Industry trendsetter Carlos Hale weighs-in on some independent gospel artists that you need to know about. We’re calling themÂ Urban Soul CafÃ©’s Top Indie Picks and you don’t want to miss ’em!
Shameka Dwight â€“ Lovelations
Shameka Dwight, a native of South Carolina, released her album, Lovelations, in December of 2011. This singer/songwriter stood out during Urban Soul CafÃ©\’s Stellar Awards Weekend events. So what is Lovelations all about? â€œI\’ve attached my life\’s lessons, struggles, victories, questions, and epiphanies to simple melodies in hopes that they will touch the listener’s heart,â€ she said. â€œI want people to feel the music and identify with the lyrics. I\’m striving to understand this love story of a life that we\’ve been given, and each day I\’m learning to live in love.â€ If you are a fan of Chrisette Michele or Esperanza Spalding, you will find that Lovelations has a similar vibe. Her music has been described as organic, refreshing, authentic, and meaningful. Shameka plans to release a live acoustic album/DVD version of Lovelations which will feature new material and other indie artists.
Sean C. Johnson – Simply a Vessel, Vol 3: Surrender All
Sean C. Johnson is becoming the neo-soul voice of Urban Soul CafÃ©. Releasing his third project in April of 2012, Sean\’s album topped the Soul Charts on Billboard. Simply a Vessel, Vol 3: Surrender All is a mix of the 70\’s Soul Era and contains some of the 90\’s East Coast production. His album highlights what a life Surrendered to God looks like. It’s not always pretty, we stumble (Track #3 – Still Breathing), but he never gives up on us (Track #7 – No Never). We have to surrender every care to him (Track #2 – Surrender All), and continue to grow spiritually even when we face storms (Track #11 – Molasses). Sean wants people to primarily ENJOY the music, but to also be encouraged and edified at the same time. He also wants them to walk away from this album motivated to walk in the Grace that God gives us each day as we go about Surrendering our lives to Him. I must admit that Sean\’s hard work is paying off because God is opening doors for him to minister and travel as he promotes Simply a Vessel, Vol 3: Surrender All.
Patrick Dopson – Open the Heavens
Patrick Dopson, a native of Birmingham, released his 1st solo album, Open the Heavens, in May of 2012. This album contains the hit radio single Keep Me. Many compare Patrick to Fred Hammond, but I prefer to say that he picks up right where Fred left off in his 2006 album Free to Worship. Patrick\’s music can easily be replicated on Sunday mornings. He records simple worship songs that are singable and also enhance the private worship experience. His goal while recording was to present a lyrically-focused album on the person of Jesus Christ and not just “needy” worship songs. Patrick\’s motivation was to go deeper in God and to initiate a movement centered around authentic worship. â€œI want albums 2,3,4,5 and 12 to still be just as intimate, heartfelt and sincere as my first to maintain the balance between a worshippers heart and artistic expression, he said. â€œ I eventually want to open my label to new artists who I can be just as passionate about. I want a label that has more than a credible sound but operates with integrity in this industry!â€ If you are a true worshiper, this is a must have album.
Daniel Johnson – You Make Me
This album to me was the slept-on project in 2011/2012. Daniel Johnson is known for his vocals on some of Israel & New Breed projects. After hearing his music on iTunes, I was glad that I got this project. Johnson’s album has live studio sound with horns, Fender Rhodes piano, and strings. The album highlights Daniel Johnson\’s unique sound and that is much needed in this industry. Some of the key tracks are #4 Take Me Away From You, #5, You Satisfy, #7 Beautiful, #9 Come Go With Me, and #1 Livin’ for Love. From lyrics, production, and content this album is DOPE!
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Formed in 2005 by Carlos Hale, Urban Soul Cafe creates a social and positive environment for positive people and Christians to attend.Â USCÂ has become the stage for Indie artists to be seen and heard across the country. For more info:Â www.urbansoulcafe.com