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How To Be A Christian DJ
Ben Tankard is a Jazz pianist with no formal training, but extraordinary gifting in creating soothing melodies.
Christian emcee. What?! Yeah. What I love about Christian music is that every genre of music works within the confines of this industry; transforming them into sub-genres. Because in Christian music, it is the message that counts. Which is why you can take a dope beat and put a sermon/speech over it and it rocks like nobody's business. But in order to function as a Christian DJ, you have to love the music, understand the music and know the music.
First you need to understand that Christian music is based (or should be based) on the Word of God. But whereas this seems to limit some mixologists, it only fuels me to greater heights. Why? Because knowing this important fact allows me to find Christian music in genres where the intent may have not been to inspire as much as to just have an hit song.
I can fill my playlist with songs by BOYZ II MEN, STEVIE WONDER, BRANDY, LEANNE RIMES and Smooth Jazz artists. Instrumentals, Classical and even Opera can fit into the confines of my playlist. I'm looking for an inspirational message about community, family and/or faith that lines up with Christian theology. Also, I'm looking for no profane words in the midst of the lyrics; which can be like investigative reporting when some Christian rappers have tried to slip the "N-Word" in their songs over the years.
That's understanding the music. Knowing the music is knowing that there is Christian Rap that rivals what we are bombarded with on Mainstream radio. Knowing that there are great Jazz artists, Neo Soul artists, Celtic, Techno artists within the super-genre of Christian music. Knowing that there is a song for every mood, every setting, every season.
Loving the music means that even if you can't "get with" a certain sub genre, that you respect the artist; you respect his or her self expression. That you honor and admire their gift, their talent and their desire to put it across to any and all that will hear.
I can't give you all of my secrets, but know that the hunt for great music is a wonderful fact finding mission. Whether it is an artist that is unabashadly a Christian artist, or a Secular artist who only thanks God at awards show. Like a Scooby Doo mystery, clues can be found in the darnest places. And even if you don't strike it rich and find yourself playing more requested "hit" songs than the eye opening obscure songs that you'd rather play, in the end you'll at least be able to marvel at having one of the most unique music collections in town.
Artists of note to consider are as follows:
Hip-Hop: The Ambassador, Cross Movement, T-Bone, Toby Mac, Lecrae, 116 Clique, Tedashi, Corey Red, New Breed (Elsie and Macho), LPG, Sup The Chemist, Peace 586, Ayeesha, True II Society, FTF, Cas Metah, Caramel Skillington, KJ52
R&B: Kirk Franklin, Deitrick Haddon, Mary Mary, Shadonna, Lisa McClendon, Virtue, Tonex, Special Gift, Angie & Debbie Winans, The Winans, Commissioned, Marcus Cole, Lexi, Montrel Darrett, Jon Gibson, Tim Miner, Michelle Williams, Al Green, Fred Hammond, Parkes Stewart
Jazz: Allen & Allen, Ben Tankard, Marquis, Justo Almario, Abe Laboriel, Ralph Carmichael, Yolanda Adams, Lanny Cordola
Rock: Allies, X-Sinner, White Cross, Stryper, Margaret Becker, Cindy Cruse, Apologtix (parody cover band along the lines of WEIRD AL, but often sound like the original artist)
Pop: Britt Nicole, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Jump 5
Dance: Planet Shakers, AJ Mora, Scott Blackwell
Commissioned has touched the lives of many Pop/R&B artists, such as Brandy, Whitney Houston, Brian McKnight and Boyz II Men
PFR stayed for just a minute, but were critically acclaimed and often compared to The Beatles.
TruSoulDJ is a self proclaimed expert on all things trivial to the Mainstream. He is an avid classic comic book reader, non popular music lover and tv-show-on-dvd binge watcher who shops the clearance racks near and far to find the best deals. He would like to think he knows everything important within the realm of Pop culture. But in actuality, he only knows about 99.9 percent of what he thinks he knows.
Michelle Williams shines on this Sophmore solo album that features Jazzy and Neo-Soul type interpretations of faith.
Out of Eden spent at least a decade serving as the Christian alternative to raunchy Mainstream girl groups; but like many great Christian acts, retired with few bells and whistles.
Paul Overstreet is mostly known for writing hit Mainstream Country songs. However, its his songs of faith that hit home for me. Especially this jewel of a project that seems directed towards the frustrated and long suffering married man. Very encouraging, soothing and melodic.