Artists You Should Know: Chi-Town Edition

Select album to play


Artists You Should Know:

Chi-Town Edition

It is no secret that Chicago is the birthplace of Gospel Music. Therefore, it is evident because my fair city has such a diverse and plentiful array of artists. Many have gone on to do great things outside the confines of Gospel. Some have held true to  the sound and traditions of the original music. Others have redefined the structure of which a Gospel song could be and even lifted the Praise & Worship genre to new levels. This Chi-Town Edition is quite special to me because it consists of artists that are dear to me and that I, for the most part, witnessed their development into an amazing group of creatives whose gifts are as brilliant as stars before a midnight sky. Please enjoy Artists You Should Know: Chi-Town Edition.





Arison Walton

& Products Of Restoration

STEALTH:(adjective) surreptitious; secret; not openly acknowledged. 

Arison Walton is what one would consider stealth. He moves in the most prominent Gospel circles, is always present as an artist, offers supports to his cohorts and serves as hospitality at many events.  He even lives outside of Chicago (Indiana), but quietly slips across the border to become a mainstay in the city’s music scene. All the while, making moves instead of comments.

His production team has crafted a cutting-edge riposte to the traditional-sounding music which is the refrain of many of his contemporaries. Stealthily, he presents it to the world.

His new project opens with an operatic string arrangement which gives way to a beautifully arranged verse sung in one voice. These are some of the touches that make this project special. Songs that present this type of conscientious production techniques include “Bless U”, “Ur Still God” is a powerfully direct riposte to the challenges we face and juxtapose against God’s authority. I am a sucker for a big song and “Ur A Mighty God” is just a big, contemporary song in the truest sense.



While many of their peers are easily satisfied with banal lyrics of recycled clichés and the superficial two-dimensional tropes, this is not so with Arison Walton & P.O.R.‘s “U”. They are not content to dwell in the safe zone when it comes to arrangement or style, either. Being a contemporary artist doesn’t mean you have to be brazenly over-the-top. Even the titles of their songs have such an air of intrigue, subtly inserting the one- letter title into each one.

They have well-developed songs on a great project created under the radar rather quietly. Stealth is a wonderful advantage and Arison Walton & P.O.R. have taken this virtue as their mode of operation. They may not be openly acknowledged, as the definition above states, but I will do so now. A project you should hear from an Artist You Should Know.





Christopher Hodges

Christopher Hodges‘ music ministry has been treasured within Illinois’ First Jurisdiction Churches of God in Christ, where he has served untiringly. However, his gift reaches farther and is taking him higher. He now come to us on an entirely different level. That of an accomplished recording artist.

Well known for his ability to electrify atmospheres and usher in the presence of God, He serenely brings the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarapheth (1 Kings 17:7-16) to life musically.

Both band and singers do a tremendous in bringing musical and vocal arrangements to life. I certainly don’t want to indulge in nostalgia, but this song reminds me of my early days as a young Christian, when Thomas Whitfield inspired us to go further and stay with the Lord. A bold stretch? Maybe, but both singers share a common delivery. In the latter minutes of the song, Hodges reaches back to a page in traditional music where he can stretch out – shifting the song as only he can. He ends singing a tiding that resonates with what our wayward spirits are looking for — full dependence on a greater power. 

 There is fantastic new music coming from him very soon and I am sure it will expand his borders even further. Having resided at one church, dutifully (King of Glory C.O.G.I.C. Tabernacle, Supt. Jeffery D. Hodges, pastor), he is the quintessential example of my continued refrain about new artists: Remain faithful and serve the ministry that feeds you. He, too, is the epitome of what his song suggests, “Trust The Lord“.





Chanise Michelle

There is a strong possibility that this young lady is probably one of the best singers you’ve ever heard. Not because she dazzles with voice dynamics or has stratospheric range, but because she does not walk n the arrogant pretenses as do many others. She does not approach the artistry with delusions of grandeur. She simply does what she is graced to do, never trying to compete, only to accomplish her required work.

Recently I served as emcee for an event where she was a featured artist and I spoke of her as a new artist n our interview session.

She gently stated that she had been part f the event before. That would have been a golden opportunity for many artists to scold me or make themselves look bigger in their own mind. She did not. Her response was almost hesitant in its gentility. That is who she is. Confident, but ingratiating.

Chanise Michelle is a singer/songwriter whose style is an even mix of Contemporary Gospel, Praise & Worship and Soul Music. Her rich, soulful contralto tone is both piercing and passionate to the heart.

For Who You Are“I am recently getting acquainted with her music and she is a breath of fresh air to the Chicago music culture. I pray that she obtain all the success destined for her. She raises the standard for singers in our fair city as well as abroad.






Ramon Perry & MAPC

He has been a mainstay in Chicago’s  traditional music scene, working with some titans such as Dr. Charles G. Hayes & The Cosmopolitan Warriors, Pastor DeAndre Patterson, Dorothy Norwood, the late Dr. Albertina Walker, the late Ethel Holloway, Malcolm Williams, Bishop Larry D. Trotter and Sweet Holy Spirit Church Choir, Pastor Rudolph Stanfield, Donald Lawrence and many others.

The choir is widely known for their inspiring, but always disciplined performances

The choir released “A2YF (According To Your Faith)” just a couple of years ago and to critical acclaim.

 After singing with the late James Chambers and the Ecclesiastes Community Choir, The Chicago Mass and Stephen B. Jones and Exhortations of Praise. Ramon Perry founded Ministry and Praise Chorale in August of 1997 to have an aggregation of FAT singers, No, not what you may think, so stop grinning. What Perry was looking for was Faithful, Anointed and Talented individuals to assemble in the formation of this group. Knowing them over the years as I have, he has certainly found them.

This group has not once strayed away from their charge to preserve and uphold the sound of traditional Gospel music. Their new single, “Search Me Lord” is an adaptation of the time honored classic penned by the Father of Gospel, himself. Yes. It is a classic brought — very carefully –to the modern age.

With a nod to the hometown, he opens with original lyrics on top of a groove that is more forward than we are used to hearing with these words, but it is laid back and nonabrasive. Elder John Gant, Jr. ad libs as every traditional singer who has ever heard this song would and exhorts as every preacher ever wanted to. The balance is wonderful with Gant not doing too much of any one thing. Thank you, Mr. Gant!

Admittedly, this song made me feel like Ramon Perry & Ministry & Praise Chorale (MAPC) were holding back a little bit. Having heard another single they are currently working on, I can now see their strategy. They are playing their cards very close to the vest with this one, but there is definitely more to come. This group is too talented not to showcase their versatility and they will in due order.

I run into a lot of people nowadays who say they re staunch supporters of the choir sound. To them, I submit this single and this group. They are adamantly invested in the sound of a good church choir and equally invested in preserving the music that has been with us for generations.



Eddie Tucker

Every superlative, compliment and rave you’ve ever heard about mixing, mastering, and the sound of a song or album collects inside your head the moment you hear “Day Dream“. So clear and crisp, you feel as it is being performed right next to you. Aside from the clarity of the finishing, the vibe references Paul McCartney and George Benson, though occasionally, as on “Daze Of My Life“, Tucker reveals a soft spot for Jazz. There’s no fault in the songwriting, that exudes innocence and breezy charm. If anything, Tucker enhances it by approaching singing each song as a one-time performance

I met Eddie Tucker when I was a young songwriter in Chicago. It took absolutely no time after a few brief meetings, in which he sat at the keyboard and we shared tunes, for him to begin pouring knowledge into me. He became my songwriting hero and we formed a bond that remains until today. Although he has since made Orlando his home, I would not be unbiased in saying that I consider him to be one of the best writers in the industry and a Chicago treasure. I met him on the south side of our fair city and his indelible mark has been resided in me ever since. However, you would not be biased in saying these things about him, so please check out Eddie Tucker‘s fresh sound on his current release and previous releases. After that, you would also consider him to be an Artist You Should Know



Once again, I have  done my best to give a special place to my hometown cohorts in the industry. I am extremely proud of these gifted people and am confident that the messages they deliver through their incredible musical ability will last for generations.

If you know of any artists that you think should be featured on these pages, please drop us a line at




previous next