Worship, Art & Business, Part 7

Worship, Art & Business, Part 7

Putting It All Together

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been looking at the topics of Worship, Art & Business separately as motivations for singing Gospel Music full-time. I also devoted one article to discussing how Fame is not the best motivation and a couple more to the historical context.

As I draw this series to a close, it’s my intention to make the case that no matter what motivates a singer, even if it’s initially the false allure of fame, they must eventually learn to be motivated by Worship, Art & Business to succeed in the Southern Gospel industry.

If a singer is simply wanting to sing full-time for purposes of worship, the quality of the music may not be at a level where people want to pay to hear them. If the craft of singing coupled with creativity is the ultimate goal, they’re not going to get very far making poor business decisions. If it’s all about the bottom line and nothing else, honestly, there are greener genres of music to pursue. Why sing Gospel music?

There must be a balance. The best groups are on the same page whenever they walk on stage. They work as a team. They pray, prepare and plan together. Each member has to carry out their role to make the result greater than the sum of the parts.

These concepts extend beyond singers to every aspect of the genre. Concert promoters, media personnel, record labels and so forth will find more success if they make all three areas their top priorities.

A few days ago, a professional gospel singer was told by a promoter, “It’s not my job to get the people out. It’s up to the groups to promote the concerts.” I wonder if that promoter even knows what the word “promote” means. We know they appreciate good singing, because they booked a good group, but their concept of business needs some work.

A record producer who routinely says “We’ll fix it in the mix” rather than getting in there with the singers and showing them what they need to do to make it sound right is compromising the art. I’m not saying software tricks should never be used at all, but generally speaking, it’s going to sound better if it’s sung right as opposed to being tweaked into place later.

I could list more examples, but you get the idea I’m trying to convey.

Here’s my final thought for this series. Christian people can already worship for free. Christians can worship anywhere and anytime, whether it be just in their hearts, reading their bibles, in their homes with family or with a group of other believers in a public setting like a church service.

A full-time Southern Gospel group must offer something unique and of quality (art) if they expect people to buy a concert ticket or a CD (business) to experience how they sing (worship).

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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