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Yinka Awojobi

and the UKG Group of sites.

That's really all I have to say...

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Jahaziel at A Step FWD Chart launch event 13 Dec 2013

Hip-Hop artist Jahaziel gets ready to perform (photo: Clever Lens Media)

potential to be far-reaching. And in a very good way.

So: Do You Care..?

If (or indeed why) you should care about this newest chart iteration is of course entirely up to you.

Personally I quite like this project. I like its ambition, scope and daring.

Apart from the fact that I happen to agree the UK Gospel scene does indeed need its own chart, A Step FWD's approach to the process actually ticks some excellent boxes which should make this a credible project.

And - assuming it gets the necessary critical mass this type of programme needs - it should also be of huge benefit to the entire UK Gospel scene.

It's Inclusive

Even though music is released frequently, the UK Gospel scene is still 99% independent. However, much of the content won't be found on official channels like The Official Charts due to the essential but not very user-friendly hoops artists have to jump through to qualify.

A Step FWD's chart is completely inclusive: all music is eligible as long as it's in the public domain.
Equal Opportunity

The 'judges' selection process, coupled with the public vote potentially gives all submitted material equal opportunity. This means a good track stands a strong chance of charting even if the artist that made it isn't popular.

Credible Alternative

I return to the point I made about buy-in and credibility:

The event deserved to have more people in attendance (in many respects that's to be expected given the fact that A Step FWD is relatively new), but it was excellent to see Juliet Fletcher from the Gospel Music Industry Alliance, Andrea Encinas from British Gospel Arts (both multi-decade vetrans of this industry), as well as the long-serving DJ K, and TV's Time to Shine executive producer Mercy B with series 3 winner Annastasia Baker.

Charts are a Good Thing

I'll finish by going back to my point about why I think that - in very broad terms - charts are a good thing: now more than ever a lot of great music is coming out of the UK Gospel scene and it's becoming almost impossible to keep track of them all.

And while we'll never be able to get sight of the full scope of music releases, if it's done right, a regular chart is a good way to get a snapshot of activity on the scene. The fact that A Step FWD has made it so easy for artists' music to be eligible is a key selling point here.

Official Chart 'Fail'

The official chart will always 'fail' on this point because - in a nutshell - it'll almost always be more effort and expense than it's worth for many independent artists to feature in it.

For better or for worse the chart measures (and rewards) huge volume sales, something that - at this early stage anyway - will elude most UK Gospel artists on a mainstream chart.

Equal Footing

At least with this new initiative everyone is on something of a more equal footing. Within this framework, good music - regardless of how popular or otherwise the artist is - has a good chance of being heard.

And that, in my book, is a credible - if unofficial - alternative...



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L-R: Time 2 Shine TV's Annastasia Baker (L) & Mercy B, GMIA's Juliet Fletcher & me and Andrea Encinas
CLICK TO ENLARGE (photos: Clever Lens Media)

Yinka Awojobi

Founder, UKG/ group of sites. 

I really didn't want my picture here, but I'm bowing to pressure.

George Luke

Freelance journalist, all-round nice guy.

Has a weird obsession with international gospel music.

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