After going through a very hurtful and dark time of loss, Kurt returns with his first new album in six years. He talks to NRT's Dwayne Lacy about his new music, adding two millennials to his group of singers and more.
Award-winning famed Gospel icon Kurt Carr has returned with a vibrant vocal musical extravaganza on his new album Bless Somebody Else. The pioneering two-time GRAMMY® nominated, Dove Award and multiple Stellar Award-winning Gospel Hall of Famer has delivered sixteen tracks filled with rousing vocal runs and cutting-edge melodic flourishes that have made him one of the most illustrious and enduring recording artists, songwriters and producers for the past three decades.
Featuring The Kurt Carr Singers and special guests, Bless Somebody Else comes six years since his last release, 2013's Bless This House. After enduring a painful period dealing with a prolonged season of losing loved ones including his mother Delores, his longtime ministry partner Dorothy King, and mentor Andraé Crouch among others, Carr has come through with Bless Somebody Else, bringing a message of thanksgiving and hope, with powerful inspiration to praise God's blessings in our lives and be a blessing to others.
NewReleaseToday's Dwayne Lacy caught up with Kurt to talk about this past season, where his music is going and the new additions to his powerful backing vocal group.
It's been six long years! So this has to be as exciting for you as it is for your fans. Tell us what this big day means to you!
It has been a lot of reflection for me because I went through a very dark period. I lost my mom and Dorothy, a woman who supported me for 25 years. She died suddenly of a heart attack. I couldn’t believe it. I could NOT believe it. Within one year, I buried 18 people and my friends were like “Listen to your own music and let it minister to you." I was like "God I cannot do this anymore." In my prayer time, I could almost hear him say, "If you don’t want to do it, do it to bless somebody else." That was sort of the turning point for me. I started writing and wrote "Bless Somebody Else" and dedicated it to Dorothy. Little did I know that it would turn into a song with 15 different artists teaming up and displaying to the world what happens when ministries link up. It’s powerful.
You had a contest where you were going to pick a few millennial singers from the many who sent you clips of them singing. What gave you the idea to include the new millennial singers?
Let me tell you when it started. My song, “In The Sanctuary” is an international song that’s been sung all over the world. Kids love it and I would call kids to the front to sing it. Then it got to a point where the little ones did not know it. I was like "What?!!" However, I realized the song is like 20 years old. So I needed to do something that would reach younger people and be a blessing to them. I listened–not auditioned because I don’t believe you can judge someone’s praise–to 500 people. I picked Tiya Askia (from Washington D.C.), who is a little somethin’, but a BEAST! Also, I picked a dude from New Jersey, named Travis Taylor. I’m not just teaching them music, I am teaching them about artistry. Being a singer is not being an artist. A singer lasts for five minutes, but an artist like a Tremaine Hawkins or Gladys Knight, lasts forever. Artists can do what no one else can do and they have the integrity and business acumen behind them. It has been very rewarding!
A few years ago, you fell on stage and, you know how folks are, it went viral. You flipped it and made it a song titled “I Got Back Up” which I just love! Tell us about that.
B. Slade (formerly Tonex) whom I cool with was with a friend of mine and had my friend call me. B. Slade and I are not best friends, but we are cool. He told me that I needed to do a song about me falling RIGHT NOW! I’ll be honest, the whole ordeal hurt me. I don’t really think it’s funny when people fall. People that I have helped or been a blessing to were laughing at me. I actually fell over a monitor while doing a benefit concert for Yvette Williams who led “For Every Mountain.” She had a massive stroke. I fell doing good for someone else. Sometimes in life, you do fall and I made some lemonade out of my lemons. Now I want people to see the video, laugh and buy an “I Got Back Up” t-shirt. It says, “Life knocked me down, but I got back up.” I am giving part of the proceeds to the National Stroke Association.
“With Thanksgiving” is my early favorite on the album. You actually changed musical styles a few times on the track. This song is a hit!
I think this is my next “church song” because everyone can sing it. I started this thing where I would say ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ to folks any time of the year because every day to a believer is a day of thanks. I am looking forward to hearing a choir sing it. In fact, I tested it out on the road. Two weeks later, we saw someone on YouTube singing it!
You often include three or four singers on a song. Why is that very important for you?
Some people run their ministry differently, but I don’t understand how you could have a singer like Timiney Figueroa or Troy Bright or Nikki Potts and not give them a chance to sing? I feature them in the forefront. I create music and create an atmosphere. I mean, I could sing, but I’m not a SINGER like Marvin Sapp and Donnie McClurkin. Kirk Franklin is a talker (laughs). That’s my brother! LOL! I like putting singers in their place and having them do what they do best. I think that we are gifted, trained (I’ve studied music), we practice and we are anointed. When you have those things (young people) and God has His hands on you, you can’t be stopped.
Le’Andria Johnson wrecked the song “Grace Brought Me Back” which I heard messed everyone up at the live recording. Please expound upon why you wrote this song for her.
I wrote the song three years ago and immediately I knew it was for her. It was in the height of her dysfunction. People don’t know this, but she’s been my prayer partner for about seven years. We had an opportunity to meet, shared personal time and God put it in my heart to pray for her. She will be able to reach folks that I could never reach. We can’t discard people when they are not living the way that we want them to live. God has a time for everything. Now I am so proud of her. She is getting her life together and going through the channels that she needs to go through to get back to where she needs to do. She is SINGING that song! “I was drifting and lost, I stumbled off the right track/But God didn’t let me stay there, His grace brought me back."
Dwayne Lacy is a long time History teacher in Houston, Texas. He also has a passion for diversity in unity in music and in the church.
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