Expires 5th April
SINGER | SONGWRITER
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Founder, UKG/ UKGospel.com group of sites.
I really didn't want my picture here, but I'm bowing to pressure.
Freelance journalist, all-round nice guy.
Has a weird obsession with international gospel music.
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TEAM PODCAST 8
'...There was a lot of energy and life - but it seems to have gone quiet now..'
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South London: it's mid-afternoon and the variable UK weather was playing true to form: it's quite hot for the time of year...
There are five of us crammed into
a small space: four Juba siblings
(oldest brother Deji
T.J. [vocals/production], Vidal
[vocals/Drums] and Daniel [Vocals])
are squeezed tight in Daniel's car.
It's a tight squeeze made even
more uncomfortable on account of
We didn't mind, though. It was fun...
The Albany theatre is round the corner, and Four Kornerz are due to soundcheck, ahead of the release of their much-anticipated debut album, 'Soulectric'. Their debut single 'Clap Clap' had been a massive radio and street hit, and the follow up 'Gonna Make It' featuring Jahaziel was doing well too.
As usual with the UK scene, there was huge optimism in the air, and with good reason: Raymond & Co had put out Playing Games just over a year before to huge response within and outside the scene (one of the memorable highs was Raymond & Co touring with Will Young, himself riding a massive wave of popularity off his burgeoning solo career).
Siani were also the RnB/Soul/vocal girl group of the time with the music, reputation and respect of the gospel and select taste makers in the mainstream industry. Street music, specifically Hip-Hop (these were the days before Grime) was also flourishing.
Those were heady times. The ever-present, long-hoped for feeling that UK gospel music was finally 'on its way into the mainstream' seemed a little bit more possible than it had done for a while.
We'd agreed to record this 'Behind The Beat' session for Soulectric quite a while before, but Four Kornerz's diary was becoming increasingly tight. In the end, recording it in the car seemed not only like a good idea at the time but was possibly reflective of the 'let's just do this' attitude that has kept this industry moving over the years.
We ended up recording two sessions, one for the lead maxi-single at the time 'Gonna Make It' (featuring Jahaziel) as well as this.
Zest For Life
For all sorts of reasons - the primary ones being cost and timing - I never got round to officially releasing this recording and as time went by there just never seemed to be a good time to put it out.
2007 became an increasingly distant memory, and releasing this so long after the event just didn't feel right.
Once every so often I'd come across the recording on my PC and be really encouraged with how well put together it was considering the circumstances: I'd recorded it on a cheap mic (I think I used a minidisc - remember those?), mixing it on a battered old laptop with software that wasn't designed to be used the way I was using it.
And (without wanting to sound too big-headed about things) it still sounded decent and - if anything at all - seemed to get better with time.
As much as I'd like to take all the credit for that, it's had a lot to do with Four Kornerz. Their enthusiasm, energy and just the sheer zest for life that comes across even in audio that they record.
And on that point: as good as the songs sound on Soulectric, nothing beats seeing Four Kornerz in the flesh. They are absolutely incredible live - and that's saying something in a scene that has hyperbole hard-wired into its DNA, often heaping praise on acts that are good - but not great.
It's 2013, and we've had an unusually brilliant summer so far.
It's to the guys' credit that the album doesn't sound as dated as much of the material that was released around 2007, and some of the songs on 'Soulectric' were created as early as two years before that.
And even better - unlike many of the big names that were around at the time, Four Kornerz are still going. With other commitments slowly creeping in (two of the guys are now married with kids) chances are the usual life issues mean they may start to slow down a bit.
I'd *highly recommend* you see Four Kornerz at least once if at all possible. You owe it to yourself, if just to see what all the hype is about. You won't regret it.
'Soulectric' - Behind the Beat
In the meantime, enjoy 'Soulectric - Behind The Beat'. I'm glad we were reckless enough to just dive in and record in a car.
We captured a bit of UK gospel history.
Artist / Project / Year
Four Kornerz / Soulectric / 2007
Four Kornerz links
It took me about 6 years to publish this but at last, here is the full story behind Four Kornerz's debut album - as told by the boys themselves...
Published 1st September 2013
and the UKG Group of sites.
That's really all I have to say...
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