I am a good fun loving person. In fact I like music a lot and when Groove Awards 2018 happened I was excited. To be fair it is one of the best planned music award ceremonies in East Africa. Every celebrity and politician wants to sit and be awarded front row seats to the event.
I have always followed all Groove Ceremonies to observe and look at whether the gospel music industry has grown. I gauge this by the performances, the awards awarded and mainly the content of the gospel music industry. I am a believer in talent and awarding it.
The performances and the awards were a bit ironic. This time the performances were structured according to time zones from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and the 2000’s. I say they were ironic because the performances were the best of the best of songs that were hits and the time we used to consider old music to be old music.
The irony came into play when they started seeing the people being awarded the prices for most gospel songs and the echelons of this year’s “gospel music industry”. I am not against their wins and in fact I won’t blame them I will blame the artists and the system.
Now it seems I have shot the gun before looking at the target. I will a song such as “Odi dance” to be fair I did not know it was a gospel song. I am not against the song it was big but I honestly never thought it was gospel music. When I came across it in the nomination I was surprised. The song went on to win 6 music awards.
I am sure I was not the only one who thought what I was thinking. If you ask me the gospel industry today is in a lot of trouble. I am not saying this in a hypocritical manner heck I am not so religious. There is a huge difference between the gospel music in the early 2000’s and now the sound has grown and it has metamorphosized. Ages ago it was difficult to listen to a gospel song that had reggae beat and not getting a lot of criticism dances in the church were scrutinized and the songs that you danced to were questions. Case in point in 2005 when Rufftone was the big thing in the gospel industry our church youth danced to one of his songs. I can’t remember which song but it caused uproar and led to the pastor asking what the song meant and causing one of the youth leaders to explain why and how they arrived at dancing that song.
From there it has always been about the old and new dogs in the music industry. The old maintaining that the content is king while the monetizations of the gospel industry lead to gospel artistes releasing songs to just fill up air time and Sunday talk shows.
Though not a problem with all the artistes it has lead to tussles and songs which are very questionable. I can’t even mention some of the names of the songs or the wanting lyrics because they remain that very wanting. It is very hard to know where to classify some songs on whether they are border line psychotic or just madness.
Criticism of the gospel industry has been meted by artistes defending themselves with their favorite line. “Christ came for everyone and therefore we all cannot sing songs that bring us to God” sure he did. But there is a place to draw the line.
This month I am dedicating my column to talking about the gospel music industry and matters the church. Hope to get us talking.
David Mwenda is the Online Editor for Teen Network Magazine. The views reflected however do not reflect on any editorial policy of Teen Network Magazine LLP.