A month ago, when many UK gospel music and media influencers collectively met for the very first time, it ended up being kind of exciting, and a well needed ‘faces to names’ affair. One month on and with greater numbers and lots of ‘new faces’ in the series meeting there was an even greater buzz.
There were many questions that needed answering. How do we develop a better infrastructure for the UK gospel music industry? What opportunities can we share, enhance and exploit? Which industry weaknesses can we turn into strengths? What threats are there and how do we navigate them? And then the voices of experts whispered: What organization and indeed who do we entrust to supervise this progression?
In some way, the last question would be the toughest of all - with the right reasons. A majority, if not all of the influencers in the room, believed that the gospel music scene as it stands is locked in a sort of paralysis. This conviction served as the starting place for our follow-up meeting held last week Tuesday (9th July 2019) at Premier Gospel.
So with unity in the air, along with fifty-five music and media personalities that included Paulette Long OBE, Karen Gibson (The Kingdom Choir), Muyiwa Olarewaju (TBN host/Premier Gospel Director), Bazil Meade MBE (LCGC), Roy Francis (Author), Sandra Godley (UCB/BBC), Lurine Cato (MOBO winner), Marcia Dixon, Isaiah Raymond, Derick Tchie (Gospel Hydration), Eloho Elumai (Heartsong Live), Dave P (UGN Jamz Radio) and Charles Koranteng (AGMMA) to mention a few in the room and another twenty-one online including John Fisher (IDMC Choir), Lawrence Johnson (Sounds of New Wine), Adaeze Chiwoko (Unbound PR) Marcus Edwin (TruLife Promotions), Denis Wade (Wade Brothers), Shoggy Tosh (Salt FM); Gospel Music Industry Alliance (GMIA) Chief Executive Juliet Fletcher led her team and presented their case as the existing body mandated to manage, coordinate and develop the UK gospel music industry affairs now and in the future.
After two hours, punctuated by questions and answers, the event facilitators, O`Neil Dennis (of aStepFWD.com) and Adebayo Abimbola (of 7gospeltracks.com) zeroed in on the next best action forward and the case shifted up a gear to voting for a new gospel music body versus going with the existing one.
The outcome of this vote is yet-to-be-announced but at least the process provided an opportunity for reflection and hopes to lead to a place where every stakeholder within the UK gospel music industry is well represented.
(Photo credits: Savannah Williams Photography)
For now, and in what some refer to as divine intervention, the facilitators Dennis and Adebayo suggested that the meeting and indeed the UK scene mobilise behind GMIA, with an interim meeting planned with a smaller group to sit with the GMIA team and thrash out a way forward. They would then report back to the main group ahead of the third and final meeting in the series on 6th August 2019.
The meeting was indeed historic and the outcome somewhat interesting to say the least. In essence, the future of the UK scene is really the future of the multiple talents within and the organisations actively working to resource it. On both counts, the future looks bright indeed and by God, it really is time for ‘Kingdom’ sense to prevail and for strong leadership to step up and take us out of this wilderness.
One of the elders mentioned that the next year 2020 will mark 40 years of British Gospel. The parallels with a well-known bible story about the children of Israel should not be overlooked.
Still, we seem to be turning a corner and are excited about it! (Photos courtesy of Savannah Williams Photography).
READ MORE: MEDIA PERSONALITIES GATHER AT PREMIER GOSPEL TO DISCUSS THE WAY FORWARD FOR UK GOSPEL MUSIC