Gospel Music Industry Alliance (GMIA) embraces Platoon’s “Gospel Heritage”

The Gospel Music Industry Alliance (GMIA), UK governing body for the music genre, announces that it has officially designated September as Gospel Music Heritage Month. It coincides with the giant streaming platform Apple Music and Platoon Records release of a new album highlighting music that has spawned the emergence of successful artists in the UK, Caribbean and Africa since its origins in the USA.

The album features specially recorded tracks, an eclectic selection demonstrating the breadth of styles that have extended the sounds of Traditional Gospel. It includes multi-award winner Lurine Cato known as ‘Queen of British Gospel’ who was awarded an MBE in 2021; Sinach, singer/songwriter who became the first African (from Nigeria) to win Song of the Year (from Dove Awards in 2020 and BMI in 2021) for the anthem ‘Way Maker’, and who’s YouTube video has been viewed more than 200 million times; MOBO Awards Choir of the Year winners Volney Morgan and New Ye; Caribbean Gospel sensation Chevelle Franklyn and legendary British Gospel pioneer John Francis (now a church Bishop) formerly leader of The Inspirational Choir that backed super Ska pop group Madness garnering a 1983 British No.2 and Ireland No1 chart hit for the single ‘Wings Of A Dove’.

The concept of a dedicated month to highlight gospel music is not foreign to the UK and has been previously championed by John Fisher BEM of IDMC Gospel Soul Choir and Minister of Music Rev. Andrew Simpson of New Testament Church of God, one of the largest Black-led Church denominations. However, this time round the collective sector representation has given a different impetus to account for the long-emerging market in the UK that has suffered greatly due to sector fragmentation, discriminatory
inequalities and a lack of investment.

In a recent article for music publication MIXMAG, the current CEO of GMIA, Audrey Gray expressed the UK’s rich heritage and states, “there are real historical and contemporary roots and connections between us and the Caribbean, Africa and USA. Consolidating these links by the synergy of Celebration in the same month will prove the ties that bind us to greater and better things when partnership, collaborations and creative exchange works”. We’re excited about the potential in fully embracing what this initiative can be for Gospel Music sectors around the world.

Initially spearheaded and pioneered by senior African-American music executive, Alvin V. Williams, it was in 2007 that the US House of Representatives and Senate passed into legislation (2009) that September would mark a month of celebrating the music that has played its part in forming and defining the soundtrack of American Life. Now GMIA’s announcement demonstrates the UK’s self-determining confidence which supports a quest to bring formal recognition to the role the music has played over the
past seventy years in British social culture contributing to racial harmony, community cohesion, the richness of diversity as well as its impact on the general music and Entertainment sectors.

The Apple-owned Platoon record label’s timely initiative, made the unprecedented but inspired move to highlight a genre that is often stated as the most influential genre in Popular Music to date, but without the positioning and equity due its contribution. However it’s expected that the annual month long focus is expected to bring change. It supports the success of certain gospel artist like the legendary Marvin Sapp who’s reported one billion streams on Apple Music for his hit single ‘Never Would Have Made It’.

Gospel Music Heritage Month kicks off with the live launch event by Platoon Records on Friday 2nd September. GMIA’s hope for the organic growth of this initiative invites event organisers and promoters to forward details and flyers of gospel events in September for signposting and circulation by using one of the methods below;

1. Provide an event or ticket page link where full event details can be found. (recommended)

2. Google drive share to gmiaukevents@gmail.com

3. Email gmiaukevents@gmail.com