As we end this season of Artists You Should Know, we would first like to thank all the artists who are making a difference in the musical landscape. We also would like to thank all of those who were gracious enough to send us materials when we asked so that we could make sure we included accurate information. There are so many new artists and artists that need to be highlighted and so little time before the Holidays, we’ve decided to give you a “rapid fire” introduction to many amazing artists that we have had the pleasure of meeting and hearing.
Dexter Walker & Zion Movement * The Turner Sisters * Romandis Moore * Tiff Joy * Montage Pheloan * Demond Read * Jonathan McReynolds * Floyd Wilkinson * Tim White * Elishama Tekoa * LaToya Turrentine-Brown * Ron Poindexter * The Shirley J. Rainey Junior/Youth Choir
They are artists we enjoy and Artists You Should Know.
I can remember the days when Floyd Wilkinson had his own choir. They were an audible force to be reckoned with. Floyd himself a skilled singer, required nothing short of vocal excellence from all those who ministered with him.
After a successful stint with Donald Lawrence that included crafting the hook of the song “Back To Eden” into one of the most powerful professions in the modern era of Christendom, he graces the airwaves with another powerful testament in his new single: “Soul Says Yes“. Wilkinson’s precise riffs, fluid vocals and perfected placement bring life to the “less is more” theory. Crisp support vocals and well-produced music compliment his voice marvelously. You listen bar after bar to see what he’ll do next. With every line, you are rewarded with smooth, professional execution.
Floyd is the type of singer that makes other singers want to sing. His voice is a precise instrument and his musical ear is uncanny. He seems to elevate the skill and aptitude of everyone he works with. That speaks volumes about Wilkinson’s success. Serving as Minister of Music of Sweet Holy Spirit Church and leading their mighty choir, you can see the charisma that makes him beloved among peers and mentees.
“Soul Says Yes” is a song you can’t go wrong with. Adding it to your library will be an asset. Hopefully , it’s a precursor to more great music from Floyd Wilkinson.
“Soul Says Yes” – Floyd Wikinson
DEXTER WALKER & ZION MOVEMENT
This young man and his choir seem to have single-handedly pushed the choir sound back to the forefront of gospel music. For years, he has worked to hone his gift as a director, instructor teacher and arranger. This is not their first project, by any means, they have masterfully kept the sound of the traditional African-American choir alive and well with such recordings as: “Move” (2007), “Move II: Bring The Choir Back” (2011) and “Greater Than Before” (2013).
They now return with the same formula that gave the Thompson Community Singers, Rev. Timothy Wright and the L.A. Mass Choir such great success in the height of the eighties and nineties–songs with simply formulated, heartfelt messages that every church choir can sing. His newest single, “God’s Got Me” has all the elements of a true hit among churchgoers and traditional music fans everywhere. It’s a song that can be mastered by any choir worth their salt and the soloist can be a skillful pro or a good ol’ deacon with a nice tone.
The song opens with a good Sunday morning sound overlayed with the clear and powerful vocals of the one and only, Rev. Tim White. (more on him later) In keeping with his goal of preserving the choir sound, it transitions to something pleasingly reminiscent of the Wilimington-Chester Mass Choir. Good show, Dex! With Grammy Award winning producer, Percy Bady at the helm, this song is surely a prelude to the rest of another soon-to-be coveted project from Dexter Walker & Zion Movement. Any choir leader or choir lover cannot pass up giving “God’s Got Me” a good listen.
“God’s Got Me” – Dexter Walker & Zion Movement
Usually, I ask an artist for some background information – especially if I don’t know them–just to get some insight into their journey. Sometimes I garner information about family, past exploits, childhood, church affiliation, etc. I was hoping to learn a lot more about this young lady, but I haven’t been afforded the pleasure of interview. Regardless, I couldn’t let this season of AYSK end without including her music.
While listening to a radio show, hosted by Stepehen Anderson, I heard top-notch production and relative lyrics in a song that seemed to speak from someone’s own personal sentiment. That was my first encounter with Latoya Turrentine-Brown and her music . The song I heard was called “Process” and it is an anthem for every young lady who is looking to fulfill purpose while dealing with the ebb and flow of life.
Talk about flexibility? The song is part of her début project “I Am Favor’s Voice”. What was absent in the area of biography was made up for with a fresh sound that told me everything I needed to know about her life, her commitment and her purpose.
A compilation that shows her adroit abilities in almost every style of contemporary music. A very good source tells me that she can sing just about anything. In listening to this CD, I am inclined to believe it. I also suspect she is a great songwriter as well. Songs like “Free To Worship” (which gives a taste of reggae) , “What God Has Done For Me” (takes my mind to the era of the Supremes and the Motown Sound) and “He’s Able” (a good ‘ol knee-slapper that inverts, reverts and climaxes brilliantly) all show the veritable buffet she provides for lovers of all styles. “I Am Favor’s Voice” is a workshop for every developing female singer in approach and delivery.
Mrs. Brown stands on her own merits as a singer, but let’s not leave without mentioning that she is from a bloodline that has powerful singing throughout – that of Evelyn Turrentine Agee. Ms. “God Did It”, herself. You can definitely hear the family tree blossom with this great singer, LaToya Turrentine-Brown.
“The Process” – LaToya Turrentine-Brown
The office of minister has been transformed into a multi-faceted one in the past decade. Where once the preacher was only to issue the message of God, he now is an author, entrepreneur and, if we are fortunate, an excellent singer
One of few men who take this diversity to new heights is Rev. Romandis Moore. Father, Husband, Leader, Supporter and all the other things that make a messenger of the Gospel amiable and beloved certainly describe Rev Moore. Along with that, he is a product of the West Side of Chicago, an area that seems to consistently produce great male singers. Moore’s smooth vocals have a richness to them that makes singers do a double take and listeners rejoice. There is new music coming soon, but there’s no need to worry, he has graciously provided us with something to whet our appetites.
“On You” is an enraptured, simple melody that Moore delivers effortlessly. It just seems as if he knows how to put every movement in the perfect place. Never too much and never too little. Lines like “…Failing is the only thing that you cannot do. You never fail to come through, because you are failure-proof.” display Moore’s wonderful skills as well as make the song relate to every listener with experience. As if his fluid vocals weren’t enough, he also supplies us with a “Father and Son” version of the song which features his son, Romandis Moore Jr. . I won’t bore you with the analogy of apples and trees, but I will tell you that his son will be a voice to be heard within a few years. We just get a sample here, which is enough to prepare for his inevitable début. Romandis gives heartfelt tones and words of personal testimony in the reprise entitled “On You (Pt. 2.)” . He is still reserved, but lets loose just enough to make us more interested in what he has to offer. Male singers (especially seasoned and solid ones) will need to check out the Romandis Moore‘s Maxi Single; “On You” to stretch their abilities. One rehearsal with this song and you will never be the same.
“On You” – Romandis Moore
In this installment of AYSK, we will try to touch on the scope of his immense talent. However, Tim White is a gifting that can be best experienced as opposed to heard. A wonderful personality and, by far, one of the most easily entreated people in the industry, his personality only adds to my appreciation for his gifting.
Rev. White recorded a project this past summer for release in 2016, bringing his fan base and his production from West, all the way to Chicago’s South Side (something about that West Side, I’m gonna figure it out and get back to you). This will be a follow-up to an immensely popular début project entitled: “I’m Trusting“ . If you want to get a feel for the kind of singer/talent White is, listen to the song “Grace”, written by hit writer, Tony Tidwell. It’s the type of song that those from the annals of the church world would call a “house wrecker”. You can hear the depths of White’s personal experience as well as the resounding concurrence from the audience in this recording. For good measure, the title cut, a chantey which features famed directress and singer, Angela Spivey, Mark Wright‘s susurrating tune, “None Like You” and “Tim’s Worship Medley” give glimpses into the type of atmosphere that he is famous for.
In seeing him live, I surmise that Tim easily has the energy of ten men. Just when you think he is done, he’ll hit you with a torrent of new energy and give you even more of himself . Tim White is as powerful a preacher as he is a singer. Competent, Biblically well-versed and energetic. Please don’t let another day go by without listening to this project. Any music leader needs some of the music from “I’m Trusting” for their church’s repertoire.
“Grace” – Tim White
Truth be told, Jonathan McReynolds really doesn’t need an introduction. If you haven’t heard of him within the Gospel genre, you couldn’t possibly have been aloof to his stellar performances with India Arie and Mali Music. Well-educated (Columbia College and Seminary) and morally-grounded, Reynolds brought us “Life Music: Stage II” in pieces. On iTunes, he released songs in stages, which heightened our anticipation for the full project.
One good listen to “Christ Representers” and “Pressure” an you will think these, like songs from his past projects, will become some of this generations’ mantras. I thoroughly enjoy those songs, but have fallen in love with “Limp”. Say what you will, I can certainly relate to it. “Life Music: Stage II” presents McReynolds’ versatility while at the same time continues the mission of affirming his faith. Warryn Campbell, P.J. Morton, the aforementioned India Arie and Israel Houghton are among the All-Star collaborators on this buzzed-about sophomore project. Garnering awards, appearances and opportunities has not stopped him from being faithful to his church or his commitment to Christ. His music opens up a new chapter in his life as he matures as a Christian. I look forward to a generation of listeners growing in faith with Jonathan McReynolds. They will take him on their journey and he will take them on his.
“Limp” – Jonathan McReynolds
She is fresh off the heels of a whirlwind of success that included winning a Stellar Award for “Song of the Year”, traveling across the country, doing interviews and being elevated to another level of success. This young lady is poised for greatness.
There are probably plenty of hushed rumblings in the shadows saying that her new-found spotlight emanates from writing one good song. Not so!
Tiff Joy (Tiffany Joy Mcghee) was doing the type of singing that she’s doing now long before her name or voice graced anyone’s liner notes. Long before she penned “Amazing” Tiffany flourished because she was groomed by two of the greats. 1.) her Father, Pastor Timothy Mcghee, the powerful Pastor of Free Spirit Church (South Holland, IL.) as well as one of the best songwriters in the business with over two decades of work with such artist as Ron Ellerson & Sounds Unlimited and the Chicago Mass Choir. 2.) Evangelist Bernadette McGhee, her mother, who is an amazing vocalist and minister. She has been a powerful worship leader – long before it was fashionable to be one.
All of that tutelage has culminated into “The Promise” . Whatever that title means to you, I guarantee that it means just as much to her. Start out with “YOU Are” and you get a feel for Tiff Joy‘s versatility. “The Promise” , a beautiful ballad that is expertly written and produced and“Oh How We Love YOU” is an upbeat call-and-response song that’s easy to enjoy. Of course, she included an arrangement of “Amazing”, wouldn’t you? Tiff Joy, with the help of producers, Phillip Feaster and Calvin Rodgers, has created a work that is sure to catapult her music and ministry even further.
“Oh How We Love You” – Tiff Joy
The accomplished musician, hit writer and master producer, Montage Pheloan returns with a sneak peek at things to come. The same man whose vision helped to bring us Nu Wave (a.k.a. Fortitude), Johnell Nicholas & ISM and Youth Fellowship as well as the smash hit “Celebrate The King” by Ricky Dillard & New G has released “I’m Blessed” . A testimonial to everyone who has miraculously survived the vicissitudes of life. The song has Pheloan’s signature sound: “complex simplicity”. A relative message that transcends genders, ages and classes. Despite all the world’s social maladies, the message that I’m Blessed rings true. You may not need this song today, but obtain a copy and one day, in your quiet time, you will appreciate this message. Thank you, Montage Pheloan. Your music throughout the years has been impactful and you’ve done a marvelous job giving God’s people great hope through song. God has graced you.
“I’m Blessed” – Montage Pheloan
SHIRLEY J. RAINEY’S JUNIOR/ YOUTH CHOIR
One thing that the gospel music world seems to be in short supply of these days is children’s music. With The Soul Children of Chicago, Mississippi Mass, West Angeles and GMWA having their childrens choir absent from the current mainstream music scene and groups like New Direction and Joshua’s Troop appealing to teens or maturing altogether into a more seasoned sound, there are few options left for pre-teen/children’s choirs short of throwbacks or Top 40’s whose message may or may not be an little to mature for kids.
The Shirley J. Rainey Junior/Youth Choir is here to help give a fresh alternative. From the simplistic and age-appropriate “Over And Over” and the loving message in “This World” (written by the choir’s Founder, Shirley J. Rainey) to the radio-friendly and energetic “I’m Determined” and “Child Of The King” (written by Montage Pheloan), the kids are not left out in this recording and the project even includes instrumental versions of each of the 7 songs to accommodate rehearsing and performing for those who may be leading a children’s choir. When we talk about ministry, we must define it as meeting the needs of people — of all ages. Shirley J. Rainey’s Junior/ Youth Choir has met the needs of those of us who are not tall enough to ride the roller coaster. While it is unsophisticated by romantic lyrics, Pheloan’s music and project production is of such a good quality that parents will occasionally sneak this one in the car for the ride to work. While in the elementary release stages, (no pun intended) you can pick up a copy by reaching out to Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church (Rev. Walter W. Matthews).
“I’m Determined” – Shirley J. Rainey Junior/Youth Choir
Say what you want, when I first heard “What Is Love” my mind went back instantly, to the first time I heard a young Whitney Houston. I also heard remnants of Darlene McCoy and Bridget Mendler. No, I’m not over-exaggerating. Her effortless depth of tone is absolutely hypnotic. Okay, maybe it’s just me, but in a world of over-singing and over-production, it is refreshing to hear the music in all its simplistic wonder. The song’s sincere message is felt through every note.
Elishama Tekoa (E-lee-sha-ma Tuh- KO-Ah) is no stranger to the industry having released her first EP; “God Has Heard: Vol 1” in 2012. Her style splendidly combines singular competence and integrity with delicate, graceful vocals. When it comes to performing, this young lady has simply incredible talent. However with Takoa, we haven’t discovered another singing sensation. We have been enlightened to find and artist whose music is a means to give back to underprivileged families annually. Music is her gift, but outreach is her passion. She may not be a household name, but based on her musical output thus far including “What Is Love?”, we’re betting that you’ll get to know her very soon. Rising from a background of hard work to be a shining star as a musician, community activist or thespian. I expect Elishama Tekoa to get everyone’s attention in the next few years.
“What Is Love”- Elishama Tekoa
When I first heard “Light Me Up”, I thought of Brandon Heath and Neyo. Wonderful arrangement and commercial appeal drew me in. Demond Read has crafted his own sound and that sound is nothing short of phenomenal. Having spent time with New Direction, I remembered him to be a unique talent that could stand on his own, yet his personality was always that of a team player. Demond’s song presents the talent of this burgeoning singer-songwriter and allows the listener insight to the fact that he has so much more to offer. Given time, I expect Demond to be heard from in more areanas
He has made a wise decision to create a demand by releasing his single as a free download. Introducing himself as one who desires more than just surface service to God. He is relatable and gifted. I am excited about where he is going. There’s no excuse not to add this song to your musical library – especially since it’s absolutely free. Get in on the budding career of Demond Read as a future major music maker and the ground floor of a movement. “Light Me Up” is available on SoundCloud.
“Light Me Up” – Demond Read
He’s not even 25 years old and already, Ron Poindexter has made a name for himself through his amiable charm and vocal shrewdness. Gracing the stage and airwaves with artists like: Darrell Djay Perkins, Dante Hall and the Turner Sisters, Ron quickly became a sought-after and much-respected vocalist. There are few words to describe his dexterity as a singer. He articulates riffs and falls like he was coached by Kim Burrell, Lalah Hathaway and Brandy Norwood, some of the greats in the craft.
“Just Jesus” is his debut single and he approaches it with all the finesse and acumen of a seasoned veteran. Within the first 20 seconds, his appassionato tones help you to realize that you are hearing something special. The support vocals and instrumentation keep you intrigued and before you know it, you’re two minutes into the song. I absolutely love the transition from an andante-like flow to a strong gospel drive where Ron adamantly expresses his resolute allegiance to the title. I am so grateful that he chose the high road of preserving the message’s integrity by allowing the words to breathe. Maturity and discipline as a singer provide you with a smooth and eloquent listening experience. As does expert producing from Curtis Lindsey, a melodic genius in his own right and well-respected music director.
“Just Jesus” is the type of song you listen to the first time in amazement and all the other times after, in anticipation of what’s coming. Get a copy and share it with someone who hasn’t heard it. I guarantee that if you haven’t heard of Ron Poindexter, this isn’t the last time you will.
“Just Jesus” – Ron Poindexter
THE TURNER SISTERS
In the tradition of families like Clark, Pace and even Pointer, their kinship brings a sound that cannot be duplicated – the sound of family. Reverend & Mrs. Turner’s four girls honed their remarkable family blend into a unique package and present an all-new project called “This Is Just The Beginning” , a nice mix of everything that their fans absolutely love about them and new music styles and production, done with their signature that will make them lovable to new fans. They step out of the normal zone and have even taken a new spin on their cover. Where the “So Amazing” project featured a warm and pretty look at the girls, this new art shows mature siblings – each with their own identitiy – and a bold vibrant look. They have taken on the task of writing and arranging ; things that artists usually leave to others, is all in-house. Let’s be clear; while they launched out to new territories, they never lost sight of what God has graced them to do.
Bubbly, energetic and free are all words to describe any performance they give. Songs from their release give credence to that. “Inseparable” and “Live” (a personal favorite) are sure tracks to keep on repeat. Easy to follow and easy to listen to, these songs give you a little of everything that creates a well-rounded project. It wouldn’t be pure Turner Sisters if they didn’t take you into a dance. Beloved for their rendition of “Hallelujah” by the Clark Sisters, “Be Alright” is all their own. This whirlwind of sound and excitement is so infectious it feels as if neither the artist nor the listener can get enough.
“Be Alright” – The Turner Sisters
Darrell “Djay” Perkins provides the compass for this new journey as producer. I think he’s done a good job of preserving who they are without leaving them in a box. With fine musicianship and fan-friendliness — both musically and personally, we can expect that there are 3 or 4 little girls somewhere huddled in a space listening and emulating them. Just as they were inspired by the legendary family groups in their upbringing, these sisters are providing the ignition for those coming after them. We are confident that there’s more to come. After all, “This Is Just The Beginning” for the Turner Sisters.
With our first season of Artists You Should Know coming to a close, we are humbled to have met and have relationships with so many incredibly talented people. The level of passion they exhibit in their craft only solidifies my, and any fan’s, allegiance to them. We pray continued success to the artists featured above and to all those we have had the pleasure of featuring at cribbsification.com
If you know of any artists that are doing their part to cultivate the musical landscape and think they could use some positive press, let us know by commenting below this article or reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be more than happy to gather their music and get to know them as an artist and as a person. Wishing you all the best for the Holidays and the days to come. Godspeed.