Upcoming musician explores gospel jazz


Trends in gospel music are changing . Some time ago, gospel was known as a slow and laid-back beat that would tally well with a worshipping spirit but the advent of other music genres has seen many changes.

There is now a thin line between gospel music and sungura because of the fast beat common in both genres.

But there are a few musicians that still believe that a laid-back tune should be maintained in gospel music.

Among them is Courage Cloud Sithole (CS), who calls his music gospel jazz.

NewsDay (ND) reporter Pride Gonde caught up with the upcoming gospel jazz artist and he spoke about his music career. Below are excerpts:

ND: What does gospel jazz mean to you?

CS: Gospel jazz to me means presenting spiritual matters through jazz music and composing a gospel message that also celebrates living in the image of God.

ND: How did you get into playing jazz and what led you to adopt the genre for gospel music?

CS: I started listening to Jimmy Dludlu and The Monster who play all spectrums of jazz and because I am a Christian, it was natural for me to start gospel jazz.

ND: How do Christians receive your music?

CS: I find that Christians in general are enjoying the music but I enjoy presenting it more as a message than just entertainment, scriptures and music have an important role in church.

ND: What is your inspiration?

CS: Addressing the needs of those around me with the good news of reconciliation and abundant life in Christ. I am also inspired by fellow jazz musician Filbert Marowa.

ND: What is your biggest challenge being a gospel jazz artist?

CS: The little attention that the ordinary churchgoer gives to new music that is not the usual simple praise and worship songs.

Gospel music (in general) has become more interested in the simplicity of congregational worship music.

ND: How did you realise that you had a mission to serve through music?

CS: Playing Jonathan Butler’s, Falling in Love at Sunday school, and seeing the power of God.
I understood that I had a purpose and decided to walk towards it in obedience even at that young age.

ND: Your most memorable moment so far as a young musician?

CS: Having shared a stage with American artist Becky Spencer in Swaziland last year.

ND: Words of encouragement to other young gospel jazz artists like you?

CS: Stay anointed, be of good character, practice your craft, extend the boundaries of your creativity. Also know how to raise, use, budget and generate money for your ministry.

ND: Who would you like to work with on a gospel jazz album?

CS: Filbert Marowa and Prudence Mbofana.

ND: What will it take for gospel jazz to grow and accepted in the music industry?

CS: We need prominent gospel jazz artists to develop collective ideas for marketing purposes.