Celebrating UKGospel

Celebrating #UKGospel: Brits Abroad (Part 1)

I knew I was on to a good thing when I launched the ‘Celebrating UKGospel’ series…

I get excited when I can come up with different and interesting ways to honour the great work so many people continue to put in across the UK Gospel scene.

Most-shared feature

It’s also especially rewarding when many other people share that same excitement: the ‘Celebrating the Ladies of UKGospel (Part 1)‘ article was by far and away the most shared feature in the history of all versions of UKGospel.com.

Shutting down UKGospel.com

  • That was particularly encouraging because I’ve seriously considered shutting UKGospel.com down once or twice in recent years, mainly as I feel there are now some great players in this space.
  • I’ll put a link to a few excellent websites for you to check out (as well as my reasons for wanting to shut down UKGospel.com) at the end of this feature.

Stories you didn’t know you wanted

  • Anyway, on to the matter at hand: the intention of this series is to make it ‘part showcase, all celebration’, while ‘making it atypical’
  • In other words: how can I bring you stories you want – but you didn’t even know you did…? 

Over the moon 

  • I’m over the moon about this instalment: the story of amazing people who – even when they moved abroad – continued their craft. In fact, they now ply their trade professionally
  • If you’ve new to the series: welcome – I hope you enjoy it
  • If you’re already familiar with the way this goes: have fun – it’s another good one
  • As with the Ladies edition, this is also part 1 of what will probably be a 2-part run, not least because there are so many other Brits across the globe also worth celebrating
  • I’m truly grateful to every one of the people that’s given their time to contribute to this instalment – you guys are amazing!

Before I start: huge shout out to my girl Angel Sonshine (UKGospel.com day 1 family) for the Harmony Samuels hook-up.

It wouldn’t have happened without you… ❤️

Yinka Awojobi
Content Development
UKGospel.com

Celebrating Brits Abroad (Part 1)

Hello, my name is: Ruth Waldron

  • I am a: vocal tutor, choir director, singer songwriter, event organiser
  • I’m a Brit in: Norway
  • You might know me from: directing and singing with Dave Daniel & The PCF Choir or singing with V9 Collective

  • Find me at: YouTube: Ruth Waldron or Instagram: Real Express Art to follow my art journey

  • I started doing this because: as a child I loved singing and attended choir rehearsal with my parents. I joined the church youth choir (The PCF Choir) which was started by Donna & Dave Daniel
  • Donna directed the choir for a number of years but when I was around 14 years old she said God had called me to take over as director
  • I really didn’t want to direct the choir and resisted for a good while. Donna never gave up and kept persisting that I take over, so finally I did
  • I haven’t looked back since then and continue directing choirs 28 years later
  • In 2009 my big brother Sam Lynch ran with a dream he had, which was to form a family group, V9 Collective and share original material
  • It has been wonderful working and singing with my family. We released our first album World To Me in 2010 and are excited that our second album will be released later this year!!
  • Here’s a random fact about me: for many years, I secretly wished I studied psychology
  • Favourite thing I did: it was a huge challenge, but directing the amazing choirs/singers for the first Gospel Proms was massive for me
  • Favourite thing I wish I did: I wish I wrote the song Nessun Dorma, the song Pavarotti made famous
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you’re an open, genuine person who likes to eat food and talk honestly about life and recipes… We could be besties
  • Everyone thinks I’m a: confident person who likes the spotlight
  • But in actual fact I’m a: person who shies away from the spotlight
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: the beautiful scenery and open natural space
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: there are a few things, but if I can only give one answer, it has to be my family
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: I’d love to open an eatery, with live music and displaying art. Yeah, ok…let’s talk about my art!

You can publish a story on any ONE topic that’s close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What would it be about? Performers/artists who are Christians who are or have been involved in the secular music world in some form. 

The book would give them the opportunity to share their experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Discussing the positives, the negatives, their wins and temptations whilst being involved in the industry and how it impacted their relationship with God.

Hello, my name is: Dami Adeoye

  • I am a: record producer, audio engineer & studio owner
  • I’m a Brit in: Dallas, Texas
  • You might know me from: being a drummer or producing songs for Faith Child, Triple O, Rachel Kerr, Christina Matovu or Guvna B
  • I started doing this because: initially my love for production stemmed from curiosity as young as 11 years old. I would record sounds on a tape machine because I was always intrigued with the different elements it took to make a song
  • 2008 (when I was 18) would be my first time getting my hands on software and equipment. It was a time when pro-audio consumer products were increasingly being released at an affordable cost. I indulged. With my student loan. This marked the start of my producer/audio engineer journey
  • So in hindsight I started doing this because of my love for music and the various stages it take to make a song
  • Here’s a random fact about me: in school you would have found me both in musical theatre clubs but also the various sports teams like the football/basketball teams. I was pretty good
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you buy me a new studio furniture or gear
  • Everyone thinks I’m an: extrovert
  • But in actual fact I’m an: ambivert
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: the weather 😍
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: friends and family

The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: my idea of success is a happy and healthy home for my wife and children. They are my motivation for everything I do.

Hello, My Name is: Harmony ‘H-Money’ Samuels

  • I am a: British Nigerian in Los Angeles
  • You might know me as: the producer that produced ‘Champion’ for Chipmunk ft Chris Brown. I started producing at the age of 14. my love for music and playing instruments at 4 years old is the reason I pursued music in the first place

    BUT being able to create my own ideas in my head and write my own songs that would affect the world is why I fell in love with producing
  • Here is a random fact about me: I almost had a professional running career (100 meter hurdles) I ran for Blackheath Harriers
  • Favorite thing I did: produced and wrote the song ‘Say Yes’ for Michelle Williams ft Kelly and Beyoncé

    Not only did I have the opportunity to work with one of the biggest female groups in the world, I got to use my Nigerian roots and culture and connect both pop culture and African culture together. 

    BUT the main thing is that we got to give God Glory across the world and nation

  • A song I wish I produced‘Crazy in Love’ by Beyoncé!! It was produced by Rich Harrison and literally changed the world with its sound
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you follow us on our social platforms
  • Everyone thinks I’m a: New Yorker
  • But in actual fact I am: British Nigerian
  • The one thing I like about where I am is:  I get to open doors for others. Change my family’s life and inspire the younger Generation to be all they can be and more
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: Summers (as short as they are) I love UK carnival
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: I want the world to know God saved me from death, when I was hit by a car at 13 years old.

    This is when I first heard God’s voice saying it’s not yet time. And I knew I had a mission and an assignment in my life.

One topic I would love to publish is called
The Key to success is Obedience. There is a lot to this title but it’s the key that has kept me staying successful in my life today.

Hello, my name is… Bobby Bobbart The Fourteenth… or Will

  • I am a: commercial and advertising photographer
  • I’m a Brit in: Jamaica
  • You might know me from: CATFORD, South London… New Wine Church… Kings Church… Calvary Chapel South London… Like every single gospel event ever at one point at least – lol!
  • I started doing this because: I think it is the perfect profession to get to know and interact with all kinds of people and have conversations about all kinds of things
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I farted
  • Favourite thing I did: I’m not so hot with these kind of questions but maybe taking the step to move to Jamaica in 2014
  • Favourite thing I wish I did: again that is a weird one for me. Invent sliced bread
  • You’ll be my new best friend: if I can’t find the old one! JOKING… Well, I don’t know about best friends but if you introduce me to a bunch of music that I DIDN’T already know that I really love… that’s a good move.
  • Everyone thinks I’m a: very silly man
  • But in actual fact I’m an: outstandingly silly man. But I am actually very keen on serious conversations… which might not be the impression you get if you see me working, but it is true 
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: Jamaica is beautiful. As a photographer this makes a HUGE difference to the creative mind… mine at least
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: the weather. JOKE
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: ‘do you think you will be ok?’ answer to the world… ‘It may get better but it may not, so when I pray God, I pray that I’ll trust you whether or not the rain stops’ to quote Trip Lee

You can publish a story on any ONE  topic that’s close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What would it be about..?
Intrusive thoughts, the church and our attempts to save ourselves from something only Jesus can save us from.

Hello, my name is: Naomi Parchment

  • I am a: singer-songwriter/producer/vocal producer/ arranger/ vocal pedagogue
  • I’m a Brit in: Huntsville, Alabama
  • You might know me from: can’t say anyone knows me from anything in England, lol or anywhere. Maybe social media?
  • I started doing this because: music is something that is in my DNA. Music is my innate release and freedom. Music is my way of communication with the divine
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I have a huge fear of peacocks after being chased by one as a child (lol)
  • Favourite thing I did: One of my favorite moments so far in life has been being able to travel to South Africa. I never thought I’d be able to travel and perform globally.

    It was a very humbling moment to connect with people who support me all around the world
  • Favourite thing I wish I did: I wish I wrote the song ‘No Air’ by Jordin Sparks, amazingly penned
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you make me home cooked meal. Food is the way to my heart for sure
  • Everyone thinks I’m an: extreme extrovert because that’s who I have to be for work. I love people, I love to meet new people and connect with them
  • But I’m: most comfortable when I’m mellow and with small groups of friends
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: beautiful weather, beautiful sunsets, very quiet and calm living
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: THE FOOD! My family, catching public transport, city centres, baked beans, scrambled egg, toast… Yes most definitely THE FOOD!!
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: I am definitely very empathetic. I enjoy everything art. Recently picked up painting which has become a great release for me during the pandemic times

You can publish a story on any ONE  topic that’s close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What would it be about..?
The process behind the art and the artist.

A lot of people only see/hear the final products, but not many people consider the very delicate and intricate lives a lot of people who have the courage to be an artist have to deal with

Hello, my name is: Jalil Saheeb aka Jay Ess

  • I am an: artist, teacher and film director
  • I’m a Brit in: North Carolina
  • You might know me from: Intoxicated, Questions & Answers and Live It Up
  • I started doing this because: I wanted to make a long lasting impression on my generation. I also wanted to have a direct impact on young people so I started working in schools to do a lot more ground work
  • Favourite thing I did: writing and directing my Live It Up movie (here’s Part 1 and here’s Part 2). It has always been a dream of mine to produce and star in a film so I’m glad I was able to accomplish that
  • Favourite thing I wish I did: Well, I’ve still got time to do it God willing
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you’re a Michael Jackson fan
  • Everyone thinks I’m: a serious and no nonsense person
  • But in actual fact I’m: really easy going
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: happiness
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: my family

Hello, my name is:  Lain Gray

  • I am a: Singer/songwriter, producer, label owner, real estate investor and online entrepreneur
  • I’m a Brit in: Houston, Texas, USA
  • You might know me from: the Wookie UK Garage hit song Battle or if you’re not into that kind of thing, UK premier gospel/RnB vocal group Nu Colours
  • I started doing this because: it seemed like the natural order of things, from my home made shoe box and rubber band guitar as a 4 year old, to writing my first song aged 11 or 12.

    If God gives a talent and if we recognize it and nurture it, it will blossom at some point
  • Here’s a random fact about me: I am a huge Liverpool fan (from the age of 5, so I’ve known initially from their glory days, right through to the painful premiership era. Long may Klopp reign!)
  • Favourite thing I wish I did: Songwriter envy is a real thing, but meant as a compliment really

    There are so many songs I wish I’d written. Anything from early Fred Hammond or early Coldplay to name but two
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: You get me tickets to a Liverpool game. Ha!
  • Everyone thinks I’m a: Comedian (which really doesn’t speak much volumes for my music, but hey, what can you do)
  • But in actual fact I’m a: bit of a grump until my first tea (or coffee since moving out here) “Dem cyaa mek tea”, so I gave up ordering it. WHO BRINGS [WARM] WATER IN A CUP WITH A TEABAG NEXT TO IT IN THE SAUCER??

    WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT??
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: It’s nearly always sunny with blue skies, even when it’s a bit chilly
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: Well, tea obviously for starters, ha! Might sound strange but, the people.

    We Brits are special and I’m not sure I realized it until I left

You can publish a story on any ONE  topic that’s close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What would it be about..? As a black brit who was raised in the UK countryside, racism was actually very low in the pecking order of my life.

It was there and I had to deal with it when it came up, but since moving to the states, it’s SO glaringly out there, that I have to speak on it at every opportunity.

There’s the blatant side everyone sees: [police related] shot while: sleeping, jogging, playing with a TOY gun, running AWAY from police, oh and kneeling, in plain sight, on a man’s neck for the whole world to see.

And then…. there’s the church racism that is so deeply ingrained in the fibre of society at large, it seamlessly flows into church hierarchy without missing a beat.

I saw an artist (Lurine Cato’s entry in Celebrating the Ladies of UKGospel – link below) mention “why the divide of christian and gospel music?”, well it goes deep into the racism issues and not all are ready (or willing) to start that discussion.

Some may ask for specifics, so for me, seeing a new church grow its multi-racial congregation to need 4 services and then 4 additional locations is phenomenal, but if the congregation is mixed across the locations with no diversity in leadership, that’s a problem.

The thought process that black pastors are not good enough to lead white or mixed congregations is where that comes from.

Let’s start more of these hard conversations please!!!

Hello, my name is: George Mhondera/Jorge Mhondera

  • My nickname is: Jorgyjacket
  • You probably know me from: singing and writing with Matt Redman /Chris Tomlin / Passion / LZ7 /The Tribe & M.I.C / WHISTLEJACKET back in the day and maybe some of you from working in Mainstream Music Industry writing and placing songs in the (U.K /U.S /EUROPE / KPOP /JPOP / music scene).
  • I’m a Brit in: Nashville, Tennessee
  • I started doing this because: I felt I had a calling to do Music and just had a passion for Music from a very young age. Also had a desire to see the world and get to experience and engage different cultures.

    I knew Jesus was calling me to serve him through Music. (Serve him within the Church as well as beyond the walls of the Church in the Mainstream). Love getting to do both.
  • Here’s a random fact about me: if I hadn’t done music, I wanted to be a Professional Rugby Player.  I love Rugby especially the ALL BLACKS!!!!!
  • Everyone thinks I’m: An extreme extrovert
  • But in many ways I’m: Also an Introvert ……I do love large gatherings, but I also love being by myself 🙂 or with family.
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is: Well 2 things: I never get asked about is my heritage and where i’m originally from; Yes I have lived on 3 continents, but I was born in Zimbabwe and so I am Zimbabwean and African to the Core.
  • The other thing: yes, I love getting to perform and sing on stage, but my heart is into pouring into others behind the scenes and see them grow in their calling, musical giftings and see them hopefully achieve their dreams.
  • You can publish a story on any ONE  topic that’s close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What is it? One story I would have to post is on Racial Injustice & Reconciliation.

    The greatest Commanded is to Love your God with all your heart and with your soul and with all your mind.

    The second is love your neighbour as you love yourself… If we as people did truly did this we would never have racism for this kind of love doesn’t allow prejudice to grow and where there has been injustice this love fights fearlessly for equality and for all despite our difference.

    A lot has happened in the past historically and there is a lot to heal, there is a lot to learn, there is a lot to forgive, there is a lot undo and make right and this Love, Jesus, is the answer

    If WE  TRULY KNOW HIM, TURN TO HIM things will change!

Hello, my name is: David Oluwaferanmi Balogun popularly known as DavidB

  • I am a: singer, Songwriter, Vocal Producer and Coach, Content Creator
  • I’m a Brit in: Lagos, Nigeria
  • I started doing this because: I absolutely love creating music and I recently discovered that I love teaching people how to sing just as much.
  • Here’s a random fact about me: my nostrils flare up involuntarily when I do riffs/runs… So embarrassing.
  • Favourite thing I did: In December I released “Fall In Line” which has 5 key changes, and in February “Special” where I held a note for 17 seconds.

    Favourite things because when you’re not mainstream there are all these rules people impose and I enjoy breaking said rules and just going with what I feel and want. Freedom!
  • Favourite thing I wish I did: perform at Coachella with a Beyoncé budget and then release the documentary on Netflix.
  • You’ll be my new best friend if: you’re a confident independent thinker with sound values and principles while knowing and appreciating most of Brandy’s unreleased songs.
  • Everyone thinks I’m: super quiet and shy
  • But in actual fact I’m: a talkative especially when I’m passionate about the subject matter. When I’m quiet it’s not because I’m timid, I just don’t know you like that and I’m observing.
  • The one thing I like about where I am now is: the fact that anything can happen, even though that’s equally what I hate about it.
  • The one thing I miss about the UK is: being able to get in my car at 2:30am and go get a double cheese burger (no onions) and a banana milkshake from McDonald’s.
  • The one thing I never get asked, but I want the world to know about me is that: I don’t care what or who it is, I will not trade authenticity for approval.
  • You can publish a story on any ONE topic that’s close to your heart on UKGospel.com. What would it be about..? Hmmm… “UK Gospel” 🙂

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