Like a Thief in the Night
Breaking into the gospel music industry is something a lot of singers and musicians aspire to do. People ask me about it all the time, wanting to know how they can “break into” the gospel music industry. What does that even mean? When I think about someone “breaking in” I immediately imagine someone with a half-baked plan for a theft or some other felonious act.
In that respect, why would anyone want to break in anywhere? Is there no other way to be welcomed? Let’s say you do break in. If you didn’t belong there in the first place how long do you really expect to remain there? Truth is, only few people become an instantaneous success in the gospel.
God’s Perfect Plan
So, let’s forget the break in aspect. Concentrate on what it takes to “pursue” a career in the gospel industry. To pursue means going after something with intent. You have to get a true understanding of the process. At very least, the process requires focus, thoughtful planning and yes talent! A systematic approach to developing a career requires serious discipline. You have to be patient and most importantly seek godly counsel. God already knows the plans He has for you AND your musical career.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
What Does It Mean to be an Indie Artist?
Becoming an independent artist is definitely one way of making a legitimate entry into the gospel industry. It’s the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) approach. But even as an independent artist, you still won’t be able to climb the ranks entirely on your own.
What are the Responsibilities of an Indie Artist?
As an indie artist, you are essentially responsible for producing, recording, publishing and sometimes distributing your own music apart from any commercial companies record labels or their subsidiaries.
If you truly believe you have what it takes to become a gospel artist, pursue your dream wholeheartedly. But never forget, although it is our Father’s business, it is an earthly business as well and one that hopeful can lead you to a profitable career.
At age 21, Jekalyn Carr is a powerhouse in the gospel industry known for songs like “You’re Bigger” and “You Will Win”. She has received numerous awards and nominations including her first Stellar Gospel Music Award at age 16 followed by GRAMMY and Billboard Music Awards nominations. She has also appeared on OWN’s TV series “Greenleaf” and is an evangelist whose spirit-filled inspiration is embodied in her new book “You Will Win”. Jekalyn who began her professional career at age 15, is an independent recording artist for her family-owned label Lunjeal Music Group.
CFU: What do you think the biggest misconceptions are for indie artists?
I think sometimes people feel as though they don’t have to work to get to where they want to be. They think things are going to happen overnight, but within this day and age you have to make sacrifices and put time in if you desire to be successful within your music career or any career you have. You have to have patience. When you are patient you can think and manage better. Also, some fail to get the right information to make sure they’re on the right track; Because if you don’t have knowledge about the area/field you’re in, you’ll constantly find yourself where you were 2 or 3 years ago. Ask God to place you amongst the right company that’ll provide helpful information to you to make sure that everything even down to the business part is in place.
CFU: How should indie artists go about deciding which “gigs” they should take?
Well, I think if you come across an event that has you pondering and second guessing it, that may be the time for you to seek/ask God for direction. One thing you don’t want, is to end up somewhere where God hadn’t instructed you to be. This helps protects your name and integrity as well. A lot of offers may sound good, but it may not LOOK good for you to be there.
CFU: How would you define your brand? How would you recommend others going about how to define what their brand entails?
My brand is inspiration and motivation, as well as showing people that it is possible to have a successful and longevity career without compromising. Keep in mind that whatever you show people the most even on your social media, to them that’s what you’re branding yourself as and that could either help or hurt you depending upon what you show them. You want to show them consistency with positivity because it makes it easier for people to receive you. It also helps your brand when people can feel like you’re touchable.
CFU: What is one piece of advice would you give young aspiring indie artists that they should be mindful of in the business?
Whatever you do, keep your humility and integrity because these are two components that’ll cause you to keep climbing higher within your career.