Tagged with "worshippers"
Kurt Carr & The Kurt Carr Singers Tags: kurt carr kurt carr singers true worshippers word life production new qulaity entertainment featured

Just the Beginning Gospel music has its fair share of mainstays and superstars, but only a fraction has been gifted with the higher calling of leading the saints in song. Even fewer have been commissioned with the task of breaking through denominational and ethnic backgrounds, while still maintaining an in-demand career that includes performing, composing, arranging, and producing for the biggest acts in the genre and beyond. Kurt Carr is one such minister.

JUST THE BEGINNING, his latest release on his newly minted Kurt Carr Gospel imprint in association with Zomba Gospel, is a testament to this industrious spirit. The album is a capstone that is bound to extend the reach of Carr’s growing legacy in contemporary gospel—a celebrated repertoire that, in less than a decade’s time, has left an indelible imprint in the sacred-music canon. “God has called me to preserve the music of the church,” Carr says, matter-of-factly. “There are people, there are ministers, who are called to go into the world and evangelize it. I feel that I am called to perpetuate the music of the church so that there’s substance to feed seasoned saints, and new converts once we catch them. That summarizes my calling.”

In light of Carr’s already extensive résumé in gospel music, JUST THE BEGINNING may sound like a non sequitur, but the artist truly believes he’s turning a page. “I feel it’s the beginning of many new horizons,” says the psalmist, who recently moved his quarters to Houston, Texas, after a 20-year tenure in Los Angeles. “God wants us to know that there’s so much more in store for us. People have seen great things, but they haven’t seen the greatest yet.” For those keeping tabs on Carr, it’s been almost four years since he turned heads with his chart-topping One Church project, but this time around the multiple Stellar recipient says he’s not looking to replicate the genre-bending eclecticism of that recording. In many ways, JUST THE BEGINNING is about him stripping things down and going back to the basics.

“The last album was a thematic album; it was a stretch. We had bagpipes, accordion—sounds that have never been associated with gospel music,” Carr says. “These songs are very singer-friendly, very congregational. This time, I’m going back to my roots—church music.” (more) Kurt Carr/Just The Beginning/2 That’s good news for the church. A protégé of not one, but two gospel legends—he was mentored by both Richard Smallwood and James Cleveland—Carr has carved a niche of his own in Sunday-morning liturgies, blessing worshippers with his unmistakable knack for choir-friendly melodies and a cross-cultural appeal second to none. For proof, one needs not look further than Carr’s signature song, “In the Sanctuary”—also the centerpiece of his breakthrough, gold-selling recording Awesome Wonder—to realize his keen ear for the corporate.

To this day, millions continue to sing the song across the globe every week, in no less than nine different languages. “After the success of that song, I knew that God had called my music ministry to reach people of all races and all people who have an open ear for God’s message,” says Carr. Through the years, this calling to reach anyone with ears to hear has led Carr to write an armload of instant classics and standards for the modern church, including the bona fide hits “I Almost Let Go;” “For Every Mountain;” “Kumbaya;” “God Great God;” and “God Blocked It,” as well as “The Presence of the Lord,” the song that put Byron Cage on the map. Kurt Carr has ministered in over 20 countries and was recently named honorary principal of a Gospel music school in Japan that boasts a “Kurt Carr” class of gospel music production!

A renaissance man in every sense of the term, Carr has used the last few years to continue to write and produce for various heavy-hitters, develop his own music label, nurture new artists, and perform all over the world with his inimitable Kurt Carr Singers—Yvette Williams, Michelle Prather, Troy Bright, Timiney Figueroa-Caton, Nikita Clegg-Foxx, Nikki Potts, and Vonnie Lopez.

In between travels, listeners and congregants alike have continued to reap the benefits of Carr’s prolificacy, as recent songs and albums by the renowned Tramaine Hawkins (her highly applauded ‘comeback’ CD “I Never Lost My Praise”) and Bishop Paul S. Morton (his seminal “I’m Still Standing”), with whom Carr teamed up in the aftermath of Katrina, have made waves in airplay charts and houses of worship throughout the nation. In fact, Morton says all the time that Kurt Carr “is a genius and has found a way to tailor make songs that completely express my heart;” and Hawkins has said the single “I Never Lost My Praise” was a song that she’d been waiting on for over 20 years- while critics compared it to her legendary classics “Changed” and “Going Up Yonder.” JUST THE BEGINNING is all set to further this tradition.

Right out of the gate, the CD gives listeners a trip down memory lane as a high-powered medley of Carr’s greatest hits reminds us of the scope and breadth of his heritage in gospel music. Deftly sequenced and rearranged, this retrospective montage is simply a primer for what’s to come: one of the most tautly conceived gospel recordings of 2008. In grand Carr fashion, the first single “Peace and Favor Rest On Us” stands tall as one of the most energetic calls to worship in the artist’s songbook, a lively corporate number that, once again, asserts Carr as one of the most culturally relevant worshippers of this generation. One of Carr’s favorite moments on the CD is 89-year-old Narcissus Hinton-Brown – a traditional soloist from Carr’s hometown in Hartford, Connecticut and one of his mentors – singing “This Little Light Of My Mine” as a prequel to the affirming “Don’t Let Your Light Go Out.”

“I have friends from all walks of life,” says Carr, “and my whole purpose is to be a light to them…that’s how I live my life and that’s what I am encouraging and reminding others on this song.” (more) Kurt Carr/Just The Beginning/3 Nikita Clegg-Fox leads on the soaring “Spiritual Makeover Extreme,” an ultra-contemporary uptempo track with a “never ending hook” proclaiming “I’m so glad I don’t look like what I’ve been through;” while the lively “Right Time, Right Place” delivers a foot-stomping frenzy like only Kurt Carr & The Kurt Carr singers can. For those who have relied on Carr to offer songs of encouragement, Just the Beginning is brimming with a thoughtful parade of ballads, like the faith-filled “I Believe God;” the reflective “Sanctuary (God Is a Healer),” which Carr says is a song for this hour; and the empowering title track, a tender motivational piece where the singers proclaim “you haven’t seen your best days yet” and push believers to name and claim with authority the totality of God’s unfailing promises.

By the time the song reaches its praise-filled climax, it’s evident “Just the Beginning” is more than just a song - it’s a prophetic word that Christ followers are called to make their own. All of these set the stage for “My Shepard (Psalm 23)” featuring the dynamic vocals of top-selling Christian group Avalon. The track is one of Carr’s favorite songs on JUST THE BEGINNING and undoubtedly a composition that will permeate Christian circles. The song almost didn’t make the album, but, at the 11th hour, it made the cut after Carr played it for his vocal ensemble and they immediately loved it. As JUST THE BEGINNING unfolds and moments like the majestic, worship inspired “I Exist to Give You Praise;” the worshipful “Great Jesus (God Has Done Great Things);” the powerful Ten Thousand One Million led by Vonnie Lopez; and the swaying, Nikki Potts-led “I Am the One” join the processional of hits-in-the-making, the 2-disc project is already an absolute triumph—yet another milestone from the pen and the heart of this consummate champion of church music. Carr, who has a love and passion for preserving the gospel sounds of African-American heritage, could not complete the CD without delivering gems such as “I Am The One” and “Blessed Be The Rock” that, in Kurt’s own words, are “Sunday morning, choir robe, march down the aisle, sit down if you can songs!”

While each track demonstrates Carr’s penchant for sophisticated, neo-classical arrangements and the Spirit’s unbridled touch, JUST THE BEGINNING still marks the start of an exciting phase in Carr’s storied trajectory. Among various other ventures, the gospel heavyweight is in the planning stages of developing new projects from established and up-and-coming talent through his new imprint, as well as mapping out future recordings for soul divas Gladys Knight and Natalie Cole. But regardless if Carr is guiding the careers of others or carrying saints in the wings of praise, the minstrel is quick to not attribute his gifting to anything but God’s incomparable anointing. “Most times when I sit down to write I go, ‘Oh, God, I don’t have any songs. I can’t hear anything,’” Carr confesses. “And then as I pray and seek God, He gives me ideas. I definitely know that it’s a gift from Him. I’m so appreciative that He’s chosen me to share it with the world.”

Source: RCA

True Worshippers - Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir Tags: true worshippers gospel mass choir agmc word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

In April 2004, Charles Moore, relocated to Bentonville Arkansas from Douglas, Georgia.  After 14 years with the Georgia Mass Choir, Charles went on the search for a similar choir to be a part of. However, there was none. During the following year, God inspired Charles to put together a Mass Choir for the State of Arkansas. 

After many months of resistance to this idea, Charles decided to follow this inspiration. From November 2006 to February 2007, after many phone call, emails and car trips across the state, the vision began to come together. A committee was formed which consisted of a very dedicated group of men and women and from there, the leg work began.

On March 17, 2007 the Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir held its first Workshop Concert at Valley Harvest Ministries in Bentonville. Approximately 132 voices came together from cities such as: Jonesboro, Ft. Smith, Pine Bluff, Bentonville, Springdale, Fayetteville, Siloam Springs, Rogers and Tulsa Oklahoma.

The DVD from the March 17th event was distributed to Bobby Jones, Savoy Records and EMTRO records. The choir received an invitation from Bobby Jones to appear in November 2007 at an event held in Hollywood, Florida for a new artist. The choir did not feel a release to attend this event and declined to do so. Several weeks later, Troy Sneed took a look at the project and came to NW Arkansas within 3 weeks to hear the choir in person. Less than one month later a marriage took place between T Records and the Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir.

We give God glory for his favor and look forward to a long term relationship with Troy Sneed and T Records.  Now we have three CD Projects! God is Good!

The Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir (AGMC) stands for diversity, tolerance and unity and spreads this message through its music. The choir is now a Arkansas institution known for its concerts throughout the state and the nation.  The choir has toured several states to include: Georgia, DC, Missouri, and appeared National C.O.G.I.C. Convention in Memphis Tennessee.

The AGMC performed on the prestigious 17th Annual Trumpet Awards Ceremony, January 2009 in Atlanta Georgia. The annual Trumpet Awards acknowledges the accomplishments of men and women who have significantly contributed to enhancing the quality of life for all…individuals and/or groups who augment the richness of this great global society by partnering with the cause of justice and equality of all.  The event featured well known celebrities such as Co-Host  of The View "Sherri Sheppard" ,  Actor from Law and Order "Anthony Anderson", Regina Bell, Raven Symone, Chris Tucker, and Pastor Paula White.

They also were selected to perform on the Black Entertainment Television's (BET)

Source: Official Website

Smokie Norful-Phenomenal Gospel Singer Tags: smokie norful phenomenal gospel singer word life production true worshippers featured blog

Rev. W.R. "Smokie" Norful, Jr. is an American gospel singer and pianist, best known for his 2002 album, I Need You Now and his 2004 release, Nothing Without You, which won a Grammy at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album in 2004.

Pastor Smokie Norful spent the early portion of his life in Muskogee and Tulsa, Oklahoma. He later moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where he attended Jack Robey Junior High and Pine Bluff High School. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a bachelor’s degree in history. He also received formal training in ministry at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and Trinity International Seminary in Deerfield, Ill., where he studied to achieve a master’s of divinity. He served as a history teacher for seven years at Jack Robey Junior High School, Pine Bluff High School (Pine Bluff, Ark.) and Evanston Township High School (Evanston, Ill.) respectively. Additionally Rev. Norful served for two years as the educational director for the Pine Bluff Housing Authority’s after-school program. Other notable vocational experiences include, but are not limited to, his service as a historian for the National Park Service and a congressional aid for the fourth congressional district. He currently serves on the board of Regents for Trinity International University.

He was ordained an elder in the African Methodist Episcopal church and has been a licensed preacher since 1997. Rev. Norful served as youth pastor, minister of music, and associate minister of St. John AME church in Pine Bluff, under the leadership of Rev. W.R. Norful Sr., and Teresa Norful until relocating to Chicago. He also has served internationally as worship leader for the connectional youth department of the AME church. In addition, he has served as an educator and workshop conductor for the Christian Education department of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., and has been a well-sought clinician and keynote speaker for many organizations, ministries, and civic groups. He was recently inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, along with many other notable people.

Currently he serves as pastor of the Victory Cathedral Worship Center in Bolingbrook, Ill. On September 20, 2005, Pastor Smokie Norful officially launched Victory Cathedral Worship Center in Bolingbrook, Ill. Since its launch, Pastor Norful and the Victory family have experienced an extraordinary and unprecedented growth in the community. In addition, on September 28, 2008, Pastor Norful launched a second campus on the south side of Chicago. Since its launch, they have witnessed a similar dynamic growth and a phenomenal move of God.

He is an internationally renowned musician, music composer, and recording artist. His debut compact discs entitled I Need You Now and Smokie Norful Limited Edition have garnered favorable accolades and awards across the world, including the 2005 Grammy Award for Contemporary Soul Gospel Album of the Year for his release entitled, Nothing Without You; three Stellar awards; four Dove awards; three Gospel Music Excellence Awards; an NAACP Image Award nomination; a Soul Train award nomination; two nominations for the BET award for gospel music; two RIAA certified Gold selling compact discs; and countless others. Pastor Norful has contributed as a writer to five platinum selling compilations, and has written for numerous major label gospel recordings. Billboard magazine named him the number one selling gospel music artist for 2003 and 2004. His notable performances include such events as the Trumpet Awards, Save Africa’s Children Event in Soweto, the BET Awards, the Stellar Awards, Soul Train, hosting and performing on the Dove Awards, the Parade of Stars, the Essence Music Festival, the New Orleans Jazz Festival and numerous other notable festivals, events, concert halls, and tours. He has also had the honor of performing for President George W. Bush in the White House in celebration of Black Music Month.

Rev. Norful and his wife, Carla (former school teacher and social worker), own and operate four businesses in real estate, entertainment, and publishing. However, despite the demands as an artist, writer, entrepreneur, businessman, and pastor, what he cherishes most is cultivating a loving relationship with his wife, spending time nurturing their two sons, Tré and Ashton, and empowering his daughter, Ashley.

Source: Wikipedia

Chris Tomlin - True Worshiper Tags: Chris tomlin true worshippers music word life production new quality entertainment

 One of the leading artists and activists within contemporary Christian music, Chris Tomlin is a successful singer and songwriter whose 2005 album Arriving has sold over 500,000 copies, and whose compositions "Holy Is the Lord" and "How Great Is Our God" are among the most popular contemporary songs in the world's churches, being sung by millions of Christians at worship services every week. Born in Grand Saline, Texas in 1972, Tomlin grew up listening to country music and learned to play guitar from his father (Tomlin has cited Willie Nelson's Stardust as a key influence). At the age of nine, Tomlin accepted Jesus Christ as his savior, and at 14 wrote his first song of praise.

The Noise We Make

Tomlin enrolled at Texas A&M in the early '90s to study medicine, but he became active in a campus worship and Bible study group called Breakaway, led by an ambitious young pastor named Louie Giglio. As Breakaway grew, Tomlin became increasingly active with the group, and he eventually became a worship leader as well as performing his own songs at meetings. As Giglio's Breakaway group evolved into Passion, a nationwide organization for young Christians on college campuses, Giglio started a record company, Six Steps Records, to record youth-oriented Christian artists. Tomlin, whose songs had become mainstays at Breakaway and Passion services, became one of Six Steps' first signings, and The Noise We Make, released in 2001, was Tomlin's first album. The band Tomlin assembled while serving as a pastor at Woodland, Texas's Harvest Ministry -- Daniel Carson on guitar, Jesse Reeves on bass, and Ryan Sandlin on drums -- began touring, often appearing at Passion events around the country as well as headlining its own concerts. (In 2004, Ryan Sandlin left the group, and Travis Nunn took over behind the drums.)

See the Morning

In 2002, Tomlin moved to Austin, Texas, and became a pastor at Austin's Stone Community Church, where he helped guide a congregation of 1,500. As Tomlin's songs and recordings found a wider audience, he was nominated for two Grammy Awards for his 2006 album See the Morning (which rose to number one on Billboard's Christian albums chart and number 15 on the overall Top 200), but the songwriter continued to emphasize that his mission was more important than his own music. Tomlin's fifth studio album, 2008’s Hello Love, was certified gold. It was followed in 2009 by the holiday offering Glory in the Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship, in 2010 by And If Our God Is for Us..., and in 2013 by Burning Lights.

Source: AllMusic

Rizen is phenomenal and passionate in Psalms Tags: rizen phenomenal passion psalms true worshippers feature weekly blog

RiZen burst onto the national gospel music scene in 2003 rocking their stilettos to a praise beat, wowing audiences and satisfying thirsty souls without ever missing a step. Comprised of real life sisters Adriann and Aundrea Lewis, the Stellar Award winning group was originally formed in 1995 by Adriann as an eight member praise and worship team at New Galilee Baptist Church in Saginaw, Michigan - their home church where their father, Luciose Lewis, serves as pastor. Fast forward to 2009: The all girl praise and worship team has evolved from eight members to three and, now, to a duo newly signed to Verity Records and set to release their third CD FREE. Renowned the world over for their powerful vocals, awesome harmonies and trademark old school meets new school gospel sound, Adriann and Aundrea grew up as preacher’s kids but were allowed to listen to all kinds of music, and this early exposure to varying musical sounds and styles continues to influence their sound today. “Our mother was a musician, so she listened to all genres of music,” says Adriann. “To this day, I still love R&B artists. Some of my favorites are Tina Turner and Mary J Blige. However, we grew up Baptist, so that’s all we knew when it came to our own singing and recording – and that’s where we get our signature sound.” Aundrea recalls: “We grew up with the Gospel Music Workshop of America. Through our mom, who is a piano teacher and choir director, we were introduced to the music of seasoned traditional gospel artists like Rev. Charles Nicks, Dr. James Cleveland, Albertina Walker, and Dorothy Norwood. However, we do love R&B, Jazz and Country music. Growing up, our parents allowed us to go to concerts, like New Edition and LL Cool J, and we were able to buy albums. We still have our Michael Jackson albums to this day! So even though our musical foundation is the Baptist church, we have a range of influences that occasionally pop up in our music.” Like most singers raised in the church, Aundrea and Adriann honed their craft singing in the children’s choir. Their mother, Kayron Lewis, directed all of the church choirs. Aundrea garnered her choir directing skills by following their mother. She says, “We started really early singing in every choir in the church. I was the director. Wherever my mom went and directed, I followed her. I have directed the youth choir, the mass choir and even the male chorus.” While Aundrea was learning to direct choirs, Adriann was singing with all of them - even the male chorus. Aundrea laughs, “My sister Adriann starting singing at age three and she sang with every choir in the church, including the male chorus. Picture this little girl up there singing with all those men, that was a sight!” Adriann adds, “I did not want to stop, I demanded to sing…I’ve been singing since I was three years old!” The sisters continued to sing in the church and build up a reputation as vocal powerhouses. They were awe-inspiring singers by the time Adriann formed the original eight member ensemble RiZen. However, by the time they were set to record, the eight had become four dedicated souls ready to set the world on fire with their distinctive sound. Their self-titled debut CD was released with much fanfare and praise and won a Stellar Award in 2004 for Best New Artist. All of a sudden the trio of Midwestern church girls had a chart climbing hit on their hands and was on a whirlwind of success. RiZen had a schedule packed with international personal and promotional appearances, TV performances, and concert tours and media interviews. Aundrea remembers all the excitement, “It was just moving so fast. We had been together for twelve years and in that thirteenth year to see God open up all of those doors doing all that he said he would do was just awesome!” By the time RiZen released their second CD, RiZen2, in 2005 they were touted as bonafide gospel sensations. To add even more icing on the cake, they won a Stellar Award in 2006 for Best Traditional Group/Duo. However, in between that second CD and their latest, FREE, the trio became a duo of two tight-knit sisters Adriann and Aundrea Lewis. With FREE, RiZen has again recorded a CD that covers a myriad of gospel sounds, from traditional to contemporary, to praise and worship, with a touch of R&B and a splash of funk. This mixture of sounds beyond traditional gospel is a sweet surprise for RiZen fans and will garner even more inspirational and gospel music fans of all ages to their music ministry. The duo will also continue the work of their ministry “RiZen From Prison” where they give a free concert every November at a women’s prison in Arizona and, when each person is released from prison she is presented with a pair of stilettos as a reminder of her walk with Christ. The new CD, FREE, was produced by urban gospel icon and label mate Fred Hammond, as well as Aaron Lindsey, Daniel Weatherspoon and RiZen’s younger brother and musical director, Ay’Ron Lewis. Aundrea beams over their new release, “Our sound has really changed with this release. It is a mixture of traditional and contemporary styles. We were able to work with different producers who brought to us more creative ideas and a different way of doing things this time. ” When asked what songs on FREE are extra special to them, Adriann says: “I love all the songs, but the song “Live To Love,” written by Fred Hammond tells everything that I’ve personally gone through over the past two years. I believe the Lord just had him write my life in that song! And musically, there’s the 1970s throw back, “All I Need,” which is an ode to Aretha Franklin and the Detroit Motown sound. It’s upbeat, a little bit churchy and a little bit funky. Since we’re from Michigan, we had to throw that one in. Anybody who loves Aretha is going to be all into this one.” Aundrea’s favorites lean more towards the traditional gospel tracks. “‘Worked It Out’ really hits home with me. It’s up tempo and it addresses questions like ‘What am I supposed to be doing with my life?’ ‘God where are you trying to take me?’ and ‘How am I going to pay these bills!’ It tells us to stop trying to figure it out and give it over to God and let him work it out. Then there’s the beautiful ballad “Just For Me.” I wrote that song during a church service at home. The sprit was so high and I just started singing that little hook. My oldest brother was in the audience. He wasn’t saved at that time. And as I sang that song, he received the Holy Ghost and accepted Christ as his personal savior. And every time I hear that song it reminds me that the Lord saved my brother, just for me.” Other stand outs on FREE include the rock tinged title track, which will make you dance and shout in the spirit as you relish being free from the cares of this world. The praise and worship ballad, “I Owe It All To You” will send your soul soaring with gratitude to the Lord for all he’s done for you while the up beat, foot stomping, traditional gospel music lover’s delight, “Look Back” will take you straight to church. And not be left out is “Ridiculous Praise,” it will touch your spirit and make you praise God right where you are. Besides Aundrea and Adriann, a crew of gifted writers contributed to the project, such as Ay’Ron Lewis, Fred Hammond, Aaron W. Lindsey, James Fortune, Daniel Weatherspoon, Alvin Richardson, Deon Kipping, and Michael and Chuck Bethany. One listen to FREE and you’ll feel the anointing jumping out at you. FREE is RiZen’s best musical offering to date and an awesome ministry tool for the duo’s ultimate goals of saving souls and global kingdom building.

Source: Official Facebook Page: August 2009

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