From The Grio —  Don’t be surprised if the likes of Lady Gaga release a gospel album.

You may laugh, and it may even sound absurd, but according to industry executive Torrence Glenn, it is more of a possibility than you think.

“There is a lot of disagreement among our industry as to what gospel is and what it should be. Gospel can be whatever it wants to be musically,” said the director of Music Development forBET Digital. “It is all about the balance. It should not be all groups, all choirs, all rhythm and blues, or all pop. It should sound like a little bit of everything as long as there are some traditional things involved.”

Gospel music used to be the standard in the music industry, said Glenn. When an artist, of any genre, made their music as good as gospel they were considered to have arrived musically. Yet, that is not as much of the case today.

Today, many gospel artists are making music that sounds more urban and contemporary. Why?

Glenn suggests a number of factors have come into play to influence the change.

“There is no one cause,” he said. “Everything you could possibly think of has played a role. Some artists saw the success of more urban driven music like Kirk FranklinMary Mary and even Yolanda Adams in her hay day.”

In turn, some of them wanted that same success. But then Glenn references other artists, likeDonnie McClurkin Marvin Sapp, who have had major success singing what is considered more traditional. For them, they stayed true to who they were as artists, therefore solidifying more success.

There are a lot of variables, according to Glenn. Some artists want to try new sounds; new stuff, but the label does not agree. As a result, all parties are in disagreement.

“We all have heard the story of the artist being frustrated with the label, but what we do not hear about labels’ frustration with the artist,” Glenn said. “In these instances, no one knows what to do so everyone is trying to out-do the other.”

Jonathan Landrum, a newsman for the Associated Press in Atlanta, believes the reason is reach.

“While the music has changed, the message has stayed the same; it has just become broader,” he said. “Artists like Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary are simply attempting to appeal to more people. That is why you see the type of production where you might have a more secular sound, more of a Hip -Hop sound, or more melodic. They are trying to touch the souls of people who would not normally be touched by more traditional music.”

Landrum covers mostly entertainment reporting for the Associated Press. In his talks with numerous gospel artists, what they have told him is their concern has been more about touching a whole new crowd that did not consider themselves believers.

“It was a bigger thing than them. They wanted to touch people who listened to hip hopR&B, etc.”

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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  • This trend is simply the black analog of “Christian Rock and Metal”. Much of what passes for Contemporary Christian music emulates the sound and feel of Rock, Rap, etc., although the blasphemous use of Jesus’ and God’s names is more prevalent in the black genres. To be fair, what many people consider “traditional” Gospel does share similarities with Blues and R&B (the use of Dom 7 chords and syncopation for instance). But at the article’s originating website some commentators refute the notion of “attracting more people to God” through adapting the worldly cloak of secular music. As someone who has become more concerned with perfecting my faith than condemning others’, these days I usually let this argument be unless a friend or acquaintance specifically asks for my opinion. But I do have one.

    I find the music of Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary (sp?), and others of that genre abhorrent and blasphemous. While many point to Jesus’ wine creation miracle and his commingling with sinners as an unfettered endorsement of secularity, I have not found one verse in the Bible that supports the “bait and switch” tactics these charlatans use to amass their wealth and/or popularity. As my mom was fond of saying, people do “what makes their flesh happy”. The misguided notion that this music is winning young souls for Christ is alive and well, and will only spread further as this world moves toward its inevitable conclusion. The creators of South Park did a hilarious and spot-on parody where a few of the main characters created a Christian Rock band and starting with a syrupy love song inserted Jesus as the singer’s object of affection. They quickly sold a million records. Friends, we are there.

  • Leonie UK

    Play neice to me last week ” Auntie, does Gaga go sunday school or Sabbath school? cause she really knows the story of the last supper init?” after hearing “Judas” to many times in a clothers shop.

    I personally don’t have an issue with Christian music moving into different areas/genres of music. Not everyone wants to only get their praise or worship on with just traditional choir or hymm songs. I like Rock/Hip-Hop/Dance/Country and Soul music, and my ipod thanks me for the choices daily. I love that my Christian music also fits into those types of genres also. But at the end of day, my christian music has to be different to my secular choices, otherwise it makes no sense. Some, not all, christian artists are watered down andpure rubbish, just like most of the secular music on the radio.

    Yes Christian music was always the standard of great talent, but the church’s standards have dropped so the music is reflecting that. Then again how many people actually complained about Gaga’s recent hit ” Judas” and how many people love the book of Esther that never mentions God once? All a hit and miss I’m sure.

  • WoW

    Destroy those dresses MaryMary… :(

  • vanessa

    mary mary and the others are prob mainstream music rejects so htey are trying to live secular dreams thru jesus…
    oh well