Love Fellowship Tabernacle (pastor Hezekiah Walker). Deeply immersed in Gospel music, he is a tenor in The Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church Choir, and attributes his vocal influences to Timiney Figeuroa-Caton, Donny Hathaway and Frank Sinatra (!). Catch Nathan's flava below as he opionates on Gospel in 1999. Nathan's opinions and facts are his own.
Submitted by Nathan Thomas December, 1999
This year seemed to be the season allotted to Kim Burrell and Kirk Franklin in terms of CD buzz and visibility, respectively of course. The lady with that Dorinda Clark-esque rasp and quick running ability returned in late 1998 with the follow-up to her independently successful debut Try Me Again. The sophomore release, Everlasting Life, was the first solo artist release on the new Tommy Boy Gospel imprint, and needless to say the "buzz network" was in an uproar. Having seen Kim live, it is only natural to get excited about anything new coming from her camp of seasoned musicians and singers, and so along with the much prolonged process of releasing her CD, came the deserved acclaim it received upon release. By no means a "major" commercial release, it did (as a Gospel CD) what it was supposed to, and much more. Effects of its success have included considerable visibility with the mainstream, with writeups in Billboard Magazine, and kudos from worldly legendaries like Chaka Khan (who deemed her the most interesting voice she's heard in a long while), whom Kim has had the opportunity to bless by her ministry.
Kirk Franklin [kept] his Nu Nation Project on our ears this year as well, and of course it went platinum. It is my hope that we as the Gospel consumer don't get caught in the hype of his "stardom" and forget that like any other ministry, he needs to be respected and nurtured as such. Many of us seem to think that because the world has seemingly accepted one of our psalmists as an "artist" that the particular individual should all of a sudden be seen as an "act" or a "performer". Ministry is our goal, and thinking such as that always ends eventually in negativity. For, the downside of "blowing up" is that the next man who used to do dates with you locally is now forced to see you win every and any award pertaining to Gospel, and naturally becomes envious. We all know that in church, envy turns to "shady" rather quickly. But the saints are praying right??? (I know I am).
Moving on....to the development of "new cats" on the scene. Some of us were re-introduced to some artists this year, either by way of a banging second project or simply through thorough ad campaigns and buzz. They include: Harmony Records' Nancey Jackson, who has been singing like that for years with choirs in New Jersey and even had a debut with Harmony a couple years back. But this seemed to be her season to finally shine with relatively wide-spread success in gospel. Working with notable producers such as: Tonéx (the brother who Verity put in career choke hold...y’awl know), J.Moss, Fred Hammond, and the Dawkins brothers, she returned with a vocal vengeance. Showcasing her wide range, this skilled alto voice was the talk of the town for a good four or five months which is kind of unusual if your name doesn't end in Clark or Winans, you feel me? I was happy for the sister.
Now in producers of the year reports, you gotta give it up to James Moss (the official Puff Daddy of Gospel music). He is the man you must go to if you are looking for that bottom-heavy, ready for the radio single or two that is sure to get the saints on their feet...ya heard me!!! From Nancey to Karen Clark-Sheard, from Dawkins & Dawkins to Men Of Standard (what's with them cats suing people for lack of promotion.....hello!??!.....Muscle Shoals..the name says it all).
James has even worked with Hezekiah Walker, who hadn't done studio stuff in years, but did this time and produced some major cuts that'll be bumpin' all the way into that Y2K. Straight outta Detroit, Michigan, he has caught the attention of most of the youth of the church. Currently working on tracks for Dorinda Clark-Cole and her debut project on Gospo Centric, he is much anticipated in terms of the release of his long completed CD to be released (tentatively) on the DefJam Gospel imprint (ya'll ain't heard about that huh??).
Lastly I gotta give a minute to that ill mecca of Brooklyn, where I reside. Pastor Hezekiah Walker, already revelling in the monetarily-successful debut project from HezHouse/Verity artist "The LFT Church Choir", he finally dropped what has turned out to be the gem of the year, The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir's Family Affair. Featuring 14 stellar cuts which feature his wife Monique "Second Chance" Walker, Kirvy Brown (yeah he's screamin'...and you know you like it), Teddy Riley & BLACKstreet (which might have been their last appearance), and the new underground "malifluous" singer of the year Ms. Ayana Bidell-George. Not to mention 4 studio joints courtesy of J. (let me see you do that dance) Moss. Currently riding high and pretty on Billboard, the party train known as Love Fellowship has no intention of screeching to a halt anytime soon. You gotta copp that full length video Family Affair in the 2000!!?
Well I think that about covers the majors as far as I see it. I expect great things to come about for the saints as we have upcoming projects from: my girl Natalie Wilson & S.O.P. (Gospo Centric/Interscope), The Kurt Carr Singers (Gospo Centric/Interscope), James Hall & Worship & Praise Unplugged (CGI/Platinum), Bishop J.C. White's Youthful Praise (independent), Donald Lawrence & Tri-City Singers' Tri-City4.com (EMI Gospel), Ricky Dillard & New G (Crystal Rose), the solo project from Dorinda Clark-Cole (Gospo Centric/Interscope), that new Karen (DefJam Gospel), Woody (from Dru Hill) and his gospel project which features cameos from Isaac and Lowell of MOS, and Mary, Mary (Columbia), not to mention the late 2000 sophomore project from The LFT Church Choir (HezHouse/Verity), and the debut joint from the baddest group out in a minute, LOVEUnlimited.
Alright then, by now you should be fixed, ya'll live righteous and all else will follow.
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