I started my journey in gospel music in the year of 2005. Prior to that I received 3 label offers, 2 Christian and one secular. I had no idea that within one year of 2005, I would be signed to an independent label that would provide all the financials to get a really good product that is still paying dividends for me. It was a classic. I didn't have to record another project but I recorded 2 more. I now understand when artists don't take the time to appreciate good work by spending time cultivating and marketing their projects with vision and purpose. Through those financial endeavors associated with the "deal" I remained self-employed for over a decade. To this day I get mileage from "Changing Places." The label provided me with a very capable manager, who knew what she was doing. The problem for me is that I personally didn't get a good feeling from what I saw in the industry. The coupling of making vast amounts of money in gospel music, caused many famous and infamous to be: competitive, abusive (morally), abusive naturally, puffed up with pride, pornographic, effeminate, susceptible to drugs, alcohol and promiscuity. Anyone interested in going into this industry, should think very hard of their personal motives.
I learned that many people pray for the concept of an opportunity but not for the reality of what it takes to actually walk in the opportunity. Here is a list of what some think they need in order to be a successful Gospel artist:
1. Looks (tight clothing, heavy makeup, massive weave and this is both for men and women)
2. The ability to sing.
3. The ability to play an instrument
4. Popularity within the industry and with peers
5. An attitude of self-ism
6. Knowing someone powerful or influential who can open doors
What they actually need is:
1. Godly self esteem and an understanding of what music was intended for in the Kingdom of God
2. Vision beyond the stage
3. Vision beyond their project
4. Ownership/publishing of their songs
5. Understanding of performance royalties, sync royalties, and other music business information
I saw some of the biggest names in the music industry with giant funds behind their names. They are not going to let you in. Only God will let you in. If and when you get in either by God or by man, you will find that if you are one dimensional you will not last. You must be able to do other things like:
1. Sing and act
2. Act and produce
3. Produce and direct
4. Understand marketing and business
5. Deal with demonic winds, music, people, betrayals and dishonesty at every level of the gospel music industry with steadfastness
6. Self produce in good taste, cross brand
7. Sing for and minister for free in places that your peers would turn their noses up before they entered the door
Another changing item in the industry as a whole is that CD's are a thing of the past to millennials. Big artists can push CD's but serious artists aim to get their music licensed to a major motion picture, commercial, or on a indie film project. When you hear someone say they are national or international because of a digital distribution on iTunes, it is a gross mischaracterization of national and international distribution.
Oh the numbers! Everyone counts the numbers (many of which on FB, Instagram and Twitter are PURCHASED or Beyoncé's or another artists keyword is used), mimic other artists, and mirror personalities that they see on reality shows believing that this will catapult them to the next level. Remember, Weinstein's are in the Gospel music industry too. This is seen through some women in gospel music oversexualizing their "music presentations," but never admonished. There is so much demonic activity in this industry and some gospel execs laugh at the "bumbkins" from all over the country that connect with dreams of musical success without having done a stitch of homework but dream of fame. I've seen execs and trailblazing artists secretly mock these up and coming artists performances because they know they have no chance of making the kind of money they need to maintain their lavish lifestyles. Ive seen the gospel performers mock the church audiences, leave the stage go get high, fornicate, get drunk, physically abuse their wives, lambast their pastors and church leaders and mock the saints on social media.
I left the industry with some serious scars but God gave me grace because He and I both knew I never wanted the fame, my flesh did. My spirit wanted to please Him and sing for Him. My spirit won. The moment I left that industry, God gave me more opportunities than ever to sing, to act, to produce, to direct, and to give opportunities to other people without the threat of the dastard rat race.
My advice is if you are an artist to study music in the bible. Study the lifestyle of the people singing the songs you re-sing and re-minister. Study what Lucifer did with the music entrusted to Him. KNOW that music can chase demons away and they can draw demons, ask Saul in the OT. Chase demons with your music, God will draw the men and make room for your gift in His timing, according to His plan, and His will. That's what you should want but I digress.