NEW YORK, June 16, 2014 /Christian Newswire — Gospel Music has grown by leaps and bounds in the last twenty years. Gospel Music has spread beyond the Church walls to reach mainstream America. Gospel has grown from the sounds of Walter Hawkins, Shirley Caesar and Albertina Walker. Gospel is heard on R&B radio stations, television and internet streaming services such as Pandora and Iheart Radio.
Nationwide there are nearly 300 black Gospel radio stations, compared with 80 a decade ago. Leading artists include Kirk Franklin, Hezekiah Walker and Mary Mary. Sisters from Inglewood CA. Erica and Tina Campbell are often credited along with Kirk Franklin for broadening the fan base of urban contemporary gospel in the 2000s by introducing elements of Hip Hop Soul Music and Jazz. Their hit song Shackles put Mary Mary front and center in urban contemporary gospel music Their debut album, Thankful peaked at No. 1 on the Gospel album chart and went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album.
Erica Campbell spoke on the importance of not compromising their values when asked to sing R&B. “We were never tempted by that because I think serving your purpose in life and knowing your place and your position and living out your destiny is much more important than a dollar.”
“Kirk Franklin & The Family,” released their debut album, Kirk Franklin & The Family in 1993. It spent almost two years on the Gospel music charts and charted on the R&B charts, eventually earning platinum sales status. It remained at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart for 42 weeks. It was the first gospel music album to sell over a million units
Franklin has since recorded with R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige and Bono of U2, finding tremendous success with a series of hit songs that have crossed over into Soul Music. He has incorporated music from Artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire and Patrice Rushen to name a few. Franklin’s urban contemporary gospel choirs such as The Family, God Property and One Nation Crew has won multiple awards, including seven Grammys.
Gospel has also become increasing popular on Television and Film. Recent examples of this are found with Cedric the Entertainer’s Soul Man on the TV Land Network and the success of Movies directed by Tyler Perry. Perry received a $5.5 million budget to fund his first movie, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which was released in 2005. Diary went on to gross $50.6 million domestically.
Since the success of his first movie Perry has released at least a dozen movies over a span of a decade grossing a half a billion dollars. In 2012 Perry struck an exclusive multi-year partnership with Oprah Winfrey and her Oprah Winfrey Network producing the top rated show the Haves and the Have nots.
There are 43 million blacks in America and their buying power has risen substantially in recent years, from $585 billion in 2000 and $723 billion in 2004, to a projected buying power of $1.1 trillion by 2015. According to information compiled by Wright Communications Worldwide Inc.
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