Welcome to a new year and the latest edition of Root. The magazine you are holding is our 2nd Annual Industry Edition, and although it is more compact, it is still a great read! We are back with our Top 20 Power Players of 2011 and there are an astounding 12 new entries to the countdown. These are the people who made the gospel music industry thrive in 2011 and we are proud to announce a new power player in the number 1 spot. In this issue, we also unveil the “Ones to Watch” of 2012. These individuals made their presence known in 2011 and are trending to make an even greater impact in 2012. Speaking of impact, Isaac Carree and Monica Bacon have collectively and individually made a huge one in the year 2011, and in an exclusive interview and photo shoot with Root Magazine, they discuss their partnership, the success of Isaac’s first solo project and much more. Lastly, we introduce you to the gentleman behind the new label, B3 Records, as they attempt to take the industry by storm. It’s a new year and we are all going after something new, so sit back and enjoy the 10th edition of Root and continue to stay ROOTED in 2012 and beyond!
Let’s Go! Hasan James, Editor In-Chief
CONTRIBUTORS Editor In- Chief- Hasan James Managing Editor- Tracey J. Dwight Art Director- Fatima Williams- Burke Senior Art Director- Samir Marfatia Graphics- Tanya Riley Contributors Chandra Deal, Shawn Gibbs, Torrence Glenn, Khare Hawkins, Nicole Heyward, Roudy Michel, Adrian Warren, J.S. Williams, Chloe Vanderpool Photography Alonzo Boldin Fashion Editor Kendra Coston Management Shawn Gibbs- The Firm Artist Management Printing Shweiki Media
IN THIS ISSUE Isaac Carree Alone But Not Alone Pg 6 - By Hasan James
Monica Bacon I Got Ya Back
Pg 7 - By Chloe Vanderpool
Top 20 Power Players of 2011
Page 8 - By Chandra Deal, Jeanelle Drysdale, Tonya Holmes, J.S. Williams
B3 Records We Got Next Page 14 - By Hasan James
ALONE ...BUT NOT ALONE
Styling by Kendra Coston for Essence of A New You Photography by Alonzo Boldin Shawna Seymore for A Kiss of Beauty Makeup Artistry Location by Demin Lounge, Brooklyn, New York Photo Editing Whitney Thomas
A Hasan James Interview I initially met Isaac Carree in the summer of 1995. Back then he was a young man in his early twenties who had just parted ways from John P. Kee and The New Life Community Choir and began traveling with Hezekiah Walker and The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir. It was Isaac and Lowell. Many people probably don’t even know that these two guys sang with Love Fellowship for a stint, but it’s true. Three years later, we connected again on the “Power 98” tour and on one of our days off went searching for the latest pair of Air Jordan kicks. The more things change, the more things stay the same. Isaac always had “The Voice”, even when he sang with John P. Kee, songs like “I Want to Love You” and “Wave It Away” became instant classics due in part to Isaac’s smooth tenor voice. Nobody would have ever imagined that it would take 20 years before Isaac Carree would release his first solo project, but it did. It’s not because he does not have the pipes to stand toe to toe with great male vocalists like Marvin Sapp, Marvin Winans and Fred Hammond, but more so because over these last 20 years, he has been sowing and sharing his gift with other artists. From 1996 to 2005, Isaac was one-fourth of the popular group Men of Standard, and the group released five albums and won two Stellar Awards along the way. Soon thereafter, Men of Standard went on hiatus and Isaac, never missing a beat, began traveling the world with mentor, Kirk Franklin. Ironically enough, last fall Isaac was co-headliner on the Fearless Tour with Deon Kipping, Jason Nelson, Amber Bullock and Kirk Franklin. “I’ve been apart of number of tours. I’ve toured with Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams; I’ve toured with everybody. This tour had to be one of the greatest tours I’ve ever been apart of for the simple fact that there was so much unity. No one was trying to be a superstar, but we served one another and you don’t see that in any genre of music.” The North Carolina native, who now calls Atlanta home, has been riding high with his first solo project entitled “Uncommon Me.” The album debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard Gospel Charts and at press time the second single “In The Middle”, was the number one most played gospel song in the country. “In The Middle” was an instant smash and has been the start of many line dances across the country and is in heavy rotation on The Steve Harvey Morning Show. The funny thing is, Isaac is the first to admit that he is not known for fast songs as he is for the ballads and the song almost did not make the cut. “There is a funny story about “In The Middle”. Gerald and Tammi Haddon wrote that song and Tammy was working on her solo album and Gerald sent
in Tammy’s record to be mixed and made a mistake and sent “In the Middle” to be mixed. At the time “Simply Redeemed” was my first single and it was on the radio and did very well, I think it got to #12 on the charts. When it was time for us to send another song to radio, Monica said that we needed another single and being that it was already mixed, we went with “In The Middle” as the second single. We were just buying time and didn’t have a plan or a street date, but God took it and did what he wanted to do with it.” In case you were wondering, the “Monica” he is referring to is Monica Bacon, the smart, sassy and classy industry veteran that is Isaac’s other half when it comes to the business. “I think what Monica and I have is parallel to what Justin Bieber and his manager, Scooter Braun have; which is a management/partnership. Usher discovered him and all that, but it was Justin’s manager who decided to do a management/partnership. So when I started on my solo stuff, I prayed and asked God to send me somebody who gets me, because if they get me, they get what I’m trying to do. I called Monica one day and told her what I was doing and asked her to join forces with me. I was in the studio in Los Angeles and she listened to a couple of songs and she immediately came in working. She didn’t come in asking any questions with a bunch of paperwork and attorneys and I knew then that this was something that we would be doing for years together.”
"I’ve been apart of number of tours. I’ve toured with Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams; I’ve toured with everybody. This tour had to be one of the greatest tours I’ve ever been apart of for the simple fact that there was so much unity. No one was trying to be a superstar, but we served one another and you don’t see that in any genre of music.”
Brown Suit and Pink Shirt- Christopher Charles, Shoes- Cole Haan, Tie- Club Monaco
Silk Blouse- By Impulse, Velvet Skirt- H&M, Shoes- Guess, Necklace- By BeJeweled, Inc., Fascinator Hat- Essence Creations
Grey Wool Suit- By H&M, Silk Scarf- Dolce & Gabbana, Shoes- Kenneth Cole NY, Eyewear-Artist own.
I GOT YA BACK! A Chloe Vanderpool Interview It’s a crisp November morning in Brooklyn, New York and the Isaac Carree and Monica Bacon photo shoot is about to begin. The night before was the final show of the “Fearless Tour” at the Best Buy Theater in Manhattan and Monica wants to move the photo shoot back two hours. “We have been on the road for 30 days straight and we have been going to bed every night at 3 o’clock in the morning”, Monica tells us. Although we felt Monica’s pain, logistically, we had to move on as planned so that nothing goes awry. Doing a photo shoot with an artist is already nerve wrecking enough, but shooting an artist and CEO of the label is setting yourself up for disaster. Or so we thought. Monica Bacon’s mantra for her company, Sovereign Agency, is “Where Teamwork Makes the Dream Work” and this day is all about team work, as Isaac and Monica (the dynamic duo) give us what we need to make the photo shoot a success. Typically Monica doesn’t do photo shoots ad it was no easy feat getting her to agree to take pose for pictures. “I must really like you because I hate taking pictures”, she says. Ironically, she is very photogenic and at 51 years old, she looks better than most women 15 years her junior. Many skeptics may think that the executives should be in the background, but Monica Bacon is not your average executive. She is a 20 year plus industry veteran and Power Player (See Top 20 Power Players of 2011, #11) and manages the careers of songwriters, athletes and singers, which is what brought her to Brooklyn on this particular day. Her relationship with Isaac Carree is a unique one, as she not only manages his career but also partnered with him on a record deal under her Sovereign Agency imprint. “When Isaac presented his project to me, I was kind of burnt out by the music business quite honestly. I represent a few athletes, so I was busy running foundations and doing basketball camps, so that’s where my brain was at the time.” It’s hard to believe at one point the music business wasn’t a main priority in her life, even after so much success in the gospel music industry. During her years as Senior Vice-President of GospoCentric, Monica helped break acts like Trinitee 5:7, New Direction, Natalie Wilson & SOP, Byron Cage, Kurt Carr and God’s Property into superstardom. After Vicki Mack- Lataillade sold the once thriving label to Zomba Music Group, Monica was one of the only people asked to stay on board even after the company was sold. However, destiny was calling in the form of Sovereign Agency. Webster’s Dictionary classifies the word “Sovereign” as “One who possesses supreme authority” and from the looks of things, the Sovereign Agency is on the rise with clients like Isaac Carree, Gerald and Tammi Haddon, The Soul Seekers and the highly anticipated super group, Klark Kent.
ROOT: In 2010, you made a pretty big buzz with the group, Klark Kent and the song “All I Want Is You”. Gospel music has never really experienced a group like that; although they do remind me of a modern day Commissioned. At any rate, when can we expect more music from them? MONICA BACON: Oh yeah. We’re eight records deep. It’s funny how that group came about. Isaac, Gerald, LaShawn, Eric and Adonis are all good friends and they hang out together, go to church together and eat dinner together. On this particular day, they went to church and then went out to dinner and they were sitting around talking about music, just shooting the breeze. One thing led to another and they went to Rodney Jerkins studio and did the song that same night. Once they did the song, they let me hear it and I was amazed! After that I was like “What’s next”? That’s when they said that they wanted to really do this and two days later we were shooting the video. I was so excited about it because I’ve always wanted to take the best voices in the business and make a boy group.
Shirt- By Italian Swag, Ascot-Stacy Adams,Vest Pants- INC., Shoes-Giorgio Brutini.
ROOT: Now, you’ve had great success this year, especially with, of course, Isaac Carree and his album debuting at #1 and still at the top of the charts. Isaac has been in the game for over 20 years like you. How did the two of you join forces? MONICA BACON: I was over at Eric Dawkins house one day and Isaac was in town and they were working on music. So I walked in the house and they were in the studio, so I was like “What y’all doing? Y’all tricked me, I thought we all was going out to eat.” So I get in and listen to the music, and they were playing Isaac’s record and I was like “Wow…okay, nice.” Then I heard the song “Chances” and was like “Oh my God, what in the world are y’all doing here?” That song blew me away. So we started talking and he said that he needed some help. I was like “Let me think about it.” So I would say it’s the music that drew me back; it was the music with him. We just sat and we talked and I told him to send me some stuff and to pray about it. That’s basically how we started working together. Honestly, me coming from all the entities and places that I’ve worked from GospoCentric to EMI to Interscope, I knew I did not want a deal with any of those labels. Coming from the group Men of Standard, as an artist, Isaac had major success but the business side was not so good, therefore we did not want to go out and get a regular artist deal. I already had conversations with Universal about doing a distribution deal with Sovereign, so that’s how all that flowed together. I just decided, as far as his record was concerned, we had to go back and recreate Isaac and who he was; take people’s mind off who he was as far as Men of Standard and try to create a solo artist and make people really believe it.
Black Velvet Jacket- By INC, Black Skirt- H&M, Scarf- By Jones New York, Shoes- Shoes Couture
TOP 20 POWER PLAYERS 2011
The year 2011 was a huge year for gospel music in spite of the ever-changing economy. Long gone are the days when “Our Music” could only be found in Mom and Pop stores in obscure neighborhoods across the country.Gospel Music is one of the most popular genres of music in the country and can now be found in stores like Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy. Yolanda Adams even released an album this year that was distributed exclusively through Wal-Mart, proving that Gospel Music = Big Business! Root Magazine is back with the highly anticipated 2nd Annual Top 20 Power Players of 2011. These are the people that made major moves in 2011 and made the genre thrive. In addition, we unveil the “Ones to Watch” list of 2011, as these are the people who will take the industry to the next level.
Chandra Deal Jeanelle Drysdale Tonya Holmes J.S. Williams
So who made the list this year? Let’s see if Root got it right. Enjoy!
The Committee Shawn Gibbs - Torrence Glenn Khare Hawkins - Nicole Heyward Hasan James - Roudy Michel Adrian Warren
Bobby Carwright Each year thousands of fans, industry professionals, artists and taste-makers come together to be a part of a spectacular production called Gospel Superfest USA. Bobby Cartwright is the CEO and Founder and like Don Jackson, he is also a syndicator. Over the last decade, Gospel Superfest attained affiliations with all of the major networks inclusive of ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC and also on channels as vast as TBN, The Word Network and GMC. In 2011, Cartwright expanded his brand and signed an agreement with African American owned and operated, Bounce TV, whose owners are Ambassador, Andrew Young, Martin Luther King III and Will Packer. In addition, Cartwright struck a distribution deal with Music World Entertainment to package its “Back Stage Pass” shows.
Mike Chandler Named one of the Most Influential African Americans in Radio, Mike Chandler is President/CEO of the REJOICE Musical Soulfood Gospel Music radio network. The Network has over 45 affiliate radio stations across America. Mike is also Owner/GM of WFMI-FM REJOICE 100.9 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 2011, Chandler acquired three 25,000 Watt TV stations located in Hampton, Virginia Beach, Virginia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina from Christian-based Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN). The three stations will be part of a 12-station network owned by the Rejoice Musical Soulfood network, and Chandler says, “Our plan is that once we perfect what we are doing, we will launch a national faith-based network”. “We have to become owners. We in the faith-based industry have to do something to recapture our airwaves.”
18 Dr. Bobby Jones After more than 30 years of delivering gospel music on Black Entertainment Television, gospel pioneer Dr. Bobby Jones was inducted into the Nashville’s Music City Walk of Fame, and was honored with his very own star. Dr. Jones also known as “Mr. Gospel”, has revolutionized the gospel music industry, and has continuously delivered music through mainstream media since the 1980’s. Bobby Jones Gospel is the first and only nationally televised African American Gospel television show, and the longest running show in the history of cable television. Dr. Jones is credited for setting the platform in gospel showcasing and was recognized at the Kennedy Center in 2011, for his contributions in shaping gospel music during this year’s Gospel Music Heritage Month.
ONES TO WATCH
1. Carlos Hale- As Nashville premier event promoter, Carlos Hale and his Urban Soul Café has created quite a buzz in the industry, featuring artists from Marvin Sapp, Deitrick Haddon, Jessica Reedy and many others. 2. E.J. Gaines- “Mr. Gospel Pundit” has expanded his brand from gospel blogger to new Editor of Gospel Today Magazine.
ONES TO WATCH 3. Gerard Bonner- Bonnerfide Radio has become one of the most popular radio shows on the web and their Anniversary parties are one of the most highly anticipated events of Stellar Awards weekend. Are you a BRC? 4. Sheila Belle- The Belle Report is something we all look forward to receiving in our e-mail box and continues to be “Go To” for gospel news and entertainment. 5. Torrence Glenn- “The Gospel According to Torrence” is another blog that keeps us informed. Torrence G’s infectious personality and knowledge of gospel music is necessary to the Gospel Music industry.
17 Yolanda Adams The Yolanda Adams Morning Show is still a staple on morning radio and with the show reaching 39 markets in the U.S.; she shows no signs of slowing down. However, her major power move in 2011 was not in radio, but her first love of music. The four time Grammy winner set a new pattern in gospel, often seen in other genres, when she used her celebrity to leverage a direct distribution deal exclusively with Wal-Mart, one the country’s largest movers of music. “Becoming”, her first album in four years, had no major marketing blitz and was pretty much a secret to industry insiders yet still managed to debut at #3 on the Billboard Gospel Album Charts and at press time the first single, “Be Still”, was the #4 most played gospel song in the country.
6. Jawn Murray- This lover of gospel music ended his ever- popular segment on The Tom Joyner Morning Show as well as his segment on AOL’s Black Voices to focus on his first release, “Jawn Murray Presents Untapped”.
Don Jackson Business giant, Don Jackson has led gospel entertainment with more than 40 years of innovative television programs for African Americans. Since the founding of Central City Production, Inc. (CCP), Don Jackson has the oldest black-owned independent production company in the country. He is responsible for twenty-six years of success of the prestigious Stellar Awards and creating original African-American programs nationwide, many of which have been airing for more than 15 years. Jackson recently renewed his partnership and an exclusive 3-year deal with The Gospel Music Channel to continue airing the Stellar Awards on the cable network through 2014. In addition, Jackson’s Central City Productions spearheaded first run syndication of the GMA Dove Awards through network affiliates and independent stations nationwide, with an expected audience reach of at least 75 percent of U.S. television households. In efforts to stimulate jobs in the African American community and produce faith and family based programs, Jackson plans to launch is own network, Black Family Television, which will launch in 2012.
15 Melanie Few-Harrison In its 13th year, the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration brings NFL players and some of today’s top gospel artists together on one stage during Super Bowl Weekend. It features the NFL Players Choir, is the only inspirational concert that has aired on ESPN, and has been named by USA Today as “One of the Best Super Bowl Events to Attend.” SBG’s founder, Melanie Few- Harrison, has been very successful at bridging the gap between gospel music and the sports world and continues to bring forth “Results” as it pertains to marketing major corporations to faith based organizations. In 2011, Few- Harrison’s Marketing Agency, Results, Inc., helped bring positive television to the forefront with initiatives for BET’s latest sitcom, “Reed Between The Lines” and “Black Girls Rock”, which reached 844,000 and 1,968,000 African American households respectively. The latter even paid special tribute to Pastor Shirley Caesar, proving that “Church Girls Rock” too.
ONES TO WATCH
7. James Fortune- Upon his exit of Black Smoke Records under the helm of Kerry Douglas, Mr. Fortune formed FIYA World Music and will release his first album under his new label, entitled “Identity”, in addition to new acts.
ONES TO WATCH
8. Stan Jones- He was 2011’s ASCAP Rhythm & Soul award recipient for breaking the record of longest charting Gospel single ever with “All I Need” by Brian Courtney Wilson, followed up with Marvin Sapp’s Top 5 charting single, “He Has His Hands on You”.
14 Tracy Artis From her days of doing marketing and promotions for Air Gospel to becoming one of only two VP’s at B-Rite/Gospocentric, Tracey Artis has always been able to reinvent herself and become a mainstay in this music we call gospel. In 2011, Arits’ “I Hear Music In The Air” conference turned 10 Years Old and brought forth the top tier gospel artists, musicians, executives and television personalities in the world. In addition, Artis continues to co-manage the careers of Byron Cage and Marvin Sapp, is a consultant for the Word Network, Producer of the Crystal Mic Awards and did radio promotions for Isaac Carree’s “In The Middle”, which at press time was the #2 most played gospel song in the country. Artis website states, “We are a promotions and marketing firm that also does event planning”, but in 2011, Tracey Artis has done that and so much more.
13 Neily Dickerson Neily Dickerson is a behind the scenes woman with passion, presence and persistence. Neily, along with Tracey Artis and Monica Bacon, also got her start at Gospocentric Records in the early 1990’s and helped catapult acts like Kirk Franklin and The Family, Donald Lawrence & TriCity and Stephanie Mills to superstardom. By the top of the millennium, Neily formed her own independent label, Church Howse Music, which introduced the world to gospel duo, Ted & Sheri. As Casting/Talent producer for “Sunday Best”, Dickerson is very viable to the brand. According to “TV by the Numbers”, 2.1 Million Viewers and 1.5 Million Households tuned in to watch Amber Bullock take home the title of the 4th installment of BET’s “Sunday Best”. As Talent/Casting Producer for the show, some of the show’s success is due in part to the tenacity of Neily Dickerson and the ND Company. The overwhelming success of the ND Company’s artist, VaShawn Mitchell is another milestone Dickerson can be proud of, as VaShawn Mitchell has been named Billboard’s No. 1 Gospel Artist of 2011.
When it comes to public relations, Jojo Pada is a name everyone in the gospel community knows and loves. Since her days as publicist for Motown Café and most notably Verity Records in the late nineties through the early millennium, Jojo has worked with the “Who’s Who” in gospel music and beyond. Five years ago Jojo launched her own PR Firm, Ignition PR, and 2011 was a huge year for the firm. Major campaigns for the likes of Mary Mary, Isaac Carree, Dawkins & Dawkins, Jessica Reedy, James Fortune, Dorinda Clark- Cole, William McDowell, VaShawn Mitchell and Andrae Crouch have kept Jojo very busy and makes her one of the most sought after publicists in the game.
JOJO PADA AND VaSHAWN MITCHELL
11 Monica Bacon In 2010, Monica Bacon was on our “Ones to Watch” list and although it seemed like an oxymoron at the time for a 20- year veteran, we were definitely on to something, as the veteran executive had a huge year in 2011. With clients such as Tammi Haddon, The Soul Seekers and NBA player, Sean May, the former Senior VP of Gospocentric Records has turned her full- service entertainment firm into something big. However, it was her client and partner Isaac Carree’s album “Uncommon Me” and the second single “In the Middle”, that thrust Monica and the Sovereign Agency into orbit. The album debuted at #1 and at press time was the #3 gospel album in the country, which helped land TCarree co-headliner of the Fearless Tour with Deon Kipping, Jason Nelson, Amber Bullock and Kirk Franklin.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: TYSCOT ARTISTS, CHRIS LEWIS, DAMITA HADDON, DR. LEONARD SCOTT AND BRYANT SCOTT
Dr. Leonard Scott and Bryant Scott In 2011, the Father/Son duo released chart- topping albums from legendary acts such as: The Rance Allen Group and Shirley Murdock, in addition to continuing to cash in on seasoned material from Gospel’s current hit maker, VaShawn Mitchell. However, The Scotts do more than sit at the helm of the country’s oldest African American-owned Gospel label, Tyscot Records. In 2011, The Scott’s expanded their focus to film and entertainment, garnering placement for their first feature, Blessed and Cursed, starring Deitrick Haddon, on Showtime Networks. In addition, they have freshly inked a deal that will place their new film Beautiful Soul, also starring Haddon, on TV One in early 2012. The Scott’s also serve as stake- holders in Taesis Distribution, one of the leading independent music and video distribution companies.
9 Kerry Douglas Although the exit of James Fortune from Black Smoke to his own imprint FIYA World, under the Light Records/e-One was a shocker to the entire industry at large, Black Smoke’s CEO, Kerry Douglas, did not miss a beat in 2011. He launched an online Talk Show entitled “The Mr. Kerry Douglas & Brandy B Show”, announced the formation of The New Deal Entertainment University which is both an online curriculum and a traveling classroom and spearheaded the first annual Regional New Deal Conference in major cities across the U.S. Mr. Douglas also kept pretty busy in the music department as well, launching the career of new comer Preashea Hilliard, whose debut CD “Live Out Loud” debuted at #4 on Billboard’s Gospel Album Charts and Earnest Pugh’s “I Need Your Glory” seems to have the “Rain On Us” appeal, sitting pretty at #1, four weeks in a row! Kerry Douglas continues to have the magic touch.
Universal Music Christian Group is a division of Universal Music Group Distribution, the award-winning sales and marketing arm of Universal Music Group that is home to labels like Arrow, F. Hammond, Kingdom, Habakkuk, JDI, Imago Dei, Dexterity, Pendulum, JDI and Music World Entertainment. Rhoda Lawrence is at the helm of the Gospel division as VP of Urban Sales & Marketing. Ranked at number 16 on our list in 2010, Rhoda Lawrence is a Force to be reckoned with and with Universal Music’s recent acquisition of the Recording Division of EMI; Lawrence may potentially direct one of Gospels premier labels.
6 7 Vicki Mack-Lataillade In 1992, Vicki Mack-Lataillade, the Co-Founder of fledgling record label GospoCentric, heard a demo tape that changed the sound of gospel music as we know it. Legend has it she was so impressed, she immediately signed Kirk Franklin and The Family to a recording contract. Credited with birthing the most successful independent gospel label ever, grossing over $100 million dollars for the GospoCentric, Mack- Lataillade continued to raise the bar in 2011 as part owner of the number one independent faith based record distributor in the world, Central South. In 2011, Central South continued to soar with releases from Canton Jones, Lee Williams and The Spiritual QC’s, Norman Hutchins, The Nevels Sisters, Jai and Lecrae and Company; amassing millions of dollars and further solidifying Vicki Mack- Lataillade as the most powerful woman in gospel music.
Although 2011 marked the end of an era as manager for his super star daughter Beyoncé Knowles, it also marked unprecedented success for Knowles and his Music World imprint. Knowles garnered much attention with his appointment to the Board of the Gospel Music Association, but nothing can over shadow the success of Season 3 Sunday Best winner Le’Andria Johnson’s debut CD, “The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson”. The album was the number 1 gospel album for three weeks in a row since its debut in September 2011 and also received a Grammy nomination. Experiencing rave success with artist Brian Courtney Wilson, Knowles received spikes with releases from his partnership with BETs Sunday Best. Le’Andria Johnson and Amber Bullock have proven to good additions to the Music World family and at press time was dominating the charts with three albums (all EP’s) on Billboard’s Gospel Albums New music from platinum selling artists, Trin-I-Tee 5:7, doesn’t hurt either. Using his broad-based exposure, Knowles provided a major platform for Gospel at one of the country’s successful music festivals, the Essence Music Festival and also used his power to land Amber Bullock on a nationwide tour with Kirk Franklin just a few short months after receiving the “Sunday Best” crown.
Jazzy Jordan/ Stanley Brown As Executive Vice President and General Manager of the World’s Top Gospel label, James Jazzy Jordan has worked in a variety of areas within the music industry such as marketing, promotions, radio broadcasting, and retail, over a 30- year span. Verity Records has been relatively quiet over the past two years but still managed to have four albums (Hello Fear, WOW Gospel, Church On The Moon & Playlist: Best of Marvin Sapp) in the Top 10 of the Top Selling Gospel Albums in 2011. Stanley Brown is the former Vice President of A&R for Island Black Music and was responsible for bringing Karen Clark Sheard to solo success and also served as Senior Director of A&R for Motown Records. Brown is also an award winning, multiplatinum Musician, Producer and Composer with over twenty years of experience in the music industry. As Senior Director of A&R of Verity Gospel Music Group, Brown did an unorthodox move for the label and added three new additions to the roster as Jason Nelson Deon Kipping and William Murphy have all become VGMG artists in 2011.
For over 15 years, James Robinson has been an intricate part of gospel music. In his years as VP of A&R for Light Records, he turned the small independent label into a powerhouse for mega gospel artists like J.J. Hairston, Pastor Shirley Caesar and Bishop Paul S. Morton. Since eOne Entertainment’s acquisition of Light Records, Robinson has taken on the role as President of the label, in addition to role as Vice President of eOne. Excited about the new direction of Light Records, Robinson released records in 2011 from Dorinda Clark-Cole, brought Dawkins & Dawkins out of retirement, produced a number #1 charted debut album from Jessica Reedy and Ricky Dillard’s highest charted album to date at #3 (Billboard Gospel Album Chart) and #55 (Billboard 200), respectively. Earlier this year, Robinson announced a marketing and distribution agreement with James Fortune & FIYA, to bring his new label, FIYA World Music to Light Records and eOne Distribution.
3 Mary Mary Beyond garnering a BET Award, Soul Train Award, Six Stellar Award nominations, Two Grammy nominations; coupled with appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Mo’Nique Show, Black Girls Rock, The Talk and Good Morning America all in 2011, sisters, Erica and Tina Campbell also announced a strategic partnership with Pillsbury to launch their new Frozen Pillsbury Grand’s Biscuit Sandwiches and Pillsbury Egg Scrambles. These ladies have done so much to expand their brand and connect significant buyers in the faith-based community. They not only sang the jingle for Pillsbury, they became brand ambassadors, garnering Pillsbury’s support of their efforts; a first of it’s kind in the gospel music arena. In 2011, the sisters also sealed the deal on a new reality television series entitled “Mary Mary” on WE tv, slated for March 2012.
ONES TO WATCH
9. Khalif Townes- Urban Roundup’s E-Blast has reached well over 150,000 gospel music enthusiasts and beyond and the “Crystal Mic Award” recipient made a bold move and merged his UGospel with GospelCity.com and now has a database of over 320,000. 10. B3 Records- Brooklyn New York’s, Jason Hendrickson, is the first artist to be released under the B3 Records imprint. After landing on the cover of this very magazine you hold in your hand, let’s see if B3 Records shows and proves in 2012.
Lecrae While Hip-Hop has become the model for a fast and luxurious lifestyle, Lecrae brings a bigger message to the industry and the youth to live a passionate and shameless life for Jesus Christ. Lecrae’s latest album “Rehab: The Overdose,” released in January, 20ll, was reported to be the highest charted Christian Hip-Hop album in history and debuted on the iTunes Music Store charts and at No. 1 in the Christian and Gospel Billboard Charts, respectively. Hip-HopDX reported first week sales at approximately 28,000 units, ahead of Ice Cube’s I Am the West, which was released on the same day. If that is not enough proof of a man with God’s mission, Lecrae was the first Christian rapper to flow in the 2011 BET Hip- Hop Award cypher along side Hip-Hop’s MC Nitty Scott, Soprano and Estelle. To further expand his “Reach” (pun intended), albums from 1-1-Six Clique, Tedashii and PRo were a huge success for Reach Records, the label in which Lecrae is co-founder. In 2011 alone, Lecrae was apart of three successful tours; The Rehab Tour, Man Up Tour and Unashamed Tour; which toured all over the Unites States and seven countries on the continent of Africa, collectively. Lecrae is hands-down, the greatest Christian rapper alive and in 2011 he proved that he is a young mogul in the making.
Kirk Franklin How does a seven time Grammy winner and multi-platinum gospel artist stay consistent after two decades in the business? If you are Kirk Franklin, you continue to write chart- topping songs and keep reinventing yourself. Kirk Franklin remains the top selling artist in gospel music and his latest offering “Hello Fear” debuted at the top of the Billboard’s Gospel Albums chart and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart; selling an astounding 87,000 units in it’s first week. All 10 of Franklin’s albums have peaked at No. 1 but that doesn’t surprise us, does it? What is surprising, however, is that Kirk found the time to take part in not one, but two, successful national tours. In the early part of 2011, Kirk joined Steve Harvey on the “Comedy Gospel Tour” and by the end of the year; his very own Fearless Tour had hit 18 cities in less than 30 days. The tour featured relatively new acts, Deon Kipping, Jason Nelson, Amber Bullock and Franklin’s protégée, Isaac Carree. Albeit a risky move featuring new artists on tour, all shows received rave reviews, sold out in every city and was produced and funded by Franklin, himself. If that’s not power, we don’t know what is!
going with your music? Jason Hendrickson: There will definitely be some of that but I will still stay true to my church roots, with those foot stomping and hand clapping songs. We will also have some urban stuff on there as well so there will be a plethora of music on my album. Going into this my main focus was to make music that will cross generations, music that would reach the mothers of the church, dudes on the corner as well as my contemporaries. We tried to make one or two songs that everyone will enjoy. Root: There are so many successful gospel labels out there, both independent and major. As CEO of B3 Records, what do you plan to do to make B3 stand out amongst the rest?
with artists like Marvin Sapp, so in that aspect the business side of music is what I’m about. Root: There are so many different artists out right now who are doing their thing. Who does it for you right now? Ken Black: Drake! (Laughter) Keeping it 100, he is doing it for the industry right now. Jason: For me, Kierra Sheard, J. Drew Sheard and the homie Kirk Franklin…. I love what they are doing right now! From a longevity standpoint, Hezekiah Walker is definitely a model that people should look at. I don’t look at artists who make one hit record and then they disappear. I want to pattern our artistry after artists like Hezekiah Walker and Marvin Sapp; people who have been in the game for over 20 years and remain consistent with great music. Bishop Hez is a prime example of someone who found his fan base, created that niche and stayed consistent. I think sometimes when people come into the industry and try to do things too different it won’t work. Staying in your own lane is a guaranteed formula for longevity and that’s what we plan to do with B3 Records.
Reggie: What I plan to do is go about marketing our company with an aggression that the gospel industry hasn’t seen before. Everything from the business module to production will be different. Root: Will you only be using In House producers? Reggie: Sure. Ken Black is an In House producer, however, we are not boxed in so we will be working with any other producers that share the same vision as B3 Records. Root: Jason, will there be any interesting collaborations on your first project? Jason: I was really proud to write a song with my brother Lawrence as well as with a gentleman by the name of Todd Davidson. Todd wrote a song on my album that actually has the potential to take us into a different market so we are excited about that. I also did a song with Desiree Coleman Jackson from “Mama I Want to Sing” fame.
Album Release: January 17, 2012
Root: Ken, when can we expect your project and what is the title of it? Ken Black: The title of my project is “Out of Range” and basically what the title is saying from a metaphorical standpoint is if you are looking for me, you can find me in he musical world because I am out of your range and not in your view. Root: Reggie, when people pick us this magazine, some skeptics will say to themselves, “Who is B3 Records”? Do you have a background in music? Reggie: I don’t have a background in music but I do have a business background and to me that is equally important. Kenny and Jason have more of the musical experience and I think that’s a good balance between the two. I’ve promoted concerts with artists in the hip-hop arena and in the gospel arena
WE GOT NEXT
Does B3 Records have what it takes to stand out among the best? A Hasan James Interview Photography by: Jay Hollywood
In 1984 Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin formed Def Jam Records and three short years later the label’s first signed act, LL Cool J, was the biggest rap star on the planet. Ten years later, in 1994, Verity Records was formed and their first artist John P. Kee, set the stage for what is now the biggest gospel label on the planet and is home to some of the biggest acts in gospel such as: Kirk Franklin, Donald Lawrence, Marvin Sapp, Hezekiah Walker and Fred Hammond. Beginnings can either make you or break you and 2012 is the year that B3 Records would like to show and prove just exactly what they are made of. CEO, Reggie Carter, along with artists and co-owners, Ken Black and Jason Hendrickson, plan to make B3 Records a record company that you won’t soon forget. With the way labels are folding and distribution deals are slim, can B3 Records become a record label that can be forever embedded into our psyche?
Root: Ken Black, you and Jason Hendrickson have collaborated together and penned songs for Marvin Sapp and others. What can we expect from the two of you in the future writing wise? Ken Black: Both myself and Jason will both be releasing projects on B3 Records in 2012 and we will also be releasing other artists on the label but right now Jason and I are the main focus. Root: What kind of sound are you looking to bring to the world? Ken Black: My sound is what I like to call “Urban Inspirational”. I come from the church but I want my music to reach the souls in the street. My music is a little edgy but it still has the message of Christ. Root: You will be the first artist coming out on the B3 Records imprint with your album, “Sovereign God”. Do you feel any pressure?
Root: As the CEO of B3 Records, what direction are you looking to take the company in?
Jason Hendrickson: Of course! Very much so because it is going to set the tone for what everyone else does, even from a business perspective. In a way I am like a guinea pig but I am confident in all of our experiences and the spirit of excellence we all possess.
Reggie: We are definitely trying to get the proper distribution deal that we think will further us as a company. We want to do it for ourselves as opposed to collaborating with another label.
Root: Currently, artists like William McDowell, VaShawn Mitchell and Maurette Brown Clark are big artists at radio and all have acquired a certain sound. Is the Praise and Worship sound the route you are
From Left to right: Jason Hendrickson, Ken Black, Reggie Carter 13