Adaeze Chiwoko, from Vinejuice caught up with the very busy London based Gospel artist and Premier Gospel Radio presenter -Karl Nova, to discuss the upcoming gospel industry event – Gospel Summit, his views on the UK Gospel music scene and what’s coming up for him this year.
So Karl, thanks for taking the time out to chat with me. I have been doing some research and discovered that you are a very busy man wearing a number of hats!
Karl: I do wear lots hats! But most people know me as a MC, rapper and member of the Gospel RnB/Hip Hop collective – GK REAL. I’m also blessed to present two shows on Premier Gospel Radio –The Writer’s Block and Hip Hop sessions.
With all that’s going on, you are also going to be co-hosting one of the UK’s biggest Gospel Music Industry events of the year – The Gospel Summit in Birmingham on the 13th – 14th June. How do you feel about that?
Karl: I am so glad this event is happening and very excited about hosting (although I talk A LOT so they may have to keep me in check on that). The event is going to give us artists the chance to network. I feel that the Gospel scene is a bit scattered, so it’s fantastic to have an event like this where different people from different sectors of the industry can just get together to connect, share and learn.
Karl starts to get very passionate at this stage, so I continue my line of questioning on why he thinks an event like the Gospel Summit is necessary.
Well you are evidently very excited about the event but why do you think an event like this is necessary?
Karl: We (as in UK Gospel artists) have been blessed and gifted for ministry by the Lord. But a lot of artists don’t have a clue about the business side of the industry. There is so much to consider and get right. Up and coming artists need to think about publishing, registering your song, marketing etc. We didn’t have a clue when we started out and had to learn by trial and error.
Karl laughs as he remembers the good old days when he was starting out in Gospel music.
I actually wish this event happened annually because it is so needed!
Well Karl, you’re almost a veteran in the game (it’s always good to stroke your guest’s ego – easy to do when it is actually true – as it is with Karl), so from your experience what do you recognise as the main issues with the UK Gospel industry?
Karl: “Oh my days! There is so much to say on this. But I would say that gospel artists really need to start to consider the quality of what they are putting out there. The quality of the music, recordings, production, videos, photography…everything.
But all that costs money. Is there enough money in Gospel Scene?
Karl: That’s the thing. These things really do cost money! I remember that one of the founding members of GK Collective sold his house to pay for the recording and production of our album! New artists need to be prepared to give it their all if they really want to make it.
I would also like to see more Pastors promote UK Gospel artists to their congregations as way of offering support. It is essentially all about who you value. You will find a lot of churches will pay top dollar for the likes of Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Israel Houghton but really struggle to value home grown artists. So there IS money out there.
I am grateful for our fellow American Gospel artists and minsters that are touching many lives, but I do believe that we have a comparable standard of talent and ministry here in the UK. Your money goes to where you value. When are we going to start valuing UK artists?[Tweet “When are we going to start valuing UK Gospel Artists? “]
True words Karl. Is there a genre of Gospel music that you think is particularly doing well at the moment?
Karl: Hip Hop and Grime artists are really putting in the work at the moment and have been carrying the flag for UK Gospel music for the past 5 years. Guvna B in particular is really doing his thing.
Karl suddenly decides to takes over the role of interviewer for a moment and completely gets it wrong by asking: So are you guys from Birmingham because your accent sounds like you are from there?
Nooo, we are Manchester based (shaking my head). Typical of a Londoner!
So Karl, you have travelled and performed across the UK. Are you aware of the North/South Gospel music industry divide?
Karl: Absolutely! There is just so much going on in London and we have more of an infrastructure developed to help Gospel artists along. I recognise that the industry is not quite at that level up North. But I love performing in Manchester, Birmingham and cities like that because I feel that I just get so much love up there. I can’t explain it. The vibe is just different. The people are hungrier for what you have. Maybe because there isn’t as much going on there as there is in London.
Plus, there’s some great artists coming out of Manchester and other Northern cities like David B, Levites 3:12, Joel O’Neil and Twelve 24. People really need to know about these artists!
So what’s new coming up for Karl Nova this year?
Karl: I am launching my new EP called PLTFRM SE7EN on the 3rd June. I am really excited about that. This is not going to just be an EP but I will be using PLTFRM SE7EN as leverage to support other artists in promoting their music.
Sounds exciting Karl! Well, I have really enjoyed talking to you. What are your final words to artists in the Gospel industry?
Karl: I would shout – WE NEED TO GET TOGETHER AND DO THIS THING! We can do it. Let’s work together, value each other and what we do, make great music and promote great music. The Lord has blessed us. We just need to play our role. It’s Kingdom business.
Wow….I am inspired. I feel like running out into the streets and shouting – We Can Do IT!
It’s been fantastic to talk to you today Karl. I look forward to seeing you at the Gospel Summit in Birmingham this June.
Karl: Thanks a lot. Been great to talk to you.
Meet Karl at the Gospel Summit
For more details about the Gospel Summit and to book your ticket, click here.