2016 Gospel MOBO Nominees: Should Lady Leshurr Be In The Category?

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If an artist refuses to swear and remove most of their clothes does that mean they could sit comfortably with Gospel fans and consumers?

I imagine that the uninitiated and perhaps the intrigued will be heading straight for Google. Typing in ‘Lady Leshurr’ will immediately throw up a wide variety of information about a British female rapper and grime phenomenon. Such is the belief and self confidence of this women that she turned down the opportunity to sign with Atlantic Records because their pitch in her opinion was wrong.

The mainstream media are impressed by the rapid rise of the Birmingham artist who shot to fame after a self-made video that she produced went viral, in less than a day. To add to the legend, Lady Leshurr’s marketing strategy was to leave CDs and music DVDs on trains, buses, and in public places in the hope that it would fall into the right hands. It worked! Someone, a stranger, posted the video that kicked open her career doorway. She now travels around the world promoting, performing, and co-producing with top names in the industry.

The mainstream media are further intrigued by her refusal to swear and wear skimpy outfits. In fact, she has been approached by a number of parents who explain to her that her music is safe for their children to listen to. A rarity! A mainstream rapper that releases material without the need to tag it with the parental advisory label. Profanity free material free from sexual images on the cover would be something you would expect to find in the Gospel section of your local record store, wouldn’t it?

Leshurr is nominated for a Best Female MOBO Award this year, but could she also sit amongst the Best Gospel list? Is Gospel music part of a deeper and wider definition than described above?

In a strange twist, in 2015 Lady Leshurr was placed in the same UMA non-gospel category (Best newcomer) as Birmingham female Gospel trio, Chos3n. Confused?

I believe the wider perception and definition of what is “Gospel music” needs to be discussed and perhaps debated. If a mainstream artist can sit comfortably inside the same category as say some of this year’s Gospel MOBO nominees, on what basis do you determine what constitutes Gospel music? Perhaps the boundaries are not so much blurred, but missing.

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Over to you

How would you define “Gospel music”? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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