As followers of this site already know, the independent artist movement is an ever-expanding market. If you find an undiscovered artist you like, by the time you finish listening to their track, you’ll find that there are four more artists with the same or similar flavor that you’ve never heard of. It is impossible for me to highlight every new independent artist. As a matter of fact, the list of artists I have in my queue to review is two pages long. I’m only one man.
Having said that, it is my endeavor to spread the word about good music coming from good people. The most efficient way to do that is to include them in a rapid-fire report in which I try to spread the word about more than one artist at a time. Each of these artists’ work is important. Please support them and help spread the news about them. Here we go!
Danielle West * Eric Sanders * Kimberly Eichelle * Dr. Cynthia Nunn & IMEJ Mass Choir * JaQuoi Griffin * Minon * Pastor Daniel X. Smith & New St. Matthew Inspirational Chorale * Malcolm Williams & Great Faith
With a deep, sensuous rasp and graceful notes, Danielle West takes us through the names and roles of our God beautifully in her new song entitled, “Who You Are“. The song is filled with things I call “attainable touches“, places where she is not laser-perfect as so many artists strive to be. She sings in such a way any singer would be comfortable approaching this song in their own worship service. I love her unexpected key change and inclusion of one of our most popular hymns (I will let you purchase your copy and see for yourself). The latter part of the song displays her ability to lose herself in the song experience without losing focus on the songs’ initial message. This is a good song that should be in your library as a reference to younger singers around you. It serves as a lesson on excellence and being who they are created to be — not imitating the status quo. I look forward to hearing more music from Danielle and am anticipating the chance to hear her live. You should feel the same, she definitely seems to be an atmosphere changer.
Excellent presentation, heartfelt elocution and good production helps Danielle West stand out among the crowd as an Artist You Should Know.
Eric Sanders‘ new project, “No Other Name” is an EP with three great songs on it. That simple understatement is not meant to demean the project but to be careful not to overstate the depth of this project. You can play this EP over and over and all the way through. Sanders’ delivery and presentation make for an enjoyable experience.
The opener (title song) is an upbeat and familiar feel that doesn’t inundate us with over-orchestration. Although I’m sad that the background vocals didn’t get their just due in the final mix, they are doing a phenomenal job in key changes, inversions and execution. They are solid and pivotal to the song. Sanders adds all the Chicago flavor you need. He’d definitely be a house-wrecker on this one in a live setting. While “I’ll Trust You” is a wonderful song, Eric makes it just that much more enjoyable. I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed the last song on the project: “Blessing Me“. He had me a few seconds in and he expertly featured the gifting of the one and only Dorinda Clark-Cole. Thankfully, she wasn’t introduced. He allows her inclusion to be seamless within the songs’ structure. However smooth her entry was, in true Dorinda fashion, all bets are off once she gets going.
This is not the artists’ first musical offering. In December of 2012, “I’ll Trust You” , produced by my good friend, Rodney Jones, was presented and is yet available. I’m proud to present this humble and very talented Chicagoan and anointed Pastor of Logos Church as an Artist You Should Know.
Don’t let her low and solid tones lull you into thinking that this is going to be some run-of-the-mill artist who just felt they had something to say to the world. Kimberly Eichelle has obviously been groomed by people who know the true nature of artistry and how to present a song to a listener. She follows the three stages of song presentation that so many others miss:
- Establish the song, first
- Present another facet of the song/build an anticipation
- End with a powerful, well-delivered conclusion
I am very impressed with the new single, “Where Would I Be” which follows each of the steps in a classic and calculated fashion. The mix is crisp and clear and the song itself is one that is appealing to a long-overlooked group in the industry, The seasoned singer. Many of them have been house-wreckers for years, but they can’t keep up with the new singers and their complex musical changes and riffs. They can embrace this song because it allows them to pace themselves and has a proven message. I am in no way saying that this artist is old. What I am saying is that she — based on presentation — is experienced and confident in who she is, not wanting to try and keep up with the next singer, but bold in her own abilities. Eichelle goes forth perfectly, checking all the right boxes for appropriate delivery of a song. Her twist at the end takes us to a foot-stomping drive allowing her range and power to shine through. The Las Vegas native definitely has a well-produced hit on her hands. A hit that should be in your hands and part of your collection as a new Artist You Should Know.
Dr. Cynthia Nunn & The IMEJ Mass Choir
Along comes dynamic songwriting and powerhouse musicianship that caters to the oft-forgotten entity in the Gospel music industry: The church choir. Dr. Cynthia Nunn & The IMEJ Mass Choir present a project which captures a genuine worship experience.
Featuring the production talents of Pastor DeAndre Patterson and Donald “Buster” Woods, this offering has everything necessary to create a solid church choir repertoire. From songs like “All Power” to the beautiful ballad “Hiding Place” — a song by hit writer, Percy Bady — to my personal favorite, penned by Woods himself, “Jesus Christ” which features the lead vocals of an amazing worship leader, Monique Griffith and the one and only, Bishop Darrell Hines.
Jesus Christ – Dr. Cynthia Nunn & The IMEJ Mass Choir
Every choir leader and choir member should invest in a copy of Dr. Cynthia Nunn & The IMEJ Mass Choir project. Cynthia Nunn’s writing has been prevalent in the music industry for years and as an Artist You Should Know, she launches out to becoming a credible artist in her own right. It shows that the entity that is the Church of God in Christ is not recusing itself to its own ranks. It also shows that, despite the growing worship music movement, the choir sound is certainly not simply a thing of the past.
Bishop Bryant K. Martin
In the traditions of Bishop G. E. Patterson and Bishop Ronald E. Brown, another Bishop takes the reigns of the airwaves to preserve the sound of the traditional Gospel music. While it may seem as though modern music is making such advances that some of our forefather’s songs would be left in the shadows, Bishop Bryant K. Martin is here to ensure that the sound of the original church remains prevalent.
From the first track to the last, the project absolutely captures the sound of the churches we grew up in almost a generation ago. Washboard Worship is a throwback to our past. Songs of special note would have to be “Washboard Worship” featuring real washboards and congregation participation. “Come By Here” which features simple melodies but complex harmonies that are tight as a drum (The bass is right in the pocket). Bishop Martin does touch on the modern elements of music by adding a new sound to “Change Gon’ Come” and “For He Is Worthy” this is secretly an ideal P&W tune. Choirs, please don’t pass up the chance to add “All Praises Due” to your registry if you like traditional choir songs. His take on church music makes him an Artist You Should Know. I think Bishop Martin has done a masterful job in bringing the traditional sound to the new age without losing anything in translation.
Come By Here – Bishop Bryant K. Martin
I absolutely love the new era of the independent artist. I am able to learn about new singers simply by recommendation from another singer or musician. This is how I learned of Ja’Quoi Griffin and I am glad I did (thanks, Timothy Kelly!). According to his website, he is a shy introvert. Maybe so, but behind the microphone, he seems to be a gregarious vocalist. Hints of Jaheim and Joe are sprinkled into his presentation, but he certainly doesn’t strive to emulate them. Outside of that, I can say that this young man seems to carve his own path. His name may be found in the same category as Jonathan McReynolds and Jekalyn Carr, which is good company and makes him part of a new group of artists that are bringing a fresh sound to the Kingdom. Along with the aforementioned artists, you can include Gabriel Carter, someone that Griffin has worked with before. He was featured on the song “Reveal Yourself To Me” on Gabriel’s “I Am” project. This is definitely a project worth listening to — if for no other reason than to get a preview of Griffins’ singing prowess.
Griffins’ new project “Never Alone“, is an EP of meticulously crafted songs that seem to fit the voice and the heart of the artist. My personal favorite is the title cut “Never Alone“.
“Never Alone” – JaQuoi Griffin
I must also mention the song “You Are (Apophasis)“. The song’s play on words has depth is perfectly crafted for his stunning voice. I encourage you to support this young man. While I don’t join anyone’s band wagon, I am definitely a fan of Ja’Quoi Griffin and am glad to add him to this exclusive fraternity of cribbsification.com‘s Artists You Should Know.
32 seconds in, I was already in love with the incredible voice of Minon. She releases a declarative and upbeat anthem of pride right in line with Psalms 139:14 called “Who I Am” . I have long been critical of those who have vocal abilities that allow them to render notes and phrases helpless to their will and I have been known to appreciate a singer that lets the song breathe in lieu of vocal dexterity. The risk is that the singer would hang onto their ability and allow the message to be left unresolved, creating a lull in an otherwise powerful platform. But Minon walks this fine line very skillfully and not only is she gifted at doing what she does with her voice, she is equally knowledgeable at placement. By the time the song progresses to its climax, we experience the full effect of expert musicality, master mixing, skillful background singing as well as great artistry on the part of Minon, herself.
This Gospel Choice Award nominee is a very impressive and masterful singer. Among a sea of great female soloists in her genre, she stands out as one of the finest. Download her new song and get in on the ground level of what I believe will be a burgeoning new sound coming out of Atlanta, GA. (via Kansas City, MO.). Singers inspire singers and I am confident that this Artist You Should Know will inspire a lot of people with her current music and any music she releases in the future.
“Who I Am” – Minon
Pastor Daniel X. Smith & New St. Matthew Inspirational Chorale
I can remember a time when the church was at odds with itself, deciding whether it was appropriate for choir to move or whether they should stand reverent and stoic. I’m glad that we figured out it was okay to move. If not, we would never have had great performances by The Thompson Community Singers and so many others. Certainly, we would have missed the opportunity to see and hear Pastor Daniel X. Smith & the New St. Matthew Inspirational Choir.
It is said that this generation has lost the traditions that brought us to where we are. NSM has dispelled that myth by reaching back and paying homage to a classic by the Queen of Gospel, Dr. Albertina Walker. Their single, “I Can Go To God In Prayer” is deep roots with a contemporary flourish. Unlike a lot of covers in which the artist tries to improve on the original, NSM sticks with the time-tested formula, only adding a sprinkle of their own flavor. If you like the original, you will like this version as well. Seeing them live takes me back to my memories of the show choir era, when choirs moved and dressed for every performance. It may not work for everyone, but it is who they are and they wear it with honor. There is more music to come from them soon. I have inside information on writers and producers who are getting involved in the project, but I’m sworn to secrecy. I can only tell you that this will not be one to miss. In the meantime, go and grab a copy of their single. This great Pastor holds on to the traditions that make us great while bringing us into the modern age. Pastor Daniel X. Smith & The New St. Matthew Inspirational Choir – definitely an Artist You Should Know.
I Can Go To God In Prayer – Pastor Daniel X. Smith & The New St. Matthew Inspirational Choir
Malcolm Williams & Great Faith
We can’t speak about great choir leaders in and around the Chicagoland area without mentioning the name Malcolm Williams. He’s been a staple in the Chicago Gospel music scene for the last decade or more. He’s led worship for Salem Baptist Church (Rev. James T. Meeks) as well as other churches around the country. He has also conducted powerful workshop sessions across the country. Perhaps his best-known facet of ministry is his work as a Gospel artist. Malcolm Williams & Great Faith have produced great music for a number of years, not the least of which was their smash hit “The Blood Still Works“, written by Williams.
Williams and the choir are proponents of the sound of good ‘ol Sunday morning church music. Here they don’t disappoint with their newest single “He Died For Me“. Reminding us of the premise for every Sunday service, this is a rousing good time for the traditional music lover and everyone who appreciates the sound of the church. If you’ve never seen Malcolm Williams in his element, you have missed a treat. His work with Dr. LouDella Evans-Reid and GMAC (Gospel Music According to Chicago) and Mark Hubbard & The United Voices for Christ has garnered him a deserving place on the Gospel music landscape. There is a new project coming in September, but to whet your appetite, purchase a copy of this single and have your choir singing it in advance of the rush. If you don’t know Malcolm Williams and Great Faith, they are definitely an Artist You Should Know.
“He Died For Me“ – Malcolm Williams & Great Faith
I hope that you get to know and enjoy these artists. If you know of any artists we should know, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with some information on the artist. Godspeed!