Category Archives: Interviews

Indie Spotlight: Broken ChainZ Band

Every so often you come across musicians on Youtube that you want to learn more about. A couple years ago I was watching some clips from the Village Underground in NYC and came across Broken ChainZ. I was immediately captured by the song, the sound, and their worship. I was able to catch up with the band to talk about their vision, sound, and debut album. Read it below!

TosinMoji:Tell me about how Broken ChainZ began.

L to R: Phinees, Juice, Carlin, Marcus, Matthais
Not Shown: Saeed

Jerry “Juice”:Broken ChainZ band started in summer 2009. It basically started out with me reaching out to some guys that I actually prayed about. God led me to some musicians that I believed could be a part of the sound and a part of this movement. I told them what God put on my heart to do as far as this freedom movement and what Broken ChainZ was about.

TosinMoji:What is this freedom sound that you talk about?

Juice: Basically it’s about liberation. The vision stems from Luke 4: 18-19 where Jesus said the spirit of the Lord is upon me for He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. One thing that stuck out is when He said to liberate the captives. I just believe that we have a lot of Christians who are still bound and we cover that up with attractive gospel music that really doesn’t hit the core. But overall there’s a lot of great and inspiring gospel music out there. But I just felt that there’s a rebellious generation out there that needs to hear an aggressive, in your face style of music with the message that let’s them know they can be free.

TosinMoji: I like that! So you all just released your debut album. Congrats! What was the process like?

Juice: What I normally do is I come to the rehearsal with whatever idea I have or whatever inspiration God has given me and kind of pull from their thoughts, ideas, and inspirations. We share this idea musically and make it into the sound that you hear on the album. The contribution from each of these guys is what makes the Broken Chainz sound what it is.

Phinees: This is probably the longest ministry/band I’ve ever played with. We all bring our own personality to the sound. Everyone plays a different instrument but I realized when you listen to gospel records you hear the same people playing the same thing. When I listened to the playback of the record I felt like I played this way on this song and on another one I sound like a totally different person. But it’s still the same personality. So I love how we make our own personality not fit in a box.

Marcus: This was initially Juice’s sound or idea and we all participated in carrying out that vision and bringing it to life. We have all been able to utilize what we have and be able to execute it in a way that it’s just a different sound.

TosinMoji: Your sound is very different from the typical gospel sound. How receptive are people to your music?

Juice: We’ve had our share of rejection simply because people do two things when they view something that’s different and new. They either try to destroy it or they run away from it. But you have those people who we are actually reaching out to who have a heart of the band because they hear a sound that their spirit or their soul is crying out for. So we definitely have the traditional crowd that’s not gonna get this album at all, but we’re not called to everybody. We’re just called to a certain few especially in this generation that see that these guys are young, fresh, dope, but they do love God.

TosinMoji: So I love the way you all have described your sound and vision for the project. What about the lyrics? Who writes them or is it a collaborative effort?

Juice: Simply because this is our first album it’s been me writing and Saeed would co-write. We would shoot ideas back and forth as far as where the song should go. These are songs that God’s given me either few years ago or just recently.

Marcus: Like I said, this was initially Juice’s idea but now that we are a lot more familiar with the sound and with each other we’re definitely going to make it more of a collaborative effort and put it together in the next album. We all have ideas to bring to the table.

TosinMoji: What are your favorite songs on the album?

Phinees: Freedom Cry. It’s the anthem of the band. It’s very cross-cultural

Carlin: Cross Anthem. It’s an aggressive song. I love the fact that it’s a hymn and we approached it differently.

TosinMoji: Yea I really like that song. It was interesting how you took that song and switched it up.

Juice: That was actually my pastor’s idea. My pastor told me you guys should do a hymn. I looked at him like ‘A hymn with our style? That would never work’. Lo and behold I was coming from a studio session and next thing you know it’s on the album.

Marcus: My favorite song might be Cross Anthem as well. It’s a hymn that’s been modernized and Broken Chainz-ized.

Matthais: My favorite is Merciful God. Most people like Cross Anthem and I love that song too but Merciful God is a worship song and I’m all about that.

Juice: I think my favorite song would have to be Musician’s Cry. Not because of the musicality of it but basically because of the relationship it has with me personally. The words are like my spirit speaking out loud. Every word from start to finish.

TosinMoji: What are your rehearsals like? I imagine they get quite interesting!

Juice: We have a couple of clowns. Carlin and Marcus are the funniest guys in the entire universe. They need their own T.V show. These guys will have you crying throughout the whole rehearsal. One thing I love about rehearsals is that we cry out to God. One thing that we do when we come to rehearsal is we speak out loud the things we are believing God to do in our lives. That’s our tradition. We don’t play first, we go straight into confessing and speaking those things that are not as though they are.

TosinMoji: Wow that’s amazing! How did that start?

Juice: It was something we did for the first time a couple years ago and the Spirit of God just said ‘This is us. This is what we do’. And we have witnessed God through us confessing and speaking those things in the atmosphere.

TosinMoji: Amen. What do you guys expect listeners to get from your music?

Matthais: When you get the album you should be prepared for the unexpected. You should be prepared for a sound that’s unprecedented. Be prepared for a spiritual whirlwind. Something different; it’s not something that you’ve heard before.

Juice:We want listeners to be engaged. It is our job to set the atmosphere and begin this journey to this place called freedom where people—young people—are not afraid to lift up their hands, jump, scream, shout, and just experience God in a way where they feel they’re not being judged. They can see young, black men who are radical and on fire for God. It’s not only about Jesus Culture, Planetshakers, or Hillsong. We have people right here in New York that are on fire for God.

Well there you have it! Listen to their debut album,Sound of War, Cry of Freedom, and you can certainly tell these young men are on fire for God–and want others to experience that same feeling. The album is amazing, both lyrically and musically. If you are looking for a new sound or just more music to add to your collection this is definitely a band to check out!

Watch their video for Freedom Cry!

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Interview with Tim Bowman Jr.

When your father is a legendary jazz guitarist and your aunt a well-renowned gospel artist it’s hard not to follow those footsteps! Gospel newcomer Tim Bowman Jr. is doing just that with his Top 10 Billboard Gospel debut album, Beautiful.

I had the pleasure of chatting with him to get a little more insight on his journey to Beautiful.

TMS: First let me say again congratulations! I love the album! It’s been on repeat since the release. How does it feel to have just released your debut album?

TBJ: First of all thank you for taking the time to interview me. It feels great. It’s an overwhelming feeling. I didn’t expect it to have such an impact!

TMS:  It really is a great album! When I was listening to it I was trying to pick a favorite; but every song is my favorite. I really love “I’ll Try” though.

TBJ: Wow, thank you for that! That’s amazing.

TMS: No problem. How’d you come up with the title?

TBJ: It’s the title of the song I did with my father. We decided that would be the album title.

TMS: Cool, What was the recording process was like.

TBJ: It took about two and a half to three years. We recorded between 30 and 40 songs and narrowed it down to 13.

TMS: Wow, must have been a hard decision making those cuts! Did you do most of the writing on the album?

TBJ: I co-wrote about 8 of the songs. There was a core group of 4 of us who wrote for the album.

TMS: Your music is very eclectic. There’s pop, jazz, acoustic…everything really! Why did you decide to take that route?

TBJ: Well, I did that for two reasons. First, I listen to every genre of music. I try to find the best product of music. I love the simplicity of rock, the power of gospel, the sincerity of worship and the beats of pop. I wanted my album to show that. Also, we live in a day where we can go on iTunes and buy single tracks instead of records. But if people wanted to get a mix of music they can get the whole album!

TMS: That is a very interesting idea. But, did you feel you were taking a risk in making your album so musically diverse, especially in being a new artist?

TBJ: Of course! It’s a huge risk, but someone has to take it. I have nothing to lose!

TMS: You’ve been in the industry before this debut. I first heard you on “How I Got Over”. I remember getting the WOW Gospel 11 compilation and it was on there. I was like who is that scatting! I literally spent like 2 weeks trying to learn that. How did you learn how to scat like that?

TBJ: My father. I got the whole jazzy thing from him. When I was younger he would get his guitar and do little doodles and have me follow after him. That’s how I learned to scat.

TMS: That’s great. Not many people can master the art of scatting! With both your father and aunt being legendary artists did you feel any pressure growing up to fill their shoes?

TBJ: I feel like I had and still feel like I have big shoes to fill. They are trailblazers and amazing artists. But they don’t put any pressure on me. I just hope I can achieve half the things they did.

TMS: You will! Aside from them, who are some other musical influences?

TBJ: Wow. I have a lot. On the gospel side there’s the Clark sisters, Kim Burrell, Mary Mary, and the Winans. And I appreciate artists that do their craft well like Michael Jackson, Coldplay, Beatles, and Beyonce.

TMS: Wow that is a very eclectic list. Now I understand why your album is the way it is!

TBJ: Exactly! I listen to everything.

TMS: What do you hope listeners get from listening to you album?

TBJ: I hope people get an overall experience. I want the music to make them want to dance, worship, mellow out, chill out, praise…a whole mix of emotions! I want it to tell a story. I want them to take a journey.

TMS: Describe Tim Bowman Jr. in 3 words.

TBJ: Hmm, that’s an interesting question. I would say motivated, dedicated, and transparent.

Well, there you have it! Tim Bowman Jr’s dedication has landed him at #8 on the charts and he’s just getting started. It was truly a pleasure speaking with him and I’m excited to see what is in store for him in the future. He’s going to be touring so when he’s in your area…go see him!

In the meantime, make sure you get his debut album, Beautiful. It is amazing! Definitely music worth adding to your collection 🙂

Indie Spotlight: TRU Praise

Exciting. Creative. Crazy. Those are the three words that lead singer, Marcus Pass, used to describe the NY based group, TRU Praise.

TRU (Through Righteous Uplifting) Praise was birthed about 6 years ago out of the desire to create a “free sound”. One in which they were not confined to a particular style. “If we wanted to write in the salsa style we wanted to be free to do that”, said Pass. TRU Praise is on the path to make certain their music extends past the gospel sound.

Before putting together the group, Pass was a rapper and R&B singer. However, his transition to using his gifts for God is truly a testament to the strength that we find in Him. The day after he got saved, he had a concert in which he was going to perform a John Legend song. Instead, he was convicted to sing an original gospel song and, though it was a hard decision for him, that decision has most certainly led to great things!

TRU Praise, is releasing their debut album, Journey, on April 24th. The album title symbolizes both the “journey we have been on to complete the album…and a journey through life”, Pass explained. Each song tells a story as it flows smoothly into the next.

The message of TRU Praise is one of self acceptance. “It is okay to be who you are”, said Pass, “Whoever God made you to be. Just do what God has called you to do and I guarantee that you will be successful in Him.” His desire to push the message of self acceptance is a personal one. Initially, he felt like he wasn’t good enough and tried to be everyone but who God had called him to be. Now, with a clearer understanding of his purpose in Christ and the purpose of TRU Praise, he is out to spread that same message to the masses.

Through their ministry, TRU Praise has held onto Psalms 24:1. The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. They believe that their message extends past the church walls. “We have held on to the truth that we were not created to minister to just the church”. Their calling is to reach the churched and the un- churched.

Marcus Pass left us with a word of encouragement for independent and underground artists that are striving to develop their craft: “Do the best with what you have. God said I will supply all of your needs. Always want the best but don’t hold yourself back because you’re waiting for the best.”

Please be sure to support this awesome ministry on April 24th! Also, be sure to follow them on facebook and twitter so you can stay updated on their ventures. The release of their debut album is just the beginning. Keep them in prayer as they continue to walk in their purpose.

Listen to their single, “Glad That I’m Saved” below.

TRU Praise Facebook

TRU Praise Twitter

Marcus Pass Facebook

Marcus Pass Twitter

Interview with Marcia Sapp

I got to chat with the lovely Marcia Sapp before her live recording. Check it out below!

TosinMojiSpeaks: How are you doing today? You ready for tonight?

Marcia: Yes Ma’am

TosinMojiSpeaks: I understand that this is the second time that you’re doing this live recording.

Marcia: Yes it is. We did the first one in January, on January 21st of this year and experienced some difficulty with the harddrive and we weren’t able to experience the date from it. So here we are again.

TosinMojiSpeaks: I’m sure it will be great! So how did you get started in music?

Marcia: Well, you know, my mom who actually will be singing a song with me tonight

TosinMojiSpeaks: Oh okay

Marcia: –started my family as a singing group. We used to have rehearsal in the little music room we had in our house and our oldest brother would be playing the piano and we would sing these cute little songs and we would sing at different churches in South Jersey as the Sapp Family when I was very very young. Ever since them I’ve just been singing. Probably came out the womb singing!

TosinMojiSpeaks: [laughs] So you said your brother plays the piano. Do you play as well?

Marcia: I play a little little bit, but not really. I wouldn’t call myself a musician yet. Maybe a budding, really early early budding musician [laughs]. But, my oldest brother plays keyboards and probably about five other instruments. He’s wonderful and my youngest brother also plays the drums. My oldest brother is going to accompany me on “Worship the Lamb” tonight and my youngest brother is going to play a song called “Trouble in My Way”.

TosinMojiSpeaks: Wow, that’s great. So when did you feel the calling to pursue this recording?

Marcia: Well, I’ve been wanting to record a solo piece for many, many years and just never stepped out on faith to do it. Then when I finally decided I have to do this. Period. There are no excuses I just have to do it. When I decided that, almost immediately the doors opened up for me to do it. It’s really amazing.

TosinMojiSpeaks: Wow, that is!

Marcia: Like I said I’ve been singing since a small child. I started traveling nationally and internationally with the NJ Mass Choir in my teens and then in my early 20s began to sing with a lot of different professional choirs. So I’m on a lot of different recordings but this is the first one that I’ve done on my own and I’m very very excited about it.

TosinMojiSpeaks: How was it like traveling with the NJ Mass Choir?

Marcia: It was really an invaluable experience. Donnie Harper was the leader of the group and I just learned so much. I just don’t know how else to describe it except for an extremely valuable learning experience. Everything from the travel to making the plans to putting things together to making sure that you’re on time to putting on your best face…just so many lessons I learned. It was really an incredible experience.

TosinMojiSpeaks: So with all these learning experiences, who would you describe as your musical mentor?

Marcia: I have several. My first is my mom, Reverend Franscena Sapp. I would say that Donnie Harper absolutely has had a lot of influence on my life. The late Reverend Timothy Wright, I traveled with his choir from 2005 to about 2008. He was just another incredible person to be around. Quite a mentor.

TosinMojiSpeaks: Oh okay

Marcia: Then, just some people that I have watched from afar. They never really laid their hands on me and mentored me but just people that I was able to listen to their music and say ‘Wow this is nice music’ and I’ll grab a little piece of it. People like Karen Clark Sheard, Kim Burrell, and some other incredible people.

TosinMojiSpeaks: So how would you describe your music?

Marcia: The first word that came to me was alive. I would describe my music as alive. [laughs]. I guess the reason why that word came to my mind is that I want music that doesn’t just sound good but I want music that inspires people, that helps people to grow that makes people feel closer to the Lord that can break strongholds that can heal people. I want to have music that does more than entertain or sell, but actually ministers to people.

TosinMojiSpeaks: So lets’s talk a little about your music.

Marcia: Okay

TosinMojiSpeaks: I believe your first single was “But He Failed”.

Marcia: Yes

TosinMojiSpeaks: What’s the background of that song. How did it come to be?

Marcia: Actually, I was in my bedroom one night and I was cleaning the room. It was late, around 2 in the morning. I just began to think about all the different things the devil had done to try to kill me and it didn’t work! And the melody came to my mind, [sings] tried and he tried and he tried, but he failed..

TosinMojiSpeaks: You betta sing!

Marcia: And I was just like yea! That melody just stayed with me and then one day, I sing at a noon day service at St. James AME Church in Newark every Wednesday. One Wednesday I went in and talk to the minister of music and I was like, you know I got this little melody I think it might work. He was like let’s try it! So we tried it and we were like I bet that’ll work! So we just went and did it one noon day service and the song went over so well! The saints just went up in praise and Dr. ? wasn’t able to preach, which is very rare. As a matter a fact I don’t think that’s ever happened since I’ve been there. It was just very well received because it’s just such a simple song that everyone can relate to

TosinMojiSpeaks: Amen. So do you have a title for the album yet?

Marcia: I’m leaning towards But He Failed

TosinMojiSpeaks: But He Failed…

Marcia: Yea, I think it may be But He Failed

TosinMojiSpeaks: Did you write all the songs?

Marcia: I’ve written most of the songs actually. With the exception of two songs, everything that I’m going to do tonight is something that I wrote or co wrote. I co wrote “I Shall Live”. I came to Carlton with the concept and he filled in the some of the gaps. The rest of them I wrote.

TosinMojiSpeaks: So tonight will be my first time hearing you live! I’ve heard some clips on Youtube and I am very excited. What can I expect from this live recording?

Marcia: What can you expect? Well, I think you can expect to hear some songs that really come from the heart. You can expect to hear some incredible background singers. You can expect to hear some really good arrangements and music that will touch your heart. It won’t just sound good to your ears, but it will minister to you.

TosinMojiSpeaks: Amen. What’s one thing that you want people to take away from your ministry.

Marcia: I want people to be healed. I want them to be healed when they come away from my ministry. I want them to say “Wow that really blessed me. That soothed something on the inside of me that just changed something in me”.

TosinMojiSpeaks: That’s awesome. I’m truly looking forward to a blessing tonight. Where can people go to find out more about you. Do you have a facebook, twitter, or website?

Marcia: Yea. I am on facebook. I am on twitter although I don’t tweet that much—

TosinMojiSpeaks/Marcia: [laughs]

Marcia: I did tweet about tonight but I’m not like one of those viral tweeters—

TosinMojiSpeaks: [laughs] Yea, that’s always on it like me

Marcia: Yea [laughs], but my website is maricasapp.com. You can get information about things that I’m doing through there. Actually we will be launching a new site very shortly.

TosinMojiSpeaks: Great! Well as I said I’m excited to hear your ministry tonight.

Marcia: Praise God

TosinMojiSpeaks: Thank you for allowing me to chat with you really quick before your recording.

Marcia: Well thank you for coming! Thank you so much for coming.

TosinMojiSpeaks: Anytime.

http://www.marciasapp.com/