Gospel Artist TORI KELLY Talks New Album and Faith Journey!

The world has their eyes, hearts, and ears set on the incredible talent that is American gospel recording artist, Tori Kelly. Kelly hit the music scene with her debut album titled Unbreakable Smile. Now, four years later she has released her newest creative project Inspired by True Events. While sitting down for an interview with Hugh McIntyre of Forbes magazine, Kelly discusses her journey of moving through pop and gospel music, understanding her fans along the way, and expressing herself fully in everything she produces.

Kelly describes her new album, highlighting the stories and lyrics behind it all, claiming it as her most personal album.

“I think what probably happened naturally was I went to what felt comfortable, which is stripped down, raw, live instrumentation. Keep the music part of it really simple, to where the lyrics and my voice can pop more. I think my first album, Unbreakable Smile, was more like, “Here I am world! Here’s some pop songs and I’m going to sing all big!,” which is so much fun. I love that still. But with this album it felt like it was time to just kind of… They call this my “grown-up album.” I think every artist probably goes through that feeling of, “Hey I need to just say some things, whether or not it makes sense. This is my story. This is what needs to come out.” Hopefully, people connect with the songs and can relate to them. I’m being really honest on this album.”

Tori Kelly has fans from every walk of life. Thousands upon thousands have become exposed to gospel music since she has grabbed the world’s attention. As she dances in and out of different genres, she stays true to herself, her style and her fans.

“I went gospel, I went into that genre, and I have so much respect for that genre and it’s also so much a part of me. And not only the genre, but the message too, and what they’re singing about. My faith is a huge part of my life. To answer your question, it’s awesome to be able to say, “Yeah, I’ve done country songs. I’ve done gospel songs. I’ve kind of gone all over”, but from my perspective, it still feels like it’s me. It’s still my voice. I’m still putting all of myself into it. So if anything it’s fun for me to share and experiment. I don’t have to stick to one lane. I’ve been calling it life music. Life songs. It doesn’t always have to have a title on it.”

Don’t forget to check out Inspired by True Events and follow Tori Kelly for more releases and updates!

Heavenly Melodies Africa, Overflow Africa Worship and Racheal Kabeba!

For the third year in a row, the Overflow Africa Worship conference has taken place, gathering worshippers, musicians and ministers to fellowship together and worship God in one Spirit. The conference was held at Christian Life Assembly (CLA) in Kigali, Rwanda over the weekend of August 25 – 27, 2019. This annual conference was established by Heavenly Melodies Africa, a group made up of worship leaders and pastors from various churches throughout Africa. The idea behind the Overflow Africa Worship conference is to provide a time and place for worshipers to convene from every walk of life and style and sharpen one another’s gifts. Just imagine what the worship services are like at the conferences!

Following the Overflow Africa Worship conference, Glory Iribagiza (The New Times, Rwanda’s Leading Daily) sat down with Zambian gospel artist, Racheal Kabeba to discuss musical inspiration, personal life and future career goals.

When asked about life outside of the music world, Kabeba did not skip a beat. Her passion for gospel music is a clear overflow of her passion for the gospel and serving others as Christ serves the Church. Her response:

“I am an entrepreneur. I run an academy called ‘Vocal House’, so I coach people. I train choirs, artists, both established and upcoming depending on their needs. I also love to mentor people, usually those ones I barely charge.”

In the interview, Kabeba expressed challenges she has faced over the years while working in the gospel music industry:

“I have been offered big contracts by different people, but there are always strings attached. They either want me to change the genre of my music, or they want me to change my writing style. Believe me I am human, I have got needs, but that’s how the enemy plots. I am glad though, that by the grace of God, I have been able to triumph.”

She continued to share about the trials she faces as a woman in the industry specifically and how starting out at the young age of 17, offered challenges she was not always prepared to face. When looking adversity in the face, Kabeba knew the only way about the noise would be to make your own. She pushed herself in order to prove others wrong when they would doubt her talent as a young girl.

With the favor of God that she always remained accountable to, she found her sound and is now leading worship for this powerful convergence of worship leaders from all over. Kabeba is thankful to God and to Heavenly Melodies Africa for putting together the Overflow African Worship conference. We look forward to hearing from her again at next year’s conference!

Gospel Singer Ada Menakaya Releases New Single! “HE HAS DONE IT”

We are in the month of July and according to Christ Embassy and the man of God, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, this is the month of Thanksgiving! It appears the Lord has pressed upon many hearts the act and desire to give thanks as Nigerian gospel artist Ada Unoma Menakaya releases her newest single, “He Has Done It”. Something we are all at fault of in the Christian life is losing sight of just how much God has done for us. It is common for people to look at their situations and trust in the things around them, without really recognizing that we have God to thank for all things.

In an interview with Guardian Music, Ada Menakaya described her new hit single as a song of declaration and prophecy:

“He Has Done It is a song of declaration and prophesy that God can do all things if we believe in our hearts without a doubt. This song was written from a place of deep thanksgiving to God for what He has done in my life; it’s a song anybody can relate with.”

Menakaya is very pleased with the positive response and attention she has gained with her new releases and shares with fans of her anticipated plans for a new music video that is still to come! Menakaya thanks her faith-filled upbringing and the unrelenting pursuit of her family to raise her and her five other brothers and sisters in a home filled with gospel music from legends like the Clark Sisters, Whitney Houston, Don Moen and more.

 “Those different styles of music, as well as a strong presence in the church, helped to shape me as a singer as well as a person. There was no time I was left with options of the message to carry. From the start, I just knew it was gospel and gospel alone. I represent Jesus Christ and all I want to do is fly the banner of Christ.” She told Guardian.

Photo by: The Guardian

Ada even gives a shout out to one of her all-time faves, and ours too! Inspired by LoveWorld artist, Sinach, Ada mentions the strong women in the gospel music industry that are true worshippers of God. Ada lives a life of deep conviction for the Lord and the great pedestal He has given her to share His glorious name in praise and thanksgiving with the world. While it is often chosen by artists to cater to the more secular side of fame for the sake of being more “relevant”, Ada proclaims:

“It is strictly gospel that speaks to everyone regardless of tribe, race or creed, with the sole aim of bringing them to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. My mission is to authentically touch and impart lives and people of all ethnicities and generations around the globe with my music and see the word of God transform and change their lives, binding up the broken-hearted”

Check out this incredible sister’s new music and be inspired to give THANKS to God for everything He does for you – And stay tuned for the upcoming music video that you don’t want to miss!

Aretha Franklin’s Live Gospel Album Finally to Reach the Cinema – “Amazing Grace”

On August 16th we will remember one year since Aretha Franklin left our world and imprinted our hearts forever. A day that will remain in history as a day we all lost a bit of soul. Imagining a world of music without such an incredible talent has in no way become any easier with time. She was not only an astounding vocalist, but a lover of many with an infectious spirit, and a timeless icon in gospel music.

Whether you are a believer in Christ or not, some performers carry a sense of godliness in them that comes from their spirit when they sing. Franklin was one of those vocalists that causes you to look to God because of the richness of the soul in everything she did and in each performance.

In 1972, at the age of thirty years old, Aretha Franklin was hosted by the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles, California for a two-night special performance. However, no one could have believed this would become the biggest selling live gospel album in history. Altogether, the production was set to be a powerful and moving expression of art and media but was left untouched (for the most part) and unseen by most of the world, until now.

The art of Reconstruction

The new film titled Amazing Grace is one of its kind. The phenomenon of mixing media and arts to produce something wonderful that has never been done before is not simply creating something that is new but rather an entire experience that has never been had. Oscar winner Sydney Pollack was brought on to direct multicamera footage of the entire two-day performance, all taking place in the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

Due to the quality and abilities of filmography from the early 1970s being much less advanced than what we consider to be ‘workable’ now, the footage sat unedited for decades. It was not until very recently that the correct digital editing technology was even created to reconstruct the footage. Producer Alan Elliot became interested in the project that was becoming more relevant as film production became more advanced.

The Worship Experience

The Guardian describes Elliot’s work on the film by Pollack to capture both the hive of musical activity and fervor or religious ecstasy that thronged through that church all those years ago. There is always a greater sense of intimacy between the artists and listeners when there is a raw visual performance, much like the experience of going to a concert versus listening in your headphones. Amazing Grace brings us directly into the intimacy of that worship experience that took place almost 50 years ago.

Overall, the project is one of its kind that has never been done before. The art of bringing an audience into such an intimate and spirit-filled experience that was had so long ago and giving it new power and strength constitutes an utter masterpiece. The film has had a gradual release, as it has been featured throughout 2018 in various film festivals across the US. It officially released in the UK last week, with additional scheduled releases in other countries throughout the summer. Check out the official trailer for Aretha Franklin’s new tribute film “Amazing Grace”

Women in the Christian Entertainment Industry

PROCLAIM19 DISCUSSES WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY

National Religious Broadcaster recently wrapped up their annual International Christian Media Convention, Proclaim 19. The convention took place in Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California from March 26-29, 2019

ChristianWomeninEntertainment

This gathering included the most talented and successful producers, organizers, directors, and musicians in the Christian entertainment industry, making for an enriching experience for all creative leaders worldwide. In addition to the amazing networking opportunities when you gather so many creative minds together in one space, you may also find yourself amongst some of the most important and necessary players in the industry. Sometimes, when it comes to ministry, things can require reaching for resources more outside of the box; the lawyers and the advertisement companies, the webmasters and travel agencies, came together to learn more about the industry in which they are all so uniquely intertwined between faith and profession.

With endless knowledge being shared at such an event as this one, there is also an opportunity to open the floor and shed light on specific issues in the industry by facilitating a healthy and educated conversation around them. One of the several panel sessions at Proclaim 19 was titled ‘Women in Entertainment’. The panel was moderated by Evy Baehr Carrol, host and director of creative content at Movieguide, and the first of its category at the annual convention.

One of the panelists, “War Room” actress Priscilla Shirer, speaks about the balance that working in the industry requires of her. For a Christian woman, this balance is not between fame and success, but rather in Priscilla’s case, it is all about prioritizing and seeking God’s face. “There are seasons to a woman’s life, and certain things the Lord calls you to prioritize in one season are going to shift in another season,” Shirer said. “Our task is to tune in and ask the Lord, ‘What will honor You in this particular season of my life? What do I need to prioritize so that my priorities align with Yours during this season?’ And I give myself to those fully.” All the panelists could agree on one thing, it takes constant turning to and relying on God’s direction and discernment when choosing what and how much to take on in the film industry.

Here is a trailer for the movie ‘War Room’:

On the other side of this unwavering devotion to remain in God’s will and continuously seek Him first is the side of the industry. With trusting in the sovereignty and omnipotence of God, producers and directors find themselves to be quite satisfied with the work but must remember just as well to hold it loosely, trust in the Lord and always be willing to let go of something for Him to take it away.

In closing words, Carrol spoke of the encouragement that came from this session and states “[God] has shown us His faithfulness and hope in the entertainment industry. This is exactly our desire at Movieguide, to help encourage women and men to make great faith-filled content in the entertainment industry and fulfill God’s purpose in their lives.”