The first event of the CSRA Gospel Industry Alliance was “big, really big,” said Jubba, a Jamaican-born recording artist based in Augusta.
There’s a reason for that.
“There’s talent,” said Jubba, one of the founders of the alliance. “There are people doing amazing things with their gifts. They’re right here in Augusta, and they’re performing at a level that deserves national attention.”
About 200 people came to the new
organization’s first gathering in December to talk with other singers, producers and managers while learning from nationally known, Grammy Award-winning producers such as Kevin Bond.
In the year ahead, the Gospel Industry Alliance hopes to grow by attracting even more people working in the gospel industry.
“Spoken word, musicians, singers, songwriters, producers, graphic designers” are the people they want to attract, said Claude Harris Jr., a songwriter, producer and recording artist who helped found the group. He is also the minister of music at New Life Worship Center in Augusta. “We do these events so we can rub shoulders.”
The alliance is planning monthly gatherings in which gospel industry workers can “compare notes,” said Jubba, who is also the youth minister at Greater Apostolic Holy Temple in Augusta.
“You have a couple of pockets of people doing some things,” he said. “I see a lot of my peers doing the exact same thing I am.”
He hopes to connect younger artists and musicians with the resources they’ll need to broaden the scope of their ministries.
“This benefits us all,” he said. “We’re still learning, but we’re here for the kid that’s coming behind us whose name we don’t even know yet.”
Harris and Jubba began talking about the need for an alliance last summer with the Rev. Terrance Thomas, of Passion for Christ Ministry in Augusta. Each suggested three people they’ve worked with to form a board of directors with 12 members.
“We’re lovers of gospel music, each with different backgrounds, different churches,” Harris said.
December’s conference took three months to plan. The majority of attendees were artists looking for resources and information.
Presenters talked about issues such as copyrighting music, getting radio airplay and contracts.
They also attempted to dispel myths about the industry.
“They think you have to go to Atlanta,” Harris said. “It’s one thing to have an industry there, but we envision an industry right here. We want artists in Augusta to have those same resources.”
The conference will likely serve as a model for what’s to come in the new year, the organizers said. They hope to plan specialized events just for producers or managers or those ministering with music.
“We’re ministry-based. It’s a gift. It’s an art. It’s music. But it’s all about the ministry,” Jubba said. “It starts in the church, but it doesn’t stay in the church. Together, we can go further.”