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Gospel Industry

Industry Insider Quote of the Month

This Month's Featured Artist: Kierra "Kiki" Sheard

Kierra Sheard and Renee'DG.com: ...would you like to give any advice to anyone who wants to enter the music industry?

Kiki: My advise to aspiring new artists is most of all keep your head up and know that the enemy is going to be out to attack you. You have to really seek God and ask Him to give you the power and strength to walk this rocky road. Most of all keep God first and being faithful to your own ministry. I was taught you have to crawl before you walk. Even to this day when I’m home I sing in the choir. If they tell me to wear all black, I wear all black. If they tell me to put on my robe, I put on my robe. I try my best to make it to all the rehearsals. It’s just important to keep God first, pray, and seek Him.

>>Interview with Kierra "Kiki" Sheard

The gospel entertainment industry is alive and flourishing in the Detroit metro area. The following information is provided to assist those up-and-coming (as well as old-school) artists looking for recording studios, record labels, and ways to market their projects.

Photo: Karen Hunt Barker, Detroit Chapter representative for the Urban Gospel Alliance and J. Moss, the J.A.M. in P.A.J.A.M., one of gospel's hottest production teams (credits include Ramiyah, Virtue, and Karen Clark Sheard)

Detroit Producers and Recording Studios

The record producer and recording studio are the biggest line-item on the gospel artist's budget spreadsheet. Depending on the experience and track record, producer budgets can range from $5,000 to $25,000 per cut, not inclusive of royalty fees. The producer cost typically includes the cost of talent, engineering and studio costs, and union fees (where required). In gospel music, most producers are paid by the recording, not by the track

Michael Brooks - Producer
Young Artists For Christ Productions
16500 N. Park Drive, Suite 1905
Southfield, MI 48075
Phone: (248) 552-0068
Credits Include: Witness, Lisa Paige-Brooks

Face to Face, Inc. - Not currently accepting unsolicited material
website: www.fredhammondmusic.com
Contact: Fred Hammond
Face to Face, Inc.
501 N. Loop Drive
Cedar Hill, TX 75104
Phone: 972-293-2885
Resident Producer: Minister Fred Hammond
Some well-known albums recorded or mixed here:

  • Pages of Life - Chapter I - Fred Hammond and the Radical for Christ Choir
  • Speak Those Things: POL (Pages of Life) Chapter 3 - Fred Hammond
  • Fred Hammond Presents: "in case you missed it...and then some" - Various Artists

Inner Court Sound Studios
website: www.innercourtgroup.com
263 Livernois Avenue
Ferndale, MI 48220
Phone: 248-915-8223
Contact: Gregg Pearson, Ken Mathies and Dianne Sharpe
Credits Include: Darius Twyman & Destiny, Dorinda Clark Cole, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, The Whitfield Music Group, Charles Curry, Stacye Cranford

Live In The House Recordings - Presented By Promise Communications and Semper Media Group
From Press Release: What is Live In The House? It's an "MTV Unplugged" type audio/video recording session. You as an artist can come to our state of the art TV and recording studio with your own band or tracks. Then invite an audience of 20 - 30 people to the session, which we provide in a small coffee house type atmosphere, and record a 50 minute performance audio/videotaped in our state of the art production facilities. You leave with a DVD master, where you can have copies made, or we can manufacture them for you at a nominal additional cost.
Contact: Darryl H. Ford
Phone: 248.398.0701 ofc, 313.587.3073 cell

M & G Records
website: www.mandgrecords.com
Contact: William Meadows
P.O. Box 3450
Southfield, MI 48037
Phone: 313.585.6185
Credits Include: Mark Holley & 1-A-Chord

J. Moss, Paul Allen, Walter Kearney (P.A.J.A.M.) - Producers - Not currently accepting unsolicited material
Contact: Advantage/P.A.J.A.M.
21500 Greenfield, Suite 213
Oak Park, MI 48237
Phone: 248-968-6444
Credits Include: Karen Clark-Sheard, Ramiyah, Hezekiah Walker, Men of Standard, Mighty Clouds of Joy, Kelly Price, Dru Hill

Michael J. Powell - Producer
Michael J. Powell productions
13425 Capital Street
Oak Park, MI 48237
Phone: 248-548-7550
Credits Include: The Winans, Special Gift, Oleta Adams

Profinitee Music
17800 E. Warren Ave.
Detroit, MI 48224
Phone: 313-343-0234
Credits Include: Stellar Award winning artist, Evelyn Turrentine Agee; Parkes Stewart; Jes'Us; Resurrection; Salt of The Earth; God's Little Soldiers; Aleho Records; Air Gospel Records; Light Records; Worldwide Gospel Records

Straight Gate Recording Studio
website: www.straightgate.net/ministries/recording_studio.html
Straight Gate International Church
10100 Grand River Detroit, MI 48204
Phone: (313) 491-8430
Some well-known albums recorded or mixed here:

  • Ron Winans Presents: Family & Friends IV - Ron Winans
  • Pages of Life - Chapter II - Fred Hammond and the Radical for Christ Choir
  • Healing: Live In Detroit - Richard Smallwood and Vision
  • Live in Detroit I and II - Vickie Winans
  • Faith in the House - Straight Gate Mass Choir

Studio A Recording
website: www.studioarecording.com
5619 North Beech Daly
Dearborn Heights, Michigan, 48127
Phone: (313) 561-7489
Fax: (313) 561-6736
Some well-known albums recorded or mixed here:

  • Pages of Life - Chapter I - Fred Hammond and the Radical for Christ Choir
  • Lost and Found - Deitrick Haddon

Detroit's Gospel Music Industry Key Players

It seems like just about everyone in Detroit is involved with the gospel music industry. Here is a list of some of Detroit's top mover and shakers (other than artists and pastors):

  • Larry Robinson, owner of God's World record store
  • Deborah Smith Pollard, host of WJLB's Sunday Morning radio show, "Strong Inspirations"
  • Norma J. Pender "Reverend Mother", WEXL radio personality
  • Sister Celeste (Harris), WCHB radio personality
  • Dora Scott "The Church Lady," WCHB radio personality
  • Brian Spears, Crystal Rose Records
  • David Gough, DoRohn Records and International Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Gospel Music Record Companies

Here is a list of some of the national and metro-Detroit-based record companies. (Note: Detroit-based record companies are written in blue)

Air Gospel - www.airgospel.com
A Division on Atlanta International Records
881 Memorial Drive SE
Atlanta, GA 30316
Phone: 404-524-6835
Fax: 404-681-0033

Church Howse Music - www.churchhowse.com
Neily Dickerson, President
Church Howse Music
P. O. Box 56201
Los Angeles, CA 90056
Phone: 323.298.8860 | Fax: 323.298.8864

Crystal Rose Records - (Est. 1994)
website: www.gospelcentral.com/mission_statement_x.htm
561 East Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: 313-965-1854
Fax: 313-961-3110
Contact: Brian Spears, President
Roster Includes: Ricky Dillard, Derrick Starks & Today's Generation, The Whitfield Company

Destined Records - www.destinedrecords.com
P.O. Box 2804
Bellaire, Texas 77401-2804
Phone: 713-867-3420
Artists wishing to submit material for label consideration, should send packages via U.S. mail to the address above. Should include audio (cd only), photo, bio, contact information and VHS video, if applicable. Submitted material will not be returned.

DoRohn Records - (Est. 1982)
website: www.dorohn.com
P.O. Box 19009
Detroit, MI 48219
Phone: 313-592-6456
Contact: David Gough, President
Roster Includes: Evangelist Esther Smith, David Gough, Eastern Michigan Gospel Choir

EMI Gospel - www.emigospel.com
P.O. Box 5085
101 Winners Circle
Brentwood, TN 37024
Phone: 615.371.6900
Fax: 615.371.6985

F. Hammond Music Label - (Est. 2000)
21421 Hilltop St, Bldgs 20/25
Southfield, MI 48034
Phone: 248-354-5151
Fax: 248-354-5153
Contact: Bryan J. Pratt, Director of A&R
Roster Includes: Fred Hammond

Gospocentric - www.gospocentric.com
421 E. Beach Avenue
Inglewood, CA 90302
Phone: (310) 677-5603
Fax. (310) 677-0250

Heaven Wings Records
P.O. Box 15299
Detroit, MI 48215
Phone: (313) 839-3707
Contact Person: J. Erv
Roster Includes: Sounds of Imani

Integrity Music - www.integritymusic.com
1000 Cody Road
Mobile, AL 36695
phone: 1-800-533-6912 (8 a.m. -5 p.m. CST)

Malaco Records - www.malaco.com
P.O. Box 9287
Jackson, MS 39286-9287
Phone: 1-800-272-7936

Meek Records - www.meekrecords.com
7900 S. Prairie Avenue in
Chicago, Illinois 60619-3606
Phone: Ms. Maple Reddick at (773) 783-0038

Pamplin Music - www.whitestonedesignwerks.com/pamplin/index.php
10209 SE Division Street
Portland, OR 97266
Phone: (503) 251-1555
Fax: (503) 251-1533

Puresprings Gospel - www.purespringsgospel.com

Sound of Gospel (S.O.G.) Records - (Est. 1969)
18500 W. 10 Mile Road
Southfield, MI 48075
Phone: 248-569-4033
Fax: 248-569-9422
Contact: Armen Boladian, President
Roster Includes: Thomas Butler, Wanda Nero Butler, Oscar A.Hayes & Abundant Life Fellowship

Sound of Victory Records -
Full Service Gospel Record label
Phone: 313 537-0300
Contact: George Hicks

Shekinah International - www.shekinahinternational.com
Phone: 1-888-GLORY-94

Tyscot - www.tyscot.com

Verity Records - www.verityrecords.com

Word Label Group - www.wordlabelgroup.com

Marketing Resources

FruitfulWorks, Inc.
We're not just web developers, we're experts at putting technology to work for you. Designers of Detroit Gospel.com and specialists in Internet marketing and consulting
website: www.fruitfulworks.com
phone: 313-833-3555

Pamela Perry - Publicist & Freelance Writer
Ministry Marketing Solutions
Marketing The Message
Specialist in the AACM (African American Christian Market)
website: www.MinistryMarketingSolutions.com
Phone: (248) 426-2300

Sandra Eggers - APR and President of
The CSC Group

Strategic Creativity in Communications
Specializing in public relations and marketing communications
Phone: 313-937-1751
Fax: 313-937-3189

Karen L. Donald - Independent Consultant
Specializing in marketing strategies, business coordination and team building
Phone: 313-732-7512

In September, 2003, The Grace Company began publishing a Black Authors and Published Writers Directory on the web. If you are a Black author, published writer, artist,
publisher, producer, agent, or other media company or personality, check out this great online resource and get a free listing in the directory.
Go to www.bapwd.com for more info.

In addition to Detroit Gospel.com there are several other websites that feature independent and up and coming gospel artists. GospelCrib.8m.com and Christian Music Monthly are two such industry resources for those looking to get their music out to the masses.

For a website that offers a free gospel musician referral service, go to: www.musicians4you.com



Visit Avis Ford Website

Detroit-Based Booking & Management Agencies

Bell-Armstrong, Vanessa
V.B.A. Enterprises
P.O. Box 321000
Detroit, MI 48232
Phone: 313-345-5537
Fax: 248-541-5713

Clark Sisters
Twinkie Clark-Terrell
Derrick Starks & Today's Generation
Brenda Waters
Crystal Ideal Management
561 E. Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: 313-965-1854
Fax: 313-961-3110

Karen Clark-Sheard
Cynthia Ellis/KCS Productions
7045 Curtis Street
Detroit, MI 48221
Phone: 313-514-2648

New Wine Management
15565 N. Land Drive
Southfield, MI 48705
Phone: 248-443-4970

God's Army
Nicole Pennington
DNP Management Company
PO Box 3076
Farmington Hills, MI 48333
Phone: 313-610-6734

Elaine Benford Gwynn
The Lord's Creation
CG Management
P.O. Box 05460
Detroit, MI 48025
Phone: 248-350-4998
Fax: 248-945-9616

Fred Hammond & Radical For Christ Choir
Face To Face Ministries, Inc.
21421 Hilltop, Bldg 20
Southfield, MI 48034
Phone: 248-354-5151
Fax: 248-354-5153

James Moss
Walter Kearney/P.A.J.A.M.
21500 Greenfield #213
Oak Park, MI 48237
Phone: 248-968-6444
Fax: 248-968-6447

Lisa Page-Brooks
Michael Brooks
17360 W. 8-Mile Rd. #C1
Southfield, MI 48075
Phone: 248-443-4032
Fax: 248-443-4059

Evangelist Esther Smith
Prove Me Productions
7342 Kipling
Detroit, MI 48206
Phone: 313-873-1046

Darius Twyman
Excelsior Enterprises
35169 E. Michigan Ave., Suite 129
Wayne, MI 48184
Phone: 313-580-3923

The Whitfield Company
Meri Phillips
Aurora Management Group
Phone: 888-381-6810 x705

The Whitfield Music Group
Larry Whitfield
email: whitfieldmusic@msn.com
Attn: Larry Whitfield
12075 Prairie St.
Detroit, MI 48204
Phone: 313 595-8118

Vickie Winans
Viviane, Inc.
6689 Orchard Lake Road #256
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Phone: 248-253-3203
Fax: 248-594-1363

Orlando Wright
Evergreen Artists
23814 Michigan Ave
Dearborn, MI 48124-1829
Phone: 313-659-2046
Fax: 313-527-0951

What Should Be In Your Digital Media Kit?

A gospel artist's Media Kit can be another valuable tool in an overall marketing strategy. A media kit is a collection of marketing materials that provide representatives of the media with information about yourself or your group. The idea is to generate interest in yourself(s) and hopefully get some free publicity via a feature article, story, or news report. It can also be useful to fans who are interested in every aspect of their favorite gospel artist.

A digital media kit is a kit that can be accessed via a computer or other piece of hardware such as a DVD player. It can also be sent electronically be e-mail or delivered on a CD-Rom or DVD disk. If you've got a website, you can devote a page to your digital media kit, making it easily accessible to fans, reporters and writers from all over the world.

Your digital media kit can include the following items:

  • Bio and Fact Sheet
  • Contact Sheet
  • High-Resolution Photos
  • Any Press Releases
  • Song Samples (10 seconds of four to five of your best songs should be sufficient)
  • Story Ideas
  • Favorable Reviews
  • Any Articles Written About You

If you've got the finances and the bandwidth, other material such as Videos and sound bytes or clips from interviews can be included.

When sending a digital media kit on a CD or DVD to a reporter or news agency, be creative. Don't just send it in a plain brown wrapper, but generate some excitement by packaging it in-line with the theme of your CD. For example, if your CD is entitled "Calling On The Lord," you might try decorating the mailing package with phone or calling card stickers. Don't overdo it, but you want your package to get noticed. You may also want to include some free perks with your kit such as t-shirts, caps, or mugs. Everybody loves to open a package with gifts inside.

Marketing Gospel music Via The World-Wide-Web: Taking Your Message To The Information Super Highway

What do Vickie Winans, Fred Hammond, and CeCe Winans have in common? Yes, they're all from Detroit, but also they each have a slammin' website. They're delivering their message in music 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to a target market of over 200 million Internet users.

You don't have to be a Stellar Award winning gospel music mega-star to have your own website. A website should be an integral part of any gospel artists' overall marketing strategy. Especially up and coming artists. Websites even the playing field and allow artists with limited budgets to make the same impact as those blessed with greater finances. The Internet is a cost-effective way of getting your message out and/or selling your product to millions of people around the globe. A website works for you while you're sleeping, rain or shine.

Here are some tips for gospel music artists looking to get going on the world wide web:

Select and register a domain name
A few million names are already taken, but chances are you'll be able to find one you'll be happy with. For gospel artists, you'll probably want to start with your name. If you're name is Victory
W. Inans, and you're friends call you Vickie, you may be out of luck. If you've been saddled with Zacharius Bittlebody, I think you're safe. There are several extensions to choose from, but for commercial websites the ".com" is the most recognized. If you go with one of the others (i.e., ".net," ".us," etc.) there may be some confusion on the part of visitors and they may wind up at the wrong site. If you're a ministry or an organization, you'll want to register a domain name with a ".org" extension. Schools and educational facilities will want to register with a ".edu" extension. You can go to www.register.com to see if the name you want is available and if so, go for it and register your new domain name.

Come up with a general plan for your Site
Once you're domain name is secure (at least for the next year), it's time to start planning your site. You don't need a web expert to do this, all you need to do is figure out a few key things. Who are you trying to reach? What information do you want to provide your visitors? Do you want to sell a product? What is your vision for the site?

Do a search on the web using www.Google.com or another major search engine and look for other websites similar to the one you're envisioning. Find ones that you like and ones that you don't like. Are there some common visual elements emerging? Do you prefer the more high-voltage (Macromedia) Flash-enabled sites or the more elegantly simple ones? Try to define an overall theme for your site; the look and feel. What colors do you like? Earth tones or vibrant primary colors?

Flesh out the details and begin gathering your material
Once you've got an overall plan for your site, it's time to start fleshing out the details. How will the site be structured? How many pages will you need to make the site user-friendly and navigable. (Click here to see a list of recommended pages for a gospel artist website) Will you need artwork and photos? Try to put everything down on paper before you begin the actual development. Once you've figured out what you want to do, begin gathering the material that you want for your site. If not already digital, photos will need to be scanned and put in an image format (.jpg and .gif are standard formats for use on the web). If your grammar is a little shaky, have someone you know that's good with words help you with writing the site's content. You'll also want to think about including a digital Media Kit that makes information on you or your group easily accessible by reporters and writers from around the globe. (More information on digital media kits is provided in the article that follows this one.)

Transforming your vision to a website reality
If you've got some computer skills you may attempt to develop the website yourself. There are a lot of programs and templates out there that can make the job easier. One of the drawbacks however, is the lack of individuality or customization that these may afford. For those with limited computer skills and/or time, it is probably best to go with a reputable web design firm.

Taking your site to the streets of the world wide web
Once your site has been developed, proofed, and thoroughly tested, it's time to launch it into hyperspace. For the novice, this can be a deal breaker. First you'll need to find someone to host your site. There are several host providers that provide free hosting, but you may be very limited in terms of available space and extras such as e-commerce and scripting. Also, free hosting services typically require you to run banner ads on your site. You'll also need to think about how easy or difficult it will be to get your site updated periodically. For more information on free hosting check out www.geocities.com or www.xoom.com.

Taking your site to the streets of the world wide web Part 2
Once you've got your hosting situation worked out, you'll need to transfer your website files to your host provider. Without going into a lot of detail, this can get a little hairy. If you're not tech savvy, you'll probably want to get some help with this part.

Don't Stop Yet
OK, you've launched your site and now you can sit back and watch the CD orders come in....NOT. Just getting your site out there does absolutely nothing for you unless you market it. You can start by putting your website address on everything that leaves your hands: business cards, stationery, CD jackets, flyers, postcards, etc. Other creative places for your website address are on bumper stickers, magnetic vehicle signs, caps, sweatshirts, duffle bags, you name it. You'll also want to get listed in search engines so that people can find you on the Internet. A whole cottage industry of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts has sprung up whose sole purpose is to get sites listed higher in search engine results. The higher a site is listed, the more likely it is to get the big traffic. Some things you can do to increase your site's ranking include getting other reputable gospel music sites to link to yours, keeping your site up-to-date and relevant, and providing content that you can't get anywhere else on the web. Additionally, you may want to send out a press release announcing the launch of your new site. If you've included interesting and unique content, your site may be newsworthy enough to generate you some free publicity.

Come on in to the 21st century
Today's gospel artist is using every medium possible to get their message out. A website is just one more way to reach the masses. Don't miss out on an opportunity to reach an estimated 200 million people around the globe currently using the Internet.


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