This month's contributor for "How Sound Affects" is Kezia the poet, a Memphis native, grew up writing poems and short stories. With subject matters relative to her young life, she grew to develop a lifelong love of works. With these acquired skills coupled with her faith, Kezia has been blessed to effectively convey inspiration, motivation & Christ to audiences around the country. Her debut, Matters of the Heart, was released in December 2009. The album is specifically constructed to reflect Kezia's heart for the lord, people, and the gospel. In 2012 , Kezia completed her sophmore project, Something To Say. In 2013, she partnered with NYC-based Christian spoken word movement TrueVoices and is currently co-leader of the Washington D.C. chapter. She is also a resident teaching artist with high school poetry league Louder Than A Bomb in Baltimore. Through her organization, write&say, Kezia has launched an ongoing series of poetry and spoken word workshops. Currently, Kezia is working in child advocacy in Baltimore City and pursuing other creative endeavors relative to her calling. Kezia's third spoken work project The Comfort Zone EP is set to be released on March 17th, 2015, and she is currently working on her second book. Kezia's heart for people, community outreach and the arts coupled with her gifts and talents have set her in motion to impact the world.
I'm the type of person that listens to a song over and over again if I like it. Or love it. Or can't imagine what life was really like before this song introduced itself to my existence.
Yeah..one of those people.
One of those songs? "I'll Be Thinking of You" from Andrae Crouch.
Part of this article has to do with his recent transition and part of it has to do with the fact that he's my favorite artist, hands down.
I grew up in an all-Black, traditional Pentecostal church. My repertoire consisted of James Moore, The Thompson Community Singers, Mississippi Mass Choir (and most any other *insert your favorite region* Mass Choir), Ricky Dillard, James Hall and the like. That was the extent of my taste; aside from the occasional sneak to listen to popular non-Gospel (i.e. secular as put by many) music. There's a reason I've ALWAYS known all the words to SWV's "Weak" and Aaron Hall's "I Miss You". Sorry Mom.
Maybe I knew there was more to Gospel music than just hymns and call-and-response songs. Maybe I wanted to hear music that would challenge the round hole that'd I placed Gospel music in and still feel all the conviction and desire to connect with God.
In my own naivete, I'd had no idea Andrae Crouch had penned classic Gospel songs like "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power", "Take Me Back", "Soon And Very Soon" and the one of the most important theme songs ever; the intro to the TV show Amen . But when I heard "I'll Be Thinking of You". nothing else mattered. I sat in one space and listen to that song 5 times in a row. No lie. I tend to listen in layers. Vocals (leads, backs and overdubs), percussion, bass, strings, keys, horns, pads, lyrics and atmosphere all get separate amounts of attention from me. By the time I listen to a song wholly, it's less of a listen and more of an experience.
If I had to package it, this song sounds like Earth, Wind & Fire got saved! HA! There was such a bevy of emotion in the song itself that I couldn't help but begin to wonder who they were missing and looking for and praying for and thinking of and what beauty must have come from that relationship to produce such an amazing work of art. The instrumentation and vocals combined ridiculously well. So much so that I made the determination to read liner notes on every piece of music I purchased for the rest of the my life. Like literally, if I could find liner notes to Beethoven's 5th Symphony (C minor) like I can find the liner notes to Janelle Monae's ArchAndroid album, I would. What's more, I began to research like a fiend to find out what other music this man had lent his genius to. I was NOT disappointed.
This song was the catalyst that eventually changed my perspective of most music and lyricism as a whole. He presented the perfect blend of Jesus + Art. Obviously, I was a bit of a prude in regard to music. I'm not mad about it though. I'm not mad about discovering the amazingness of Andrae Crouch until years later either. With the state of a lot of music nowadays, look what I have to look forward to. A legacy of soulful, classic, life-changing music and Pastor Crouch is the well-deserved tip of the iceberg. May he rest in peace.