Sadly, being frequently updated wasn't one of them.
Happy New Year. It's almost February 2012, and now that resolutions and rededications have bedded in, it's time to do the usual annual retrospective...
If your UKGospel.com experience was limited to visiting this site, then all I can say in the first instance is please accept my apologies for the lack of regularly refreshed content in 2011.
It's not that there wasn't anything going on. Quite the contrary. 2011 was one of the busiest years ever for the UK gospel scene. It's just that 90% of our publishing activity didn't take place here.
Secondly - and in some respects more importantly - all the action took place within and around the UKGospel.com social network feeds (primarily Twitter) and - of course - the UKGospel.com blog.
Around there the activity was frenetic (I was tweeting news several times a week, plus it wasn't unusual to post news updates several times a day).
The scene also benefited from the arrival of a number of enthusiastic bloggers and good-quality websites. For me, the work of Adam and Matt Brooks remain one of the best things that has happened to UK gospel news publishing in the past 4-5 years, with the incredible and multi-faceted M-Brio Music project.
2011 - The Year That Was
Anyway, back to 2011... 2010 had hinted at it, but 2011 was the year a lot new writing talent finally came into their own, a point brings me rather nicely to the lovely lady that actually wrote the review you're about to read.
Tobi Akingbade (aka Miss Tobi) is 20, and one of a new
generation of writers coming through. Unlike me, she's
actually in university studying this media lark, so she
actually knows what she's talking about.
I'd reached out to her in the summer of 2011 with a request
to do this retrospective, and - much to my relief - she was
If you like what you read below, it was a stroke of genius on
my part. If you don't, then of course you know it was all her
fault in the first place...
Let her know what you think. Full contact details over there on the right...
Truth, Paranoia and Abundance...
Summarising a year is a popular practice not only on TV but within the viral coffee-shop that is social media (most particularly my technical best friend: Twitter) that it seemed fit for me to jump unto the bandwagon with this review.
With 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, schizophrenic
weather, recycled headlines alongside repetitive political
scandals, the year that we all affectionately called 2011
seemed like any other, more or else identical to all the
Looking back I could only imagine that a memo entitled
'Must Step Up' circulated around UK Gospel late 2010.
I’m confident that my speculation is nearer to the truth than
paranoia, as what followed could only have been
described as a year of abundance.
There was a sudden wave, an almost unexpected trend to 'up' the quality and credibility of grassroots UK Gospel, and not only in music.
In other areas, radio shows, music videos, mini-documentaries, electronic press releases, concerts, blogs and consistent media coverage became the norm.
2011 was definitely a year waterlogged with free music.
I never imagined that only months into 2011 I would be
so impressed with UK gospel.
For some the scene was previously one that had to be
tolerated and supported – like a mother obliged to love
her child regardless of its failing grades.
2011 was a turning point for many, including myself;
we became mothers who ecstatically told the world (literally) about our children.
Productivity, Mixtapes and Albums...
Productivity was certainly worth boasting about - I typed in 2011 MOBO Award winner Triple O in my iTunes and 40 songs appeared - and that was for 2011 alone.
There’s no greater way to start a retrospective review
from the beginning. The 1st of January saw the release of
'Scrapbook' by 2010’s MOBO Award Winner Guvna B
which (I write this without hesitation) was the catalyst for
The mixtape had 33,000+ downloads and mainstream
radio airplay and was followed by an avalanche of
The hard work within this scene became evident to me as I checked how much memory I had left on my iPod and instantly calculated whether my finances could stretch to purchase a larger one.
Scrapbook was followed by more mixtapes, EPs, LPs, and albums. We were graced with 'Flatline' (Triple O), presented with 'The Vending Machine' (Cadet), showered with 'The Remixtape' (Franklyn), thrilled by 'One Way LP' (Writeway-music).
We were also soothed by 'Fall & Rise' (Coco Dupree) moved by 'Declaring His Name (All Around the World)' (Muyiwa), charmed with