A New Day For African Gospel Music.
With the advent of new and available technology for music and video production, the music industry in Africa has received a great boost in recent times. One genre of music that has benefited greatly from this change is gospel music. From professionally recorded and mixed sounds to world-class videos, the gospel music industry in Africa has taken a great leap from its days of mediocrity and struggle to a new world of unlimited expression of talent and creativity.
Gone are the days when church worship singers would ask us to listen to the words of the song and forget about the voice and instrumentation. Churches have mostly stepped up their game with more sophisticated hardware and better acoustic designs for their church halls, giving worshipers a more inviting feel of the sound.
Many more churches have bought into the need to pay for professionals to handle their musical instruments rather than the ever-learning brother John, who invariably keeps throwing us into those keys from the spirit realm.
The effort from churches and the availability of more affordable technology has given rise to a new generation of African gospel artists with better opportunities for creativity. The African gospel music genre can now boast of truly international artists or ministers (like many would wish to be referred to as), churning out quite remarkable sounds and powerful composition of gospel music that the world cannot ignore.
Artists like Sinach, Nathaniel Bassey, Christina Shusho, Solly Mahlangu, Martin Phike, Frank Edwards and Sonnie Badu are already household names in the international gospel scene today. Africa also boasts of collaborative work with legends such as Don Moen, Donnie McClurkin. Frank Edwards recently announced the signing, by his record label (Rocktown), of the award-winning Nicole C Mullen. An achievement that would have been unthinkable just ten years ago.
On the business side, it’s important to acknowledge that the commercial viability of gospel music has increased steadily in the past decade. This is in tandem with the music industry in general as better marketing and distribution channels have opened up and African youth have developed a stronger fondness for the ‘Afrocentric’ sound.
A possible fallout is that more educated and talented individuals have opted for a career in music and enriched the creative and technical side of the industry. A closer look at the quality of music videos produced across Africa underscores this point.
The future of African Gospel music is surely brighter than it has ever been, and as the international appeal for African music grows there is the hope that the gospel music genre will lead the charge. That would be putting our best foot forward.