Down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, among rappers wiping each other down and shouting ‘Ay Bay Bay’, a new artist simply wants you to enjoy good music and consider salvation. Enter Ian Von.
Ian Von, 27, has been singing all of his life. Coming from a family filled with musical talent, including gospel-recording artist, Micah Stampley, he has traveled across the country and overseas as a teenager singing gospel. Once in high school, he and two friends formed an R&B group, US3. The group, which disbanded after eight years, was a regional success. After a deep reflection on his life, Ian decided to return to his roots in gospel music.
“It was something calling me to ministry,” says Ian. “I felt like God was dealing with me through my lifestyle. It was a life or death situation. From then on, I started doing gospel professionally.”
Immediately, Ian began working on an album through his record label, Righteous Entertainment and doing live performances. He has shared stages with award-winning artists such as William Murphy, Israel and New Breed and Canton Jones. His first full-length album, Good News, was released on October 18th.
Having the best of both worlds in R&B and gospel music has afforded Ian the opportunity to defy stereotypes of traditional gospel music. His influences range from The Clark Sisters, the Winans family and Take 6 to Joe, Brian McKnight and Boyz II Men. But can a mix of both music genres work?
According to Ian, of course, it can…and it does.
“It’s the feeling you get (when singing), the sound and a lot of core elements that you can only get in gospel music,” he says. “But there are a number of things I like about R&B: the heavy beats, the rhythm and the harmonies.
My music is urban contemporary gospel. It’s still R&B music, it’s just Christian content,” says Ian. “The church is not about being all religious. It’s about having a relationship with God the Father.”
Recognizing that he is a product of the hip-hop generation, he compares the delivery of his message to the likes of Nas or Common. “My message focuses on empowerment of the people, but with the influence of Christ.”
What should you expect to hear from Ian Von’s Good News?
“If you like good music or you feel like you can change, it’s something on the album for you. It’s not “Sunday morning music”, it’s Monday through Saturday music, also.” Some of the album’s notable producers and writers include J. Moss, Pajam and Dixon from Darkchild Gospel (run by super-producer, Rodney Jerkins’ brother).
You may hear that familiar 90’s R&B sound while listening to tracks, such as the first single, “Take Time Out” or “What If?,” Ian’s personal favorite. “That song is my favorite because it asks the question, ‘What if God isn’t real?’ What else is there to depend on?”
When the husband and father of two is not spreading the good news through song, he’s writing and producing for new artists. He also hopes to get into acting in movies and stage plays in the future. Look for the “Good News” single on the Mama, I Want to Sing screenplay soundtrack, scheduled for release in 2008.
Find out more about Ian Von and listen to tracks from Good News at his website, www.ianvon.com.