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Exclusive Interview: Recording Artist Isaiah Thomas

Last Friday, I attended Isaiah Thomas’ Live Recording at Empowerment Temple where Dr. Jamal Bryant is the Pastor. Before the event, I had the wonderful opportunity to share a few minutes with Multi-Stellar Award Winner and noted veteran producer, songwriter, and vocalist, Minister Isaiah D. Thomas!

I also got a chance to talk with Antonio Murchison, the President/CEO of Global Gospel Music Group, to learn about the label that Minster Thomas is now on and more about the direction that his career and music is headed in.

SJ:  Hey Antonio, thanks for taking the time to chat with me! So you’d like to talk about the record label, right?

AM: One of the first things that we want to share is the support that Min. Thomas received! He went through some things last year with Habakkuk Music Group and we just want to thank everybody that stuck in there, hung in there, supported him and kept pushing him.  Then, we want to share the situation about Fred Hammond coming aboard.

SJ: Wow, that’s amazing. What’s happening now?

AM: Fred Hammond, an icon in the gospel industry, is doing a deal with Isaiah Thomas and Global Gospel Music Group, which is my label. We will be releasing an album under Universal Records through Fred Hammond and we all thought that was huge, especially after going through what he went through a year and a half ago! We want to encourage everyone to go pick up the new project, which is titled Fred Hammond and Family presents “I Dare You” by Isaiah Thomas.

SJ: So the best is yet to come?

AM: The best is really yet to come! It’s about to get crazy right now. Fred Hammond has hired a marketing group throughout the country to promote him heavily. We’re about to shoot a video for his single and BET will be on staff. This is a push like never before in his career. He went from being tied up in a situation to having one of the biggest, most anticipated albums of the year. With this type of marketing, Universal Records, Fred Hammond, and BET, it’s going to be huge!

SJ: That sounds awesome! How did you guys get hooked up?

AM: I was the person who signed Isaiah last year and carried him through his first single “I Dare You” which charted #21 on the Billboard Charts. Before Isaiah, I put out a project with Dr. Jeff Jacobs who is also under my label. Isaiah Thomas produced Dr. Jacobs’ album and when he found out that I put it out, he actually pleaded with Jeff to meet me. When I met him, he was a genuine person and we just connected. I wanted to do everything I could to help him and we did!

SJ: That’s great! I think that’s about it for me. Anything else you want us know?

AM: There are going to be a host of other upcoming artists under my label, Global Gospel Music Group. One is Dr. Jeff Jacobs, another group is the Bryan Cook Project, and we’ve been on a hunt for our first female gospel artist to have under our label. Isaiah is like the anchorman and will be doing a lot of the production and songwriting.

SJ: Yeah, it’s definitely his time! He’s given us hits, wrote, and produced so much so it’s great that now he has this platform and opportunity to catapult him into success because he deserves it!

AM: Certainly, I’m praying that one day he’ll be that Grammy-award winning artist who’s selling millions of records, which I know he can accomplish because he has the ability, talent, and everything it takes to do it.

SJ: Well, thank you for your time! I look forward to the future and what’s in store for Global Gospel Music Group & Minister Isaiah Thomas.  

~

SJ: Hello Minister Thomas, I know you’re busy so thanks for talking with me. I just have a few questions about this recording for your next project. And, I understand that your next album is coming out soon, right?

IT: It’s my pleasure Steven, thank you! And yes, “I Dare You” will be out in stores in September.

SJ: So, what was the inspiration behind these songs and the music that you’re going to present tonight with this project?

IT: What makes this record special is the combination of a lot of classic songs that God has given us down through the years and brand new songs that no one has ever heard before. With most of the albums that I do, the songs that are recorded are at least 3 to 4 years old, some even older than that because songs have seasons. With this particular record, the music that’s going to be recorded tonight was just written; one song as in just a couple of weeks ago. It’s exciting for me because this is really the record that has me where I am right now versus you know, cutting a record where the music, I’ve already moved from that place. It’s very challenging. This is the most complex music we’ve ever done. I’ve always been known primarily for choir music but this music is a little more intense, more vocal, and a little bit more progressive than in the past so I’m really excited about what God is going to do in this place on tonight.

SJ: What are some of the messages in these songs? What do you have to say to the people of God in a time such as this?

IT: That’s a very good question because one of the main songs that we’re cutting tonight is a song that God gave me really in my sleep. It primarily focuses on God, with His love and compassion, never letting us go. It actually refers to Isaiah 42 or 43, when he gives a word to the people of Israel while they’re yet still in bondage. While they’re in captivity, they are slaves to heathens, people that don’t even believe in God. Because of their sin, they were separated from God. Even through separation, God says I still won’t let you go. That’s a really powerful place because I’ve been there. I’ve been separated from God but yet God didn’t let my enemies laugh at me. He covered me even when I couldn’t really make good, conscious decisions for myself. The name of the song is “Lord, You Wouldn’t Let Me Go” and that’s a major message that we want to get across to the body of Christ. See people have a tendency to keep you in your past. When you fall and fall short, people don’t let you forget that. So what happens is, you can stay in captivity even though Christ has made us free because people keep you where you were instead of receiving where God has you now! It’s a major encouragement that says even in the midst of shortcomings. I mean we see that all over the world with preachers and artists in the music industry where people are falling short but that doesn’t really mean that God is done using them. His mercies are new every single morning. This album talks about the mercy of God, which is what you don’t deserve, the favor of God, and the love of God.

SJ: Wow, that’s some good stuff!

IT: Yeah, one song we’ve been singing all over the country, a remake of  “Ordinary Just Won’t Do” by Commissioned, has been such a demand so I almost didn’t have a choice but to record it. It all came from a YouTube clip that we did in a rehearsal one day and sprung off from there. Churches have even turned that song into a teaching series. Commissioned is one of my strongest musical mentors because I came up on them. It’s kind of like a little tribute to them with an Isaiah twist on it but the message is still very strong. We’re recording 13 songs tonight and we are really really really excited about what God is doing through us even right now.

SJ:  Who did you work with and collaborate with on this project?

IT: One main person that I collaborated with is Roderick Giles. God put him in my heart in the pre-production stages of this album because a lot of the songs we collaborated on. When I told him about where I was trying to go, he grabbed the vision and ran! He is the producer of the vocals so everything you hear tonight vocally is accredited to him and his skill. Of course, this guy has a resume of his own; he works with the Clark Sisters, Patrick Lundy, Ms. Garrett, and more. He’s already proven in this industry and is a vocal extraordinaire. Of course, I also worked with my production team and my team, Good Fellas Music Group; Buddy Lakins, a great musician known all over the country, Chris Leach who produced “I Dare You” with me and also “The Greatest”, and Warren Jones, a producer for the “The Greatest” as well. We kept the team the same. Studio House North has done the sound and equipment for every live recording I’ve ever done. We’ve been working together for some 20 years now. All we did was add Rogers to the production and Buddy Lakins is now apart of Good Fellas Music Group. We’ve enhanced our foundation.

SJ: Where do you see yourself going in the future?

IT: Well you know, I’m grateful because this time last year, I was sitting in court. I had a court case for a year and a half over a dispute about royalties. God made a way so that we could resolve the issue. It’s important to know that the issue was resolved because it’s not a good picture to see church people in the body of Christ fighting. It was a disagreement and dispute; we weren’t fighting! The courts had to resolve it and we were able to get released. God gave us an opportunity to now record again because my career was on hold for a year and a half. That’s why people said, “ well, you got a new record coming out but you’re doing a live recording”. Well yeah, we have to make up for lost time! And so, God put us in a position where we could record a brand new album and also get a deal with Universal for the record that we had already recorded which was cut in ’09. God really just gave us double for our trouble! We have a record hitting stores in September nationwide presented by Fred Hammond, the gospel icon himself and one of my mentors. Then, God positioned us to record a brand new album set to drop in 2012.

SJ: That’s it for me! Thank you so much sir for sharing with me! Congrats on everything and I wish you all the best!

IT: Thank you man! Take care and enjoy yourself tonight!

Make sure you pick up a copy of Isaiah Thomas’ new project “I Dare You” when it hits stores in September!

-Steven

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