Producer Rodney Jerkins chats briefly with Billboard about his recent projects, which include a couple of tracks on Kierra Sheard's debut album I Owe You. The money quote for gospel music fans? "I just wish the urban secular world would take more of a look at the gospel world to see what's really happening there." Gospel Gal has made that wish herself, Rodney. One step in that direction may be J Moss's new album, The J Moss Project.
The dust is settling from the recent shakeup brought about by Edgar Bronfman Jr.'s purchase of Warner Music Group. Sylvia Rhone, formerly Chairman/CEO of Elektra Entertainment Group (home of Yolanda Adams, and, until recently, Karen Clark Sheard), has now joined Universal Music Group as president of Motown Records and executive veep of Universal Records. Ch-ch-changes . . .
In "Faith and the Top 40," The St. Petersburg Times uses R. Kelly's Happy People/USaved Me to open a discussion on Christians doing secular music and vice versa. It's a fairly decent article, and worth a read.
GG has a couple of quibbles, though. The Big One is that the writer treats this phenomenon as a recent development, which it isn't. At all. Before there were Al Green, M.C. Hammer and Smokey Robinson, there were folks like Sam Cooke, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, et. al. So the premise of the article lacks adequate knowledge of music history (not just gospel music history). And mentioning Pat Boone as a representative of Christian music? Doves, soft colors, and kind smiles as typical of Christian CD decor? Seriously? Ummmm no. A quick trip to the local Christian bookstore or a phone call to the folks at CCM magazine would have cleared those misconceptions up with a quickness. These examples indicate slightly sloppy reporting--irritating because their inclusion perpetuates some rather outdated images. It's an indication that, as my friends at GetReligion.org like to say, the mainstream press doesn't always get religion.
No hard feelings, though. The article also mentions the recent Kanye West/Stellar Award goings on. The controversy prrrrobably could have been prevented by a little research. For example, listening to the whole album before nominating it for Rap/Hip-Hop CD of the year on the basis of "Jesus Walks" (which you can watch here). Or taking note of the advisory on the front. GG likes a good song, too, but she hopes those are among the "corrective actions" the Stellar Award nominating committee has in mind for the future. *Ahem.*
In any case, things seem to be quieting down now, but there are a couple of articles worth looking at. This one, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, asks a couple of Interesting Folks about whether West should have been included on the ballot, and also discusses the definition and purpose of gospel music. Also, Bomani Jones has an interesting take on the whole thing. Jones self-identifies as a non-Christian, and he raises a lot of good points.
***And briefly . . .Billboard takes note of Smokie Norful, and Mary Mary's Erica Campbell and husband welcome a daughter.