Gospel music is believed to be a type of Christian music characterised by vibrant vocals and rhythmic choruses.
According to the Collins dictionary, the genre “is a now popularised form of impassioned rhythmic spiritual music, rooted in solo and responsive church singing of rural blacks in South America, central to the development of rhythm and blues and of soul music.”
The genre became the fastest growing musical expression in the country during the late 1980s and constituted about 75 per cent of recorded musical works in 1993.
The song supplemented the efforts of preachers in winning lost souls to God and improved the religious and social life of people.
Masterful artistes such as Daughters of Glorious Jesus and Nana Yaw Asare shared deliverance music that taught, uplifted and inspired listeners.
In recent times many changes developed in the gospel sector which made secular music to gain a lot of support from investors and the citizenry.
Against this backdrop, the international songwriter and worship leader, Reverend Thomas Harry Yawson has called on gospel musicians to improve their singing career to attract foreign investors.
According to him, lack of funds in the industry had crippled its growth and observed that foreign industries which have excelled paid critical attention to their lyrical contents and melodies.
“Attractiveness of gospel music is its inspiration and how it can revive the hope of the downhearted,” he said.
The multi hit maker indicated that if artistes could learn from their foreign competitors their songs would appeal to the people, thus would receive massive airplay in and across the globe.
He explained that learning would set them ahead of competition and advised Disc jokers (DJ) to desist from giving prominent to foreign music at the expense of the country’s gospel.
For the gospel industry to excel, he entreated musicians to be creative and make their music marketable.
The “Wa dom do soo” hit maker stressed the need for the gospel musicians to be recognised for their immense contribution in inculcating good habits among members of the society.
He started as a secular musician before he was ordained as minister of the gospel to preach the word.
Rev. Yawson has composed and arranged master hit songs for renowned gospel artistes like Tagoe Sisters, Ola Williams, Esther Nyamekye, the Harvesters’ Band among other great artistes.
The multi-award winning artiste last Sunday launched his sixth album titled ‘It is my turn’ which has eight tracks on it.
Times Weekend (TW) had a chat with the renowned Pastor Yawson in Accra last Thursday.
TW: How did you discover your talent?
Rev: I inherited it, my mom was singing in choir and my dad was a music director.
TW: Why did you abandon the secular industry?
Rev: My mom threatened that I should not step foot in her funeral if I don’t stop playing for secular bands that is why.
TW: How many tracks do you have?
Rev: I have written and composed 550 songs.
TW: How do you get inspiration to write?
Rev: As and when God give me the inspiration.
TW: What informed the title of your new album?
Rev: “It is my turn” is a prophetic album meant to inspire the world that God has time for every individual and encourages a person not to envy anyone because any day could be one’s turn.
TW: How do you see today’s gospel?
Rev: In the olden days we saw gospel work as ministry but now most see it as business and entertainment. This has created a gap between the olden and recent music because in those days, we spent a lot of time on the music. Today it is instant, people care about the dance and appearance more than the message. I must appreciate that some of the recent gospel artistes are doing well.
TW: Talking of appearance, are our female gospel artistes dressing appropriately?
Rev: You must look good but it should be modest! When you are singing you are doing it to attract people to God. The issue with recent dressing of some female artistes could be attributed to bad managerial advice. Singing does not send anyone to heaven; it is about your character and being the doer of the word. You should know your mission and not to take advice that could tarnish your image.
TW: As a minister of God, have you impacted into any artiste to continue your good works?
Rev: I have trained over 5,000 musicians across the world since 1987.
TW: Are you signed to any record label?
Rev: Currently I am not signed to any label but I was signed on Mega star.
TW: As Second Vice President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), what policies have your outfit implemented to build the gospel industry?
Rev: We have gospel departments that are establishing new structures to help the industry.
TW: What do you think could be the major challenge in the industry?
Rev: We are in a world that it is difficult to get sponsors; I know a time will come that the sector would be adequately supported. But for now, artistes have to try and up their game because no investor would invest in a venture where they cannot get a return on their investment.
TW: What profession would you have chosen if you had not been a musician?
Rev: I can write and assess movies and I can also play soccer.
TW: What is your take on churches which fail to pay musicians after performing at their events?
Rev: Music is capital-intensive and gospel artistes are not exempted from spending big on their works, so if a gospel artiste has been billed to perform in a church he has to be ‘blessed’ for performing. Gospel artistes should also not be money conscious to the extent that could affect their ministry.
TW: Any word of advice to artistes and fans?
Rev: Let’s work hard, humble ourselves and take church going very serious. Fans should listen and patronise my new album for a life changing experience.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE
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