Gospel singers spread powerful Christian messages.
Gospel is a type of Christian music characterized by vibrant vocals and rhythmic choruses. Poignant messages regarding sacrifice, endurance and ultimate triumph speak to the resilience of humankind. Masterful artists such as Kirk Franklin and KiKi Sheard deliver music that teaches, uplifts and inspires listeners. If you want to follow in their footsteps, developing your talent is essential. Combining impeccable vocals with stirring lyrics can make you the next gospel standout.
Study the evolution of gospel music. Dissect the songs of traditional artists such as Mahalia Jackson and contemporary artists such as Donnie McClurkin. Note the marked differences in themes, vocal delivery methods and musical arrangements. This is highlighted in the contrast between the old spiritual “Follow the Drinking Gourd” and the contemporary hit “God in Me” by Mary Mary. Understanding the social context of gospel music will help you develop a suitable, contemporary style.
Train with a formal vocal coach or experienced choir director. Work on your abilities to harmonize and to sing lead. Get comfortable singing within your vocal range, with and without employing vocal nuances such as vibrato and pitch modulation.
Sing songs that you feel. While vocal precision always matters, it doesn’t always matter the most in gospel music delivery. Gospel music is meant to be “felt” by the listeners. Attempting songs that you don’t connect with will reduce your ability to affect your audience. Choose songs that complement your personal experiences and singing talent, instead of songs that only showcase your vocal skills.
Create and sustain a positive image. Remember that you are singing gospel music, which glorifies Christian ideals. Authenticity matters to your audience. Failing to live up to high ethical standards may negatively affect your career. Avoid placing yourself in reckless situations, as temporary fun may lead to long-term career disaster.
Sing wherever appropriate and whenever you can. Performing for a variety of crowds can help you develop as a gospel artist. Lend your voice to your church or community choir. Enter gospel talent shows and showcases. Volunteer to sing at weddings and funerals.
Break into gospel plays. Participating in local productions helps you gain industry experience and connections. This can help you build a following and earn money. Search and attend a variety of casting opportunities. Remember that landing a small part is better than having no part at all.
Create original material that embodies your attitudes and personal experiences. Writing your own songs allows your creative light to shine. It also increases opportunities to work with like-minded gospel artists and industry insiders. Market your material to gospel playwrights and filmmakers, choir directors and radio stations. Incorporating universal themes into your work may boost your crossover potential