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  • Writer's picturehumilitee


Humilitee: Welcome to the Gospel Fruits Podcast, legendary radio programmer Elder Michaels, without further ado. Welcome.

Lee Michaels: It's always a pleasure to be with you, Humilitee. I pray all is well with you.

Humilitee: Absolutely. I want to jump into our discussion on Gospel Reggae.

Lee Michaels: My good friend, Vicki Mack, had a label back in the day, and she was the first one to introduce me to Papasan. He was, I guess you could say, a trendsetter because, at that particular time, there was not much reggae presence in the mainstream. There was underground but was not mainstream, so he brought a mainstream reggae sound to gospel, which I loved. He was the first I knew who brought a gospel reggae sound and did well with it. The audience for it was still evolving because it was a niche that was unfamiliar with gospel music. Some immediately got it, like me, who love reggae music, and others were like, wow, what is that?

But eventually, as is the case with anything, people get a chance to get familiar with something different. One of the problems we had in gospel music for a long time was this adage it's traditional; it's contemporary; it's a choir; it's a quartet. That, I believe, limited the potential of gospel music because the richness of gospel music is its diversity. It's not a quartet; it's not contemporary, it's not traditional, it's not CCM. It is good music, and as long as you find good gospel music hits, whether the flavor is reggae... CCM, traditional, choir, or whatever, hits are hits. And so I've always subscribed to that thinking; I identify and play the hits wherever they take me.

Humilitee: There's an independent artist who is new regarding radio, but he's been singing music and doing gospel reggae since he was 12. And he has a sound many are saying is a vibe and saying, how did we miss this guy? Like, where has he been? Everyone is asking me, where did I find him? So without hanging out a little bit on that. I want to bring him on and introduce pastor and independent reggae gospel artist Sone G. Pastor Michael, take the mic as you do so well and engage with Sone G and let's talk about his gospel reggae sound. Sone G, I want to welcome you to the Gospel Fruits Podcast. Welcome, welcome.

Sone G: Humilitee. I appreciate this opportunity and this moment to bring me together for the first time with Pastor Michael and Elder Michaels if you prefer; because you're a veteran in the industry, you deserve that title in many different ways, and being an elder means you've gone through it. You know what it takes to be where you are now, you know what I'm saying? Yeah, man, blessings. Glad to be here. Glad to be a part of this forum.

Lee Michaels: I would first want to get familiar with the person. Sone G, where are you from?

Sone G: I'm from Clarendon, Jamaica. Clarendon. It's one of the middle, middling parishes in the country. And the parish is like a little state.

Lee Michaels: Is that toward Montego, or is that toward Kingston?

Sone G: It's in the middle. It's smack dead in the middle of Jamaica. So if you go right or left, it's smack dead in the middle.

Lee Michaels: So, how did you get started? What kind of awakened this desire to share your music?

Sone G: I think I was born with this gift and this talent, and my family owned a sound system back in Jamaica, and the artists, the reggae artists, the top reggae artists, Shabba Ranks, Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, those artists from the nineties, they would always be around the sound system.

Lee Michaels: That's my era.

Sone G: So that's what I grew up listening to and grew up into. So I was always around the sound system, always doing things. Around the sound, my grandmother would take me to dances when I was three. I was sleeping on boxes and stuff at the dance with my grandmother, so it was there from an early age; the love for it, the desire to do something in the industry was always there; I got saved when I was 12, and that changed the path that I was heading down but still loved music and wanted to do it.

Lee Michaels: For the person who has yet to develop an appreciation for what you would call reggae gospel, how would you best define it for them?

Sone G: Reggae gospel captures Jamaica, the essence of the culture of Jamaica, and not just Jamaica, but further than that, our roots in Africa. And just everything that comes along with that, it captures the emotion of the people, the vibe of the people, and the vibe of reggae music is just fun, loving, and always dancey and filled with spirit and so vibrant. And so this is what I try to echo in every song. The vibrancy, the spirit, and the love for God behind it. So reggae gospel is no different than gospel rap because it comes with tradition, it comes with passion, it comes with love, and it comes with creativity, and craftiness, in presenting the good news in a different format.

Lee Michaels: And you know what I've come to appreciate, and you said the passion, but also a sense of heritage for people of color because unbeknownst to a lot of people, some of the sounds that you hear in reggae are not too far removed from the sounds that you hear in the motherland.

Sone G: That's correct.

Lee Michaels: So you have some of our musical heritage that has carried over with the Middle Passage into the new world through gospel music and reggae, allowing us to stay connected with some of our native land roots.

Humilitee: I have a question based on what Pastor Michaels just said. You came down my street on this one. I want to dispel maybe some ideas that reggae gospel music isn't the same as gospel or Christian songs. As a Christian reggae singer, you are singing to your father, to who you believe; in your case, it’s Jesus Christ; elaborate on that a little bit.

Sone G: Definitely. And for many years, we reggae artists have faced tough challenges with churches and pastors, not fully grasping the power behind the music of reggae gospel. And I think it's because they didn't understand that they could use different bait to catch other fish; somebody might use a traditional song to catch a fish that type of music would be able to catch.

Humilitee: That's right.

Sone G: But for most younger folks and audiences, that wouldn't necessarily be palatable for them. And so we believe that if we can present the same gospel, the same truth, in reggae gospel, and presented to the kids in high school and college that they will gravitate towards it just as how they would gravitate to the regular secular reggae and dancehall songs because we're giving them the same beats. We're giving them the same vibes, we're giving them the same energy, but we're giving them a different message. And so that's where our message is other. Our message is Jesus Christ and him being consistently at the forefront of everything we do.

Lee Michaels: Sone G, you touched on it very eloquently, and I would add, as I alluded to earlier, the message or the good news of Jesus Christ is not about a rhythm.

Humilitee: Come on. That's it.

Sone G: Absolutely.

Lee Michaels: It's about a message. It's about a message of hope. And that message of hope can be packaged in many ways. I'm a connoisseur of good eating even though folk say I don't look like it, but I love to eat. And one of the things I've learned, I love chicken. Listen, I love chicken; some people like fried chicken. Some people like barbecue chicken, some people like baked chicken, okay?

Sone G: Jerk chicken,

Humilitee: yeah, or Curry chicken (laughter)

Lee Michaels: And at the end of the day, the way it's served may change, or how it’s prepared may change, but at its core, it's still chicken. And I think that’s part of the problem, and again that's why my position in music was somewhat different, regimenting behind identifying hits and not classifying music based on musical sounds because that limits the potential and the acceptability of gospel music. So the message is most important at the end of the day, and classifying music by musical genre is a disservice. Allowing a musical genre to express the message is more compatible with what the news can do. We're supposed to go tell, compel, preach, teach, and sing those songs. And if you can reach somebody with a reggae beat that you could not reach with a contemporary or traditional moment, Jesus said, get hung up on me healing on the Sabbath. If you're focusing on anything, focus on the fact that I took the time to heal somebody.

Sone G: That's right.

Lee Michaels: I got a chance to hear the single Sone G, and I want to commend you on a very well done project and very well done single. Tell us a little bit about the single though. How did it come about?

Sone G: The song is called Spirit of Move, and the story behind the song is this. Most of my pieces come through testimonies, by the way. And this one was the same. I was experiencing a stomachache when I was like 14 years old, 14, 15. So I was about two to three years, into being a Christian then. And my youth leader, he said that we should go on fast. I didn't really know too much about fasting at that time, but I did it nonetheless. And Sunday morning would be the morning when the fasting would have ended. So I was in church and we had praise and worship, everybody singing and doing their thing. And I could hear a voice in an audible fashion. Saying that in this moment, I am healing you and I sat down immediately because I did not understand what was going on. This was my first time experiencing anything like this because I'm new to Christianity. I was very young. And so I sat down and I was saying to myself, I don't know what to do here. Do I stand up? Do I sing? Do I, what do I do? I don't know what to do, but I hear this voice and it's telling me I'm being healed in this moment. And I don't know what to do. And so I wanted to capture that moment in song. A lot of times, even in our Pentecostal churches you see a lot of things that people would classify as maybe crazy. People are running around the church. People are dancing. People are standing up on chairs. All kinds of things people do in churches when the spirit falls down on them and their human flesh is unable to deal with what is happening with their spirit. And so the song is basically tapping into that emotion and describing the moment as the spirit is moving and it's wild. It's moving and people are unable to express themselves in any other way, but to run or skip or dance or jump or lay down prostrate or whatever it is. But the point is that the flesh cannot contain what is happening in the spirit. And so the spirit has to find some way of expressing its feelings. And that's what I tried to capture in this song. Spirit a move

Humilitee: You did it very well; I think it resonates with all generations The energy that he puts into this video for the song, you cannot sit down. It is just top notch like he spared no expense in giving a quality demonstration of what was in his heart as it relates to this song.

Lee Michaels: I agree, and now I encourage you there is the gift in the call, and then there is also the necessary discipline or business of promoting your music. And so I would encourage you now that you have a message to share, a great message. The flesh can't handle what the spirit can produce. I get it. I love it. Now, I would encourage you to do your due diligence to find the Bible means to to promote your music, get it out so that enough people can hear it. Because when there is a revelatory deposit, hear me, when there is a revelatory deposit to the psalmist, just like to the preacher, it is for someone. It is not given to you for you as a trust to get to somebody else. And so God is trusting you, the Holy Spirit is trusting you to get that message to the one who needs to hear that message. And so I want to encourage you to diligently get that job done.

Sone G: Will do, sir, will do with your help as well.

Humilitee: We are going to support you, and I always put elder Michaels on the spot because

he is one of the few terrestrial radio programmers who can play what he wants. I'm not suggesting what pastor Michael's is going to play on his playlist. But it is a playlist that many people have become very successful after he determined that their music is what his audience would be blessed by just him taking time to lend his expertise and knowledge to this conversation is a huge plug in the right direction. Where can my listeners and readers follow you on social media and find your music.

Sone G: Yes. I'm available. I'm on all social media platforms. I'm on TikTok underscore Sone underscore G same thing for Instagram underscore Sone underscore G on YouTube. You can search for Sone G. You'll see my music pop up there. Same thing on LinkedIn. You can find me there as well as on Facebook. You can search Sone G, and you'll see me there as well. Would love to hear from you would love to hear what you think about the music the video, especially for the song, Spirit a Move and see if this is something that you've felt whilst you were in church at some point.

Lee Michaels: Sone G, I want to encourage you and as Humilitee said, I've been blessed because of my ear to be entrusted with the direction of the radio station that I've been with now for such a long time and our success, and the freedom that I have to play is consistent with my discipline to make sure that I focus on playing hits. I think you've got a hit. Pursue your music, but do your do diligence, and there'll be programmers out there that because they don't know you, that may be a little slow, but you have to be diligent. You have to be diligent. I always tell folk, especially cause I play a lot of independence and I understand the journey of the independent. Matter of fact, I gave birth to a summit because of that. But I always tell independents that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Don't be afraid to squeak. Don't be afraid to squeak.

Sone G: Thank you, sir.

Humilitee:: You take care, dear. We're looking for great things for you.

Sone G: I appreciate it. Thank you so much, Humilitee and Elder Michaels; I appreciate your kind words and encouragement.

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