The Gospel music divisions of Motown and EMI record companies are merging together, The Christian Post learned in an exclusive interview with Pastor Touré Roberts of One Church International in Los Angeles. Although an official announcement was still pending at press time, Robert's church plans to host a concert event featuring artists from both labels Tuesday evening.
"It's awesome to get two big entertainment companies in music who are taking their Gospel divisions and bringing them together," Roberts told CP. "First of all, that's huge. It communicates that just from a corporate perspective the desire for Gospel music and the sense of profitability from labels. There's going to be a lot of resource, backing up music that we all believe in – it's God centered.
"I think it's an exciting time for music and people, and in particular, Gospel artists," he said.
Christian music artist Tye Tribbett, who will be performing Tuesday night, said that the merger means that there will be an expansion of Gospel music and more opportunities for Christian performers.
"One thing about Gospel music and Christian music is that it's a message of hope," Tribbett said. "So, hopefully people will leave our venues and our concerts differently, if not in part, changed completely. Maybe some will leave thinking, 'Maybe I should give Jesus a try.' That's one thing I am always excited about and that is to turn people's hearts and minds towards God. It is my goal and it is my focus."
Roberts, whose church is attended by many people working in all facets of the entertainment field, said that there had been a "buzz around the industry" over music executives getting together at his church during an album release concert for an artist that was not necessarily labeled under a Christian music genre.
The record executives later contacted Roberts to ask if they could do a showcase concert of performers at his church, which meets in a theater venue. They wanted to "plug-in" to the congregation that features a young demographic "that would listen to the music," he explained.
"I think this is God working a lot of things out because we also produced a double EP a couple of years ago independently and in the future we are looking to get distribution for some of the new stuff we do," he said. "So, I think God is bringing these things together, breaking the walls between the secular and sacred. I think the sacred is supposed to effect and change culture, not to be separate and divided from it, but to be an agent."
Roberts is a strong proponent of the belief that God is bringing His message of hope and salvation through arts and entertainment to "the masses."
He said he likes the fact that at the Motown/EMI showcase concert there will be diversity in music styles that includes Gospel and Contemporary Christian. However, he is most excited that music executives plan to come and will "be exposed to this God culture."
"It is amazing to see that the powers that be come into a theater that has been turned into God's house and under this great sound of worship and praise," he said.
Roberts added, "A lot of people may not think that based upon what they see that God is winning or that the Church is winning people to Christ. It's so easy to look at the things that are wrong with culture and society and just kind of shake your head and wait for the day for Jesus to return and things to be remedied. We are seeing with a gathering such as this and others that good, God things are happening, and in particular Hollywood as far as entertainment. This should be an encouragement to the body of Christ."
Other musical guests Tuesday evening include, Tasha Cobbs, Kierra Sheard, and Smokie Norful. The concert will be webcast for free on the church's website (http://onechurchla.org/) beginning at 6 pm (PDT).