Anthony Brown is a gospel music singer but he wants to break away from the notion that Christian music has to sound like something that can only be played in church on Sundays.
On Friday, Brown released his third album A Long Way From Sunday as the frontman of his music ensemble Group Therapy. In an interview with The Washington Post, he opened up about the intentionality of making new music that used elements of hip hop and pop music.
"It's an unmasking of what modern-day Christendom looks like," Brown said. "I've been in church all of my life, but I don't spend the entire day listening to hymns. . . . And I'm not trying to get [my listeners] to come to church. I'm trying to get them to know who Jesus is. Because that is what I know."
Brown is the son of a pastor and leads worship at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Marlboro, Maryland. The singer-songwriter is no stranger to fusing different musical elements together and previously spoke to Parle Mag about a time in his career when he pursued more soul and R&B sounds.
"I spent a stint of time in California and while I was there I met the incredible Rickey Minor, who of course most people know him for the incredible attributes to music period, but lately he's been the musical director of 'American Idol.' He told me, 'Ant, you ever want to come through and be on the show or do background on the show, you can do that,'" the worship leader said in an interview last year. "While I was out there, there was this very popular singer and piano player named John Legend who surfaced on the scene. He plays the piano and sings, and we have the same kind of voice so I started doing covers of John Legend songs."
While Brown was getting a positive response to his John Legen covers, he couldn't stray too far from his gospel music roots.
"I was getting really, really dope responses so I did think about going that route, singing about love and life and what not," he said. "But at the end of the day, the root of who I am is gospel music so that's what I wanted to do."